Farmout

IMG_4216You’re not going just discover Farmout (unless like me your pastime includes browsing through Zomato). It’s hidden on the first floor towards the back of Galleria Market in Gurgaon which in turn is filled with tiny food outlets that could give any food-street around the world a complex. Pizza, street food, chaat, cafe, kebabs, frankie, you name it and Galleria has it, rapidly becoming the place for fast, relatively cheap, and multiple food options.

In order to stand out amongst all these food establishments one has to do something different and Farmout does exactly that by focusing on sandwiches. They have an all day breakfast menu as well, but as of now the sandwiches get the spotlight. It’s undoubtedly a big risk and they will have to keep reinventing themselves with the occasional “specials” and by changing the menu according to the season or customer choices, but they are on the right track more so because they’ve taken the healthy route of going organic with the ingredients.

My introduction to Farmout was through a tasting. This gave me the opportunity to try a variety of their offerings most of which I liked with slight additions and/or subtractions, some of which can be blamed on personal taste as well. My review is based on the tasting and while I was one of the few who gave my non-expert suggestions, time will tell how open Farmout was, if at all, to incorporate them in the sandwiches.

If you’re visiting Farmout, you’ll most likely either find it cute or else claustrophobic. Their first floor windowless seating can be a little binding but the earthy coloured walls (a hint towards their food being organic) do help and while the place wasn’t full, for me it didn’t come across as airless or cramped. If at home, you can also order from them using one of the food apps or directly via phone or Whatsapp.

IMG_4218All the sandwiches served at Farmout come with a fresh, colourful, side salad that tasted exactly like it looked; fresh, crunchy, tasty, and compliments any and all sandwiches. I also happened to try the Yellow Smoothie (Mango, Pineapple, and Banana) and while it tasted fine, with Mango season about to end that tartness was evident and something that would need replacement soon. The Green Smoothie is perfect for health freaks but for me it came close to like drinking mint chutney. All I could think was how perfect it would go with a nice hot Samosa. Farmout is also proud of the coffee they serve, but I’m the wrong person to taste it because I usually prefer it cold or else I prefer coffee in my sugar and not the other way round. While the others at the tasting were in “love with the freshness of the beans”, I was simply happy about it tasting good with a nice thick froth on top and a little design that would make for a good photograph.

Moving on to the sandwiches and Farmout has 12 that they are trying to perfect right now. They’re a nice little mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian with both local and international flavours. Moreover, although the type of bread used (Ciabatta, Focaccia, and Multigrain) is mentioned in the menu, Farmout is open to changing that based on customer preference.

The Hipster Chicken sandwich has everything that would make my mouth drool; Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Parsley, Rosemary, and of course tender chicken breast in fresh crunchy Focaccia bread, but sadly the flavours lacked the desired tanginess. The chicken was perfectly juicy and tender, so all that is required to take this sandwich to the next level is an increase in the quantities of all of the remaining ingredients and condiments. The focaccia works brilliantly with the softness of the chicken and thus replacing it with multi-grain bread (which I tried later) would not be recommended.

The Hammer and Bongs with its moderately spicy soya granules was, as the menu suggested, “matched for the North Indian palate”. Unlike the Hipster Chicken, this one has its flavours working in unison and with the multi-grain bread it serves as a nice alternative to the ever so popular soya wraps found elsewhere.

The remainder of the sandwiches were all served in multi-grain bread and most worked fine with it, but some such as Mediterranean Farmer and Hungry Yogi would do better in either the Ciabatta or Focaccia respectively (and as stated in the menu) as these breads bring a little crunchiness to the otherwise smooth and soft ingredients.

IMG_4217Mushrooms and Capsicum are two ingredients that most places get wrong. Either they leave them a little undercooked with a poor raw taste or over-cook them making them soggy and bitter. So, I was surprised to have liked the Hungry Yogi with its mushroom ragout and grilled capsicum. However, having said that, the quantity of the capsicum can be reduced and they should be cut into smaller pieces. The Mediterranean Farmer sandwich on the other hand even with a myriad of veggies in it gave a strong mushroom flavour that left a slight bitter after taste. It’s for this reason that I usually avoid the roasted vegetable sandwiches. Moreover maybe an extra helping of cheese and lettuce would have helped, along with serving it on Ciabatta bread in place of multi-grain.

Two of my favourites from the tasting were the Desi Popye with its very Indian flavours of spinach and paneer and the Holy Phishing with a nice succulent, soft, and juicy fish along with lyon onion lettuce salad. I do make a sandwich similar to Desi Popype at home but I’ll admit the one at Farmout was much better owing primary to the organic freshness of the spinach and the mix of spices used. Similarly, while the Holy Phishing could do with a hint more of kasundi mustard, it was melt in the mouth good.

To end the tasting we were served two types of cookies (chocolate chip and vanilla almond), both outsourced by Farmout, which were divine and should not be missed.

IMG_4219I would encourage Farmout to keep experimenting more with their ingredients. While they have the right idea about the sandwiches and have entered a yet to be fully explored market they need to have some more cold sandwich options as well and most importantly need to bring in the use of other “leaves”, like say Rocket, Cress, or even Tatsoi into their preparations. While lettuce is an age old favourite, the use of different leaves can drastically escalate the flavor for the better. And also rethink the use of cucumber and tomatoes leaving them as ingredients to be only utilized when they bring something special to the sandwich.

How well Farmout copes with the ever changing eating trends? That’s something we have to wait and see. They’ve entered at a time when people are eager to try new and different foods and thus this is the ideal time to capture a customer base. We’ve had sandwich shops in India for a while now; Subway for example with their 6″ and foot long sandwiches and the option of choosing and mixing the ingredients was quite the success when they opened up, but over the years with multiple franchisees and as a result inconsistencies, for me it has lost its charm. Moreover, with multiple outlets they have been pushed together in a group of fast-food restaurants along with McDonalds and the likes. What Farmout needs to do is use their non-corporate attitude to the max and source ingredients that are not used commonly (avocado for one is sadly always overlooked). They obviously have an upper hand already with their menu as compared to the run of the mill Ham and Cheese Sandwich or the Club Sandwich that many places keep or even the similar sounding and tasting paneer and chicken sandwiches found in coffee shops. But, with food trucks on a rise and ready to experiment, Farmout would have to keep taste and uniqueness in the back of their minds all the time to stay ahead. They also need to capitalize on the fact that they serve only organic and healthy options. It’s an uphill task no doubt but one that can be easily won with a little ingenuity and passion; both of which can be found in abundance amongst folks behind Farmout.

The above review has been written on my own accord and was not required as part of attending the tasting.

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