The Killingworth Castle sits in Glmyptom, a beautiful picturesque village on the outskirts of Woodstock. This Michelin recommended restaurant already has 2 AA Rosettes, and Head Chef Adam Brown brings a wealth of Michelin experience.
The pub has been certified organic by the Soil Association for its commitment to organic food on the menu; fish is sustainably caught and all meat comes from animal welfare farms. Fruit and veg are organic and sourced as locally as possible. Even the beer and wine menu boast a selection of organic tipples.
There was ample space between tables and it felt both cosy yet COVID secure. The decor is tasteful, dark wood and homely touches, it feels classy without being pretentious. Finishing touches make it feel special, right down to the cutlery; the kind you’d see in high-end homeware shops but never can justify for everyday use.
We dined on a weekday evening, with two courses for £28 or three for £35.
Food envy was immediate when a miniature sourdough loaf was delivered to another table, so we were delighted to receive one of our own; steaming fresh and accompanied by sea salt topped cultured butter. Ripping into this organic seeded loaf and slavering it in butter was a great start to the meal.
We ordered two starters, a hot and cold dish, both arriving stunningly plated. You can see why they recently won ‘Third Most Instagrammable Pub in the UK’!
Our Wykham Park Farm Asparagus came with wild garlic and hens egg, the asparagus the highlight. Served in two different ways, the asparagus arrives in natural form and as a mousse topped with hazelnuts. The asparagus mousse is a technical masterpiece, incredibly smooth and flavoursome. The wild garlic and confit hens yolk made every bite a little slice of heaven. Warmth from the asparagus along with chill from the mousse got the taste buds singing.
We hadn’t tried sweetbreads before, so ordered the roasted lamb sweetbreads in pea cream with goat’s curd. Soft and tender, they melt in your mouth like butter, the pea cream complimenting them beautifully. Hidden in the cream are whole peas which pop in your mouth as you eat them. Beautifully smooth goat’s curd provided contrasting notes, and the wild garlic oil left a lasting floral flavour, residing long after the final bite.
After a leisurely break between courses, mains arrived looking equally inviting.
For mains, we’d ordered the Gigha halibut with yellow courgette, mussels, sea aster, mussel and seaweed sauce; and the Tamworth pork fillet and shoulder with baby gem gratin, black garlic and morel sauce.
The halibut is sustainably caught and transports you to the seaside with its fresh, light, yet jam-packed sea flavours. Beautifully cooked, the fish was crispy on top, yet flaked away easily. Our mussels were the plumpest and juiciest we’ve come across this far inland; yellow courgette an ensemble superstar. Now, you may not expect courgette to bring much to a dish, but it was beautiful, playing a big part in the overall flavour combination.
The Tamworth pork dish is a meat lovers dream, a generous portion of melt-in-the-mouth shoulder and perfectly cooked fillet. All the textures and flavours combine to give you the perfect mouthful every single time; incredibly rich and the morel sauce otherworldly. A perfectly crisp gratin that tops the flavoursome baby gem lettuce is incredible. Think salty, cheesy goodness!
Everything is put on the plate for a reason and adds texture and flavour in barrel loads. These dishes are truly incredible.
Now for desserts! We ordered the lemon posset, and vanilla cheesecake millefeuille with strawberries.
The lemon posset, to our surprise, was a sizeable dish. Covered in a layer of blueberries, you get a beautiful burst of berry flavour with posset below remaining the star. With every spoonful expect a crunch from the hidden pieces of pistachio meringue.
Our Millefeuille was a real masterpiece, with multiple ways of serving strawberry adding a sweet decadence. The pastry was perfectly baked, thin and crispy with the lamination on full display. A cheesecake filling was perfectly light, elevating the strawberry elements even further. In this, you should expect to find strawberry three ways, slices, freeze-dried and as a gel.
If we could pick our post lockdown first meal out (inside!) we would choose the Killingworth every time. A truly memorable evening and one we cannot recommend highly enough!
In a nutshell…
Incredible quality dishes from an award-winning establishment. Great value for one of the best meals you will ever eat! Truly one of the greats! In addition to brilliant food, the pub has eight bedrooms.
The Killingworth Castle
Glympton Rd, Wootton, Woodstock OX20 1EJ
We dined as guests of The Killingworth Castle, all views remain our own.