REVIEW: The Farm
Radiating zen, with its babbling brook and gentle birdsong, The Farm provides a remarkably relaxing backdrop. In the garden setting, surrounded by high trees and copious greenery, it is very easy to forget that just five minutes away is the six-lane pandemonium of Sheikh Zayed Road.
In principle, The Farm should be a five-star culinary hit. Its outstanding ambience is paired with a ‘farm-to-table’ concept that places a major emphasis on using local suppliers in the UAE, particularly for fruit and vegetables – which are available for customers to buy from the farmers’ market style-deli counter at the entrance.
However, the menu is guilty of that classic crime of trying to be everything to everyone. Across three distinct options – Thai, Continental and Pizza – it’s a little confused, even if the three options come from specialist chefs. It makes deciding what to order an exercise in furious head scratching.
In the end we opt to mix and match. The ‘continental’ Alaskan king crab (from the continent of North America) is a great starting point. The flaky white meat would be enough to satisfy us but its accompanying palm heart salad, mixed greens and bed of quinoa makes for a good, crunchy contrast to the crab.
Another welcome crunch comes from the Poh Pia Sod (summer rolls). Packed tightly with organic mixed vegetables and smoked beef brisket, the thin paper parcels are fantastically fresh and nicely offset by a cashew sour sauce that is pleasant but not overly punchy.
The tuna Nicoise salad also showcases The Farm’s excellent veggies – the green beans providing the bite alongside a sweet tomato concassé, new potatoes, olives and a soft-boiled egg. The herb and raspberry vinaigrette is a little sharp for us but the tuna’s seared perfectly.
We also pick out a generous portion of fish and chips. The batter is excellent – light and more tempura in style than the classic approach – while the homemade lemon tartare sauce is also delicious. The fish, however, doesn’t quite hit the mark. Using Sheri is great for the local fishing trade but it is a little too meaty. The soft, flakiness of the more familiar haddock or cod is missed.
For dessert we go for the sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream. Sadly, it turns out to be neither sticky nor a pudding, but the caramel sauce and ice cream are both winners.
The Farm’s food is generally on point, even if the menu is slightly jarring. It’s definitely worthy of a revisit, even if you’re just stopping by for a weekend coffee and some much-needed serenity. Pure bliss.
Three dishes to try...
Poh Pia Sod
The summer rolls match the garden location perfectly
Nicoise salad rarely tops our list, but the fresh vegetables are a treat
The sticky date pudding. We probably caught them on an off day, but it wasa disappointment
Where: Al Barari, Dubai
Contact: +971 4 392 5660, website