lifestyle

A little farm on a hill

 

“Lisa and i have worked in cities all our adult lives and I guess it was just time to do something different,” muses Pete Teo, who co-owns and runs a little farm on the hill with wife Lisa.

Just a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, the farm-to-table restaurant and certified organic farm is located in the forested hills of Janda Baik, Pahang. They also conduct yoga, cheese-making, gardening and other artisanal classes as well as supply fresh vegetable produce to fine-dining restaurants in KL.
“Creating an organic farm and farm-to-table restaurant was an opportunity for us to learn new skills as well as make a modest contribution to the community and environment. To be able to feel challenged, make new friends and create a special place at this stage of our lives have been a pleasure and privilege really. We are extremely lucky,” says Pete.

Pete considers the staff of eight who live onsite, including housekeepers, supervisors and farmhands, as family.

“We are in our early 50’s — an age when most people are winding down a career built over decades. So to be able to still find fresh challenges by creating something new and special is a wonderful thing,” he adds.

Lisa was an architect for over twenty years, while Pete was, and still is, a filmmaker and musician.

“She takes care of the culinary side of the operation and I manage the farming side. Neither of us had any prior experience in horticulture before we started this five years ago. We received a lot of help from farmer friends and then learned on the job. It’s been fun,” he enthuses.

Their food is an eclectic fusion of influences from around the world — Middle Eastern, European and Malaysian — with a unifying guiding principle that paramount importance is placed upon the quality and freshness of the ingredients.

“It is not uncommon for us to serve greens that were in the soil merely hours ago. This allows us to create food that is light and honest yet simultaneously complex and layered.”

 

Situated 600m above sea level and literally encased by jungle, the place is agreeably cool, and the surroundings are home to a huge assortment of wildlife such as monkeys, boars, eagles and hornbills.

“Great food is only one part of the experience we offer. The other is the simple beauty of our farm. It’s pretty and idyllic here — perfect for escaping from the furore of the city,” Pete points out.

The farm buildings sit on a hill with willowy trees and ponds interwoven by terraces of vegetable beds and flowers.


Visitors to this haven can enjoy the popular signature 12-Leaf Salad, which consists of at least 12 different types of greens, freshly harvested or foraged from the grounds. Paired with a light, subtle dressing, the complexity of the mixed greens shine through with notes of citrus, and the flavours are earthy, tart, sweet and spicy.

“Another favourite is our smoked beef. Top quality short ribs are dry-rubbed with a simple salt and pepper marinade, then smoked in our brick smoker for six to seven hours at 135° Celsius,” says Pete.

The dish is served hot, with homemade pickles and spicy tomato salsa, and the result is pretty unforgettable — juicy, deep, savoury yet clean and satisfying.
Pete describes a little farm on the hill as a cross between great country cooking and exclusive fine-dining.

“With an average spend of around rm300 per person, we are not cheap — but guests do get their money’s worth. We are particularly popular with people celebrating special occasions like birthdays, small weddings, family gatherings and corporate off-sites.

“Folks who appreciate fine cuisine served in an idyllic country ambience and agrarian hospitality would like what we do.” 


Notes
1.    a little farm on the hill only provides service by pre-booking at least one week in advance and doesn’t do walk-ins. Those who attempt to visit without reservations or appointment will be turned away by the security guard at the estate gate.

2.     It is open for lunch bookings every Wednesday through to Sunday, and do not do dinners.

3.    A minimum spend of RM2,200 is required for private bookings. Depending on the menu chosen, this equates to a minimum of seven to eight people. For smaller groups, they recommend their public events, where no minimum spend applies.

4.    A list of public events and communal lunches are published on their website alittlefarmonthehill.com, where guests may directly book seats online. Private bookings are conducted via email correspondence.


a little farm on the hill
Lot 161, Tanarimba, Janda Baik,
Persiaran Enderong, Bukit Tinggi,
28750, Bentong, Pahang, Malaysia
T: +609 233 0194 | E: [email protected]om
alittlefarmonthehill.com

This report is part of the "As Fresh As It Gets" segment in Live! 2020. 

This story first appeared in Live! 2020 magazine. Download your copy of the magazine here.

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