Like a city barn filled with edibles Farmshop is a casual eatery and food market inside the Brentwood Country Mart. Set in the concurring triangle of Brentwood, Santa Monica and Westwood, spotlighting on superb, locally sourced ingredients, artisan snacks on the go and mouth-licking pastry to devour reaches beyond the typical American diner.
Scaling down: from America’s and Europe’s best Michelin kitchens to Farmshop
The chef owner’s pedigree spans Michelin greats from The French Laundry through the former mecca of molecular gastronomy – elBulli in Spain. Jeff Cerciello is also a veteran of The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group and opened the Bouchons and Ad Hoc restaurants. Through Farmshop, his first own food business, the savvy chef introduces weekly changing produce from the meticulously scanned California farms, ranches and artisan butchers, cheese makers that he has honed ties with for years.
Clean eating Califonia indulgent style
Farmshop is the ideal place for families to celebrate over the weekends and for the local food lovers indulging their decadent brunches and casual dinners over bare wooden tables setting. Browsing in their sweatpants after a morning run or in a beach dress in the cooling afternoon the Farmshop regulars enjoy the lower carbon footprint meal in a company. I like the transparency of the Farmshop listing its purveyors on their website, so clean eaters can rest assured that no hormones, pesticides, unnecessary carcinogens and artificial fillers and seasoning touched their lips.
From breakfast through dinner everything is sourced responsibly and decadently seasoned to please the high pitched California palates. Generous, simple, fatty, but never too oily and veggie-friendly. Vegans should go elsewhere, but the rest of LA’s health food conscious diners will find their little plate or something to share at Farmshop.
We mostly come for a generous, yet wholesomely balanced weekend brunch to Farmshop. My American husband loves to let his appetite rule going for the House Made Pastrami & Poached Eggs, Thorne family farm broccoli di ciccio, charred red onions & olivade on Gjusta (Gjelina‘s bakery) sourdough and adds the perfectly crisp antibiotic-free bacon on side to the Rolled Omelet with soft herbs, fried potatoes & butter toasted croissant. The toasts are still the Americana queasy blandness of paper white empty calories, so go for these brioche, sourdough or croissant matches.
The eggs for omelettes and frittatas are sourced from the biodynamic Apricot Lane Farms. A bagel baked in-house and toasted is served with cured salmon, whipped farmer’s cheese and pickles. For sweet breakfast the fluffy pancakes, scones or muffins (gluten-free pastry basket available) come fresh from the adjoining bakery.
At lunch the menu introduces more vegetables like the biodynamically farmed seasonal harvest from Apricot Lane Farms, but also citruses from Schaner Family Farms, sustainable melons from Weiser family or other seasonal fruits grown by Frog Hollow Farm. Proteins like hormone-free poultry or grass-fed beef and family-farmed pork from Northern California farm Let’s Be Frank and other quality driven, small-scale farms and line fisheries. The Poached Chicken Salad is served over Windrose farm baby kale, herbed local walnuts, flying disc ranch dates, shaved radishes & whole grain mustard vinaigrette. There is more chicken than vegetables, and despite being tender, I would reduce the ratio to favour the greens in this “salad”, but the regulars like it this way as the server recommending this plate claimed.
Leaving aside gustatory disagreements, the waiters try hard and even when the restaurant bursts with dining activity over the brunch, they are efficient. If a coffee forgets itself somewhere along its way, they will bring it in not charge you. On weekends the dining room and the shop in front of your diner’s gaze buzz with families, birthday parties and friendly encounters of the locals.
I wish that the Baked beets topped with feta like a moist ricotta and poppy seeds stayed since this is one of my favourite plates at the Farmshop. Now the 100 Mile Farm Roasted Beets are served with hazelnut salsa, saffron & Strauss greek yogurt.
The lively day meals turn into a more subtle, quieter evenings, and after the all day chaos some cooks’s lethargy may land some plates not up to the restaurant’s standard. We never returned for dinner after the one and and only rare debacle night.
To go, get daily fresh salads (my faves quinoa, celery and kale), cold cuts (no antibiotics, hormones, added nitrates, nitrites, and some like Fra’mani preserved only through light cooking and salt), choose from a wide cheese offer, crackers (Rustic Bakery), jams (the local hits by SQUIRL), olive oil, condiments, US-made small batch chocolates (my favourites Dick Taylor, Askinosie, San Francisco’s Dandelion, and the LA made Letterpress). To indulge, bite into the freshly baked pastry, muffins, scones, bagels, buttery croissants conceptualised by Jeffrey Deleon also of Thomas Keller Group pedigree, accompanied by hot beverages at the corner cafeteria.
Coffee is roasted by eco-sourced Lamill. They create the Farmshop signature blend served alongside their espresso and a line of blended, mostly organic teas. While there is not much tea to choose from at the Farmshop, the Health Ade kombucha from Oregon fills the gap. Spindrift nothing artificial sodas and Organic and Biodynamic juices and cocktail mixers by Wild Poppy get the non-alcoholic side match to the nicely composed one-page wine list.
Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St #25, Santa Monica, CA 90402
+1 310 566 2400
Mon-Fri: breakfast 7:30–11am; lunch: 11:15am–2:30pm: dinner 5:30-9:30pm; weekend brunch 8am-2pm; dinner 5:30-9pm