Healthy Eating: This Tagaytay Al Fresco Restaurant Inside A Wellness Retreat Serves Farm-to-Table Goodness - LA Wine & Dine

The offers at Farmer’s Table, a new dining destination from the makers of Saboten, Providore, and Chotto Matte, will make visitors come for the food, and stay for a massage or treatment.

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There are many reasons not to open a restaurant—in fact, any business with a physical location at all—during this time: the Covid-19 pandemic is still here, cases are still rising, variants quietly lurking, and the country is technically still in lockdown, which means people are at home, not out like they used to be.

For Raintree Hospitality Group, however, the opportunities outweigh the challenges—at least for their newly-opened resto, Farmer’s Table.

“We saw a unique opportunity and took it,” says Anabella Wisniewski, chairman of the hospitality group. “It became more meaningful during the pandemic as we are able to help alleviate the plight of many struggling people through job creation and at the same time help lift the low morale of the community through a new and vibrant project.”

Located inside Tagaytay’s expansive estate and wellness spa Nurture Wellness Village, the restaurant is surrounded by lush greenery, providing a refreshing view and cool breeze while guests eat. Farmer’s Table calls the experience ecotherapy dining.

Farm fresh

True to its name, the restaurant serves food fresh from Nurture Wellness Village’s own organic farm, Nurture Farmacy, as well as other nearby sources. Around 70 to 75 percent of ingredients are picked the same day it will be cooked.

The menu, developed by the Chef Kalel Chan-helmed culinary team, features choices for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

For starters, they highly recommend one of the many natural juice concoctions, kale with pineapple. Diners can also munch on appetizers like the Hothouse Cauliflower & Broccoli, a vegetarian take on spicy buffalo wings; the good old Caesar Salad; the Labneh Salad, which is light and cheesy; and the Plant-Based Burger, which the restaurant promises to be just as good as the regular beef counterpart.

Farmer’s Table’s more hearty meals are reflective of local cuisine, such as their signature Mr. Jones Tapa, their version of the classic Pinoy breakfast meal; the traditional Bulalo, a must-eat soup when in Tagaytay; Kare-Kare, an oxtail stew with a rich and thick peanut sauce; and the Smoked Tinapa Croquetas, which are deep-fried balls with tinapa cream filling.

Comfort food is on the menu, too, like the Pizza Rustica, topped with fresh, vegetables, herbs, and spices and baked in a stone-fired oven; Herb Roast Chicken, a Tuscan-style rosemary chicken with lemon and garlic; Beef Barbecue platter, which are smoked and sauced up riblets; Eggs Benedict, a popular American brunch food that comes with English muffins topped with bacon, poached egg, and sauce; and English Breakfast, complete with fried eggs, sausages, beans, bacon, mushrooms, and bread.

To end the meal on a sweet note, we suggest trying the Banana Hazelnut French Toast with Peanut Brittle and Fresh Cream.

Love local

The Farmer’s Table experience does not end on the dining table. It is also home to the Artisanal Baker, which serves freshly-baked breads and pastries, as well as juice and coffee for pairing.

There’s also a Boutique Market, which offers local delicacies, Nurture Wellness signature products, and the weekend pop-up store of fruits and vegetables from Nurture Farmacy and other growers in the area.

“We wanted to highlight not just the ingredients grown at the farm,” says Martin Wisnieski, the hospitality group’s vice president. “[We also wanted to feature] products from surrounding areas such as beef and seafood from Batangas, coffee and longganisa from Amadeo next door, and a local brewery named Monkey Eagle located near our restaurant.”

While in the vicinity, guests can also try out the spa and wellness center’s massage, therapeutic treatments, and avail services of dieticians and medical professionals.

Safety protocols

Because the restaurant’s setup is fully al-fresco, dining out and meeting up in small groups at Farmer’s Table is safer.

“We know a lot of our guests from our Manila restaurants could not travel abroad or even to farther provinces, so we thought this would be the perfect al fresco, pandemic-friendly kind of place,” Martin says.

“Tagaytay is close enough to Metro Manila to travel for the day or the weekend where most city dwellers could get much needed breathing space and indulge in tasty, fresh food,” he adds.

Guests can also be confident that restaurant staff—a mix of experienced employees from other Raintree Restaurants and workers who are locals from the area—have not only been oriented about the benefits of healthy eating habits, but also trained to implement safety protocols such as social distancing.

“The main dining room is a very spacious area with high ceilings, open on all sides with a natural flow of fresh air,” he explains. “Tables are set with an ample distance which meets protocol requirements.”

While the restaurant is built with the current public health crisis in mind, the team looks forward to a time when guests can freely gather and enjoy their time without any worries about their health and safety.

“We look forward to featuring special holiday events again featuring local foods, seasonal specialties, traditions, flowers, and plants,” says Andrej Wisniewski, president of the hospitality group. “We are also looking forward to the end of the pandemic and the end of constraints and rules which hamper the free movement of people.”

The Farmer’s Table, located at Nurture Wellness Village, Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II, West Cavite, Tagaytay, is open daily from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M. For inquiries and reservations, please contact +63 905 387 7993, 0960 928 3142 or send an email to [email protected].

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