2 August, 2018
Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine Now Open in Oakland!Posted in : Dining in Oakland - CA, Restaurants on by : becca
Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine
336 Webster Street
Jack London Square
Fill ‘er up from $12 to $24
Last week, I attended the celebration party for the soft opening of Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine in Oakland, the newest restaurant from chef and owner Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang. Obligatory disclaimer: That means everything I’m writing about in this post was free to me to sample and enjoy. Farmhouse Kitchen is also open in San Francisco and Portland, while Montclair hosts Saengsawang’s Daughter Thai.
The party was a lively affair, and I can’t imagine the normal restaurant experience will quite match it, but from reviews of the locations in San Francisco and Portland, they will certainly try. Traditional “street peddlers” wandered through the restaurant’s interior and waterfront tiki patio, offering snacks and adventurous eating for American palates. All the food I sampled offered sophistication and the love of spice expected from a high-end Thai restaurant in the Bay Area.
Yes, I ate that grasshopper, and …. I’m not rushing to eat it again, but I can appreciate the crunch. 😉 I don’t think that will appear on Farmhouse Kitchen’s regular menu, but there is a street food section if you’d like to make a meal of tasty nibbles.
What I mainly took away from the soft opening celebration was an appreciation for the playfulness, color, and heat that Farmhouse Kitchen endeavors to bring to its customers. This is a dining experience, one that’s sure to put a smile on your face, whether or not there’s traditional Thai background music or pop Thai performances going on during your meal.
Dinner entrees were served in a giant cornucopia display in the beautiful, flower-covered main dining room.
—I didn’t actually taste any as I’d filled up on appetizers, cocktails, and amusement by that time of the evening. That said, I’m certain the panang neua—a slow-braised short rib served with broccolini, blue rice, and panang curry—will be a star of the menu.
I left the rest for the vultures circling at the party, though not without admiring a few more options I hope to try in in the future. Of my own munching, what most stood out were the bananas fried in sesame batter –
I preferred the yellow rice with its chicken broth and turmeric flavor over the very pretty, but plainer tasting, blue rice. Perhaps the yellow rice is the ginger rice on the menu? And I loved the green papaya salad coming from the cold counter with lots of fish sauce, spice heat, and peanuts.
The restaurant’s playfulness is fully displayed in the Fresh Curry cocktail’s presentation, as it’s served with an empty can of coconut milk for a koozie. Its basil flavor was delicious, and I was impressed by how well the St. George Green Chili Vodka, lemongrass, lime, and that basil intermingled, each contributing brightness to the greater whole.
I also tried the Mama-San, a cocktail made with unfiltered sake, red wine, lemongrass, lime, and orange bitters.
It provided hearty sangria-like fruitiness with floral and fresh berry notes that didn’t get watered down until the last few sips. Most sangria concoctions in restaurants, due to all that ice, can’t say the same. The sake was likely key for bulking up its body.
For nondrinkers, the Thai iced coffee and tea are every bit as lovingly crafted and crowned with a scoop of crushed ice.
All the drinks were top-notch and fun to enjoy, as were the service staff and performers at this launch event. I won’t hesitate to recommend Farmhouse Kitchen Oakland to out-of-town visitors and in-town patrons. I can’t wait until I get to try it in its more natural habitat of dinner service. Until then, I’ll refrain from giving Farmhouse Kitchen Thai Cuisine a rating. Instead, I’ll just share some more of its splendor with you.