Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013 details - Timeoutdubai.com

The Farm

Highly Commended Best Café 23 Comments

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Finding the restaurant – through a vast thicket of trees and lush green plants – is a bit like finding paradise. A lake flows through the landscaped garden, where you’ll hear cicadas singing, and there are individual swinging hammocks to relax in. Tables are made from large slabs of tree trunk, roughly cut away and polished to create a luxurious rusticity. Clientele is almost exclusively Emirati. Food is cooked with seasonal produce and the menu is presented on a future-proof iPad. It features a selection of Thai and French cuisine, which is cooked and served expertly, with the finest, freshest, ethically sourced ingredients. Fans of big flavours should try the Thai selection. The Goong Phad Naam Prik Phow – lightly battered and deep fried black tiger prawns with onions, herbs, chilli oil and tamarind juice – is a true delight. The selection of teas, coffees and juices is vast, comprehensive and the best we’ve tried in the city. It’s not cheap, but for the quality and experience alone, it’s worth every penny.
Open daily 8am-10.30pm. Al Barari Villas, Emirates Road, www.thefarmdubai.com (04 392 5660 / 056 174 1208).

By Time Out Dubai staff
Time Out Dubai,

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Posted by: Reagan on 28 Feb ' 14 at 14:38

My husband and I went to dinner here a few weeks ago, we each ordered an appetizer and an entree. They first brought the bread basket which contained bread sliced as thinly as a cracker. One couldn't taste the bread it was so thin. I had never had bread served like this and I have been around. My husband ordered 2 orders of (vietnamese) vegetable roll for appetizer. The rice paper was dry making all the rolls inedible. We also ordered a prawn with salsa appetizer. The prawn was tasteless and rubbery and the appetizer tasted of nothing but chili. He ordered some steak salad for entree and I ordered Shrimp Curry. He and I ended up sharing my entree because his was again was inedible doused with dressing to the point of being watery. Mine was only slightly better but the rice made it ok since we were starving. We ordered the check before we finished eating. We could not wait to leave. Honestly from the time we sat down to the time we walked out of the restaurant was no longer than 35 minutes, despite the lovely ambience .

Today we returned for breakfast with our kids hoping that perhaps the restaurant was more of a breakfast place and this experience would be better. We ordered scrambled eggs, classic waffles, a butter croissant, a chocolate croissant and I asked if we could have non-sliced bread. I was told no that it came sliced. My husband went inside and asked them not to slice a baguette and bring it out. We had also ordered coffee and fresh orange juice. The first round of coffee was good. But when the food came, it was as disappointing as the dinner. They didn't tell us, and the picture was misleading, that the chocolate croissant was simply a cut butter croissant with chocolate to be melted inside. It had plenty of chocolate but it was not melted. The classic waffle looked like it came out of a package and not freshly made. Regardless it was cold, and with no taste. My second cup of coffee was watered down compared to the first one.

I am not sure that the issue is of service because the service was efficient, both times we came. The waffle if it had been made fresh would not have gotten cold between the time we ordered and the time the food was served. The food was really sub-par and no amount of service could make it better. We left very sad because it is such a lovely place and clearly no expense spared to create it, except in the kitchen.

Posted by: Zac Christofel on 20 Feb ' 14 at 16:07

I came to this restaurant when it first opened. It was heavenly, it was managed professionally, the food was fantastic. I remember I left my family waiting for half an hour chatting with the opening GM (Mahesh?) about the concept and future. He ran the place like he loved it and owned it.

I relocated to Canada and have now returned.

Now: dreadful, rundown, tasteless, aimless and just poor. I am a former restaurateur who believes that great things can only be accomplished with great people. I am sorry Al Barari, but this was a goldmine turned dust bowl. The team you have managing and running the venue simply don’t care and have zero passion. It’s not about making money it’s about having people who believe in a product so passionately they eat, sleep and breathe the concept.

Who would have ever thought this beautiful sanctuary, this outstanding concept that opened with so much promise, energy and dare I say ‘love’ is a sad excuse for an eatery. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Posted by: Khalid Karim on 04 Jan ' 14 at 15:15
  • Best for: Family friendly

Excellent location Awful experience. Waited 1 and half hours for main course. When food arrived waiter says one item not available. Forgets the order for the 6th guest. The food that arrived for remaining 4 guests was cold, felt frozen and tasted awful. Soggy fish and chips. cold frozen burger. 5 of us left hungry. Such a pity. Manager and the few staff were in a daze and totally out of it. Must admit the manager was trying hard but could not cope with a bad kitchen and few waiters. Had to repeat twice for simple things such as water and soup spoons. Reminded me of Fawlty Towers. I did pay the bill but felt totally cheated. I have never experienced such bad service in any restaurant.

