The space at Open Farm Community is refreshing. The greenery of the Dempsey area never fails to bring an instant calm to frazzled nerves. I'm usually wary of trying out new restaurants within a month of its opening. But I didn't feel like waiting till September, so bravely hopped in twice at lunch and now at dinner. The restaurant is most beautiful in the day though.
A collaboration between Spa Esprit Group, Chef Ryan Clift and Edible Gardens, Open Farm Community focuses on using as many kinds of locally grown crops as possible, including setting up its own herb and vegetable garden on the grounds for ermm decorative purposes. The little garden is unable to produce enough volume to meet daily kitchen demands.
I understand that the food needed tweaking in the first two weeks of operations. By now, the items seemed all right. Nothing was over-salted in my meals so far, except for the starter of coal-baked omelette with smoked haddock, tarragon and grain mustard mornay. The mixture gave it this really salty hit, which wasn't too bad. I like salt. :P Also, I had no interest in the chilled avocado and ginger soup with poached yabbies and fresh radish. The starters would look familiar if you frequent Open Door Policy. It took all of my willpower to resist the grilled halloumi salad with basil, bread, tomatoes and white pickled anchovies.
Some hits and misses, but by and large, our dishes were sufficiently balanced and flavored. Oddly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Open Farm Community's pastas were good. I enjoyed all the choices on the menu. The mud crab spaghettoni with thai curry sauce, crunchy yellow squash, coconut, crispy shallot thai basil was surprisingly tangy and delicious, not at all weird. The pumpkin and pine nut tortilla with local yabbies and minden pesto, and the pumpkin and parsley risotto with caramelized seeds and fresh herb dressing from the garden were flavors we could easily churn out at home. So it was very comforting to know that these were really decent. The man enjoyed his meal too. And he liked the charred lamb rump with garden peas, bacon, lettuce, mint, whipped mash and rosemary thyme jus.
What we didn't appreciate, were the prices of beer and whisky. They weren't prohibitive, just a tad unreasonable like S$15 for 330ml of Suntory Premium Malt on tap, and S$21 for 550ml. It's obvious that the restaurant wants to move wine sales and cocktails. It made a lot more sense to order a bottle of wine or a few glasses of cocktails. Well, I couldn't finish my 250ml of wine. Just not my thing lah. Although well-spaced between tables, the restaurant is very noisy- the usual cuplrits- wood, high ceilings and glass with no sound absorbers. It's very disturbing when I hear each word from each person at the next table at least five metres away. As usual, I wore earplugs. Heh.