I am at a loss for words – I don’t know what I can write to give justice to how awesome this dinner was. Location. Atmosphere. Drinks. Food. Company. It was so good. Easily one of the best dining experiences I have had in Sydney.
The Farmed Table is Brendan Cato – chef and forager focused on ethical and sustainable food. The concept is simple – bringing people together over a meal which showcases seasonal local produce and products from a particular region. With the exception of olive oil, if it isn’t grown or made within a 40km radius of the region then it won’t be served. The end result is a creative series of courses which combines ingredients and flavours most people wouldn’t generally order. Brendan visited all the tables after dinner and it’s hard not to be inspired by someone who is so passionate about sourcing food in a sustainable way. Say goodbye to tuna, salmon and snapper and hello to mullet and sea bream.
I booked dinner via Facebook for a date and a time, with the location to be sent via text message in the week prior. I was eager to receive the address and when I realised we were dining in a warehouse, my excitement levels increased until it was time to jump in a cab and head to our secret dinner. The cab pulled up in a narrow street, somewhere in St Peters, outside an entrance with light streaming onto the footpath and a glimpse of cucumbers grilling at the foot of the roller door. We were the first ones to arrive and were immediately ushered to very comfortable Ansett Airline seats and offered a special g&t with infused with dianella and lemon myrtle. With bemused faces we admired the decor from Ansett drinks trolleys, umbrellas, clothing and signage – so much to see and so many questions about how it was all acquired!
Seats are allocated at the tables so when everyone had arrived we were guided to our seats and prepared for take off. The dinner commenced with shared dishes of leek, egg, cheese and stinging nettle followed by chargrilled cucumber, fermented cream, celery juice and shaved bush lemon (amazing). It was difficult to make conversation with the people at our table when the food was so delicious (also another reason why I didn’t take too many photos because I was busy enjoying the experience!). The individual courses began with a sashimi of sea bream with tangerine, foraged samphire and cured mullet roe. Next course was slow roasted pork shoulder with charred savoy cabbage, beetroot and crackle. The meal was finished with rhubarb cooked in tangerine juice with lavender cream, and fennel seed meringue. It was all absolutely delicious. Drinks were matched with each course by the very capable and entertaining Trolly’d. Everything was a surprise, from the margarita with salted ants to the super special smoked Shirley Temple (at least I think that’s what it was, it was late and… we had consumed a few courses with a few drinks).
The Farmed Table is great value and fantastic fun. I highly recommend it if you are adventurous and open to new experiences and flavours. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and learning about the ingredients that made dinner so special. I can’t wait to go again.