Singapore restaurant embedded within expansive urban farm embraces authentic locavore dining ethic
December 22nd, 2015
The verdant gardens and parkland of Dempsey Hill in Singapore provide the idyllic setting for new restaurant Open Farm Community (OFC). Taking its cues from the global locavore dining ethic, and conceived in a serendipitous collaboration between the entrepreneurial lifestyle Spa Esprit Group, celebrated chef Ryan Clift, and local urban farming outfit Edible Garden City, OFC has pushed the envelope with its large scale adoption of local sourcing, working harder and going further to get produce directly from their own on-site vegetable and herb gardens, or local Singaporean and regional growers, to give diners the freshest possible experience. Serving a well-constructed menu of uncomplicated international dishes diners can expect uplifted renditions of ingredient-focused dishes, complemented with an intelligent list of small producer wine labels, craft beers and refreshing cocktails. Opened mid-year, the unique dining-amid-horticulture experience at OFC has proven massively popular with most days seeing full seating at both lunch and dinner – weekend family activities plus regular social farmer’s market events add further dimensions to the casual-chic dining destination.
Design Occupying a substantial hillside garden-horticultural space, the OFC experiences extend across several outdoor and indoor spaces – with casual decking settings, separate coffee bar with retail store, and the main restaurant pavilion enclosed on three sides by full height glass – fronted by a sculpture garden. Designed by the local firm GreyMatters who also created the new Tippling Club interiors, the main dining room exudes a sophisticated rustic-chic aesthetic with recycled timber flooring, a bespoke ceiling lighting installation, and pared-back table furnishings. Warm timber surfaces are contrasted with colourful mosaic wall tiling, together visually melding with the lush garden surrounds.
Cuisine Co-founder and executive chef Ryan Clift, together with head chef Daniele Sperindio, bring both creativity and well-honed technique to their seasonal menus cooked in the impressive open kitchen. Fresh vegetables and meats are grilled and roasted in the custom-built charcoal ovens, with a simple, rustic and ingredient-forward approach creating dishes like the Red grouper with peas and mint purèe, grilled baby cos & chimichurri; and Warm orecchiette salad, broccolini, golden beets, baby carrots, goat cheese, fresh basil & watercress tips. Weekend brunches on the open-air decking are particularly popular – a brunch menu features favourites like Eggs Benedict with poached chicken, spinach, semi-dried tomatoes, sourdough & green curry hollandaise sauce.
Beverages While the stand-alone coffee bar and takeaway store serve gourmet coffees by Common Man Coffee Roasters, the main restaurant bar offers a compact list of garden-inspired cocktails replete with fresh-from-the-herb garden ingredients – exemplified by the Smashing Good Thyme – with Bacardi Rum, fresh lime, green peas, yellow Chartreuse, thyme; and the OFC Pimms – Pimms, ginger ale, strawberry, cucumber, mint, lemon. Fresh fruit juices, smoothies and mocktails like the Homemade Lemonade provide alcohol-free refreshment.
OFC opens on weekdays from 12 pm for lunch, with dinner served from 6 pm; and on weekends from 11 am with brunch and all-day dining. Menus are updated seasonally, special events and the monthly Open Farmers Markets are highlighted on the OFC Facebook Page. Table bookings are recommended.