In the age of conscious living, modern city dwellers have gotten accustomed and even more exposed to ethics and practices that endorse a healthier lifestyle. With this rising movement, even those who kept themselves out of the loop have grown intrigued on the ideas that it has to offer: one of them being the concept of ‘farm-to-table’, a mindful practice of plating up simple dishes with ingredients freshly picked from one’s harvestry, in which Mandira’s Garden has implemented since their beginning in 2015.
Setting space in the back of a small compound off Kemang Timur street, visitors are welcome to wander and peek into Mandira’s Garden’s sprouting greenery, tropical herbs and foliage (including varieties of houseplants) that enclose their sun-kissed cafetaria.
“Farm-to-table may sound very commercial nowadays, but it’s a grounding practice that has been exercised since our ancestors,” said owner Lisa Mandira, who hailed from Pontianak, West Kalimantan. As a child, Lisa witnessed her aunt cultivate all kinds of plants, so her love for nature grew and gardening became her favourite pastime that doubles as her remedy.
What used to be her spontaneous homespun meals are now served in the homely restaurant, whose offerings are seasonal and vary day-to-day – or as they call it, ‘No-menu Cafetaria.’ “The key to a wholesome meal is to use as minimum ingredients as possible. If you grow [your produce] properly, they will also taste delicious,” she explained.
Expect to find a plateful of hearty dishes that would satisfy the day’s nutrition, like their Blue Rice Nasi Rames which colour derives from butterfly-pea flowers, Spring Salad (a mix of veggies, fresh corn and edible flowers) and Pasta Pesto Basil with Ayam Balado. Or should you intend to slow down in the company of simple grubs, take their Donut Kampoeng that are made of sweet potatoes, and pair it with their varieties of home-brewed tea that are also spoiling to the eyes.
Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself stocking up on the pantry from the house’s little grocery store that delivers everything homemade and artisanal, and go home with a handful of seeds and a bag of produce to start your own little ‘garden-to-table’ project.