Farm to Table restaurants have been popping up in recent years, especially in North America where this style and ethics of preparing food have been emulated in at least one eatery in all 50 states in America. Closer to home, Open Farm Community is perhaps the most successful in carving out a green sanctuary that combines the best of local produces with the best gourmet cooking.
The benefits of FoT are endless:
• Reduces carbon footprints significantly
• Ensures the freshest produces are delivered within the shortest time
• Supports local farmers and businesses
• Plays an important role in creating sustainability of the ecosystem
• Safeguards the authenticity of local cuisine
OFC’s new menu is a testament to their renewed pledge to push forward Farm to Table cooking in land constraint Singapore. With star Chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club as part of this collaboration, taste will never be compromised.
While waiting for my dining companions, I had the Green Seed ($18), a new Gin based cocktail comprising basil, green leaf, anise and lemon. The drink was sprightly and uplifting- well balanced, exactly the kind of pre-dinner drinks I would like to have.
The next I had, the Mile & Smoke ($18) was even better. The juxtaposition of smoked whisky and chamomile-lemongrass gave a Yin and Yang to this mix. It was a feminine touch on the first sip then you get the masculine whisky hitting you on the aftertaste, along with some smoke. It was well-thought out. Not to mention, the texture was perfect.
Not surprisingly, the cocktails here have a pretty similar construct to the ones at Tippling Club except they are much more botany focused in OFC with most, if not all of the herbs coming from their front lawn garden. Another point to impress your date.
As my companions arrived, we started with the Garden Pea Soup, Garden Knife Beans, Jamon, Sugar Snap Peas, Pita Bread ($22). The soup was viscous, powered by the taste of chlorophyll and I was happy with their house made pita.
The Crispy Jurong Frog Legs, Root Vegetables & Lemak inspired Curry, Garden Curry Leaves ($26) was an unlikely favourite of mine since I never like frog legs and could never imagine how such a combination could transpire. The frog legs were fried almost to the same crispiness as the regular KFC chicken thighs except they were twice the succulence. Pair them with the curry and you wonder why rice was missing from the table.
The Steak Tartar, marinated with Ginger Chili, Spring Onion & Coriander Purée, Garlic Crouton, Organic Egg Yolk ($26) was an unanimous favourite. It was my first experience having steak tartar done with local rempah, so the spice definitely gave each bite of the tartar on toast a desirable kick.
We almost mistook the last starter we had, the Roasted King Prawns, Garden Herb Gremolata, Compressed Spring Onion ($28) as a main course because the crustaceans were giantic along the plate they were served on. Gremolata is an Italian chopped herb condiment of lemon zest, garlic and parsley and is a traditional accompaniment to the Ossobucco alla Milanese (veal stew). While the Gremolata condiment was strong in itself, it was not enough to mask the taste of the juicy prawns, which was brilliant.
The Garden Holy Basil Gnocchi, Pickled Okra, Lemongrass Dressing ($26) was divine. First the gnocchi which was made from scratch here had a mochi-chewy bite to it which was addictive while the trio combination of basil, okra and lemongrass lends a pleasant gusto of aroma to the pasta.
We also had the Local Snake Bean, Abalone Mushroom, Fermented Sugar Cane Dressing ($17) before moving on to our mains. It came as a revelation to me for two reasons. I never knew local snake bean could taste this good. And I also never knew fermented sugar cane has such an unique sweetness and works wonder with the snake bean and abalone mushrooms, which are also harvested in Singapore.
The Roasted Red Snapper, Calamansi & Sesame Cucumber Salad, Garden Roselle & Hibiscus Ketchup, Pickled Cucumber ($32) was a novel dish, reminisce of Nordic cooking where you have an element of putting the least expected ingredients into a sauce (in this case the flowery roselle with hibiscus) and the almost ubiquitous use of pickling, the way the Scandis like it.
The BBQ half Chicken, Sweet Corn Ragout, Potato Fondant, Mustard Frill Salad ($36) stood out for being the best barbecued chicken I have had. It was grilled ala Goldilocks, with all the flavours (I want) infused into the tender chicken meat nicely and the sweet corn ragout had a lingering taste which made me yearned for more.
Comparatively the Red Grouper Burger, Chunky Tartar Sauce, Pickled Cucumber, Local Green Salad ($30) was the weakest we have had though I must give it to them for using the best premium ingredients. The fish patty was made from grouper farmed in Singapore waters. Cubed painstakingly by hands before making it into a patty, it was the chunkiest fish patty I have ever had. However as promising as it sounds, the patty tasted a little bland while the buns were a tad too dense.
Despite the labour intensive process involved and the supposed economic value of this patty, I felt that it was too enormous and there was simply too much fish. With the ratio out of proportion and the patty wrapped between equally thick buns, It was a challenge to eat this burger.
Not before we gave up, we closed the chapter with the Pandan & Banana Custard, Ginger Biscuit, Lemon Grass Sago, Sugar Cane Sorbet ($18). It was a little unsettling to have this at first since I was not really sure of what I was eating. Imagine dollops of kaya on a plate with banana? But after a few bites into it I was beginning to make sense of it. The proven combination, albeit “deconstructed” was pleasantly good but I am struggling to find the words to describe it. This dessert was familiar (like kueh kueh) yet foreign, akin to taking your Peranakan Grandmother to an extreme makeover for a saturday girls’ night out.
With consumers becoming more demanding of not just how their food taste, but where, how and whom eateries source their food from, OFC is definitely ahead of food trends, ahead in food sustainability and ahead in their game.
Open Farm Community’s new set lunch menu, Lunch with the Locals, boasts a 100 per cent locally-sourced selection with mouth-watering options such as a Sambal kangkong risotto doused in a lemak curry foam with crispy kangkong leaves and Local quail breast and crispy confit leg with grilled spring onion balsamic and glazed to passionfruit perfection.
Lunch with the Locals offers two-courses at S$35++; three-courses at S$42++; and four-courses at S$52++, with an option for a S$10++ top up for a glass of organic wine.
The above article is written by Guest Writer @ramenking2017. You can find him on instagram where he shares his love for food and travel.
Open Farm Community (OFC)
130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
Tel: +65 6471 0306
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday
Lunch: 12.00nn to 4.00pm Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays Lunch: 11.00am to 4.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.00pm
Café: Monday – Friday: 8.00am to 9.00pm