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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Joint venture offers health food minus the holier-than-thou attitude

At night, the venue transforms into a relaxed spot for cocktails.
At night, the venue transforms into a relaxed spot for cocktails. Charlotte Pert

Joint venture offers health food minus the holier-than-thou attitude

A collaboration between the owners of Artillery and the organic Discovery Farms makes relatively clean living look fun

Stepping through the wide gates of Farm to Table, the city feels far away. A fence of reclaimed wooden planks blocks out the traffic noise, tall trees offer shade from the harsh sun and soft jazz and folk plays in the background. It’s a slice of rural life right in the middle of Phnom Penh.

The “urban garden cafe and bar” on Street 360 is the latest venture from the owner of Phnom Penh’s two Artillery cafes – which have served up tasty vegetarian fare for several years – in collaboration with the organic Discovery Farms, located a couple of hours outside the city, near Kirirom National Park.

Farm to Table’s beetroot and goat cheese salad doesn’t rely on lettuce to bulk it out.
Farm to Table’s beetroot and goat cheese salad doesn’t rely on lettuce to bulk it out. Charlotte Pert

Set in the large courtyard of an old villa, the centrepiece of the eatery is a verdant garden of potted herbs and leafy salad greens surrounding a red broken-down tractor. Trees and a high canvas canopy shade the wooden tables. While parents are eating, the kids can play in the “mud kitchen” in the corner, a stick tepee or a fairy playpen. Near the entrance, there’s also a small produce shop where you can buy vegetables and herbs.

It’s a versatile space – owner Brittany Sims said there are plans for children’s gardening classes, a weekly farmer’s market, live music and outdoor arts events.

At night, racks of bulbs on the canopy and lights hanging from the trees transform the courtyard into a stylish spot for a cocktail or three.

Sitting down for a meal, it’s clear that Sims and her crew have made an effort to balance nutritional value with taste when putting the menu together. The pulled pork roll ($6.50) is served with a thick-enough layer of cabbage coleslaw to assuage guilt, while the Greek chicken sandwich ($5.75) comes with a whole garden of rocket, onions and tomato.

The meat-free options are plenty flavoursome too. Sweet and savoury flavours duel nicely in the beetroot and goat cheese salad ($5.75), which is slathered in dressing, while the grilled stuffed quesadilla ($4.50) with vegetables has a naughty amount of gooey melted cheese but still plenty of seasonal veggies.

The quesadilla doesn’t skimp on cheese.
The quesadilla doesn’t skimp on cheese. Charlotte Pert

The kids’ menu offers scaled down versions of some dishes for $3.75 with a cup of fruit salad.

Flipping the menu, the drinks list is surprisingly varied. Cambodia beer is $1.50, while Cerevisia craft beer and house white are both $3.50. The big cocktails are $4.50 and worth a try – especially the Discovery Farms mojito. The horchata – a central American drink made here with rice milk, cinnamon, palm sugar and ice – is a novel, and delicious, option.

The only disappointment is the lack of espresso coffee. The small French press cafetière ($2) available just doesn’t cut it. However, there are plans afoot to acquire a proper espresso machine.

Farm to Table’s eco-friendly ethos goes beyond just organic, locally produced food. All the glasses are cut from recycled wine bottles, people can drop off dying orchids to be rehabilitated and sold off (with the proceeds going to educate Cambodian farmers on organic techniques) and the restaurant will soon start selling eggs in recycled egg cartons.

But that’s by-the-by. Ultimately, eating out is all about whether a place is fun to hang out in. And, with its relaxed atmosphere and good range of eats and drinks, this place really is.

Less healthier-than-thou than Artillery, Farm to Table has a lot of potential, not only as a daytime lunch spot but also as an evening cocktail bar or for boozy Sunday sessions.

Farm to Table is located at #16 Street 360

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