While we were walking, my sometime vegetarian and single friend Laura filled me in on our booking at Farmhouse in Kings Cross. "It required a lot of texts. I think after all of them, the guy there and I might be dating," she said. When I raised my eyebrows she explained further. There was a lot of emoticon action happening."
Farmhouse is a tiny sliver of a restaurant on Bayswater Road in Kings Cross. True to its name it resembles a farm house, even if only part of one as it is so small. Formerly a bridal salon, it now sports a slanted timber roof, exposed lights and a long share table with a tiny kitchen is in the back corner.
To dine here, you need to book in advance and give them your credit card details. If you cancel with less than 24 hours' notice then your card is charged. There are two seatings - 6:30 and 8:30pm. We are dining at the 8:30pm and when we arrive a large crowd of about 20 people is assembled outside waiting for the tables to be turned. Along with the communal table that seats 20 there are also three bar stools at the front where you can sit looking into the restaurant and Laura chooses these for us because quite honestly we have conversations that nobody should overhear! ;)
There were originally three owners of Farmhouse but they were bought out by current owner Mike Mu Sung. He studied commerce and dabbled in online poker before working as a chef at Sixpenny and Est. Now he cooks and works the floor. The menu reflects the Farmhouse setting. It is a set menu (although dietaries are accommodated with prior notice) and it is served share style within your group. It's probably best in a group of six or more rather than as a couple although in that case we would recommend the bar stools.
Laura orders a glass of Grenache which she is immensely pleased with and after this comes the first course. Described as Andy's ciabatta (Andy being the other chef, also from Est.), it is two warm, crunchy, chewy pieces of ciabatta bread served with a beetroot chutney, garlic toum dip, deep fried hollowed out potato skin chips and pickled carrot, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage. It's a wholesome and varied plate to start with. Laura is smitten with the potato skins while I enjoy the toum and beetroot chutney with the warm bread and chase this with a piece of tangy pickle.
The next course comes out quickly. It's a late seating and a week night so I guess everyone is eager to keep things rolling. It's grilled prawns with roasted lettuces and herbs. The prawns are so succulent and perfectly cooked and served cold while the roasted lettuce salad is a delight. Also each herb belongs, it's not an unnecessary melange of herbs designed to look pretty.
Since Laura only eats chicken skin and not meat (the sometime vegetarian part), the serve of Farmhouse roast chicken is just for me and it is still sizeable. She gets an extra serve of roasted carrots on a dukkah dusted labneh. The chicken is succulent and spicy with pepper. It is served with a plate of Christmas stuffing - this is a bit dry but with good flavours. The grilled peach is delicious as are the deep fried Brussels sprouts.
It also comes with a bowl of delicious potato salad with small pieces of celery and green onion - the only thing is that the potato chunks are quite large. There is also a small bowl of cranberry sauce. What is really nice is that when we are unable to finish everything as there is so much, they automatically offer to box up the leftovers for us.
"I don't even know how much the bill will be!" whispers Laura to me mid-meal. She was unable to find a price anywhere even amongst her many texts to Mike when booking.
There are actually two desserts here and this is the first. The first spoonful gives you some sweet, marinated pineapple but then when you dig deeper the spoonful becomes more balanced with some barely sweetened coconut cream and sago. It's refreshing and tropical.
The prune and frangipane cake is more a tart with a crisp filo browned butter pastry and a soft filling of vanilla frangipane and soft, sweet prunes. It is paired with whipped cream and chopped pistachios and decorated with flowers.
As for the bill? Well it was a very pleasant surprise. The cost for the food courses was just $55 per person plus drinks!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like communal dining? Would you do it if there was just two of you or would you do it if you had a bigger party? And do you often take leftover food home with you? And I'm curious, what do you spend on average on dinner per person?
This meal was independently paid for.
4/40 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011
Phone:0448 413 791
Wednesday to Saturday 6:30PM & 8:30PM sittings
Sunday 2:00PM Lunch & 6:30PM sittings