A brilliant addition to the west London food scene... Farm Girl offers a holistic and healthy, yet comfortingly simple approach to Australian cafe culture in the heart of Notting Hill.
Headed up by Melbourne-born Rose Mann, Rose can milk a cow like a pro and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty when there’s a roast ‘chuck’ to prepare. The original Farm Girl, Rose’s childhood was spent on an Australian dairy farm means and so appreciates simple country living just as much as the slick-city life she now enjoys in London. Farm Boy – Rose’s partner in crime both personally and professionally – Anthony Hood shares the Farm Girl appreciation for an outdoor, activity-filled lifestyle.
Keeping up London's 2015 trend for health food-focused cafés, this new Antipodean joint is fantastic. As one of its biggest fans, Domus Nova caught up with Rose Mann of Farm Girl...
Rose, what is the ethos behind Farm Girl?
The ethos behind Farm Girl is about the overall experience. It is so important to us to educate people on the value and importance of good-quality products. Knowing where your food has come from and what process it has been through to get to your plate. We are trying to eliminate the everyday toxins people are consuming through their food. By going that extra mile and cooking with, say, coconut oil or grass-fed butter rather than olive oil, we are improving people's lifestyle. It is all about balance.
What inspired you to get into the hospitality industry?
A love of healthy food and my love of meeting new people. I have always been someone who loves going out for every meal.
What were you doing before Farm Girl?
I was working for a Japanese fashion brand called Horiyoshi The Third as their Head of Communications.
What makes Farm Girl different?
The space is very unique. Beata Heuman, Anthony and I created space based on what we like, not on what we think Notting Hill would like. Thankfully they seem to like it too! That goes for the menu as well - the dishes are all based on things we like and eat regularly. We are trying to change the idea of a cafe; by having great high-quality food and extremely good coffee, as well as providing people with a comfortable and relaxed environment and a healthy alternative to their everyday breakfast and lunch.
Australia definitely has a different approach to food and lifestyle, what do you love about it?
The fresh, healthy food and its amazing coffee shops and juice bars that are available all the time.
What’s your favourite dish on your menu?
The Farm Girl porridge with avocado and the cacao smoothie.
What was your biggest challenge when opening Farm Girl?
Finding the space, setting up the company, organising the renovations and builders. It’s all been totally worth it though!
Who did you employ for the design for Farm Girl?
Beata Heuman. A dear friend and the most wonderful interior designer. She worked for Nicky Haslam for 10 years and has now set up her own company and is killing it!
Tell us about your team at Farm Girl...
The Farm Girl family is quite exceptional. We are a very international team with me being from Australia, Benoit our head chef and right hand man is French. Miss Melly Lou, our health guru is from New Zealand and of course my lovely boyfriend and business partner grew up in Switzerland but is English. We are all very close and great friends and have very similar ideas, style and tastes!
Why did you choose Notting Hill for the location for Farm Girl?
A gap in the market, I live nearby and I wanted to create a place I would like to go everyday
Whereabouts do you live?
About two blocks away, just near Westbourne Grove
What’s your favourite London food spot? Apart from Farm Girl, of course...
I love Ikeda in Mayfair, it's the best Japanese restaurant in London. For my daily health fix outside of Farm Girl, Cpress Juice on Fulham Road is fantastic.
How often do you go back to Melbourne, what do you miss most about it?
I try to go at least once a year, if not twice. I miss my farms, my family and of course my best friends.
If you could have your ultimate dinner party, who would you invite?
My craziest and funniest friends.
How have you spent the summer so far?
I have been at Farm Girl everyday since February and so my summer has been mainly spent doing paperwork, and of course meeting some of our great customers. Anthony and I have an amazing trip booked for the end of August which includes a lot of healthy juice in California and Burning Man.
How do you relax?
Walking my french bulldog Bronte through the park. I’m a big runner, if I am every stressed or feel like punching someone I will go for a 10km run. I also love going to a really good coffee shop with great-quality coffee and reading my book or a magazine for an hour on my own.
View Farm Girl on the Domus Nova Food & Drink Guide
Farm Girl, 59A Portobello Rd, London W11; thefarmgirl.co.uk
Photography © Issy Croker