Westbourne Grove’s Farmacy is one of the latest hot spots to arrive in Notting Hill. While the concept is great (and much needed), the all natural eatery missed the mark in too many areas that I do not see myself heading back for a second visit.
Farmacy is part of the clean-eating train that is making its way through London, which, honestly, is long overdue. I find it SO HARD to eat continuously healthy in a city that believes in day-drinking, minimal exercise, and puddings after each meal. To have more options for vegan/vegetarian, chemical-free, and refined sugar-free eating is a huge positive, but, unfortunately, a lot of these concepts come along with a heavy price tag and are considered “on trend.” Farmacy is the definition of this problem.
First, they do not take reservations, which is just annoying. It’s bad enough that Granger (down the street) has a forever queue we all suffer through, but, to make Westbourne Grove queuing “a thing” is really unnecessary. Once inside, however, the place is quite spacious and very pretty. It feels very clean and botanical. Almost like a relaxed version of a fancy hotel’s Palm Court. The restaurant is animal friendly which is always nice to see. But, this is where the positives switch to negatives…
After the relief of getting inside and into a table, and taking in the refreshing decor, you immediately run into the first problem with Farmacy. The service. It is beyond slow at certain points, and extremely rushed at others. It took an eternity for someone to come over, greet our table, bring us water, and ask us about drinks or questions. Once we had placed our coffee order, the server came back and hurried us for a food order almost immediately, and then a few seconds later after we asked for more time. Once the food arrived, no one ever checked back on us, and at the end of the meal, I had to physically get up to get the bill after being neglected for about 20 minutes. I was especially surprised by this ending since we wanted to leave, and they had guests waiting to be seated. The staff is not properly trained, there is not an even flow to the dining experience, and there must be a serious lack of management to not be able to float around the dining room and recognize such problems and distressed faces on customers.
Onto the food. My friend and I both opted for the House Pancakes–buckwheat pancakes, with coconut yogurt, and fresh fruit. This is a very common dish served at a lot of clean-eating establishments, but I have to say, Farmacy’s version was the worst. Primarily because it was ice cold. There is nothing appropriate about cold pancakes. Maybe that is an English vs. American thing, I don’t know, but neither my English friend or American me enjoyed our breakfast. The staff wouldn’t know how we were feeling because they never bothered to check back on us. Had they, we may have been able to get something we could enjoy, or tell them they brought our table the incorrect “Farmacuetical Syringe Shot.” My girlfriend ordered the Beautify shot, and was brought the Fire Starter incorrectly. After waiting awhile for a server to walk by, to no avail, she just drank the one she had received. And, boy, was that a production. These shots actually come in a medical syringe, on a plate, next to a shot glass. It is silly and contrived–completely lame, in my opinion. I guess this place is trying way too hard to justify its high prices and poor service.
After finally finishing our mediocre meals and the incorrect shot and hunting down a server to close our tab, we walked out of there feeling liberated to be away from their dining room. That is not the feeling you want to give to your patrons upon exiting your new neighborhood restaurant.
So, Farmacy, please get it together. We could all stand to be a little healthier, and in theory, restaurants like you are just what the doctor ordered…
74 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH