Tucked into the rolling rural hills of Malvern, The Fern & Fable at People’s Light (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355) is a natural treat and distinctive enclave for those searching for immaculate portions of fresh fare. A scenic, short ride from Center City Philadelphia, the acclaimed restaurant boasts scratch cooking with dramatic flair.
The Fern & Fable is housed in a stunning 1700s restored farmhouse with plenty of onsite parking, all within less than ten minutes from area hotels. All proceeds from the restaurant directly support People’s Light, one of the largest professional non-profit theatres in the state.
Repurposed in 2011 and rebranded in 2022, the Fern & Fable was established to provide a delightful dining experience for theatre-goers and has since expanded into its distinction. The complementary rustic woodburning and gas fireplaces create a cozy indoor ambiance with seating for 45 guests, while the romantic backdrop of the herb and spring gardens surround al fresco diners in warmer weather. An open-air canopy bordered by the award-winning English gardens of People’s Light provides shade and shelter for up to 50 guests dining outdoors from April through November and veranda heating for fall.
Patrons can raise one-of-a-kind hand-blown drinking glasses and toast the evening inside Fern & Fable’s stunning space, including the intimate Garden Room, which accommodates up to 16 guests for smaller gatherings. In addition to the handcrafted bar built with 100-year-old reclaimed cherry wood and unique glassworks, the property is adorned with various lanterns, glass and metal sconces, and eclectic lighting created by artist Hank Adams. Tailored artwork featuring costume renderings and textiles from storied People’s Light productions embellish the halls and parlors of the restaurant. The spirit and atmosphere of the restaurant set a stage only second to the exquisite masterwork of Fern & Fable’s Head Chef, who joined the restaurant in September 2022.
Restaurant Chef Abigail Morris holds more than a decade of culinary expertise using locally and responsibly sourced fresh ingredients in the storytelling of her new American cuisine. Her 2023 spring menu presents farm-to-table favorites with a modern homegrown twist. Herbs are collected directly from The Fern & Fable’s onsite garden, and Verde Valley Urban Micro-Greens LLC supplies organically grown live micro-green plants.
Chef Abigail’s duck breast entree features locally raised duck from supplier Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd., and pairs perfectly with the signature “Thyme for Grapefruit and Gin” crafted using liquor from Brandywine Branch Distillers of Elverson. The chef conducts all pickling for her Green Goddess Burrata, BBQ Flatbread, and sandwiches in-house, and freshly baked specialty breads accompany select menu items with gluten-free and vegetarian options for patrons to savor.
Chef Abigail conceptualizes each dish with unique ingredients in mind to tell a story for the seasoned epicure and completes the course offerings with homemade desserts from scratch. Chef’s creations are a playful seduction of the senses and a hearty companion to the season of exciting productions and programming at People’s Light.
A unique and eclectic cocktail menu features liquor-infused, flavorful brews as showstopping as a People’s Light presentation. The signature “Sage Fig Cocktail” is a smooth mixture of rum, fresh figs, lemon, and grand Marnier, while the relished “Salted Caramel Espresso Martini,” dubbed a truly‘spiritual experience’ offers seasoned, rich notes of espresso, shaved caramel candies, sea salt, shaved chocolate, vodka, and chocolate liquor made on the premises. A taste of summer awaits in the serene outdoor gardens of the Fern & Fable with the “Summertide Lemonade,” a tasty fusion for the palate of jasmine, rose, and honeysuckle complemented by a splash of Revivalist Summertide Expression gin.
Coravin preserved specialty red and white wines, a trio of domestic beer options, and six imported beers complete the list of spirits, with chef’s harmonious cocktail creations as the main ingredient of a perfect happy hour. A crisp HopDevil from Victory Brewing Company, the featured beer of alternating draft selections, begs the accompaniment of Chef Abigail’s happy hour menu. Fried Shishito Peppers, Burrata Toast, and French Onion Grilled Cheese Baguette, only available during happy hour Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m., meet the mark with $5 house wine and $4 domestic beers.
Thursdays are for tunes at the Fern & Fable, with live music every Thursday evening throughout the year from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A complete list of artists and dates is available here. Reservations are highly recommended for an evening of live performances and fun at the Fern & Fable presented by Red Phone Entertainment.
Theatre subscribers of People’s Light are welcomed to a 15% discount at the Fern & Fable. Children are welcome, and Chef Abigail offers a curated kid’s menu featuring favorites, including hearty Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese and Margarita Flatbread. The restaurant is open Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m. Just keep in mind that the restaurant hours of operation are occasionally altered or limited due to the People’s Light production calendar or private events; therefore, reservations to The Fern & Fable are highly encouraged and may be made here, or guests can call 610.647.1631 x158.
A full menu, gallery, and more information about upcoming and ongoing events can be found here.
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