Farm to Table is an urban café in BKK1 that features an herb garden, vegetable market and children’s play area. Yet to me and no doubt countless others it is much, much more than this, it is a set of clean lungs in a congested, dusty, traffic trap, it is a source of health, wellbeing and peace of mind when it comes to the food I put in our mouths and it is a yard where small kids can come together and interact, play and learn.
The business is a joint venture between the owners of the Artillery Cafes and Discovery Farms, the first farm in Cambodia to be certified organic by CORAA, (Cambodian Organic Agricultural Association). Continuity, consistency, transparency and other supply issues were proving a big headache for the owners of Artillery café. Getting organic, sustainable, market ready produce to the customer in a fast, fresh and presentable manner was proving to be a massive challenge for the growers at Discovery Farms. That was until the two operations decided to team up and find a solution.
The answer was an operation where Farm to Table was more than merely a name above the door; it is also the business model. Late at night -long after the café has closed- farm trucks roll into the yard and unload their freshly picked produce for sorting, cleaning, packing and preparation for market.
The harvest goes to customers through various channels: the kitchens of Farm to Table and Artillery cafés; directly into people’s home kitchens through the popular weekly ‘organic box’ program; through the on-site fruit and vegetable store in the yard or; via a growing list of restaurant and hotel kitchens throughout the capital.
The large yard that houses Farm to Table comes with a tractor for kids to climb all over, a herb garden, and a kids play kitchen complete with all the utensils necessary to make the best mud pies in town. There are a couple of chickens roaming around and a turtle in a pond. When I took my 2 year old nephew there for breakfast he was soon literally jumping up and down on the spot with joy, when a couple of instant play mates turned up it tripled his excitement.
The produce is of course fresh, tasty, chemical free and safe and the menu has been created by the very talented Tim Squires who, as consultant chef has devised flavourful dishes and trained the kitchen staff to execute them with consistent quality. Tim has obviously been inspired by the produce and lets the freshness and clean, natural flavours shine through, the cuisine has country farmhouse, Mediterranean and Tex-Mex influences -it’s fun, hearty and healthy fare.
There are plenty of sandwiches, salads and vegetarian options, with dips and salsas and some gluten free choices. The menu also features sharing plates, cheese and charcuterie and a section of more substantial dishes involving peri peri or chilli lime chicken, duck confit, pulled pork or a pork chop.
The coffee is good, (the iced coffee perhaps the best in town) and the juices are as fresh as it gets. Everything on the menu seems to fall between four and ten dollars with most dishes closer to five, ridiculously cheap for food this good and this good for you.
The café also has a range of wines, craft beers from Cerevisia, cocktails and cider should you really want to take the edge of your day, week or entire weekend and there are plenty of comfortable places to lounge about and just relax with family and friends.
A weekend breakfast in the garden is a real escape from the madness, just as a weekday lunch can be a quick de-stress from the office. The space immediately struck me as an oasis; I felt a little wave of relaxation and wellbeing wash through me just walking into the garden setting. With the herbs and greenery and produce on display and the chickens calmly wandering about, it was probably just me but the air felt fresher and cleaner and I could almost heard birds signing for a moment. I am not being trite; we could all do with a bit more of this type of urban green-space and healthy food choices in the capital instead of yet another American fast food or café chain entering the market.
Farm to Table
#16, St 360, BKK1
8am – 10pm Tuesday to Sunday.