Serving up healthy and delicious plant-based food and cocktails (they call it ‘Clean Indulgence’) in a setting made of Pinterest dreams with copper touches and indoor greenery, Claire Gratzke could not wait to review Farmacy, a now well-loved West London haunt.
It’s not often I first hear about a restaurant via social media, but Farmacy in Notting Hill had gained a following on Instagram long before it had even opened its doors to the eager public in the early summer of 2016, as it promoted its clean eating ethos and stunning decor. As an ex-Westbourne Grove gal now firmly loving life all the way away in North London (yes, it often feels like visiting a different city to travel across London) not much entices me back to the postcode beginning with the letter ‘W’ bar my closest friends, Portobello Market for it’s vintage finds and now, Farmacy.
The restaurant is divided into two sections (one side seems more of a formal, date night setting and the other has a more casual ‘friends doing lunch’ vibe) surrounding a 360 degree bar serving guests with a selection of almost guilt free artisan cocktails.
We were guided to the more formal side and seated at a lovely table near the bar. A Saturday night, the restaurant was predictably fully-booked and alive with the chatter of the hip crowd. There is a no-reservations policy, and it was so busy that some guests were eating their meal at the bar! But the atmosphere wasn’t crowded at all and it still felt intimate – a great spot for people-watching if your date is running late.
Alas, mine was on time, so we got stuck into looking through the menu right away while sipping on a cocktail – mine, one of the most delicious Espresso Martinis I’ve tasted and his a colourful and fruity Blackberry Bramble.
We opted for the Nachos as a starter to share as we were both intrigued by how this usually cheesy and sour cream-topped dish could possibly be ‘vegan-ised’. The plate of corn chips with fresh salsa, frijoles, lashings of guac and dairy-free ‘sour cream’ sounds like a simple dish, but my goodness it was heavenly!
For the main course we both ordered the Farmacy Burger; a flavour-packed patty of millet, black bean & mushroom served with garlic aioli (made from cashew nuts), goji ketchup, avocado, pickles, tomato in a soft sourdough vegan bun with a side of thinly cut, crunchy sweet potato fries.
The burger was so filling, though impossible to leave any as it was ‘ridiculously tasty’ – yes, my date who is a meat-eater said this! We almost couldn’t find space for dessert…almost. Cue a vegan delight of gooey Chocolate Brownie Sundae with coconut Nice Cream and the last, ever so indulgent, Sticky Toffee Pudding left in the kitchen – hurrah!
The food at Farmacy was utterly delicious, and not at all what you’d expect from your usual clean-eating joint. Yes there were salads, but all with so much thought gone into them and of course the array of ‘comfort’ foods such as burgers, curries and sweets for afters which, while totally filling, did not leave you feeling like you’d need to hit the gym for 10 hours to work the whole thing off. Instead, you can order another glass of the vegan, organic house wine and Instagram it rather smugly.