Farmer’s Table the fastest escape for an all-in-one dining destination in Tagaytay

Farmer’s Table the fastest escape for an all-in-one dining destination in Tagaytay

TAGAYTAY – People in the city have the fondness to go out of town especially this pandemic to breathe fresh air, be surrounded by nature, and even better, be in a place where you’re about to eat delicious comfort food. And you can only find this when you take a trip to what the Raintree Group’s newest restaurant recommends— Farmer’s Table at the Nurture Wellness Village in Tagaytay. 

“We realize that people want to go out and this is the nearest place that people from Manila can go to, to get fresh air,” said Martin Wisniewski, one of the owners of the Raintree Group. 

“Ito yung pinaka-fastest escape,” added Kalel Chan, the corporate executive chef of the Raintree Group. 

Escape indeed. A place amid nature with cool breezes, foliage all-around, and decor that’s “signature Raintree” combining modern touches like white nipa painted ceilings to upcycled seating (repurposed from their other restaurants) to beautiful bespoke art adorning walls — it’s all at once Filipino, cozy, modern, but with that Tagaytay-country vibe.

A perfect setting for a wedding, or as these times permit us, a great meal. 

The menu at the Farmer’s Table stays true to its name, using seasonal and mostly local ingredients in an expansive menu that includes their take on “Tagaytay hits,” some reimagined versions of the Raintree groups’ signature dishes, and new dishes especially made for Farmer’s Table. It’s a menu takes advantage of the obvious benefits to their location and their partnership with Nurture Wellness Village and their farms. 

“Around 70-80% of the ingredients is local. Maybe found from around a 3-4-kilometer radius [of the restaurant]” Chan said. 

Altogether, Farmer’s Table is positioned to be a one-stop gourmet shopping and dining destination in Tagaytay. And why not? 

To eat, there’s the Garden Bistro, which has the main dining hall and the events garden terrace. For quick stops, sips and bites, there’s the Artisanal Bakery where guests can enjoy freshly made breads and pastries with juice or coffee. And for the love of pasalubong, there’s the Boutique Market which features not only Nurture Wellness signature products and local delicacies, but even a weekend pop-up store where customers can get hard to find vegetables like kale. 

But like the many that I predict will visit the Farmer’s Table, this author was there for the food and that Tagaytay country fresh ambiance. 

Whether you’re a vegetarian, or there for the traditional Tagaytay steaming bowl of bulalo, the Farmer’s Table is designed to have something for everyone. And while the menu is set to change with the changing of the seasons, this author is hopeful that when I next return (and I will), I’ll still be able to eat everything that I ate during our luncheon, especially that cauliflower-broccoli dish. 

Was it the fresh air that made us eat so heartily? Our party of two devoured a whole bowl of salad, a pot of bulalo, a bowl of kale chips, turmeric rice, two desserts, and half of a bangus that was bigger than my face. How was that possible? It’s the magic of Farmer’s Table and Tagaytay. 

Here’s what we had during our Farmer’s Table luncheon. 

1. Kale Chips & Dip 

Technically, this was a snack, so it’s ideal for those visiting in the afternoon to munch on as you drink one of their smoothies. (We had the Our Signature Pineapple Kale Smoothie, available by the glass or in a pitcher). 

These are kale chips done right — crispy with a tempura-like thin airy batter, to be dipped in a malunggay-basil pesto mayonnaise that tasted like a green goddess dressing with extra malunggay flavor. Also a plus, these chips held their crispiness throughout our meal. 

2. Plant-based Kale Caesar Salad 

When this arrived onto our table, I doubted that we could finish it. But finish it we did, the two types of bitter greens (kale and romaine) with the different crispy textures (tofu croutons, crispy garbanzos) made for a filling salad, with the garlic lemon Tahini Caesar dressing and capers providing a savory-lemony counterpoint. Very balanced, plant-based, and a great starter!

When this arrived onto our table, I doubted that we could finish it. But finish it we did, the two types of bitter greens (kale and romaine) with the different crispy textures (tofu croutons, crispy garbanzos) made for a filling salad, with the garlic lemon Tahini Caesar dressing and capers providing a savory-lemony counterpoint. Very balanced, plant-based, and a great starter! 

3. Hothouse Crispy Cauliflower & Broccoli 

My favorite dish in Farmer’s Table. While I’ve had crispy cauliflower slathered with buffalo sauce before, the broccoli experience was something different. Broccoli has a strong specific flavor (grassy, earthy) and it paired surprisingly well with the tangy-spicy buffalo sauce. It made every bite interesting, and I found myself trying to find the broccoli pieces in the bowl. 

Chef Kalel also reveals that unlike most buffalo sauces that is enriched with butter, the Farmer’s Table version uses olive oil, and I’m thinking that’s why it works so well with the crispy fried broccoli. Best eaten when hot so you get some additional texture from the batter, but even when the batter has absorbed much of the sauce, you still get textures from the vegetables, especially the broccoli. A must-try. 

4. Grilled Chimichurri & Sambal Giant Bangus 

Another dish that made me doubt if we could finish it. This felled us though, as we only finished half and brought the rest home. (It was delicious reheated the day after.) Grilled giant Bangus topped with two relishes, one a herbaceous refreshing chimichurri with malunggay, and the other, a fiery hot sambal with garlic and chilies. Make sure to squeeze the lime provided on top, and you’re in for a treat! The bangus stood up well to the strong flavors of both sauces, and even more interesting — we mixed the sauces at home, and that mix works well too. 

5. Bone Marrow Bulalo 

What is a visit to cold Tagaytay without a bowl of bulalo? The Farmer’s Table’s version is finished on your table a la shabu-shabu hot pot. With the weather of Tagaytay (especially now with the approaching rainy season), it’s great to always be assured of a steaming hot sip of low and slow cooked bone broth especially if it’s made extra rich with bone marrow. Together with the fork-tender beef, the broth, veggies (Baguio beans, corn, and napa cabbage) and your choice of sawsawan (aged calamansi, patis), this bulalo hits the spot. Something to make you feel less guilty as you eat? Chef Kalel added gotu kola leaves to the broth, which only adds the slightest herby flavor and has great health benefits. 

6. Caramelized Banana & Hazelnut Brioche French Toast 

How can you go wrong with two thick pieces of French toast brioche with caramelized slices of banana and peanut brittle, set to be enjoyed with a delicious amount of whipped cream, butter, and maple syrup? Something sweet for brunch on the weekends, an afternoon snack, or a dessert! 

7. Mango Suman ‘Sushi’

This is Chef Kalel’s version of a Thai sticky mango rice sans the coconut cream and instead, with hot Amadeo chocolate eh. Just ask the server to make the chocolate less sweet, then you can choose to use the chocolate eh as a sauce over the suman, or to sip with after bites of your sushi. 

The Farmer’s Table is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For inquiries and reservations, send an email to farmerstabletagaytay@gmail.com, or visit their social media pages. 

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