A sunny mid-July Sunday was the perfect day for a Farm Girl Café kind of brunch. Feeling virtuous after finishing a tough Pilates class in the area, my friend and I raced up Portobello to get our tummies satisfied.
We arrived at Farm Girl Cafe entering through a white bricked archway and across a gorgeous al fresco quad, and we know we have discovered a hidden gem. Floor to ceiling windows and courtyard dining adds to the charm and tranquillity of the place and the hum of happy customers and scents of delicious flavours only fuels are hunger pangs. As you walk in, you are given an eye teasing taster of what to expect: adorning the front counter is a banquet of dazzling salads, beautiful baked goodies and baskets of vegetables that would do any greengrocer proud.
The décor inside is designed by House & Garden’s Top 100 leading interior designer Beata Heuman and features gorgeous rustic tables and chairs, lush banquets and magnificent deep turquoise tiling wall embellishments. Spotted across the café are works of graffiti that bring a cool traveller’s essence to the room and on the mezzanine floor, a long farm-like table is situated, perfect for those wanting to host an intimate but buzzy event.
It takes us over ten minutes to even decide on our drinks let alone the food ; we want to try it all. I pick a lavender almond milk latte which is fragrant and naturally sweet, and I down it in seconds. My friend has the recommended superfood smoothie which is a luscious combination of cacao, banana, lucuma, cinnamon, almond milk and rose. The combination of floral flavours in their drinks is unique, and has a warming effect on us both.
To start, I choose one of the salads I eyed up on the way in, a mixture of scarlet strands of roasted red pepper that taste tangy and sweet, garnished with crunchy pumpkin seeds. My friend fancies something sweet and opts for their homemade granola , seasoned with orange blossom and rose petals. I almost see love hearts in her eyes as she gobbles the bowl up, and we barely speak. After telling our waiter how divine our starters were, he ushers over the chef who kindly writes down the recipes for us to make at home. This kind of attention and service is better than any received at any Michelin star restaurant.
Whilst we are waiting for our mains, the two owners of Farm Girl, Rose Mann and Anthony Hood, pop over to say hello. Both of them are glowing from the inside out and we can see why. With all this healthy and nutritious food around them, it would be hard not to. They tell us about their background and inspiration for the café. Rose is a true Aussie girl and Anthony grew up with the fresh air and lifestyle in Switzerland. The two make an admirable team and we can see that their unanimous love for travel, nature and delicious healthy food shines out of every crevice in the café.
Our mains arrive perfectly on time and Rose and Anthony wish us the best. They are so fascinating we want them to sit down with us and tell us stories of their travels and inspirations, but we are too distracted by our food. I have been told the BLT (coconut bacon, lettuce and tomato with guacamole and cashew crème) is there piece de resistance and so of course, it would be rude not to! Not being a lover of sandwiches, I was spectacularly surprised. Served on fresh sourdough the sandwich is a combination of creamy goodness with subtle pangs of sweet coconut teamed with a velvety light, savoury cashew cheese. Although it is a hearty dish, I don’t feel sluggish afterwards and I can feel my skin glowing from the nutrients in the dish. My friend opted for their selection of daily salads, which was a superfood rainbow of colours and flavours in a bowl.
With all the will in the world we want to devour one of their patisseries on show, but we can’t muster up the room. Instead we decide to pick one of their herbal teas from there extensive selection, which includes fennel, one of my favourites and rarely found on café menus.
We leave on a high, and thank Anthony and Rose for a truly wonderful brunch-time experience. They tell us they may have some future plans for the café including some dining events. We will be watching this space attentively and be first in line to try anything from this duo!
Farm Girl Café is located at 59a Portobello Road, London W11 3DB and is open 8am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday. Check out their website for further details www.farmgirl.co.uk.