Castle Farm Restaurant at the Kentucky Castle offers delicious southern-inspired food and an elegant setting. Check out our review of brunch at this unique venue!
By: Alisha Trenalone
Anyone who’s ever driven the stretch of US 60 between Lexington and Versailles, Kentucky, has probably had the same reaction as me.
“Look! There’s the castle!”
But… what is the castle? As decades passed, rumors multiplied. Who owned it? What was it like on the inside? It all seemed a bit mysterious.
Happily, those questions are easy to answer now, and you don’t have to just admire from afar.
Under current management, the Kentucky Castle has opened its doors to an intrigued public, and placed itself firmly on the list of must-try experiences in the state.
On a brisk, sunny morning in early spring, I visited the Kentucky Castle’s restaurant, Castle Farm, for brunch. Here’s what it was like.
Before You Go to Castle Farm
You should definitely make online reservations at the castle’s website before going to the restaurant. When I booked, it appeared much easier to get a table on weekdays.
When arriving at the Kentucky Castle from the east, drive on past the imposing front approach to the building. You’ll turn right at the next intersection.
Restaurant parking is at the back of the building. There is also a large overflow lot around the far side.
Exploring the Kentucky Castle
We were a few minutes early, so the restaurant staff told us we were welcome to look around the grounds.
(The second floor was off limits except to overnight guests.)
Classy décor and glitzy, warm colors made the whole place feel both elegant and inviting.
We peeked in at various ground-floor rooms.
Not all of the rooms were in use during breakfast and lunch hours.
Some of them appear best suited to special events that the castle sometimes hosts, like murder mystery dinners or the occasional ballroom dance.
You can also book a wedding, photo shoot, or business or social occasion at the castle.
There’s a tiny gift shop at the front of the building with Kentucky Castle memorabilia.
We took a brief wander around the outside (and up on to the roof). The views were great. (I knew they’d be even more stunning as the weather warmed up and the trees blossomed out.)
Then it was back to the entrance of the Castle Farm restaurant, where we were promptly shown to our table.
Dining at Castle Farm
The dining room where we sat had just a few tables, comfortably spread apart. So it wasn’t nosy or crowded at all, and the servers could take their time with each party.
The staff did a great job at making us feel welcome and relaxed, and they were more than happy to chat with guests and recommend other fun things to do in the area.
Besides the usual choice of beverages, the restaurant features an extensive list of hot teas from Kentucky-based Elmwood Inn. Just ask, and they will bring you the list. (I had the pineapple lemon black tea, yum!)
The menu changes seasonally, but in essence it’s Southern-inspired cooking with some extra fancy touches.
For example, I ordered the country ham and brie, which was no ordinary ham and cheese sandwich. It included sliced apples, cherry butter, arugula, apple balsamic dressing, and a tasty focaccia bun!
It was probably, no exaggeration, the best sandwich I’ve ever had.
Many of the ingredients are locally sourced, and you can even check out the supplier list of nearby farms and vendors printed on the back of the menu.
The menu price range seemed well worth it for a special occasion breakfast or lunch.
My mom ordered the smoked brisket baguette, which was topped with rosemary butter, gruyère, and caramelized onions, and (hooray) extra garlic aioli on the side.
Both sandwiches came with house-cut fries.
Against a background of soothing guitar music and other guests exclaiming things like, “Isn’t this nice?!”, we savored our food and talked about the friends and family we want to bring another time!
If your budget stretches to having dinner at the Kentucky Castle, there’s a separate menu featuring meat and fish entrées that also look amazing.
Other Experiences at the Kentucky Castle
As the restaurant name Castle Farm suggests, the Kentucky Castle does indeed tend its own greenhouse, garden, and livestock.
You can book a tour of the farm, the castle, or both combined.
Or you can sign up for the “Sip and Stroll” offered on occasional Sundays, a guided experience through the castle with a drink of your choice in hand.
Murder mystery dinners, special tastings, tea times, educational workshops, and other events regularly show up on the castle’s calendar. Keep on eye on the Experiences section of the website, or follow the Facebook page for each month’s schedule.
The castle is also home to luxurious guest accommodations, including fancy tower suites, and a spa.
As for me, I’m already thinking about a return trip to the restaurant. What about you? And if you’ve already been to the Kentucky Castle, let us know what your favorite part was!
About Alisha Trenalone
I’m Alisha and I live in eastern Kentucky. Discovering good food is one of my joys in life, but you will also find me doing lots of reading and dreaming of travel. Having worked at a local newspaper for several years, I’m avidly interested in the written word and the art of sharing stories. Now I help Sarah out in various ways here at Champagne Tastes!