La Ferme‘s beginnings were several market stalls where they bought fine French produce to pack out pantries and fill London’s fridges. Many moons later, and they’ve progressed into a fully-fledged restaurant (and adjoining delicatessen), treating us now not only to top produce, but a top setting.
Appropriately located on the cusp of foodie hub, Exmouth Market, La Ferme’s dining room is far from stuffy, just as their approach to food is far from stale. The rustic charm of the restaurant is distinctly Provençal in its nature, and paired with the bustle of Farringdon Road outside, you’ll be sitting right where worlds collide. La Ferme’s claim is to serve traditional French cuisine with a creative twist, which begins with the ingredients they use. Staying true to their roots, they source the makings of their menu from the best of their spiritual and geographical homes of France and London, including the renowned Parisian market, Rungis.
I began by sampling la tomate. Alongside creamy goats’ cheese and basil, the thinnest layer of pastry was hidden under wrapped layers of tomato, the bursting sweetness and flavour causing all supermarket imposters to pale in comparison.
La crevette, in a shallow pool of flavoured broth was an islanded bed of leaves and king prawns, resting atop peach slices. Pairing sweet peach with king prawns, is one of those creative twists that La Ferme champions, the result was a wonderfully light but saporous dish.
Those in search of classic French dishes will not be disappointed – foie gras and snails are menu staples, and their accompaniments vary with the changing seasons.
Noticeable first with the sea bream was the goats’ cheese-stuffed courgette flower that came with it, a welcome rich addition to the fresh flavours. Typical of tradition, there was accompanying sauce vierge on top of the fish. However, underneath the fillet was a watercress purée that brought an appreciated peppery dimension to the dish.
Akin to the sea bream, the lamb shoulder was also cooked to perfection, proving La Ferme are confident with produce of the land and the sea .The plate offered flavours which one hopes to find lamb with such as garlic and herb crumble, but they were some surprise offerings; notably sliced figs and courgette purée.
To finish, the crème brûlée had been infused with lavender, the gentle flower power making this a unique version of the classic dessert.
A particular highlight was the peach carpaccio. Thin slices with pistachio ice cream and scattered pepper was the perfect finale to the sumptuous series of dishes.
From first to last bite, it was clear La Ferme is everything it hopes to be, entirely successful in reimagining revered French food for the inquisitive Londoner’s palate.
La Ferme London
102-104 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA