Farm-to-table dining has its roots in California, but has since taken the world by storm. Here are seven restaurants around the world to try.
ISSAYA SIAMESE CLUB
The pioneer of farm-to-table dining in Thailand is housed in a charming 100-year-old Thai Villa, surrounded by a lush garden where aromatic Thai herbs are grown all year round. It’s from this garden that Chef Ian Kittichai gets some of his ingredients for his inventive approach to Thai cooking at Issaya, which means ‘rainy season’ in Thai. What’s not produced from the gardens is sourced from local growers. The celebrity chef (of Iron Chef Thailand fame) melds traditional Thai flavours with cooking techniques that push boundaries. The end result is specialties like Mussuman Curry Lamb Shank (Mussuman Gae) and Jasmine Flower Flan (Kanom Dok Mali) — and its #19 spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Road, Sathorn, Bangkok
Tel: +66 (2) 672 9040 or +66 (2) 672 9041
Opening hours: 11.30 am to 2:30 pm, 6pm to 10.30pm, Bar closes at 1am
GROUNDS OF ALEXANDRIA
This buzzy mega-café, which takes paddock-to-plate dining to the next level, is an institution in Sydney. The menu brims with honest-to-goodness dishes boasting the freshest organic produce and will leave you spoilt for choice. How can you say no to a hearty beef skillet pie or a waistline-friendly quinoa and beetroot salad? These folks are undoubtedly coffee gurus (the grounds on which it derives its name) so don’t leave until you’ve had a cuppa or have had a glimpse of its coffee testing and research facility. Housed in a converted pie factory, the rustic-industrial-chic eatery spills into to a sprawling garden where some of its ingredients are harvested. It’s always packed to the gills, but at least you can stroll among the greenery, shop at the farmer’s market, pick up some luscious pastries from its patisserie to take home, while children are duly entertained by a petting zoo and a play area.
7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria NSW 2015
Tel: +61 2 9699 2225
Opening hours: Mon to Thurs 7am to 9.30pm, Fri 7am to 11pm, Sat 7.30am to 11pm, Sun 7.30am to 9.30pm
A carrot is not just a carrot at this high-concept farm-to-table fine-diner. Tucked in a Melbournian suburb,
Australia’s top restaurant, which is currently 33rd in the World’s Best 50 Restaurants standings, elevates the farm-to-fork movement with tremendous elegance. Helming the mod-Australian fine-diner is cerebral New Zealand chef Ben Shewry, who’s inspired in part by native Melbourne produce. The culinary influencer firmly believes in spotlighting natural ingredients, and whips up morsels of edible fine art that many can only understatedly describe as a simply sublime epicurean journey. The waiting list stretches on for months, so plan your visit here judiciously.
74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Tel: +61 3 9530 0111
Opening hours: Tues to Sat 6pm to 8pm
SHELTER ITALIAN BAR AND RESTAURANT
Perched above the urban chaos of Causeway Bay is a 45-square-metre organic farm, a sizeable space by the standards of the land-scarce city where hotel rooms are less than half this size. This green oasis in the concrete jungle provides Shelter with ingredients such as lemongrass and tomatoes that go toward its contemporary Tuscan-style menu of pastas and risotto. For everything else, the restaurant with farm-to-table aspirations looks toward local and regional producers.
7/F Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2778-8398
Opening hours: Sun to Thurs 12pm to 12.30am, Fri and Sat 12pm to 2.30am
Sustainable organic farming and dining runs in the family— literally— at Daylesford. What began 35 years ago as a family farm has grown into an organic chic empire, with five cafés and farm shops in London. Certified fully-organic, Daylesford prides itself in using ingredients delivered fresh daily from its own sustainable farms in Gloucestershire. So that cottage pie you’re having is probably made from artisanal cheeses, greens and meats from their creamery, farm and butchery respectively. The outpost in the fashionable Notting Hill is a favourite among locavores on the hunt for posh organic nosh and looking to do a spot of grocery shopping. The sleek gourmet organic shop nestled next to the café hawks everything you need for a clean-eating diet—organic fruit, muesli, dairy-free chocolate — and then some. If time permits, take a trip back to where it all started — their Cotswolds farm now boasts a cookery school and even a spa.
208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London W11 2RH
Tel: +44 20 7313 8050
Opening hours: Mon 8am to 7pm, Tue to Sat 8am to 9.30pm, Sun 10am to 4pm
MASSAAD BBQ FARM TO TABLE
Who says fast food is always bad? The Massaad BBQ chain, which touts itself as the world’s first Arabic farm-to-table restaurant, embraces an “eat well, eat local” philosophy in an unfussy casual diner setting. Feast on comfort Lebanese food like scrumptious chicken shawarma and decadent
grilled halloumi sandwiches without breaking the bank. About 90 percent of its ingredients are sourced fresh from farms in the UAE and its Middle Eastern neighbours, while the homey cooking style is 100 percent inspired by the owners’ memories of Lebanese countryside cooking.
Tel: +971 4358 9776 or +971 4362 9002
Opening hours: 11.30am to 2am
The real food movement is in its early days in Qatar, and Chef’s Garden is right at the forefront. An oasis of calm in the hectic Education City district, the two-year-old restaurant uses ingredients harvested from its own garden and partnering farms for mod-European and Western dishes with a local twist. The cavernous restaurant has a cheery vibe, but the al fresco seats offer exceptional pool and lawn views. Parents can fully immerse in this tranquility without worrying about the kids running amok — there are play
areas and childcare specialists to watch over the kids while
you enjoy your meal.
Marwan Club, Gate 7 off of Al Shaqab Street, Doha, Qatar
Tel: +974 4409 5041
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 10pm; Closed 11am to 12.30pm on Fri and Sat
Photo by Issaya Siamese Club