“Some kids in Singapore have never seen a farm before.” That’s true. I agree with Cynthia Chua, owner of THE Spa Esprit Group who has added this never-seen-in-Singapore concept to her restaurant conglomerate.
The Open Farm Community, which looks set to be one of the defining new openings in Singapore this year, is a collaboration between the Spa Esprit Group, Chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club and urban food garden specialists Edible Gardens. (Reservations Online)
This concept at Dempsey Hill, sprawling over 35,000 square feet of an urban farmland and 60-seater restaurant space, is a bold and refreshing move in land-scarce Singapore.
A restaurant in the middle is surrounded by a beautiful architectural garden, where children can explore the fruit orchards, while busy executives can also do takeaways at a café at the front.
I would have imagined this to happen only in countries like Australia. Brilliant.
The cuisine served can be described as mod-European, without the theatrics of Tippling Club, straight forward, down to earth (no pun intended), closer to what you would have at Open Door Policy.
Spotted Ms Cynthia Chua at the garden, who obliged for a photo and short interview.
Menu includes starters such as Seared tuna with green papaya & jicama salad, fresh coconut & dashi vinegar ($26), mains of 300g rib eye steak with garden herb butter, charcoal-roasted potato, garlic & shallot confit($55), Roasted mangalica pork belly, apple & ginger salad, sautéed bok choy with a spring onion & soy ju ($34), pasta dishes and desserts.
If you noticed, quite heavy use of vegetables – I like.
OFC’s waitress was friendly and forthcoming, “Let me show you some of the signatures and their pictures (flips the electronic menu), but this is what I LIKE too.” I followed her recommendations.
The Roasted Baby Chicken, braised leeks with hazelnut butter & wild watercress salad ($28) was juicy and flavoursome on every bite, with sauce that you may sweep clean with the remaining leek.
Food was generally on the saltier and heavy side, not quite what I would have imagined, though Singaporeans do prefer dishes lusher in taste.
Pasta-wise, the Squid Ink Taglierini with ‘inferno’ sauce, calamari, asparagus & chilli padi($26), was rich, a tad oily, but satisfying. The pasta has a lovely chewy texture. (Though Nicholas commented that the deep fried calamari reminded him of OCK’s – I guess not in a bad way.)
(Photo credit: Nicholas Tan @stormscape)
The dessert of Lemon tart with basil ice cream ($17) came highly recommended. Citrusy zest of Mille Feuille with crispy crusted puff pastry and bogs of vanilla bean and lemond cream.
Open Farm Community is as close as farm-to-table as it can get, where herbs (such as Thai basil coriander, rosemary, thyme) and vegetables are grown in the backyard, and reach freshly prepared in simple rustic dishes in your plates.
Open Farm Community
130E Minden Road Singapore 248819
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (Mon-Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat-Sun), Last orders 30 min before closing
Tel: +65 6471 0306
Reserve Online Now – Open Farm Community (Reservations encouraged)
* Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.