Farm-fresh produce and Japanese-style hospitality star in Californian wine country


On the Pass

Kyle Connaughton

What’s the story: Led by Kyle and Katina Connaughton, SingleThread is a destination restaurant and boutique hotel in the quaint Californian town of Healdsburg in the wine-famous Sonoma Valley. Chef Kyle oversees the kitchen, presenting an exquisite tasting menu with a strong Japanese influence. Katina runs the couple’s nearby 24-acre farm, from which most of the restaurant’s produce is sourced.

On the menu: Beginning with a first course comprising myriad small snacks arranged beautifully on a wooden board, the menu then moves through 10 further courses of kaiseki-style dining. Depending on the season, highlights could include white and green asparagus with caviar, sansho-pepper egg and almond, crab with pea tofu and miso crab dashi, or duck with sunchoke, prune and lacinato kale. Look out for the donabe (Japanese claypot) course, with rice taking centre stage.

The omotenashi effect: SingleThread works according to the Japanese concept of omotenashi, namely going above and beyond to anticipate a guest’s needs. Those staying overnight in one of the five rooms are also offered an unmissable in-room Japanese breakfast.

Background checks: After beginning his career as an apprentice at a Japanese restaurant in Southern California, Kyle worked under acclaimed chefs including Michel Bras and Heston Blumenthal, notching up a six-year stint at Best of the Best restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, UK. An acclaimed floral designer as well as a farmer, Katina has also lived in Japan and Europe.