Going Local At Open Farm Community
True to its moniker ‘garden city’, Singapore’s streets are lined with trees and plants. But even though you’re surrounded by greenery here, a real, productive garden is hard to find. That’s what makes Open Farm Community (OFC) so special.
Nestled in Dempsey, just a short distance away from Orchard Road, OFC is a restaurant island in a sea of green – plants that they farm for the food they serve. Now, how often do you see that in Singapore?
OFC also sources 90% of their produce regionally. So far, so farm-to-table. What’s new? The new menu doesn’t just celebrate local produce, it also celebrates local flavours.
Here are our favourites from OFC’s latest menu update:
Steak Tartar marinated with Ginger Chilli
Raw beef? Yessss. Chicken rice chilli sauce? YESSS. It may sound a little strange, but the combination absolutely works. Diced raw beef with a glistening egg yolk on top is almost universal Food Porn, but beef tartar can get a little rich. The addition of the zingy ginger chilli sauce cuts through the fattiness perfectly – so much so that I could probably have polished this off myself.
Tempura Jurong Frog Legs
Despite all those jokes about the West of Singapore practically being in Malaysia (ha, ha, ha), Jurong frog is about as local as it is possible to be here. These lovely legs are encased in a crispy tempura coating, and served in a robust Malay style curry. I LOVED THIS DISH. The crunch of the frog leg with the creamy curry sauce was so moreish, I wished this was a main and not a starter. Then I could have had morrrre, and eaten it with some fluffy white rice, instead of the pita bread it’s served with.
OFC Garden Holy Basil Gnocchi
Have you ever heard fusion food being referred to as ‘confusion food’? When this dish arrived at the table, I thought ‘uh-oh, this dish is going to be weird’. Gnocchi with okra, and a creamy lemongrass dressing? Huh?? But one mouthful was more than enough to change my mind. God, this was good. It’s kind of difficult to describe, because even when I was eating it, so much was going on in my mouth. All I know is that it was creamy and chewy, and had a delicious savoury flavour from the lemongrass with a hit of crunch and acidity from the okra and pickled onions. YUM.
Cocktails are inspired by the OFC garden, with drinks like Green Seed, a concoction of their own basil, green leaf, anise, lemon and gin. I sipped on a Cherry Grove Spritz, which really did make me feel like a Lady who Lunches, thanks to the blend of cherry, Campari and prosecco.
The food at OFC is a little pricey, but with the beautiful landscape outside, it’s almost like taking a little mini holiday. There's also a set lunch, called Lunch with the Locals, offering three-courses at S$42++, with a S$10++ top up for a glass of organic wine. You could easily spend the whole day here, luxuriating over lunch, retiring to the café for a coffee, then strolling around the lush garden or even playing a round of lawn bowls.