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After an afternoon of tasting the three of us were starving! While at Alpha Omega Winery we were looking up restaurants in the area that would satisfy our cravings for the evening. We found the perfect place – The Farmer & The Fox in St. Helena.
Walking into the restaurant it was quietly country with plaid fabric covering the booths, cheeses on display, and fantastic oak tables. We were led into the restaurant and taken to a quiet nook with window bench seating. They did a fantastic job building a refined atmosphere by blacking out the high ceilings of the restaurant and building isolated light above each table.
Our server gave us a run down on the philosophy of The Farmer & The Fox and the concept of the gastropub. Taking traditional English fare and adding a twist and flair to it. Before we had a chance to look through the menu he listed the two features for the evening – swordfish and lamb.
The three of us looked through the menu and decided to start with oysters on the half shell with glasses of sparkling to pair with it. These were served with a house made seaweed Mignonette. They were some of the best oysters I had ever tasted. We followed the oysters with a charcuterie board and duck wings. The charcuterie was house made head cheese with chicory salad, mushroom terrine, pickled cauliflower and fennel, pulled pork, pork crinkle and crustini. The duck wings were smokey and full of flavour.
Our entrée selections were picked so we may each try a bite of the other’s: the squab malasa, the lamb feature, and the venison. Each dish offering a unique experience and flavour profile. The squab masala was highly recommended, and almost my first choice, but I couldn’t pass up the lamb. The lamb leg was stuffed with carmalized onions and fresh thyme. It was cooked perfectly, super tender and rich in flavour. Served alongside roasted baby Brussels sprouts and two sauces to accompany, a béarnaise sauce, and house made Worcestershire. The béarnaise sauce was my favourite accompaniment.
Now, the squab was stuffed with seasoned basmati rice and served over the creamiest creamed cauliflower I have ever tasted. The masala sauce was drizzled atop the squab. It was served alongside broccolini and cauliflower with a masala chutney. The flavours together were spectacular! The venison dish offered two flavour profiles for the meat itself, with a venison sausage wrapped around a tenderloin. It was cooked to perfection and offered such great texture and flavour. Served with leek and butternut squash.
Each dish was paired with wine selections by our server. A Zinfandel for the venison, Pinot noir for the squab, and a Syrah blend for the lamb. All the wines accompanied the dishes splendidly, allowing the perfect background note to the main courses themselves.
After such a meal, we almost couldn’t fathom dessert, but just almost. The famous butterscotch soufflé was ordered, the gingerbread cake and the three wine sorbets (Viognier, Pinot Noir, and Merlot). The soufflé is a masterpiece to die for. The gingerbread cake is full of spices flavour. The sorbets are a nice way to finish off the meal. However, I much preferred my Spanish Coffee as a meal finisher. So much in fact, I want to the bartender to learn the secret (which I will not reveal). When you go to The Farmer & The Fox, I highly recommend this as your dessert!