Oh, to be a pig at Hackney City Farm! Look at how they smile in their sleep. How they look so utterly content with their lot in life.
And last Thursday night I knew exactly how they felt. How? By turning up to the farm’s weekly ‘agroturismo’ dinner, made from their own produce. Yes, the Frizzante café is now serving an Italian feast once a week.
When we arrived it was still light, and a few people commented on how strange it was to find a small farm in the middle of Hackney.
We started with a couple of plates of wild boar salami and salsa verde with toast, and grilled peaches with rocket and ricotta. For mains there was an eggplant and mozzarella stack, served with a generous bowl of multicoloured tomatoes, and homemade pasta with crisp speck and summer zucchini, and grilled yellowfin tuna. For dessert we had pavlova, piled with English strawberries and cream, chocolate tart with ice cream and a cheese board with toast and fruit.
The dinners are usually BYO, apart from once a month when Frizzante puts on live music and gets a liquor licence, but there’s an off-licence across Hackney road, so you can pop out for a bottle between courses.
Service is sweet, if a little slow, but they are still finding their feet and the atmosphere is so relaxed it doesn’t really matter.
We ate out on the verandah, with little paper bag lanterns and candles on the tables and a faint barnyard whiff in the air. I almost forgot I was in London.
Hackney City Farm, 1a Goldsmiths Row E2 8QA, Tel 020 7729 6381
PS while looking up the website I just noticed that a local author, Jojo Tulloh, launched a cookbook, Freshly Picked, that very same night in the farm’s veggie garden. Here’s a link to her blog…