The best part about being a food blogger is that I can finally justify my life revolving around food – I say as I eat dinner while watching the Food Network. Call it what you will, I call it multitasking! Currently, the host of Marion’s Thailand is buying produce and talking about the importance of fresh ingredients while wandering through the idyllic villages of Thailand, basically my dream life.
Coincidentally, I recently had the best Thai meal I’ve ever had in Dubai! And nothing says fresh more than eating at a farm.
Last Friday, we drove away from the skyscrapers past suburban Dubai where the terrain is sandy and the highway is littered with billboards. We exited to The Farm at Al Barari and in the blink of an eye (literally) we were surround by tall luscious trees lining a narrow and winding driveway.
We passed several greenhouses and a residential development before we arrived at The Farm, a restaurant nestled among botanical gardens. There were hundreds of varieties of green plants and exotic flowers as far as the eye could see, this was not the Dubai I was used to – it took my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the green.
We made our way through the manicured lawns embellished with hammocks and rocking chairs, stopping in front of a bamboo fence adorned with a Buddha sculpture for a photo shoot, naturally.
The main restaurant was like stepping into the front cover of Better Homes & Gardens, Bali issue, the interior was colonial yet modern with a glass facade. I meandered through the small pantry stocked with organic ingredients and hovered over the chefs in the open kitchen while we waited to be seated.
We were led to our table, which was outside atop a platform, suspended over a pond and encased in glass (in the summer months). Our table overlooked the water scattered with lily pads and white chandeliers dangled overhead from the bamboo canopy.
After several minutes of gushing over the tropical paradise and Instagramming photos of the lush gardens, we got down to business. I sipped on a fresh strawberry spritzer as I scanned the menu on an iPad. The minute I read the words “Thai Selection” it was like the rest of menu didn’t exist anymore.
I interrogated the waiter about the menu and I was happy to learn that they had a Thai Chef in house and that they offer a huge gluten-free selection and all ingredients are organic and locally sourced – a smile came over me.
To start, we shared a Lemongrass Prawn Salad and the Tuna Tartar, both excellent. I indulged in the Lemongrass Prawn salad first, the flavors of cilantro and chili were bold and dominant while the undertone of lemongrass was simple and refreshing, it was such a hit that we ordered seconds.
The Tuna Tartar was served with a heap of zesty mango salsa on top, my taste buds welcomed this flavor combination with open arms.
Finally the main event arrived and I gracefully snapped a few photos before demolishing my meal, the Beef Panang Curry. The marriage of coconut, kefir lime, cilantro and lemongrass is one to celebrate. The sauce was thick and creamy and filled with tiny Thai eggplants and peanuts to provide a satisfying crunchy contrast. Thai curries are my go-to comfort food and this one was as comforting as ever. Needless to say I returned the plate spotless, not a single grain of rice was spared.
Among the other dishes were the Prawn Pad Thai, which received mutual rave reviews.
The Sautéed Prawns with Asparagus and Oyster Sauce was also a crowd pleaser.
The Chicken Breast over Sweet Potato Puree received an apathetic shoulder shrug. Lesson learned, the Thai Selection surpasses the rest of the menu.
After a walk through the gardens and another photo shoot, we departed feeling fresh and nourished. Nothing beats the serenity of the wilderness paired with a food high to round out a lovely Friday afternoon.
The Farm is a tranquil and green oasis from the sandy outpost of the UAE. If I didn’t know any better I’d think it was a mirage. Thankfully for my taste buds, it’s not!
Read more from Carla on Dubai’s restaurant scene on Memoirs of a Taste Bud.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss #100DaysofMyDubai – Day 10: The Endless Search For the Perfect Getaway.