On a lucky day, you can catch a hot stock tip at Farmer & Sons, the restaurant that has replaced the mostly unloved Nico Bombay and which lies in the shadow of the Bombay Stock Exchange. Run by the same management, the restaurant looks the same and the few cosmetic changes to the interiors are barely noticeable.
It’s still a pretty place: during the day, sunlight streaming in through the French window brightens up the metallic grey walls. The high-ceilinged, cavernous room is warmly lit by large chandeliers suspended over the bar. A high counter behind the window, perfect for single diners to perch upon with their laptops overlooks the street; the main seating space is in a tiny area at the back of the room next to the display kitchen.
The extensive menu which features café-style food like sandwiches, pizzas, small plates and even a cheese board is designed with a sense of humour. Each section is preceded by a kitschy drawing of a moustachioed man in a Rajasthani costume in various situations. In the salad section, he’s tossing vegetables; he’s spearing through two slices of bread for the sandwich menu; for pizza pockets, he’s bathing in a pocket-shaped bathtub.
We started off with a pear, fennel and auroblochon cheese salad. Crisp and fresh, it had an almost musically complex arrangement of flavours – the bitterness from the grated cheese, layered pungency from the combination of rocket, dill and mustard and sweetness from the pear and slivered almonds. We were off to a good start.
The arrival of the Malouf pizza (listed as a Napolitano but which they readily agreed to serve with a Romano-style thin crust) immediately elevated the meal. The pizza was beautiful and came topped with parcels of burrata, pieces of ladies finger and nasturtium flowers. Each slice was a tasty mouthful – the burrata was creamy enough to spread over the tangy tomato base while the ladies fingers added an unexpected sweetness.
From the small plates, the pork belly with kimchi was slightly disappointing. The pork was juicy and moist but a tad too salty and the accompanying not-quite-Korean, nor-quite-Chinese kimchi did not complement it at all. We washed it down with copious gulps of wild and fruity, a sweet, refreshing combination of strawberries and coconut water.
We ended our meal with the F&S ice cream sandwich; a platter of three different soft doughy cookies each with a different ice cream filling. The cookies were too chewy and the ice cream flavours, vanilla with cayenne, dark chocolate with salt and coconut with berries, were far too subtle.
Our server’s claim that all the produce used at Farmer & Sons’ is sourced directly from farmers is difficult to verify. If that is indeed the case, it’s just one more, in a litany of good reasons, to have a meal there.
(HT pays for all meals, and reviews anonymously)
WHAT: Farmer & Sons
RATING: *** ½
WHERE: 105, Mubarak Manzil, Bombay Samachar Marg, near Bombay Stock Exchange, Kala Ghoda
WHEN: 11 am to 1 am
COST: Rs 2,500 without alcohol
Published HT Weekend Mar 19, 2016