Steven Novick, the founder of Farmstand, had the vision of recreating the small, American roadside stalls found in his hometown within the state of Wisconsin. Local food was central to the area with seasonal produce being sold from these stalls, more commonly known as farmstands. His dream finally became a reality and since it’s opening in Covent Garden at the start of the year, Farmstand has been thriving.
As you enter, it’s clear to see the fresh produce offering is reflected in its decor with plant pots lining the window and banister. The minimalist space, consisting of exposed brick walls and concrete flooring gives it a humble vibe and the mellow music adds to the laid-back environment. A large refrigerator is strategically placed centrally, which helps to break up the space, creating an intimate dining area on the right hand side. The local aspect is also prominent throughout with walls boasting information about their UK based suppliers. There are also details about their ingredients being seasonal, sustainable and ethically sourced. It’s clear to see they are passionate about the food they serve and where it comes from.
With its close proximity to London’s vibrant west end theatre scene, it’s an ideal dining venue for a quick pre-show meal. They offer pre-theatre specials, which include a choice of one main course with two sides and a glass of wine. This only costs £9, which is a good deal given the fresh, high quality food on offer. All the food is prepared in advance and placed in heated displays at the counter, which aids the selection process.
We tested out the theatre special opting for the pulled beef for the main with the celeriac and mustard seed salad and split fava beans with squash, sultanas and pumpkin seeds. The celeriac salad was particularly delicious and the beef was so tender, it had clearly been slow cooked for a long period of time. As part of the deal, we had the house white but I was impressed to see their offering of gluten free, organic lager, a beer which is set to be the next big growth area in the free-from food market.
There is also the option to takeaway where you can build your own box for £7.50, which is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition to this, all the food has been created with nutrition and flavour in mind. Everything served is wheat, gluten and dairy free and they only use organic coconut sugar across their range of confectionary. The most impressive part is the team who consist of a nutritionist and chefs whose experience spans Michelin-star dining to international street food.
The only slight set back was the ambiguity of whether it was a café or a restaurant. There was a till at the front making it seem more like a cafe, however the layout of the candlelit tables and offering of dinner and alcoholic beverages suggested otherwise, leading you to believe there was table service. The food is clearly the selling point as opposed to the dining experience where the space is better suited to day-time dining for a quick bite.
Typically when you purchase anything from a farmstand in the States, in most cases, it’s been nurtured and tended to with care. It’s also usually sold at a reasonable price, leaving customers satisfied with their purchase. This is clearly the case at Farmstand where the food preparation is clearly extensive, leaving you with an enjoyable meal of high quality for very little.