While this blog might often read as #TheDessertDiaries, I have to confess that I’m equally keen on good food that’s also really good for you… It just feels like a double win.
So it was only a matter of time before my quest to explore Healthy London led me to Farmacy, a plant-based all-day eatery recently opened by fashionista Camilla Al-Fayed (the daughter of the former Harrods owner).
Situated on a cheerful corner of Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill, the bright and airy spot certainly exudes the #AllGreenEverything sort of vibe one would expect of a restaurant with its name…
As you’d also expect, the veggan menu touts all the trendy buzzwords typical of a modern-day eatery dedicated to “clean indulgence” with dishes that are free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals.
And no that’s not a typo in case you’re wondering.
Veggan is a new take on the vegan diet, which allows for eggs… Thank goodness for that, as the girls and I had popped in for Sunday brunch, an occasion which always demands for a bit of a yolky situation!
Anty and I both opted for “earth bowls” with a side of poached egg.
My green eggs bowl featured a hefty heap of quinoa served with a lightly steamed mix of broccoli, kale and avocado and a creamy sunflower and cashew nut-based dressing to substitute the garlic aioli, which the dish usually comes with.
Anty’s macro bowl was similar but involved “activated quinoa” alongside avocado, seaweed, sauerkraut, steamed seasonal greens & sweet potato in a sesame ginger dressing.
Both were incredibly fresh and filling… but there was no getting around some of the misses with each dish.
The quinoa was quite bland on its own and could have benefited from an extra touch, even if just a simple tinge of lemon or vinegar for taste.
My avocado was not fully ripe and so had a hard, firm texture rather than the creaminess I usually crave. The kitchen were also a bit ungenerous with the creamy salad dressing (leading me to ask for more).
And we couldn’t really tell the difference between her “activated” and my regular quinoa.
The little quibbles aside, the different elements in each bowl still came together in a heartily satisfying way and made for a virtuous start to our day.
Meanwhile, Lemma opted for a healthy twist on a classic English breakfast, complete with a rather moreish serving of slow baked beans and wholemeal sourdough toast.
Other brunch staples were in order too… and the light, deliciously moist and crisp-edged buckwheat pancakes really hit the spot!
We especially loved the toppings of coconut yogurt and chia berry jam topping (which had a cool, almost sorbet-like texture)… Although as with our earth bowls, both were in a highly illiberal supply and so we ended up having to pay extra to enjoy another dollop of the jam.
The only clinical aspect of the experience was my Farmacy syringe shot.
As heady as the O.M.G. shot sounded (it involved cannabis oil!), I went with the safer but equally potent Fire Starter combination of ginger, turmeric, cayenne & lemon.
Turmeric seems to be very much in vogue at the moment actually, popping up in all forms including latte-like concoctions such as Anty’s Golden Milk made with almond milk and speckled with cardamom bits.
Sadly it turned out to be a regrettable choice – a bit too heavy and without the subtle appeal embodied in other versions such as the coconut milk-based one at Deliciously Ella’s Mae Deli.
Dessert on the other hand hit an uplifting note.
We plumped for the lemon “cheesecake” bowl with vegan lemon sorbet, raspberry mousse & maple meringue… and were delighted to bite into an explosion of cool flavours & textures, tangy, tart, sweet and crunchy all at once! The nutty crumble at the bottom was particularly an unexpected and welcome surprise…
All told, it was a Sunday morning well spent catching up with friends.
The service was friendly, although we found it a bit bizarre that the staff were not well-versed with the different ingredients brazenly splashed across the menu. That and the little things that we found were lacking, meant that we weren’t overwhelmed by the experience.
But it wouldn’t be fair to say that we were underwhelmed either.
It was overall just a whelming affair.
Farmacy, 74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH