Dempsey Hill is home to countless cafes, restaurants and bars, but none of them can claim to have a garden in their backyard quite like Open Farm Community can.
The collaboration between the Spa Esprit Group, celebrity chef Ryan Clift and food garden specialists Edible Garden City sees vegetables and herbs being carefully cultivated in Open Farm Community’s sprawling garden space, where they will eventually be used as ingredients to create the food on the restaurant’s menu.
Thisurban farmland encourages diners to take a stroll and explore the nature within. There’s even a space for lawn bowling and a ping pong table, should the need to work off some calories post-meal arise.
It’s all part of a big effort to send a simple message – that fresh quality produce can be grown in Singapore and need not always be imported. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so on to the food it is.
Starters include the Coal-Baked Omelette that comes with sliced smoked haddock, two types of sauces within, rocket salad and shaved parmesan. The eggs are organic, and the fluffiness of it all makes this dish feel more like a premium version of scrambled eggs, perfect for the brunch-seeking crowd.
If ever Dempsey Hill were to crown a dish the king of salads, the “Hail Caesar” Salad would be a strong contender for the title. Unbelievably crisp and fresh, the salad is tossed with baby romaine lettuce, cured ham, poached chicken breast and ciabatta bread croutons. It convinced our inner glutton that healthy food can taste quite heavenly.
Open Farm Community serves up a myriad of homemade pastas in all sorts of shapes and textures, like the Mud Crab Spaghettoni, where the pasta used is a much thicker version of spaghetti found elsewhere. Generously coated with Thai curry sauce, there’s no way you can twirl the noodles around your fork for this one, so just abandon your inhibitions and dig in like we did.
The Rigatoni got us hooked as well. A form of tube-shaped pasta in various lengths and sizes, the rigatoni is paired with a winning formula of earthy local mushrooms, butter, smoked pancetta and topped with Stilton blue cheese.
Meat lovers should opt for the Charred Lamb Rump. Served with mash potato and plenty of greens, all infused with herbs and a rosemary-thyme jus, this dish may be small in serving size, but it’s definitely big on flavor.
Dessert at Open Farm Community is a refreshing affair. Cleanse the palate with the Lemon Tart with Basil Ice Cream, or sip a glass of the Smashing Good Thyme cocktail that mixes Bacardi Rum with thyme, fresh lime, green peas and yellow chartreuse. Traditionalists can head to the dedicated coffee bar next door to get their post-meal espresso fix.
Open Farm Community is located at 130E Minden Road and operates from 12pm – 3pm (Mondays to Fridays), 6pm – 10pm (Mondays to Fridays) and 11am – 11pm (Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays). Visit its website for more information.