Castle Farm café

 

Words by Kate Auther
Photography by Neil White

Newly-acquired by husband and wife team Pravin and Leah Nayar, there are delicious things happening in this upcycled tractor shed in Midford, Bath 

 
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As soon as you arrive at Castle Farm and breathe in the idyllic countryside views, you can feel your shoulders drop. An organic farm with 45 acres; it was the lure of the good life which caught the attention of Leah and Pravin Nayar, who took over the café and farm shop on Midford Road at the beginning of the summer. 

Inside, the minimalist whitewashed space has a lovely warm vibe and comes decked out with mismatched tables and chairs, local artwork, and twinkling fairy lights. The duo don’t like to put a label on their style of food, which is 90% veg-based, but you can expect everything from salads made with produce from the smallholding outside to sourdough pizzas and zingy Asian broths. The warm cinnamon buns and fragrant curries, both nods to Pravin’s Swedish-Malaysian heritage, come highly recommended. 

“We’re driven by what’s available on the farm,” explains Pravin, “so we try to be rustic, nourishing and cook the sort of things you really want to eat. It’s not fancy, but it is well made. So we might do gnocchi with potatoes from the farm, organic flour, local cheese and some herbs. It’s really very simple but all the building blocks are good.”

Pravin’s not your usual café owner either. Having cut his teeth in the kitchen at the family restaurant in Spain, he’s worked everywhere from high-end hotels to Michelin-starred restaurants before moving back to the UK in 2009 with his young family. Keen food fans might also remember him from his head chef days at The Beckford Arms in Tisbury or The Talbot Inn in Mells, where he worked until last year. 

 “It’s really hard to find something that’s not conventional, doesn’t need huge investment or involve a lot of risk,” admits Pravin. “I love Bath, but as a small independent you have to have loads of money upfront to be able to make anything work. We cook on one little induction hob for now, but the plan is that it will organically grow,” he says. 

Their sell-out Saturday supper clubs are already a window to what they might offer in future, when they plan to open in the evenings more. And as winter sets in, there’s talk of swapping Friday night pizza for curry and Sunday brunch for a family-style lunch, with long-term plans for a small bakery, vineyard, bees to make mead, and even shepherd’s huts. This is one journey we’ll be following with close interest, sustained by pillowy cinnamon buns, punchy coffee and those incredible views. castlefarmcafe.co.uk

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Food + drinkKate Monument