RedFarm is known for its finely crafted and playful cuisine. The new Covent Garden venture lives up to this adventurous reputation.
Laid out over two floors in the heart of Covent Garden the vibrant restaurant certainly doesn’t feel like your typical Chinese restaurant. Dressed in warm wood paneling and red and white checked cloth, the interior channels their farm-to-fork ethos.
Upon arrival, we were greeting by greeted by Jeff, a warm and engaging Maitre ’D who led us to our booth for two where we sampled the cocktails. The ‘Rum Raisin Daiquiri’ and ‘Perfect Pear’ were both original and brilliantly executed. When we visited, RedFarm had only been open for three weeks so the waiting staff were still finding their feet, but they can’t be faulted for their enthusiasm. Ed Schoenfield, the owner of the New York branch of RedFarm was also on hand to keep a watchful eye on proceedings. He regaled us with stories about introducing New York to authentic Chinese cuisine in the 1970’s and the highlights of the 55 restaurants he’s opened since.
Starters began with the ‘Dingley Dell’ Pork Belly, much less fatty then we’re used to (a good thing), and perfectly cooked. The special of Black Cod and Shrimp Skewers came with extra zip courtesy of Szechuan Buttons; edible flower buds that deliver an electric tingling and numbing sensation on the tongue. The most impressive starter has to be the Pac Man Dim Sum (pictured)—bright multi-coloured dim-sum ghosts ‘chased’ around the plate by sweet potato fritter PacMan, definitely London’s newest most Insta-friendly dish.
The main course was a dramatic looking Thai Style Sautéed Lobster on a bed of Tomato Rice which tasted great but was somehow outshone by the simple but flawlessly executed Three Chili Chicken. On first appearance, this resembled standard Chinese restaurant fare, but the freakishly tender chicken pieces cooked in a soy-based sauce with a blend of chilli peppers was our favourite dish of the night.
There is a small dessert menu, the delicious dessert BAO more than making up for the lack of choice.
Price: Prices range from £10 for the Dingley Dell Pork Belly, £12 for the Pac Man Shrimp Dumplings, £19 for the Three Chili Chicken to £34 for the Sauteed Lobster with Thai Style Tomato Rice
To end the night we were invited to visit ‘Toots n Hoots’ the top-floor bar which offers imaginative and delicious cocktails of famed NY mixologist Shawn Chen, and an accompanying menu of RedFarm bar snacks. It’s a lovely spot for cocktail masterclasses available for private hire.
RedFarm is definitely worth a visit if you fancy trying quirky Chinese food outside of its natural habitat.
Although a non-reservation restaurant, customers are encouraged to call or email in advance of their desired booking
RedFarm is open Monday – Sunday Sun-Weds: 17.00-22.30, Thurs-Sat: 17.00-23.00
By Nimesh Suchak