Exactly one day before the city was shut down by the pandemic, Son & Garden grandly opened with a garden tea party. It was the latest restaurant from the Farmhouse Kitchen Thai group, which now has a mini empire with locations in SF, Oakland, and Portland. And it looked absolutely fabulous, decked out in over-the-top florals, with an outrageous all-day menu from lobster benedicts to wagyu burgers.
But alas, it was never possible to settle in for cocktails and selfies on those blush statement chairs. The buzz from Son & Garden’s incredibly fun opening was drowned out by that cruel twist of fate that is the new coronavirus. Despite that, they refused to let that tea party stop, at least not on Instagram and TikTok. Because now, Son & Garden is buzzing again, this time on social media.
Can we just talk about that over-the-top afternoon tea party that’s available for takeout?
Here’s the tea: Their “secret garden afternoon tea party set” comes with finger sandwiches filled with cucumber, egg, and salmon; more substantial pastries like scones, danishes, and pound cake; and mini sweets, topping it off with macarons, cream puffs, and more. It also includes a three-tiered tray that one assembles oneself, a slew of rose buds to perfect the plating, and faux gold cutlery and floral paper cups to set the table. The tea is American bag tea courtesy of Harney & Sons. This feeds two people. It costs $89.99.
“We wanted to make something for people who are staying at home, because it’s really hard during the pandemic, to continue to bring good energy,” chef and owner Kasem Saengsawang, who brought this vision to life in collaboration with pastry chef Suchanya Piyamaporn, tells Eater SF. “ ... There’s so much sad news. We’re the bright side for them.” He loves seeing posts of customers enjoying it in Dolores and Golden Gate parks, and says the restaurant regularly gets comments begging for shipping to LA and San Diego.
As the resident anglophile at Eater SF, who has feasted on cream teas across London, would we say this is the best scone we’ve ever eaten in our lives? Unfortunately, the finest scones are usually fresh from the oven, and don’t fare well with refrigeration and transit. But was this a fun experience? Oh, it’s extra. So for all those who could use a little delight in these trying times, go for it. Text your most ridiculous friend. Put the kettle on. Unless of course you’d prefer the butterfly cloud cocktail.
It’s worth mentioning that Farmhouse Thai is also serving up this remarkably pretty “Little Lao” takeout tray, which has also been trending for some time.
Behind the scenes, the other creative here is Cynthia Linh, the social media consultant who’s been rolling all of this out online. Of all the ways restaurants have gotten creative during the pandemic, leaning into social media seems to have been one of the most consistent strategies.
And Farmhouse Thai Kitchen isn’t stopping there. Pandemic or no, the group is still in rapid expansion mode, promising two new restaurants in Menlo Park this year, and another in Portland the following. Stay tuned for more over-the-top takeout updates, or just watch for them on Instagram.