Down an interesting passageway, just off London’s Portobello Road, you’ll find a small, high-walled courtyard and, tucked away on the left-hand side, the wonderful Farm Girl Café. Occupying an amazing space, Farm Girl Café is a real delight. You can sit outside in the courtyard, where the only downside is that, due to the high walls, it doesn’t get the sun. While this means it can be wonderfully cool and shady on the occasional day that the summer decides to turn up, it can also be decidedly chilly. That said, I sat outside on my second visit in November and was fine.
Alternatively, sit inside, either in the main body of the café, or, if there’s a crowd of you, upstairs on the delightful mezzanine above the kitchen at the long communal table. The only downside of the interior is that it can get a bit loud, the beautifully-tiled walls acting as something of an echo chamber.
Farm Girl serves a substantial all-day breakfast menu, joined by a lunch menu from 11 o’clock. The coffee’s from old friends, The Roasting Party, using the standard Party Blend, decaf on the second grinder. Best of all, Farm Girl offers full table service.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Farm Girl Café is easily missed, sharing a narrow, arched doorway with Sister Jane, a ladies’ clothing store, near Portobello Road’s southern end. Look out for the simple sign hanging above the doorway, or the large nameplate on the whitewashed wall. A passage leads to the courtyard, where there’s a seven-person communal table on the left, by the windows to Farm Girl, or a pair of round, two-person tables on the right. Another two-person table occupies the back wall. Although the narrow, stone-flagged courtyard, with its high, whitewashed walls, doesn’t catch the sun, when I visited one chilly November morning, I was perfectly fine wrapped up in my coat.
Ignoring the double-doors ahead of you, turn left, where the right-hand pair of tall, patio doors lead into a pleasant, rectangular space. The counter occupies the right-hand end, kitchen behind it and mezzanine above that. The seating’s to the left, long, padded benches running along the back and left-hand walls. Each has four two-person square tables, with a round table in the corner. In the centre of the room, two round tables can each seat three or four, while to the door’s left, a low coffee table’s flanked by two comfortable armchairs. Upstairs in the mezzanine, the communal table’s has a pair of benches, a chair at either end.
Farm Girl’s surprisingly bright, with borrowed light from courtyard via the two pairs of tall patio doors, plus three windows at the back of the mezzanine. This is supplemented by angle-poise lamps above each table and numerous lights hanging from the ceiling. The décor is amazing, with a white tiled ceiling and wooden floor. Small, square two-tone green tiles reach almost to the top of the walls, a rural-themed mural running beneath the ceiling on the walls behind the benches.
Farm Girl’s coffee is from The Roasting Party, who I know extremely well from my regular Beany Green visits. I had a piccolo on my first visit, working on the principle that if you want to really taste the coffee, smaller is better. I wasn’t disappointed: although it was the barista’s first day and she was working on her latte art, my piccolo was excellent. The Roasting Party’s espresso blends are naturally sweet and this was no exception, going very well with the milk to make a really smooth, sweet drink. On my return, I had a commendably small (6 oz) flat white. While not as sweet as my piccolo, it was nonetheless lovely.
Farm Girl is Aussie-owned, with a staff that’s an interesting mix of French (chefs, waiting staff) and Australians (baristas). The emphasis is as much on food as coffee, with toast, pancakes, eggs and porridge for breakfast, plus some interesting lunch options. Since I only managed coffee on my visits (both fleeting early-morning affairs), I can’t speak to the food. However, if it’s as good as the coffee and as good as it looks, you’re in for a treat.
Farm Girl offers full table service, with nice touches such as bottles of water on the tables. In this respect it’s more restaurant than coffee shop, including adding a service charge to the bill, which caught me out the first time. However, having argued in a recent article that I’d happy pay more for table service, I can’t really complain.
December 2015: Farm Girl Café won the Coffee Spot Award for Best Outdoor Seating in 2015.
|59A PORTOBELLO ROAD • LONDON • W11 3DB|
|www.thefarmgirl.co.uk||+44 (0) 20 7536 2108|
|Monday||08:00 – 17:00||Roaster||The Roasting Party (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 17:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||08:00 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard, Amex|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||2nd October, 13th November 2015|
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