Tucked away among the 34 themed gardens and 16.4km of naturally landscaped lakes, freshwater streams and waterways of the Al Barari Development, The Farm is, for now, somewhat of a hidden treasure but it is only a matter of time before it becomes a firm favourite of Dubai residents and visitors alike.
“Hooold up,” I hear you say. “Aren’t you supposed to be sharing recipes, tales of your trip to Kangaroo Island and all the juicy details about your discovery of the thermomix?” Fear not my foodie followers, all of that is still in store but having just returned from a weekend in Dubai I was too excited to tell you about this little desert oasis to wait. Regular programming will resume shortly.
So, based on the recommendation of Dubai based blogger FooDiva (be sure to check out her website, awarded 2nd place in the Best Blogs in Dubai awards, for a wealth of informative restaurant reviews, interviews and other foodie features) I made a booking to have lunch at The Farm with an old friend. Though I’m sure she must have been wondering what could possibly be worth driving half an hour out of Dubai for, she was very accommodating of my food blogger demands and soon enough we were winding our way along the leafy, green driveway of the development. A rare and exciting sight for two desert dwellers!
It didn’t take long before we were sold on the place, greeted with a mini fruit juice and a bowl of brightly coloured vegetable chips to snack on as we browsed through our iPad menus. We quickly decided to share starters under the pretence of me being able to taste different dishes “for the blog” (the truth being that I am really bad at dealing with food envy and sharing is usually the best way around that). We settled on Tomato Tatin, stuffed with olive tapenade & goat cheese and served with wild rocket, and Grilled Tiger Prawns with mango tomato tangy salsa and miso wasabi mayo to be followed by an Arugula, Fennel & Feta Cheese Salad for me and a Grilled Halloumi & Couscous Salad with Sumac Vinaigrette for my friend – to which they happily added avocado at her request. All of it was delicious. With the liquor license still under process we washed it all down with a refreshing lemon and mint juice which went down a treat.
The Farm prides itself on being an eco conscious establishment serving only ethically traded, sustainable produce and adhering to a number of environmentally friendly practices such as relying on natural light during the day (though we did spot a few lights on!), converting food waste into compost and using treated water from the community to fill the lake. Although many of the meals are light, soups, salads and the like, there are also a few more substantial menu choices.
With the salads having left space for dessert I tossed up between the Lemon Tart and the Coconut Apricot Parfait and ended up choosing the latter which was delightfully light and beautifully presented. My friend went for a palate cleansing scoop of Peppermint Sorbet which she enjoyed but I found a bit too sweet and overpowering. All of this plus coffees (good coffee too!) and a large bottle of water came to just under AED300 for both of us which we felt was reasonable, especially by Dubai standards.
With the outside temperature resting at somewhere around 45°C we opted for the cool comfort of the tastefully decorated indoor dining and lounge area but we were both blown away by the outdoor space as we braved the heat to investigate. Surrounded by water and luscious green courtyards, the neutral decor created a sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere and we both remarked what a magical spot it would be in the cooler months. A good excuse to come back (not that we needed one).
Whilst The Farm has had some mixed reviews since it opened at the end of March (you can see FooDiva’s review and feedback from other diners here) we couldn’t fault our experience so hopefully their earlier issues can be put down to teething problems that have now been addressed. The staff were welcoming and attentive and the food was quick, fresh and elegant without being overly fussy, reflective of the property as a whole. There is also a small area inside the restaurant where you can buy bread (baked fresh, twice daily) and other deli items to take away with you.
The Farm serves breakfast daily from 7.30am-12pm, lunch from 12pm-3.30pm, afternoon tea from 3.30pm – 6pm and dinner from 6pm-11pm (last orders 10.30pm). Directions are available on their website.
[Disclaimer: I dined at The Farm at my own expense and was not asked to write a review or offered any incentives for doing so. All views expressed are my own.]