Review: Farmer Tom’s Kitchen
A Smart Girls Supper first! We have never done a review before, and I don’t think we could have started with a better place. Farmer Tom’s Kitchen in Kentish town is attached to the Abbey Tavern on Kentish Town Road. As a ‘Souwf’ London girl it is not often I venture North of the river but, on the recommendation of a foody friend, I hid behind my scarf, concealed myself in a waxed jacket and stomped somewhat tentatively over the Thames. My-oh-my was it worth it. The premise of the restaurant (more pub with grub) is that the menu changes daily and you get what they have. I was already impressed. I think this way of presenting food is as it should be.
Fresh, sustainable, free range ingredients served up in traditional hearty dishes. I would describe it more as fare than food. With the breed and cut of meat displayed on the menu this is real guilt free eating.
Too often have I sat in an amazing restaurant eating the fanciest of foods hardly able to swallow due to the knot in my stomach, caused by my fretting over the provenance of my dinner. With this place I could relax, drink my recommended real ale (recommended by Farmer Tom himself, we had ‘Ghost Ship’ which was simultaneously rich and refreshing, good call Tom) safe in the knowledge that I was eating happy meat.
Photo Credit: Sophie Parker
This leads me neatly on to what we had. This lunch was also the debut outing of ‘Food Club’ a group of friends who struggle with menu decision so go out collectively, order something different for everyone and then split and share what arrives equally.
This way we get to sample everything. In order from first place counting down a shin shepherd’s pie, Dexter rump steak and Dexter flank cheeseburger landed on our table. While all were sumptuously tender and full of flavour the shepherds’ pie was a clear winner. Unminced lamb shin melted in dark velvety gravy, topped off with a fluffy cloud of classic mash and a generous crust of melted cheese. One mouthful took me back to the roaring fires and woodland walks of the childhood I dream I had.
The other two dishes were supreme and the one thing that stood out was that you could really taste the meat. This may sound preposterous as they were indeed all meat. The quality of the produce meant that there was no need for overloading it with herbs and seasoning, as the flavour was so stand-alone. My only criticism would be that the beautiful rump steak was a little heavily seasoned, it was still sensational just didn’t need that much flavour. I am nit picking here though, I don’t want to be too nice in my first review! If you are a meat fan, I highly recommend you try it out Farmer Tom’s mains.
Can you believe it, we asked for the pudding menu? In the name of fair journalism we unbuttoned our trousers, ordered another pint and asked for one of each of the desserts (three of us, three desserts on the menu). Again, in order of preference, we were handed maple tart with crème fraiche, a plum and almond tart and a ‘deconstructed’ banoffee pie. The banoffee pie was a little sweet and the ratio of toffee to cream made it a tad sickly for us, but it was a fair stab and for those with a sweeter tooth, it would be brilliant. I think we may have also been bias as the addition of the word ‘deconstructed’ to anything was something we all find rather irksome.
The plum and almond tart with single cream was what a Bakewell tart should be. The piquant plum and savoury, milky cream balanced the marzipan flavour of the soft, sweet almond. This was a surprise close second for me as I am not a fan of the classic Bakewell but I will definitely be trying this one at home. Now for the winner, the maple (treacle?) tart with crème fraiche. Perfectly balanced, it was the creme fraiche that really made it. A genius addition that took the edge off what can sometimes be an overwhelmingly sugary pudding.
The place was pretty cool, the staff were friendly and it was definitely a good to hang out. But, the food here was the star. If you are a meat eater and are a fan of ‘proper grub’ I highly recommend Farmer Tom’s kitchen. Ultimate pub food at decent prices with guilt free ingredients. What is not to love?