Been wanting to review this hidden gem for a while so I paid a visit to The Farm Restaurant, Al Barari last week.
This restaurant is built on private property and provides a culinary experience with high quality food in a natural setting. They don’t exactly specialise in a cuisine so you expect to see anything from Thai food to pizzas to steaks. What sets them apart are their ingredients which are organic and their ambience.
The road that leads to the Farm is nothing short of mesmerising. It’s a drive through a dense jungle that makes you forget you’re in the UAE.
Reservation and Welcome
The Farm is a reservations-only restaurant. If you land there without a reservation and they have free tables, then you have to register at the entrance before you are seated. If there are no free tables, they will send you back without thinking twice.
The easiest way to register is by calling them at +971 4 392 5660. After you have reserved your table, they also send you a borderline rude confirmation message: Strictly two hours reservation only. This was too much pressure and it kept haunting me throughout my time there.
Parking is usually not an issue. There are a couple of small plots hidden behind trees where you can park or outside the main entrance. The directions to the parking lots and the entrance are pretty obvious and rather necessary considering the jungle atmosphere of the area.
The general attitude of the staff is I don’t care about you let’s just get on with. We were 15 minutes late but we still managed to get a good spot with a view of the pond. Tip: If you are going during winter, then make reservations for around 4 pm. You can catch the views before and after sunset.
The atmosphere of the restaurant when I walked in was busy but relaxing. Looking at the people already present, I could tell people come here when they are very happy and content but they don’t want to make too much noise about it.
They have iPads for menus (good thing) that are not user-friendly (bad thing), give a full picture of what you’re about to get (good thing) but sometimes die on you while you’re trying to decide your order (bad thing).
What I tried:
Virgin Pinacolada: AED 47 (without tax)
The presentation of the drink was exotic with a full-blown pineapple container decorated with a mini-umbrella. It had more than a hint of coconut in the taste and the texture was thick as paste. Even though the size of the pineapple was a bit surprising, there was only about 300ml juice inside (size of a glass).
Fresh Orange Juice: AED 28 (without tax)
Was literally just 6 oranges squeezed into an average household glass with a plastic straw. Quite the opposite of the pinacolada in terms of presentation. But you can’t go wrong with fresh orange juice.
Fried Vegetarian Spring Rolls: AED 42 (without tax)
Vegetable spring rolls are one of those staple dishes you judge a restaurant by. The Farm did not disappoint with their rolls. AED 42 is a bit pricey for 2 rolls but that’s okay if the contents are organic, you know. The vegetables in the rolls were crispy and spicy. They were served with peanut sauce that no one in my family bothered to touch so I can’t say for sure how that tasted. But the rolls were delicious by themselves too.
The Farm’s Salad: AED 40 (without tax)
Mmmm good decision. Lots of fresh vegetables, green and crispy with vinaigrette dressing. And to top it off, fresh avocadooo! Although very conventional, the salad tasted nothing like the salads I’ve had at other places. It was light on the stomach and a guilt-free start to what was coming next.
The Farm Vegetable Pizza: AED 78 (without tax)
Another signature dish at the Farm, this pizza was so colorful it looked like most of the ingredients were tossed in raw – and every ingredient stood out in appearance and taste. While the pizza was overloaded with fresh tomato sauce (which is delicious and SO Italian), it wasn’t served hot for some reason. That was a bit off-putting but otherwise yum yum.
Angus Beef Burger w/sweet potato fries: AED 80 (without tax)
Mighty fresh and juicy the meat, they didn’t ask me how I’d like my burger. It was just well done. The burger also had a bunch of vegetables out of which the pickles stood out most. The bun was spongy, which complemented the crunchiness of the vegetables and slightly sweet, which complemented the sour pickles. Only issue was that this wasn’t served hot either. Just odd.
The burger also came with sweet potato fries (another good decision). If you haven’t had sweet potato fries in your life, then why are we even talking about fries? The fries were just sweet enough and so addictive to the tongue, I could make a meal out of them alone. But they weren’t special to the Farm. I’ve had similar tasting fries at Circle Cafe.
All in all, a great dish to order for a carnivore with a big appetite.
Chicken Burger w/regular fries: AED 70 (without tax)
The chicken burger was pretty average with appearance and taste but unique in terms of ingredients. The chicken was minced and marinated with spices and they had a layer of guacamole in it – the only saving grace for a 70 Dirhams burger.
Mushroom Risotto: AED 70 (without tax)
I love mushroom and I love risotto. So anytime I see the name of these two together, I don’t need to look any further. The risotto looked and tasted bland and was not soft and sticky (I don’t know if that is a good thing). I had to add salt and pepper to it because it severely lacked both.
The Farm Chicken Carbonara: AED 65 (without tax)
In another trip to the Farm I had ordered the carbonara and I had loved it! The mushroom and meat percentage in the pasta was much higher than any other Italian place I have been to in Dubai. Not just that, the sauce had something probably the cashew and coconut, that gave the pasta a unique flavor. Must have on your visit to the Farm, please.
Okay so before I give the final verdict, I want to list some of the things about The Farm that really stand out and could help you decide if this is your next favorite restaurant.
- Chefs are qualified and experienced from major five star hotels in the UAE and abroad.
- Unlimited supply of freshly baked oregano bread cut in little rhombuses and served with fresh garlic and oil (does it have a name?).
- They bake customised cakes, cupcakes and macaroons. And you can order them on their website.
- They take full advantage of their gorgeous location and rent out as venue for personal and work events. Can also be booked on the website.
- Their website is INSANE. They have recipes of their best dishes on there. Do you know of any other restaurant that does that?
- Strictly two hours reservation only policy. Although they don’t kick you out if you’ve exceeded the time limit.
- Staff is smug
- Food wasn’t hot
- Pricey – but it’s fair because they deliver
- Someone MUST share their personal details if you want to eat there.
Average cost per person: AED 140
Overall rating: 4 out of 5