Posted by: Azlina on 03 Nov ' 13 at 09:43
  • Best for: Family friendly

It is certainly one of the nicest setting I have seen for a restaurant in Dubai. Lovely greenery everywhere.
Unfortunately, the kitchen is too small, or probably too less waiting staff to accommodate the crowd.We arrived at 10.30 am and got seated at 11.15am and got served our food only at 12 noon. Unbelievable long wait for breakfast. The price is as expensive as a 5 star serving restaurant with a 1 star service and a 2.5 star food quality. Not very balanced there.
However, due to the exceptional location, I am coming back once more to give it another chance. Hopefully, it is better then.
Please do your reservations, otherwise, it is not worth your drive down at all.

Posted by: Camila on 02 Nov ' 13 at 12:35

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

The staff's attitude ruined my afternoon tea experience. Disappointing, to say the least...

Posted by: Ayman Karadsheh on 02 Nov ' 13 at 06:57
  • Best for: Family friendly

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

My family and I went yesterday Nov 1 to the Farm. Starting from the hostess all the way to handing the bill.....the service was the worst I have ever experienced. At the end, I felt maybe this what this restaurant wants to be perceived by the public. A good food and one of a kind service, just like some restaurants in the NY, US. My family and I, we have different verdicts we use when we visit and experience restaurants: F&L: First and last F&F: First and Forever. For The Farm......it's F&L.

Posted by: Sharyn Lee on 29 Apr ' 13 at 14:24

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

I think having customers and people wanting to eat is abit of a shock to the staff. We went for a late Sat lunch so we could relax and enjoy the afternoon. Wrong. We were alittle early so had a shake while we waited, very nice. But once we were seated it all went wrong. Didn't even get to finish our entree when it was taken away mid mouthful to be replaced by our mains. Asked for a manager, and if that is who she was, well she had no idea how to problem solve. She offered us more bread, mmmmm. Mains not good, raw prawns and lemongrass salad was overpowered by the lemongrass. And not even a comment on nearly full plates being sent back to kitchen or a query as to how it was. They even charged us full price. Did send our comments to their email, no suprise there has been no answer. Don't go here , at least not for the food or the service. lovely location ruined. DON'T go.

Posted by: Lance on 25 Apr ' 13 at 11:25
  • Best for: Family friendly

Stunning setting, but seems that since it has opened no one has bothered to go round with a tin or paint or varnish so the place looks shabby, sadly not shabby chic, just tatty.

We arrived on a friday afternoon, and expected food to match the setting, unfortunately we were not about to get this.

Firstly our main course was bought out before our starter, pretty simple mistake, we complained, but as we were ordering food more to share, this was not a real issue, but the reason given was that the kitchen was too small. I really fail to see how the size of the kitchen has any impact on getting the order in which dishes are prepared.

Secondly, my partner ordered a feta salad and rocket salad, which was delivered as just a plate of rocket, with almost not feta cheese what so ever. we complained and more feta was brought out, but still no first course.

Finally the starter arrived, as we were finishing our mains, it was supposed to be prawns, there were two in each plate, only just qualifying as prawn, 1 less and it would have just been prawn.

Desert was nice, but obviously bought in from outside.

Overall, food was substandard and service was very poor, such a shame when the setting is unique in Dubai.

Posted by: Lama ahmad on 30 Mar ' 13 at 11:27

Had one of the worst experiences at the Farm. We called before hand and asked if we can come for breakfast, the lady who replied, said yes, we can accommodate you, but not outside. I said yes, we will sit inside.

After we arrived, we were informed that we have to wait for an hour. after we were seated, we had our order taken after 15 min. The food came after 1 hour. The orders were wrong, not we have ordered. Service is very poor, and food is below average and expensive.

Will never go back there again! Will never recommend it to anyone!

Posted by: Ritu Budhiraja on 06 Mar ' 13 at 14:42

The service was despicable ! Attitude was very lackadaisical .
Saving grace was the food.
We had a booking inside as the outside was full, when the booking was made. But as it had got warmer, we were conveniently given a table outside ( without asking, if we still preferred a table outside )
Yes, I would like to go back once more, just to give it another chance and do hope that the next experience is a better one.

Posted by: Mathew Thomas on 06 Feb ' 13 at 21:13

Excellent decor, poor service and terrible food.

