Grown, harvested, prepped, and cooked all in the same place, farm-to-table fare is coming to a city near you.
In London, lush sprouting herbs and grasses in metal troughs add greenery to the Rooftop restaurant at Sir Terence Conran’s Boundary Hotel; Chicago’s Uncommon Ground has a full-fledged, neatly landscaped organic rooftop garden complete with beehives. The Platonic ideal of the still-surging farm-to-table movement is the self-sufficient restaurant that grows its own produce on-site. And plenty are moving in this direction.In the southwest London borough of Richmond, chef Skye Gyngell of the shabby-chic Petersham Nurseries Cafe uses seasonal produce grown right there. Set within and around the main greenhouse, the rough, dirt-floored cafe, which has just won that hoary old badge, a Michelin star, is styled rather than designed with antique furniture, mismatched timber-and-metal tables, and chairs with sackcloth cushions.
At the other end of the scale are the far more lo-fi neighborhood Frizzante cafes in Hackney and Surrey Docks City Farms in East London. Vegetable-growing initiatives for local kids are on the menu, and visitors are encouraged to feed the livestock before tucking into simple and cheap cafe grub served from open canteen kitchens onto utilitarian painted wooden tables. The waft of manure may hit your nostrils as you depart, but hey, that’s keeping it real.