Launch of the Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book
by Mike Fairbrass - Sunday June 17, 2018 6:06 pm
Farmacy is a painfully trendy Westbourne Grove vegan restaurant offering an array of plant-based dishes inspired from around the globe, free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals.
It is of course spelled wrongly in order to deliberately incorporate the word ‘Farm’ and evoke the medicinal qualities of eating ‘clean’ food. A lot of the time I choose dirty food so I’m trepidatious about an evening of what my prejudice has me imagining to be bird food. I clock the neighbouring Gourmet Burger Kitchen, as I and the lovely Jayne approach the venue, in case we need some real food later.
The space has a large central bar festooned with green leaves and green velvet banquettes lining the walls. Tables have been cleared for tonight’s launch of The Farmacy Kitchen Cook Book and a market stall has been set up with piles of fresh cauliflower, peppers, red cabbage and asparagus all along it. I sincerely hope this isn’t the buffet.
The bar staff are well trained individuals who warmly welcome us and talk through the cocktail menu. Jayne has a non-alcoholic “Spring/Summer” A green colour remedy with emerald crystal essence, spring herb distillate, citrus and nettle kefir and perfume fragrance, which she finds most refreshing.
I go for the alcoholic option of the “Americas” with Aloe, Tequila, Mezcal, Damiana, Ginger extract, fermented Mapacho, Cayenne and Pineapple sherbet and red colour remedy perfume which I have to say is one of the best cocktails I’ve had.
We retire to a banquette and take a look at the new cookbook, copies of which have been laid out on the low glass tables. The author’s name on the front cover is Camilla Fayed so I immediately Google to see if she is related to Mohammed and she is indeed his daughter.
It does suggest she may have had an easier route to market in terms of investment and backing and I note that three others are credited inside the front cover as co-creators. I hope Camilla did her quarter of the hard work. She’s not yet here, so is either fashionably late or grafting away in the kitchen.
We refresh our glasses as the first ‘bites’ of the evening emerge. Cones of Cauliflower popcorn with sesame and garlic are so tasty Jayne thinks of making them at home but once we look up the recipe in the book we find that it involves ‘Philosophers sauce’ which you have to make first, which in turn has seaweed broth as it’s first ingredient that itself takes an hour and a half to make. Perhaps it’s not simple to make veg taste this good.
Cornflower nachos with guacamole and what might be cashew mayo also taste great but we decide not to try to look everything up but just to enjoy it. Besides the place is filling up with Notting Hill’s trendy elite whose fashion is epitomised by a guy in a cream dinner jacket with combat trousers and shoes that probably cost a year of minimum wage.
I hadn’t told Jayne that the place was going to be this hip, because frankly, I didn’t know - but now she is acutely aware she wore her scuffed but comfy old Vans, where had she known she was to be amongst fashionistas something more uncomfortable might have been more appropriate.
Chickpea spicy fries are just a little too soft in texture to compete with a ‘real’ fried stick of potato but they taste great with a nice bit of spice. Paparazzi flashes now herald celebrity arrivals. Jayne is praying Stella McCartney doesn’t clock her Mango top as we grab Kimchi Soba noodles from a passing servers tray. These are the best yet with an unctuous chilli Citrus dressing.
Camilla has arrived into what is now a bustling see of air kissing and I notice many of the men have bare feet in shoes with above the ankle trouser hems so I contemplate going to take my socks of and roll my strides up but I’m not sure I can rock it.
You need the right designer shoes it seems – mine are Camper but the most amusingly even camper ones we see are black velvet loafers with embroidered kittens faces on with little protruding ears, worn by a guy who must be sixty (maybe more likely seventy five with enough procedures to look sixty).
We hold on for whatever dessert is and we’re not disappointed.
Jayne is actually dairy intolerant so she’s thrilled by the Flaxseed and Coconut Brownie with chocolate and almond butter ‘Nice Cream’ + fruit. You wouldn’t know this was what I call ‘special needs’ food, it’s excellent and it’s conscious and it’s sustainable.
We leave the party animals to get down to the DJ’s set as the volume is pumped up and walk down Westbourne Grove with a free copy of the book, a jar of their home-made Kimchi and a veg based bouquet giveaway.