Spring taster evening at Allium at Manor Farm Bourton

AD PR MEAL – Our meal at Allium Manor Farm was complimentary for this review.

I am always on the lookout for new and exciting foodie experiences in this area, and I hope you trust me to share them. Today I am sharing something very special with you – Allium at Manor Farm Bourton. We had an amazing meal courtesy of Chef Andy Tomlinson who is now running monthly taster evenings at the Farm. Manor Farm is located just outside Buckingham and is home to The Larder Café, a Butcher’s and a farm shop. I have been meaning to get over to the café for some time as breakfast comes highly recommended in my Facebook Community Group. So when Andy invited me along to one of the taste nights, I was very excited to see what they had to offer!

In this blog post, read my review of the taster nights at Allium Manor Farm and hopefully be persuaded to book one for yourself.

Manor Farm Bourton

The Verey family has been farming at Manor Farm, Bourton for four generations. It is currently owned by David and Ann Verey who breed Suffolk and Charolais lambs, for the market and have done so for the past 30 years. They also breed and fatten Aberdeen Angus cattle supplying national supermarkets.

Manor Farm is located just outside Buckingham, about a 20-minute drive along the A421 from Central Milton Keynes, so very accessible if you have a car. The Larder Café is open Monday – Saturday, 8am – 2pm and both the Butchery and The Cheese Room are open Friday and Saturday 9am – 2pm.

Allium at Manor Farm

Allium was created by Chef Andy Tomlinson. Andy has over 20 years of experience working in Michelin starred kitchens alongside some of the world’s best chefs. This includes Simon Rogan of L’Enclume, Mark Birchall of Moorhall and Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles.

Andy moved back to the area two years ago and joined the team at Manor Farm. The taster evenings have been popular and so they are now a monthly occurrence. The menus feature seasonal, local ingredients and are £65 per person for six courses.

The taster evening is hosted in the café building. You will be greeted by several cats amongst an abundance of herbs growing in repurposed palettes! It is rustic, cosy and very relaxing.

The food

On arrival, we were greeted by a friendly waitress and offered a glass of rhubarb fizz before being shown to our seats. The room seated under 20 people, so it was a very intimate atmosphere. We had six courses of food ahead of us and it couldn’t arrive quick enough!

Rhubarb Fizz.

“The Verey family has been farming at Manor Farm, Bourton for four generations.”


The initial two snacks set the bar high indeed. The first, a crisp shell with pureéd Artichoke, goat’s cheese, truffle and spring flowers, had everything. The first bite was an explosion of texture: crisp, creamy, chewy. It was divine and a real celebration of spring flavours.

The second snack was our favourite. This was a mini tartlet with a potato base. Inside the base was crisp, smoked bacon topped with a carrot mousse. Atop the mousse was a light dusting of anise which was not overpowering at all. The delicate, fragrant carrot mousse paired beautifully with the smoked bacon. Once again the texture balance was just right. Safe to say we were now very excited for the next courses.

We have experienced several tasting menus over the past few years, and you are nearly always served bread. Usually, this is a standard sourdough which feels like more of an accompaniment than a standalone course. At Allium, however, the bread is as special as the rest of the courses!

This is a Westcombe cheese and caramelised onion bread served with thyme butter. The mini loaf was shaped like a muffin and pulled apart very easily. The sweet onion flavours ran through the bread and paired nicely with the fresh thyme butter. The attention to detail in the presentation was amazing – notice the little purple thyme flowers on the butter!

Westcombe cheese and caramelised onion bread served with thyme butter.

Usually, the bread feels like an accompaniment. At Allium, the bread is as special as the rest of the courses.


For the next course, potatoes were the star of the show and that is now something that I didn’t think I would write in a review, nor is it something that I have experienced on a tasting menu. New potatoes decadently cooked in chicken fat sat atop brown crab meat accompanied by chicken skin and horseradish. The flavour of the potatoes was next level – I mean, anything cooked in chicken fat is going to be delicious, but they almost had a nutty taste. The chicken skin was crisp and salty, the crab meat creamy and rich. A truly interesting dish and celebration of the humble spud.

New Potatoes, crab, chicken, horseradish.

Now onto the main course which featured lamb straight from Manor Farm. There was a piece of loin which was cooked rare, then a piece of lamb belly. I have never had lamb belly before but I will be dreaming of this for some time. It was beautiful – tender, melt in the mouth with a toffee-like texture. The bones were boiled down to create a delicious stock for the gravy. A Wild Garlic oil added an element of freshness.

The most interesting element of this dish was the curds and whey. You might be familiar with curd and whey thanks to the Nursery rhyme ‘Little Miss Muffet’ who sat on her Tuffett, eating her curds and whey. These are products of the cheesemaking process. The milk is separated in a process known as ‘coagulation’. Curds are the solid product which then goes on to make the cheese, and the leftover liquid is called whey. I have not seen them used as components of a dish before, but the whey was used to cook the onions and the curd (essentially young cheese!) was presented in the middle of the dish as a smooth accompaniment. It had a light, milky flavour.

Manor Farm Spring Lamb, Wild Garlic, Curds and Whey.

“I have never had lamb belly before… It was beautiful – tender, melt in the mouth with a toffee-like texture.”


The first dessert was a total triumph, featuring Yorkshire forced rhubarb. Forced rhubarb is a type of rhubarb grown in ‘forcing sheds’ where there is little light. This produces a softer and sweeter than summer rhubarb which makes it an ideal dessert ingredient. In this dish, the rhubarb was accompanied by a honeycomb made with local honey and sheep’s milk yoghurt. Lemon verbena was a garnish, but also added a little pop of citrus flavour. The sheep’s yoghurt was amazing. It was richer and creamier than other yoghurts I have had.

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, Local honey, Sheep’s yoghurt.

The final dessert was simple, delicious and married two nostalgic dishes together: Apple crumble and an ice cream sandwich. The ice cream was creamy and featured sweet, caramelised apple. The biscuits were short and oaty, just like the topping of your favourite crumble. The ideal end to a fantastic meal!

Apple Crumble Ice Cream Sandwich.

Final thoughts on Allium at Manor Farm Bourton

As I am sure you have guessed from reading my review, we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening at Allium. We are so lucky to have Michelin-standard food so close to home. I would wholeheartedly recommend booking Allium for a special evening, or just to experience something different.

Allium is located at Manor Farm Bourton, just outside Buckingham – Buckingham MK18 7DS. The taster evenings are hosted once a month on Saturdays and Sundays from 6;30pm. Tickets are £65 per person. To book tickets and view future events head to www.manorfarmbourton.co.uk.

Will you be trying Allium at Manor Farm?

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DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for an honest review on my blog. This does not affect my opinion. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

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