Friday, 21 June 2019

The plant based afternoon tea with a difference at Farmacy

What difference you ask? This being that Farmacy is reportedly the first London restaurant to serve CBD; the non psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, famed for its feel good and health benefits (reportedly good for inflammation, pain relief, and even helping enhance memory and cognitive function). CBD - otherwise known as Cannabidiol - is one of approximately 104 chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. Some of these cannabinoids are intoxicating and reflect the aspect of the cannabis plant that you may be more familiar with(!), but CBD is completely non psychoactive, meaning it doesn't produce the same sort of effects.

So no, I wasn't going to get stoned. But I liked the idea of going for a feel good, healthier take on an afternoon tea. Farmacy's plant-based High Tea is free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals and I was intrigued how it would shape out as for me personally, sugary cakes and biscuits are my vice

THE FOOD

The food was beautifully presented on a very Instagrammable three tier stand with a log slice base, copper framework and crown of foliage. LOOK HOW PRETTY


The middle plate contained all the savory offerings and at the time of my visit, these included smoked carrot and chickpea blinis, mushroom and spinach quiches (almond milk used as the dairy substitute here) x2 open sandwiches on charcoal bread (one cucumber and dill with a cream cheese substitute, the other roasted peppers with chilli). The open sandwiches were a clever twist on an afternoon tea classic and the smoked carrot ribbons on the blinis were much like smoked salmon, both in appearance and texture.


I will say however, to not pin too many hopes on the menu that you see on the Farmacy website because this is subject to availability and or / seasonality. For example, I was really excited by the prospect of pulled jackfruit tacos but we didn't have these on the day. As it turns out, the roasted peppers with chilli on charcoal bread was an excellent substitution and was in fact one of my favourite things from the day. So no harm done.

The top layer contained all manner of sweet treats. These being strawberry and rose jelly, apple pie, CBD truffles (supposedly tahini and dark chocolate) and raspberry pavlova. A lot of these constructions were especially impressive given that these were free from dairy and refined sugars.


I'm not usually a fan of pavlova (or meringue in general), but as the meringues were crafted differently (using aquafaba, or chickpea water), this was a pavlova I could get behind. I was dubious about how good the truffles would be given that these were dairy and sugar free, but they were good and chocolately and melted in the mouth. Again, the online menu is subject to variations and two of the things I was most looking forward to (the chocolate & praline ganache and the strawberry & cashew mousse) weren't available on the day. The apple pie was a worthy adversary though and it takes a lot for me to say my favourite dessert was the non chocolate one!

Finally the last layer housed an afternoon tea classic - scones. These were pretty sizable poppy seed scones served with dairy free coconut clotted cream and homemade jam. The jam was less jam more couli due to its runny nature, but we didn't mind this as it tasted every bit as good.


People often question how much flavour vegetarian and sugar free / dairy free / plant based foods can have, but I have to say, everything we had was flavoured really well and far from bland and boring. Also it was really refreshing to go to an afternoon tea and NOT feel like I was going to burst afterwards.

THE DRINKS

Upon arrival we were reportedly going to receive a CBD infused cocktail (this being Heart Chakra Rose Infusion & fresh raspberries shaken with vodka & lemon), but we never received this. However we were given free rein of the cocktail menu which I actually preferred as I'm not really a vodka drinker. Instead my sister and I opted for the "RUM ME UP THE RIGHT WAY" (rum, mango and lime) which contained a good and generous measure of rum.


Farmacy's High Tea differed from that of a standard afternoon tea in that you didn't receive tea until the END of the meal. I'm still not sure how I feel about this as one of the things I love most about afternoon teas is having the tea WITH the food and having your teapot refilled with hot water every so often. On the day we visted we did wonder if they had forgotten the tea as our table was cleared and we actively had to ask for the tea menu. My sister opted for the ginger and lemon tea whereas I had the hemp tea (not too dissimilar to a chamomile tea or green tea, it turns out).


THE VENUE

I feared it could be uncomfortably upmarket or hipster, however it was very relaxed and we couldn't fault the staff who were all incredibly friendly (and like genuinely friendly, not forced). My sister and I decided it felt like "sitting in a garden centre café" due to plants and ivy trailing the ceilings, window ledges and shelving at the bar. It all felt very natural (to match the food no doubt) with chipboard walls and jute rugs presented on the walls as art.


The toilets were another highlight with this dreamy animal print wallpaper


Obligatory toilet selfies to test the lighting

Shirt - Anthropologie (sold out) - similar here (which I have also purchased!)
Military button shorts - Morgan de Toi

The building's exterior did make me think of a re-purposed former pharmacy. Which got me thinking if the name "Farmacy" is inspired by the plant based menu (i.e farmed from the land) and if its a play on words for "pharmacy" whereby the food is good for the soul and remedies all life's ills... although admittedly, maybe I'm reading a little TOO much into it ;)


High Tea is priced at £42 per person

To view the menu and / or book a table click here

FARMACY
74 WESTBOURNE GROVE,
NOTTING HILL 
LONDON
W2 5SH


Disclaimer: this afternoon tea was entirely paid for ourselves. I'm sharing because both food and atmosphere were fab and thought they deserved a mention!

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