A PLANT BASED HIGH TEA AT FARMACY, NOTTING HILL, LONDON
Whilst conscientiously scoping an afternoon tea experience in London, I came across Farmacy in Notting Hill, who deliver quite a different High Tea ensemble to the conventional on offer. As I scoured the menu, my eyes diligently picked out the words, plant-based and with my new interest in this lifestyle option I saw familiar and unfamiliar territory, the top being one sandwich option (I am not a fan of sandwiches at all!). Signed, sealed and only two weeks to wait till delivery, I was beside myself with entering the unfamiliar.
Besides, having studied the history of medicine, with a particular interest in the father of modern medicine, I could resonate with Farmacy’s philosophy…
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’
FARMACY: PLANT-BASED EATING
Farmacy is part of a movement promoting plant-based, organic eating coupled with a chemical-free approach to intensify health and wellness for both us and the planet. The movement has its own farm where produce is grown specifically to be used in it’s menu options. It aims to make healthy eating fun and diminish pre-existing stigma surrounding this lifestyle.
Former chairman of fashion label, Issa London, Camilla al Fayed is the name behind Farmacy. She has worked closely with Head chef Joao Ricardo Alves to create a menu, which boasts ‘farmaceutical’ and nutritional value. Camilla is said to frequent at Farmacy and plays an active role in the business. It was also quite interesting to learn that 80 of Farmacy’s staff follow or are on the journey of following a plant-based diet after learning of its benefits.
The dishes are globally inspired and the restaurant avidly supports both a vegan and vegetarian diet as well as offering sustenance free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals.
The property has a corner location of Westbourne Grove with the exterior covered with a façade of the very on point floral arch providing one of many instagrammable opportunities at this on trend eatery.
Farmacy serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and as you enter it’s the central Alchemy bar that steals the show on arrival. It serves dashing market fresh constituent cocktails and juices, known to have medicinal benefits, including flaxseed oil, cayenne pepper and cannabis oil (more on this later!). This is blended with juices to create alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. There is a selection of wines on offer too, containing bio-dynamic, sulphur-free and minimum interference champagne.
The rest of the interiors comprise of a palette of earth neutral greens, whites and wooden accents in the form of tables and chairs with the addition of large white pots containing lush green plants. The restaurant also has an open kitchen, delivering an added theatrical performance to gaze at whilst awaiting your food. The high ceilings, huge windows, which provides the opportunity for natural bright light flooding in and side intimate booths with open floor seating makes this place classy, cool and bang on trend but also gives it the upmarket feel in keeping with the neighbourhood.
PLANT-BASED HIGH TEA
We arrived on a bright sunny day and were promptly seated at a quiet window booth, with plenty of natural light glistening against the grain of our table. There were the options of, which order we wanted our tea to be served in. We chose to have everything bought to the table together as opposed to having the cocktail or tea served at the end or beginning.
We raised a toast to our time in London with the R&R. A beautiful pink refreshing cocktail containing heart chakra rose infusion and fresh raspberries, shaken with local artisan Vodka and lemon.
Tea was in the form of a hemp leaf tea presented in an infuser and served in glasses as opposed to the traditional tea cups. A light, delicate floral green tea aroma and very refreshing on a warm summers day.
The tea stand itself is gold, on a natural wood tree trunk base with fresh lillies adorning the sides and providing that subtle English garden aroma. Unfortunately I was fighting with the sun light but all shall be revealed shortly…
The top tier provides the CBD Truffles. So, obvs I had to throw in the science bit…
CBD stands for Cannabidol, one of the many cannabinoid type molecules in the cannabis plant and is completely non psychoactive (unlike the others). It is sourced legally by Farmacy from licensed growers and producers, undergoing advanced organic extraction and purification methods to ensure maximum purity and potency. Studies have shown CBD is beneficial in a number of inflammatory condition such as inflammation, pain relief and may help enhance memory and cognitive function.
Lets resume with the top tier, the CBD Truffles come in two interesting and tasty combinations; tahini and dark chocolate and basmati and coconut.
There was also a beautiful bright layered strawberry and cashew mousse topped with a strawberry beside a banana and Maca caramel cake, with the softest sponge.
The middle tier presented a lemon meringue pie inspired tart, a chocolate and praline ganache and ‘Farmacy Apple’ This is essentially a twist on the classic apple crumble.
The classic scones are presented on an additional plate in the form of mini gluten free scones with raisons, with toppings of clotted almond cream and a seasonal housemade jam, which was blackberry when we had the tea.
Finally the bottom tier was one of my favourite tiers and that’s because I’m a savoury lover. It contained smoked carrot, chickpea blinis and dill, a raw quiche with spinach cream and pickled fig, pulled jackfruit tacos with fresh chilli and coriander and mini cucumber and pea sandwiches.
Just a point to note, the high tea is 100% plant based and therefore is free from gluten, dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals. The sweet options that you would normally associate have been made with natural sweeteners so you won’t experience the usual overly honeyed sense but more the slight bitterness.
If you’re afraid this plant-based tea will leave you hungry, worry not because I can vouch that there is more than enough here to keep you going for hours. In fact instead of feeling pumped full of additives giving you the usual euphoric sugar rush, this tea definitely delivers you the satisfaction of not over eating and what you’ve eaten is actually healthy for your mind, body and soul, without a doubt for your waistline too!
If you thought previously this is just for the hip yoga lovers of the world, think again! We can all do with a little ‘Farmaceutical’ clean consumption at Farmacy.
Just as a side note, I absolutely loved the basins and wall paper in the loos! Don’t forget to pay a visit!
Farmacy, have also released a cookery book so you can recreate some of the plant-based dishes yourself at home.
The High Tea is priced at £42 per person and is available
Friday-Sunday from 15:30.
72 Westbourne Grove
Tel. 0207 221 0705