The farm-to-table concept might not be new, but yet it is not widely practised in Singapore. I have heard of it several times before and personally found it an interesting idea. Imagine growing herbs and plants for your personal consumption and being in charge of what you put into your body.
It is this very reason that I am smitten with Open Farm Community (OFC). Set up in July 2015 under a collaboration between Spa Espirt Group and Edible Garden City, OFC is one of the first few restaurants in Singapore to wholly embrace the farm-to-table dining concept. It’s heartening to know that two years on, the restaurant is still going on strong with a new head chef, Oliver Truesdale-Jutras, to helm it.
Head chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras attempts to breathe new life into the menu whilst keeping true to the locavore experience OFC is known for. Most of the primary ingredients used are still sourced locally, as OFC’s own urban garden would not be able to produce enough for the restaurant.
Before the meal, we had a Fuchs und Hase Pat Nat 2015. Recommended by Wine and Operations Manager Philippe Chin – who is also new to the restaurant, this Austrian sparkling wine has a rather unique taste. Similar to cider without the acidity of it, the natural wine was rather light and unlike any wine I have tried before.
A dish that reminded me of carpaccio, the Citrus Cured Hamachi (S$18) uses sushi-grade Kingfish. The fish is not from farms but rather caught from the seas. The hamachi is cured for 30 minutes in Aguachile, topped with pickled rojak ginger, shredded green papaya from OFC’s garden and nitro-frozen pomelo. Fret not if you are afraid of spiciness — I did not detect the slightest hint of chilli. One slice was enough to envelop my mouth with flavours of the sea and the pomelo bits certainly did things right by giving little bursts of tartness every now and then.
If you prefer something meatless, opt for the Organic Asparagus Salad (S$18). Drenched in lime vinaigrette, the salad comes with hazelnuts, cashew cheese and kale chips. The Thai asparagus was a bit fibrous for my liking. Otherwise, the dish was incredibly flavourful.
The other pasta main, Kin Yan Mushroom Strozzapretti (S$26), tells a happier tale, fortunately. Suitable for vegans, this dish uses black beans from Zhenxin Organics, mushrooms from Kin Yan and organic silken tofu from Unicurd. Sorrel from Edible Garden City adds a slightly sour dimension to the dish. This earthy and smokey dish was definitely a favourite among most of us at the table, judging by the fact that not much of it was left.
Fish lovers can go for the Steamed Tiberias Barramundi Fillet ($28). We learnt that the fish was caught from the north-eastern coast of Pulau Ubin and delivered to OFC all within six hours. Japanese-inspired, the fish is steamed in dashi butter and seasoned with a Furikake made from local seaweed. The scattered grains of Pulut hitam added a local touch to the dish and went really well with the fish.
Meat lovers are not forgotten at OFC. A work of art, the Braised Canadian Pork Belly (S$28) looks as good as it tastes. The huge slab of belly meat is specially marinated and then cooked sous vide for 16 hours. The skin crackled like it should and the fatty part of the meat was the ultimate melt-in-the-mouth. I would go for this main anytime. With the meat paired with homemade kimchi, it was a heaven-made match on a plate.
Going in line with “melting” dishes, the Thai Milk Tea Tart (S$12) makes a good dessert to have after the Braised Canadian Pork Belly. The tart comes with a small scoop of cinnamon ice cream on the side. Instead of using sugar, the restaurant uses stevia, a natural plant sweetener which is fast gaining popularity among the health-conscious. What a delightful end to the meal.
Open Farm Community
130E Minden Road
Tel: +65 6471 0306
Opening hours: Mon to Fri – 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm; Weekends and public holidays – 11am to 4pm, 6pm to 11pm