Posted by: Mashael on 07 Jan ' 13 at 18:04
  • Best for: Brunch served

Bad service .. They kept us waiting 20 minutes to take our order even though it's not busy. Some People sat after us about 10 min later they took their order first . It was really frustating

Posted by: Layla on 23 Dec ' 12 at 06:51
  • Best for: Family friendly

Unfortunately, I gave this place a chance twice as a I loved the environment but I can confirm with the reviews above that: the service was poor and the food was very average. The location is a bit far out but beautiful and serene. I went for afternoon tea expecting the usual afternoon tea menu (scones, jam etc) but afternoon tea at the farm means light foods ie sandwiches, fish and chips and salads. The service was very slow, they eventually brought the desert first, then the french fries and at the end the main courses. I apprecaited being able to make a reservation via email however I noticed many people were being rejected at the entrance very similar to one of the reviewers and the restaurant was in fact barely full. It is too bad that such a lovely location would have such terrible service and food.

Posted by: Martine Chetcuti on 10 Dec ' 12 at 12:14
  • Best for: Family friendly

Driving in is just great , worth the drive for the ambience and decor, next time I go I will just have a coffee (expensive at 25 dhs) or a juice. Lunch was ok, staff somewhat spaced out but accommodating to our wishes. But somewhat overpriced BUT the surroundings are super tranquil!

Posted by: Marianne on 08 Sep ' 12 at 18:33

Definitely not worth the drive - went all the way there on a saturday morning only to be told they did not have any availability although half the tables were empty. We offered to ensure we would be done within 30 minutes which was when next table was booked but staff refused to give us a seat.

Asked to be seated outside but was told that wasn't an option either as they were not serving there.

Understand sometimes restaurants can be fully booked but staff should consider treating visitors with a sense of urgency and at least attempt to pretend they want to find solution.

Posted by: Mark on 02 Sep ' 12 at 14:58
  • Best for: Business lunch

Lovely place. All else was hit and miss. Mostly miss. Service was lousy.

Posted by: Thomas on 12 Aug ' 12 at 16:37
  • Best for: Business lunch

Nice restaurant. Staff is not friendly and very disconnected, the Russian staff are quite rude. You would expect something different when you have to drive out so far. I wouldn't go back here even if it was free. The staff were all chatting in corners and looked like something was wrong. Food was taking too long and my date and I were getting annoyed with the circus and we asked for a manager. The brunette Russian girl says smugly "they both resigned, what's wrong?" this was the limit such rudeness and poor attention to diners is the worst I have seen in Dubai. I asked who I could speak with and she said "nobody" well that's quite dandy. Terrible terrible terrible. Never ever again.

Posted by: Rajmohan on 19 May ' 12 at 09:54
  • Best for: Family friendly

So beautiful! My 1 week wait to get a table came with very high expectations on my part. Great stuff! a must visit. Lovely food and location.

Posted by: Kate on 11 May ' 12 at 13:52
  • Best for: Family friendly

Make a reservation or don't bother over the weekend, it's packed! Wonderful location, food and service. 2 thumbs up.

Posted by: Ross Mathews on 09 May ' 12 at 07:01
  • Best for: Family friendly

Well impressed. Very relaxing, great outdoor areas with unrushed friendly service. Desserts are outstanding. It’s safe to say that I’m addicted.

Posted by: Sharianne Crasto on 06 May ' 12 at 20:16
  • Best for: Romantic

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

This venue is truly serene and tranquil and temporarily disconnects you from the hustle and bustle of the city. The tropical foliage and the sights and sounds of the surroundings make this venue very impressive. The food portions need to be upsized for the price and the menu requires more varied items as it is very limited at the moment but I must admit the food is fresh, delicious and well presented. I've visited the restaurant at least ten times already and look forward to new items on the menu soon. The service staff are extremely friendly and make you feel welcome from the moment you step in until you leave and will make the effort to make your dining experience a memorable one.

Posted by: Fatma on 03 May ' 12 at 09:58
  • Best for: Romantic

Everything was perfect, The food portion is more that what we thought. the steak is very yummy.
I like The decor and the place!

Posted by: William Barkley on 25 Apr ' 12 at 08:39
  • Best for: Romantic

This venue is a real escape. The sound of birds chirping, the lush greenery and décor make this a one of a kind restaurant. The food portions are a bit on the smaller side, but you can have a 5 course sit down with friends for hours and not feel stuffed. The food is not heavy, well presented and truly fresh (as they claim)

The Service staff is amongst the most honest and friendly I have ever seen anywhere. Well done Farm! You’ve set a new standard.


Award Winner

Highly Commended