Open Farm Community: Hippest new restaurant to try this week

A hipster farm-to-table dining concept that’s great for pretending you’re on holiday

Garden state
Garden state
16 Sep 2015

Garden state

Waitaminute. Are we still in Singapore? It sure doesn’t feel like it as we pull up in the gravelly porch of Open Farm Community, nestled in a quiet corner of Dempsey.

This restaurant-cum-farmland is Spa Esprit Group’s nod to the hip farm-to-table concept. Outside, there are a couple of farmers toiling over the rows of okra, lime and rosemary, among others, impervious to the sun rays beating down on the sprawling 35,000 sq ft space once occupied by a golf course. At the foyer, there’s a table tennis table and a takeaway shop that brews java from Common Man Coffee Roasters, and hawks organic snacks and kiddy accessories. 

Farm-to-table dining concept
Farm-to-table dining concept
16 Sep 2015

Farm-to-table dining concept

Admittedly, though, our favourite spot is still within the restaurant’s air-conditioned confines, where natural light streams inside in abundance through floor-to-ceiling glass panes. It’s an Instagrammer’s dream come true. And as you stare out into the distance of the lush greenery and phallic looking sculptures perched in the garden (they’re actually sculptures of seeds in stages of germination), it’s easy to lull yourself into a daydream, like you would on a Bali vacay.

The Tippling Club’s Ryan Clift doesn’t cook here, but he’s the man behind the extensive menu that boasts a refined spin on homey, rustic cooking. In staying true to its garden-to-table mantra, the kitchen tailors the menu slightly according to what’s available in the garden (the spoils from the garden are mostly used in the sides and garnishes). For weight-conscious folks who avoid carbs like the Grinch shuns Christmas, good news: you can skip the middling pastas without FOMO (fear of missing out).

Order This
Order This
16 Sep 2015

Order This

Chilled avocado and ginger soup with poached yabbies ($20)

Cold soup that’s bursting with flavour. Chunks of crustacean swim in a Thai chicken broth base, avocado puree and perfumed with hints of aromatic coconut milk, lime leaf and coriander from the farm. You’d be a fool not to mop it all up with the pillowy warm pita bread served on the side.

Order This
Order This
16 Sep 2015

Order This

Charred lamb rump ($32)

The hunks of meat, cooked sous vide before they’re pan seared, is hardly gamey. Meltingly tender, perfectly pink and wonderfully charred, it’s cushioned on a bed of lush mash potato, diced bacon, pickled onion, green peas and mint sautéed with butter, and drizzled with a herb-y rosemary-thyme (yep, from the farm) jus. Hearty without the heartburn.

Order This
Order This
16 Sep 2015

Order This

Lemon tart with basil ice cream ($17)

This is not your regular lemon tart. Delicately thin sable biscuits, yummy orbs of lemon curd, chia seeds dressed in lemon and basil oil, refreshing basil ice cream made with pickings from the compound and chantilly espuma all go together splendidly. Seconds, anyone?

BOTTOM LINE: A meal here ain’t cheap. But we’re digging the laidback vibe as much as we are the idea of having fresh produce served up with decent nosh.

130E MINDEN RD. TEL: 6471-0306. Open Mon to Fri noon to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm; Sat and Sun 11am to 10pm. Last orders at closing. http://www.openfarmcommunity.com.
 

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