Notting Hill Hit Farmacy Kitchen Brings Its Vegan Comfort Food To SoHo
Farmacy Kitchen has been a big hit in London ever since the organic, plant-based restaurant opened in posh Notting Hill in 2016. Now the restaurant’s founder, Camilla Fayed, brings her “sustainable, holistic approach to food and agriculture” across the Atlantic, taking over the Chefs Club Counter space in SoHo for the next six months with an all-vegan menu of comfort food classics. (The Seinfeld family has already sat down for a birthday dinner there.)
Breaking tradition at the rotating-restaurant space (previous residencies here have included the famed Eggslut, vegan LA-import Ramen Hood, and the George Mendes wellness–food project Amar), Farmacy is a table-service operation. And while most of its predecessors have been content with putting up a few signs and maybe some tchotchkes here and there, the Farmacy team shut the place down for two weeks for a complete interior renovation. The basic layout is the same, but the room has been outfitted with new seating, an abundance of greenery, objects d’art galore, new blinds and lamps and wallpaper, the works.
Farmacy also spent a couple of months prior to opening cultivating relationships with area farmers and distributors, seeking out suppliers for organic and biodynamic produce. “Since launching Farmacy, we’ve been working hard to challenge food conventions,” says Fayed, “combining the concept of healing and farming, connecting soil quality with human health.” Fayed would love to grow Farmacy on an international scale, so the energy, attention, and money spent on this SoHo residency makes sense; she hopes to find a permanent space in NYC.
We had the opportunity to try most of the Farmacy menu at a press lunch last week, and I can say that, for the most part, they nailed it. The three “Starters and Sharers” I tried were all good, like the upside-down plate of nachos (the corn chips on top, with guacamole, vegan sour cream, frijoles, and salsa all lurking below), and the crock pot of Mac ‘n’ ‘Cheese’, which was a perfect mix of creamy, chewy, and crunchy and represented one of those extremely rare instances where the adjective “truffled” doesn’t spell doom for the dish.
The best thing at our feast was the Artichoke Pizzetta, an irregular oblong of crisp sourdough covered in an artichoke and tomato paste, a rich macadamia “cheese” sauce, olives and capers for some bite, and bright, raw spinach leaves. The Kimchi Bowl was great as well, with a tangle of soba noodles holding up well to a lively array of accompaniments, including marinated mushrooms, raw kohlrabi and carrots, sautéed chard, and lots of the eponymous, quite fiery fermented cabbage.
The Farmacy Burger, made from millet, black beans, and mushroom, felt much less fun than everything else, a bit of slog to get through to be honest (albeit a healthy one, I guess). The sweet potato fries were a little soggy, hopefully this can be fixed going forward. A Curry dish, and a Tagliatelle with mushrooms round out the trio of $20 “Farmacy Classics”.
There are four plated desserts on the menu, as well as a bunch of Farmaceutical Teas, sweet-sounding coffee-based drinks, and lattes made with things like matcha, chai, maca, or “wild crafted reishi,” which will likely help bring in the afternoon-snack cafe crowd of SoHo shoppers and tourists. We tried three of desserts, two of which—the Sticky Toffee Pudding and Brownie Sundae—were sunk by the overly icy Nice Cream, though that seems like a fixable problem. The Eton Mess was tart and pretty though, as is.
Farmacy Kitchen will be at Chefs Club Counter through February 29th. The restaurant is located at 62 Spring Street, at the corner of Lafayette, and is open daily from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. (646-438-9172; chefsclub.com)