During June, July and August stay at The Boutique Farmers homestay on either Saturday or Sunday evenings with a confirmed booking in their restaurant for dinner or their Sunday Brunch – and the overnight accommodation is Free!

That’s precisely what my wife and I, along with a group of friends did a few weekends back!

We took advantage of this fantastic offer and spent the weekend at “Boutique Farmers” Pak Nam Pran. Just 30 km south of Hua Hin, it’s an easy drive with beautiful Pak Nam Pran and Khao Kalok beach areas waiting to be explored.

The homestay at Boutiques Farmers is called “Home” and sits above the on-site restaurant. Consisting of 3 double air-conditioned bedrooms, all with their own ensuite, plus communal lounge room and front terrace. All very comfortable without being deluxe or over the top. The quality bed and bathroom linen were certainly appreciated by our group.

Co-owner and Chef, James Noble welcomed us and gave an overview of the property and facilities. He and wife May have been developing the farm side of the business for the last 7 years. The concept sounds simple enough – produce food and products through sustainable, organic agriculture, using only local manpower with a no fuel farm policy. That’s correct – no tractors or other farm machinery here!

Yet the farm has been providing specialist organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and preserved products to the Chefs of elite restaurants in Bangkok and Hua Hin for the last 5 year. James, May and their farm team continue adding to their offering as these elite Chefs become more engaged and understand what this enterprise can provide.

Guests to The Boutique Farmer homestay are actually encouraged to wander around the property, and we saw a multitude of produce from, figs and mulberries to hot houses full of cherry tomatoes; rows of corn, garden beds of eggplant, cabbage, lettuce of several varieties, cucumber and edible flowers. In the kitchen garden: microgreens; fennel; mustard leaf; and herbs including flat and curl parsley; purple basil (heritage); thyme; oregano; as well Thai herbs.

It took me back to my grandmother’s garden from my childhood – food grown with love to be shared with family and friends. This garden, while on a more significant scale, seems to have a similar ethos to my grandmother!

Additional to the onsite produce, the farm also has its own herd of cattle, work exclusively with a local fishing boat for their catch and have a shellfish farm in neighbouring Sam Roi Yot. Nothing comes more than a few kilometres away, and all suppliers are working to the same sustainable philosophy.

As James explained to our group, this is one of the critical elements of the whole project – knowing exactly where everything they serve or sell comes from and that it’s all sustainably produced and organic.

And on the eating front, unlike most restaurants which have standard menus, they keep cooking to for months (or years) on end – any meal experience at The Boutique Farmer is entirely dependent on what’s available from the farm and their local co-operative suppliers – on that day!

And that requires some culinary creativity!

Thankfully Chef James is no slouch in the kitchen. Initially developing his cooking skills at 3 Michelin Star restaurants in Europe, before spending 4 years as Mick Jagger’s (The Rolling Stones) personal Chef on his Caribbean island. Add to that several years teaching at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School in Bangkok and most recently as the General Manager of the original award winning boutique luxury resort on Pak Nam Pran.

Chef James marries his creativity and strong Food skills with all that is available on that day to create stimulating and gastronomically exciting menus.

For our Saturday evening dinner, we chose the a la carte menu which offered a choice of four appetisers, three salads, four mains and four desserts. There were vegetarian options for every course including desserts, ensuring all tastes were catered for. There’s even an organic Kids Menu.

Our group chose to share appetisers starting with Wild Pork Brawn accompanied by remoulade and topped with baby beets and berries. The gentle bite of the remoulade, the sweet and earthy berries and beets all providing perfect counterpoints to the rich and gelatinous Pork Brawn.  The Spicy Sea bass Ceviche with sweet pea guacamole, pomelo and sea grapes was an ideal blend of citrusy seafood with just a touch of chilli heat. The Duck liver Pate was partnered with a fig compote and generous slices of Farm bread.

For mains, the Duck Bolognaise served with an extra (confit) duck leg was selected by half our table and the rest chose the Harissa Chicken complemented by sour herb Tabouleh and smokey rich Babaganoush. Both dishes were well received by all. To accompany the mains we chose the Simple Tomato Salad – tomatoes that were still on the vine an hour prior and served directly on a homemade creamy curd. Tomatoes with real flavour and the freshest you can ask for!

Could we have desserts? Did we have room?  After a little time letting our previously course settle, the decision was made – Yes! “Dessert please!” Salted lime sorbet served on a tasty crumb; a warm Chocolate Fondant; and Fig Crumble with rosemary custard – all devoured with delight!

That Saturday evening the dining area had every table full – several with returning guests. Service was friendly and efficient. The No Corkage for BYO wine is undoubtedly a great feature and much appreciated by our table.

Didn’t BYO, no problems as the farm distils several flavours of their own Gin and Vodka? During our visit, there were two Gins – Mulberry or Cucumber & Rosemary, or a Strawberry Mint Vodka. Like everything else at The Boutique Farmers, flavouring of the Vodka and Gins change as the farm produce and seasons dictate.

The Boutique Farmer offers dinner Friday and Saturday evenings, plus their increasingly famous Sunday Brunch. Brunch happens between 10am and 3pm Sundays and costs 800 baht per person plus service charge. Come hungry as the 6 course brunch is guaranteed to tantalise your taste buds while filling even the hungriest of diners.

For more information on the Farm and what James, May and their farm team are doing, visit http://theboutiquefarmers.com/  And don’t forget to check out their ‘Green season’ Homestay special. It’s absolutely worth it.

 

Michael Cullen

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