It’s not often a quality opening in London escapes the city’s food press, bloggers and instagram community. But from what I can tell, La Ferme has. We stumbled across it on the way to one of our regular neighbourhood haunts, and were suprised. Could it be that a restaurant can arrive in London and grow through the quality of the product, rather than the usual hype?
Nestled on the traditionally maladroit corner between Exmouth Market and Farringdon Road, La Ferme is an authentic French bistro and delicatessen. A spin-off from a market stall in Angel which imports French cheeses and meats. The delicatessen still honours those roots, while in the restaurant, you feel as if you’re sitting in a favoured Bordeaux café, with shabby chic tablewear and country charm ornamentation. But La Ferme feels effortless. It is authentic, without trying. And, with a seasonal, consummate and decidedly brief menu, La Ferme has a right to be self-assured.
Our visits spanned the spring and summer menu’s, so some dishes won’t be available now.
In the evening, the service is à la carte and starts with a range of French themed cocktails (£8), from absinthe mint frappé to a Provençal pimms, complete with rosemary sprig. A simple menu continues, with three of four choices for each starters, main and desserts.
On our first visit in late spring, we were greeted with a massive whole artichoke. Which, happens to be one of our favourite dishes thanks largely to the insistence a whole artichoke makes that you appreciate it slowly and wholeheartedly, before it gives up it’s treasured centre. Accompanied by three dipping sauces, including a deliciously light hollandaise, it announced to us that a skilled craftsperson was in the kitchen. A massive goats cheese salad (£8) was next; topped with a crispy candied walnut topping.
On a second visit we enjoyed the set lunch menu for just £12.50. A round courgette, cooked and filled with a Provençal style feta, olive and tomato sauce and served atop an earthy, creamy, sweet corn purée and finished with candied beetroot. A surprising dish, tasty, creative and delicious. It screamed that someone in this kitchen knows how to invent with veg which to us is a true measure of culinary skill.
someone in this kitchen knows how to invent with veg which to us is a true measure of culinary skill
Of course no French chef can be judged without a close assessment of their tart au citron. The slither we had as part of the set lunch was dainty, though more than adequate. It ticked all the boxes, a bold filling, so citrusy, almost metallic, with an instant, balanced sweetness that forgives the initial surprise. The pastry, short, crispy and buttery. To top it off, a lemony granit accentuated with thyme provides a refreshing summer twist. Tres bon, innit.
The kitchen, like the atmosphere, confidently does what it ought too, without shouting about it. Go quickly, before it’s discovered.
Restaurant La Ferme, #ExmouthMarket’s newest #French bistro
102-104 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3EA
Reviewer: EdibleJared, June 30, 2015