While the pandemic is seeing the closure of many business establishments, there are new restaurants finding ways to thrive. The Farmer’s Table opened in April this 2021, more than one year after the first lockdown was announced in the Philippines.
This 100% al-fresco dining destination is the first Tagaytay restaurant of the Raintree Hospitality Group, the people behind popular Manila restaurants such as Saboten, Providore, Chotto Matte, and M Café at the Ayala Museum. Located in Nurture Wellness Village, The Farmer’s Table is Raintree’s answer to the stressors of living in the longest quarantine in the world.
“We saw a unique opportunity and took it,” said Annabella Wisniewski, president of Raintree. “It became more meaningful during the pandemic as we are able to alleviate the plight of many struggling people through job creation and at the same time help lift the low morale of the community through a new vibrant subject.”
For those few times that we do go outside to eat in the pandemic, germaphobes and hygiene freaks likes myself have a common checklist: 1. Is it al-fresco? 2. Are the tables far apart? 3. Do they follow strict COVID protocols? 4. Is the food good enough to convince me to leave my house?
The Farmer’s Table ticks all four. “We’re not doing the full table capacity. In fact, we’re a little extra distanced,” Raintree VP Martin Wisniewski told me when I visited the restaurant for the first time last weekend. The tables are properly spaced apart, unlike other restaurant chains that give me an anxiety attack whenever I see that their tables are close to each other with the strong airconditioning blasting around whatever’s airborne.
This restaurant felt safe for me, even when I had to remove my face shield and mask to devour my meals with my cousin at the opposite end of the table. If you’re feeling extra cautious, you can request to take any of the tables at the far ends of the hall, the ones closest to the gardens.
There are many herb and vegetable gardens around the property. “Around 300 meters away, we have two more farms,” said Chef Kalel Chan. “What we need, they grow it for us. Seventy percent of our ingredients are local and from a three- to four-km radius.”
The Farmer’s Table has three sections—the Boutique Market, which serves local delicacies, Nurture Wellness signature products, and serves as the venue for the weekend pop-up stores for fresh fruits and vegetables from the Nurture Farmacy (organic farm); the Artisanal Baker, which offers fresh pastries and a coffee and juice bar; and the al-fresco Garden Bistro, where you’ll find the main dining area and events garden terrace.
From Healthy To Hearty
Whatever your diet is like, they’ve got you covered. Looking for meaty Tagaytay classics? Order the Bone Marrow Bulalo or Mr. Jones Tapa. Vegetarians have oodles to choose from, like the Hothouse Cauliflower and Broccoli, Tofu Caesar Salad, and Plant-based Burger. Craving for a sweet breakfast? Get the Mr. Jones’ Brioche French Toast, which is banana hazelnut French toast with peanut brittle and fresh cream. Down it with a mug of barista coffee concoctions.
Is the pandemic making you long for travels to the European countryside? Choose from their unique selection of stone-fired pizzas topped with herbs and edible floral petals straight from their garden. Enjoy a slice or two with their farmhouse smoothies, sangrias, or cocktails.
If you’re a fan of Raintree’s famous restaurants, you’ll see their familiar signature touches, like the coffee that comes with free Chocnut (chocolate peanut bar that most Filipino kids grew up eating… very M Café and Chelsea Resto); international cuisines infused with local ingredients, like pesto sauce that uses malunggay (moringa) instead of basil; and diverse menu options that won’t ostracize any member of your group.
Spa On Hold
As of publishing this article, Tagaytay and Manila are still on MECQ (modified enhanced community quarantine), which means spas are not allowed to operate. “Hopefully when GCQ (general community quarantine) is announced, we can go back to offering our regular spa services,” said wellness advocate and owner of Nurture Wellness Village, Cathy Brillantes Turvill.
Fans of their spa’s traditional Filipino massages and hotel day packages will have to wait until it’s safe to book. For now, you can purchase Nurture Farmacy products at The Farmer’s Table. Choose from superchips, bottled condiments, home spa products, and many other healthy grocery items.