Location: 1006 17 Ave SW
After a long and arduous relay of messages between my best friend, Julia and I, we finally decided on Farm. Originally we were planning to have lunch at The Himalayan, but it turned out to be too far from where we intended to walk and a turn in the weather made us reconsider walking that far for food. Farm was a place that Julia had been to once before and a quick look over of the menu in the morning revealed many menu items to be comfort foods perfectly compatible with the weather today. Farm is not only a farm to table restaurant, but it also has a cheese shop at the back of the restaurant, which we didn’t have a chance to check out, though I didn’t really want to be carrying a chunk of cheese with me around all day.
When we first arrived, the overall impression was that I had stepped into a diner in a small Alberta town. There were paintings and photographs of the prairies and of farms that gave it the ambiance of old fashioned hospitality. We were quickly seated and presented with the brunch and charcuterie & cheese menus on wooden clipboards. Due to the size of the table, we kept hitting the menus against the plates and that got me rather irritated. The brunch menu didn’t have too many options, but there was certainly more than I could handle. I spent a good twenty minutes waffling between three menu items, finally deciding on the Brunch Burger. Julia chose the mac and cheese, which was one of the dishes that i hadn’t been able to decide if I wanted.
I felt as though the wait for my food was pretty long and felt slightly annoyed when a table who had come in after us and ordered after us was served first, but reasoned that they ordered something that took less time to cook and got over my annoyance. But when our dishes came, their presentation fit the image of the homey diner. The Brunch Burger had Silver sage beef on a bed of crispy potato slivers, topped with three year cheddar, onion jam, FARM sauce and a fried egg with a pickle spear and a side muse salad. The beef, when eaten on its own was quite dry, which I hope is because it was fairly lean and therefore dried out more than ground beef laced with fat. However, the beef patty is not meant to be eaten on its own, rather it’s meant to be eaten between two slices of bread that have an amazing FARM sauce spread on them and heavenly onion jam flavouring it. The egg yolk helped to provide some moisture as well, but also made a delicious mess everywhere. The pickle was most certainly not store bought and had been brined in a unique blend of spices. Though I couldn’t discern which spices, it was different with the right balance of acidity to complement the richness of the burger. However, the pickle alone would not have been able to combat the richness of the burger on its own, so I was thankful for the acidity of the vinaigrette on the side muse salad.The side muse salad consisted of a simple mix of refreshing greens, drizzled with a cider vinaigrette and topped with Highwood Crossing Canola seeds that added an additional crunch to the salad. Julia’s mac and cheese was fantastic, beating out the amazing mac and cheese from Good Earth that I had praised so highly. It was not exactly macaroni, more like rigatoni, but the creaminess of the sauce was to die for. I’m not sure if I could have eaten the whole thing on my own, but it’s a possibility since this dish also came with a couple FARM pickle spears. Julia added smoked picnic shoulder to it, but I thought it would have been just as good even without it. Her only complaint about the pork was that the chunks were a bit large and inconvenient to eat. But it cooked enough that the meat easily flaked apart into more manageable bite sized pieces.
Like many places with an open kitchen (like Vendome), every time I come out of the place, I leave with my clothes smelling of oil (and other cooked food smells). It’s a little off-putting, but at the same time I want to eat my clothes. I like to be able to see my food being made, so I guess the trade off is delicious smelling clothes that I want to eat, but wouldn’t be good for if I was going to an interview or meeting afterwards.
In regards to service, the lady who greeted us at the door seemed friendly enough, but something just felt off, like a sense of reluctance. It was almost as though she didn’t want to be there doing what she was doing. Our server on the other hand was an absolute delight. She was quaintly dressed and she made me think of a school mistress, but that’s besides the point. The point is that she didn’t look out of place dressed the way she was dressed. It added to the overall character of the restaurant and I love it. I would definitely come back here, but on a weekday just to try out their lunch menu or later in the evening for their dinner menu. My suggestion if you’d like to try this place out is come for an early brunch (like 11 or 11:30) because a line was beginning to form just as we finished at 12. I would rate this place 4/5 because the food and atmosphere were great, but the greeting at the door was a bit lacking and it affected my whole experience.