Fresh, filling and not a hay bale in sight – Sophie Ritchie visits Farmer J for a natural bite in the heart of the concentre jungle
I am one of those people that cares about where my food comes from. I scour labels. I ask questions. I avoid having dinner from a congealed package.
Of course, we all fall susceptible to the charms of a Skippy Peanut Butter jar once in a while, but on the whole, I like to think I’m fairly mindful about what I consume.
Farmer J is a restaurant that gives a fork about its menu too. Serving food with a slice of honesty, ingredients are the star attraction.
They’re sourced from British farms and more importantly, proudly cooked from scratch in the traffic-teeming heart of the capital. No reheated leftovers here.
Located in London’s Square Mile, city workers are flocking to its newly opened doors like herds of suited and booted cattle, pouring through the glass entrance with its playful signage into the granite-inspired space filled with hanging foliage and sleek seating.
With cloudy grey concrete walls, hanging orb lighting and a scattering of plants, it’s undoubtedly trendy. I join the pack and try it for myself, visiting with a friend on a brisk winter’s night.
On the Israeli-inspired menu, there’s a wide array of dishes which are encouraged to be shared and devoured amongst friends. Split into different sections, dig your way through Bites & Bread, Meat & Fish, Vegetables and Sides.
Catering just as much to the carnivores as the flesh-free foodies, there’s an interesting selection of fairly healthy choices on offer, all displayed with faff-free descriptions.
Must-bites include the Roasted Cauliflower (£10), which arrives as a giant head of caramelised cauliflower completed with a punch of harissa and a tahini drizzle. Gorgeously crispy, it’s large enough for a entree (although a half portion is available).
Order the Miso Market Bowl (£8) if you want something filling – it’s a generous creation of squash, silky aubergine and tender stem brocoli, piled atop a bed of brown rice.
The juicy Turkey Burger (£10), crunchy polenta sweet potato wedges, also makes an excellently lean bite – but it’s the Roasted Beets (£6) that surprisingly steal the show, a burst of sweet flavour aided by lashings of honey and paprika.
My dining companion usually avoids the vegetable aisle in supermarkets – but we both go for second helpings of the pink-hued plate.
Desserts play a supporting role at Farmer J, with a daily selection rather than full menu. We’re both too stuffed from the now empty plates before us, but the vegan cheesecake sounds rather alluring.
The Wordrobe Verdict
The portions are large, the service is speedy, and the dishes are packed with enticing flavour.
If it’s fresh food you’re after in a cool urban environment, Farmer J makes an excellent choice – with not a hay bale in sight.
Make it happen
Where: 24-32 King William St, London EC4R 9AT
Bookings: Phone 020 7621 1850 or click here to make a reservation.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor