The Farmhouse (British, Indian) – CoventryHALAL STATUS Fully Halal
From the moment you drive into their large and spacious car park, you can’t help but be impressed by the scale and grandeur of The Farmhouse in Coventry.
We also arrived with knowledge of the fact that The Farmhouse had only this year, prior to the start of Ramadan, made the notable decision of substituting the selling of alcohol for non-alcoholic beverages.
As a matter of fact, this place is as transparent about its Halal status as they come, with not just a section on its website providing a digital Halal certificate from its meat suppliers, but also an acknowledgement box, that pops up when you first land on the site, declaring:
Please Note: All of our meat, chicken and products are 100% halal and certified, certificates available at the premises or online. We have decided to create a more family-friendly environment, and for this reason we are no longer be serving or allowing alcoholic beverages on the premises [sic].
While little expense has been spared in decking out the interior, this large and lavish 200-cover restaurant has outdoor seating for around 15-20 people, as well as an enclosed children’s play area complete with swings and a slide.
In addition to a 12-14 seater VIP room available for booking at £100 for 2-hours, they even have a dedicated public prayer room for use during opening hours.
Food-wise, The Farmhouse has two sections to its menu – one English and the other Indian – which does appear to be attempting, at least in parts, to be different.
These nicely presented mojitos turned out to include one which, sadly, missed out on being nominated for our Best Beverage #FtLionAwards 2019.
Everyone knows what pear drops taste like, right? Well, this was essentially an epic pear drop mocktail! A lovely, aromatic concoction, with the distinct fruity sweetness of the pear, almost candy-like in taste, followed close behind by the zesty kick of lemon with every given sip. We also found that giving this a good stir brought out more of the sweetness. Little wonder they marked this impressive thing a “Try Me!” on their menu.
Although the Virgin Colada was an attractive one, what with the whipped cream topping, it required far more coconut to neutralise the sweetness of all that pineapple while also providing that creamy texture so indicative of well made virgin pina coladas.
The Virgin Mojito Classic wasn’t too far off from being a good’un. All it needed was more of the citrus and more potent mint to help counter what was otherwise another sweet glass.
The kebabs, while having a decent marination, turned out positively rubbery.
As for the subtly marinated chicken and lamb tikka, then these weren’t very much better.
Perhaps the only good thing about this platter, aside from the caramelised onions we were left to enjoy, was the trio of sauces.
It was a shame that what should have been soft, tender and succulent chops, instead turned out to be relatively chewy and well done.
And though the mildly chilli marination had a subtle sweetness about it, perhaps courtesy of the bed of caramelised onions, both the chops and the onions had a peculiarly sour undertone which we found off-putting.
In this case, the shank was presented hidden within the lamb curry, rather than “ON a bed of pilau rice” as the menu promised (the rice incidentally being poorly reheated), and came with a freshly-made and crispy tandoori coriander naan.
Now, all the above might have been forgiven had the curry been a tasty one. But, while the lamb was tender and fatty enough, the curry itself was ruined by the addition of so much garam masala that we were forced to order a side of yoghurt, such was its ferocity. In the end, our throats were left parched!
This is perhaps the first time any of us have had a steak literally plonked on top of chips. And though we’ll concede that this Bombay Bad Boy was, indeed, “a Farmhouse original” in this respect, we weren’t quite won over by said presentation style, particularly when the chips turn out entirely wet and soggy after being doused in a sauce.
Having said that though, the sirloin steak itself was ordered medium and, we’re glad to say, was cooked there or thereabouts.
Taste-wise, the “secret Bombay sauce” on the steak was a decent one, with a sweet meatiness to it which, unlike the chips, at least helped to enhance the flavour of the juicy and flavoursome steak.
As for the coleslaw, then this was an ultra creamy one, which contrasted well against the gentle heat of the spices in the dish.
In short, this was, given the nature of the competition that came before it, easily the best one had so far.
Again the star of the dish, in this instance two portions of cod, was found balanced atop a portion of spicy chips. Whatever the rationale, this dish was certainly a unique one, with the Indian take on your classic fish and chips involving a small side of lentils as a sauce.
The Indian cod, as it’s described, was really well cooked – flaking apart with ease and being rather moist. However, the problem we had this time round, was that the batter, while being light and crispy, was over-seasoned with salt.
Even if we assume that this was by design, requiring the mild heat of the lentils and spiciness of the chips to bring about harmony, that theory was immediately put to paid when the lentils also turned out to be over-seasoned (and yes, we had water to cleanse our palate to make certain of this).
You can’t go wrong with Gulab Jaman balls; and if you haven’t had Mövenpick ice cream, then you definitely can’t go wrong with that.
But the attempt at using plenty of whipped cream to combine the two elements didn’t work and neither did it look right.
The weakest element here were the Nutella Donuts which, filled as they were with plenty of hot and gooey nutella chocolate, turned out spongy with a non-crispy exterior.
The cheesecake was the most impressive part, with a good creamy texture, and a sweetness that was nicely tempered by the tartness of the raspberry sauce.
As for the Brownie, then it was a dense and fudgy affair, with the dollop of ice cream turning out creamy and velvety in texture.
And at the end of the evening, what could be better than a strong karak chai – the perfect antidote to any meal. Sadly, ours had the taste, look and texture of one that’s been reheated.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
In the end, and much to our collective anticipointment, when tallying our individual scores together, the most we can rate The Farmhouse in Coventry is 2/5! And we'll repeat the reasons why, if they aren't obvious enough from the above. Most of the dishes had were either badly executed, poorly conceived, or a combination of both, with one barely passable.
Having said that though, the place was jam-packed when we arrived in the evening which, we've been told, is how things are most evenings. Whatever the reasons for this apparent discrepency, in our considered opinion, and in relation to the many Indian restaurants we have visited this year, The Farmhouse is, regretfully, the poorest we've reviewed this year.
They also offer a Loyalty Card, with the collection of stamps on any given visit earning you various freebies - four visits and 11 stamps getting you a free main course!
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