One thing you may notice lacking from my post is pictures of Open Farm Community – the latest cool resto on the block, thanks to it’s farm-to-table concept at Dempsey Hill. Pretty much because every other website or blog has been posting picture after beautiful picture of this place, raving about the concept. Reservations have been close to impossible to get for the last few months since it opened in July, and other than using/abusing Media or Social Media to get a table – something I loathe doing, so I waited the hype out, and dined there for brunch on Sunday last week on Dec 5, close to a good half year after its opening.
Unlike what some other places have posted and claimed, it is NOT the first farm-to-table concept in Singapore. I think Ivy Singh’s Bollywood Veggies should take that credit. Or the “secret kelong”. But, it is a cool concept by Cynthia Chua of the Spa Esprit group who seems to be taking quite a stronghold over the eateries in Singapore.
What you have is probably the world’s most expensive farm psf, supplying quite a lot of (I highly doubt, most of) the produce that makes it to the table. Honestly, if it did supply most of the greens on each table, the garden would be quite muddy and bare given the crowds they’ve been pulling in. So, it is a rather simple deduction. But I think the garnishes, some of the vegetables served, and probably the table arrangements that sit in water on your table – rustic jars of mint and other herbs in jars, have grown in the soil there.
Other than that – there have been tons of posts with photos of OFC – and honestly, Cynthia’s food places have always had the same brand of raw, minimalist chic that works – and this, is no different. It is definitely another Instagram worthy/ootd-worthy eatery. So let me talk about the food.
Is it good?
Yes. But, was it worth waiting 6 months for… perhaps not. But the place gives the same familiarity as House at Dempsey – the food is good enough for a casual day out. Nice enough to bring visiting friends too. Delivers well enough that you know that if you stick to a few familiar favourites, you probably won’t be disappointed. Easy to make reservations for big tables for, so its good for groups. Sort of like – the Crystal Jade of Western food in Singapore.
Not the type of restaurant you are left swooning over and talk about in hushed reverent whispers. But something very homely and comforting, that will keep you coming back.
Maybe it is the brunch menu that was not very impressive to me.
We ate the warm broccoli salad – it was fresh, tasted like Chinese stir fried broccoli, and it was a good note to start the brunch on.
The clams came highly recommended – I am not and have never been a clam person. But even then, when I dined at Morsels and tasted their clam dish, I was impressed. (Their clams that have a spot of Kimchi in it – TDF, And the broth actually tastes even better and richer when left for a day.)
Here at OFC though, I was.. meh. The broth was weak and thin. The flavours were simple, but did not wow. I might have been impressed if this was cooked by a friend at home, but, not at a restaurant.
My friend who ordered the clam pasta claimed that her clams were better than what we had been served as a dish for starters, “fresh and juicy” she raved. And for someone who claims she gets full pretty easily, she inhaled her whole pasta dish, after she did manage to pick at quite a few dishes at the table – so perhaps if you are a clam person, I would suggest you stick to the clam pasta as a main.
Rosti – also a very popular dish, was not quite as we expected. High on the scrambled eggs portion, which were light, fluffy and runny, and low on the rosti. Actually. I don’t even remember tasting the rosti. Which would be good for those on low carb diets I guess. But seriously… I don’t remember seeing the potato hidden in the mountain of egg. It actually looked so similar to the truffled egg dish in photos – I deleted it by accident.
My friend who ordered the Truffled eggs was very unimpressed with her meal which barely tasted of truffle. But, if the menu did not say it was truffled eggs, then the dish was tasty, and done very well.
The eggs benedict with green curry hollandaise was also a let down. Yes, the eggs were perfectly poached. But the sauce is probably what disappointed – there was not even a hint of green curry to the sauce, other than it’s conspicuous green colouring.
The bf, who usually wolfs down huge portions of food. And orders more. Then drags me for supper, ordered this dish. But he barely ate one of his two poached eggs.
He did pick a lot at my mud crab spaghettoni with Thai curry sauce which he thought was excellent. But again, I felt the description let me down. First of all I was served a tagliatelle – al dente to perfection, no complaints there. And what tasted like home made pasta, had good bite to it. BUT, if you are not serving me spaghettoni, perhaps I should have been told? Because different pastas hold sauce differently. and people do have preferences. And I had been looking forward to trying their rendition of Spaghetoni.
The second gripe I had was, while it really was tasty, and I had no problems finishing it at all – the cream sauce did not taste of Thai curry at all. No kick. No spice. It basically tasted like Da Paolo’s Tagliatelle al granchio – their homemade egg pasta with crabmeat, vodka, tomatoes and cream.
Not that I am complaining – that is my favourite dish in Da Paolo’s. Just that, it failed to deliver on my expectations due to its description -” Mud crab spaghettoni with thai curry sauce,
crunchy yellow squash, coconut, crispy shallot thai basil” – is all. So perhaps tweaking of the menu to describe the food as is, as opposed to slightly more exotic than delivered, is called for.
Of all the dishes, the eight of us were most impressed with the Pork Collar – tasty, tender, succulent meat. A nice surprise since many have been raving about their white meat. And have I mentioned, they serve the best flat white I’ve had in Singapore in a long time. (No, it’s not a cafe latte.)
Another huge plus, the very friendly and accomodating staff. My server gladly and subtly helped facilitate surprising a friend at another table with desserts for his birthday.
We unfortunately did not stay for dessert ourselves, as we had al fresco seats, and though we were in a covered area, the rain was insanely heavy and our backs which were facing outward, were still getting wet, so do take note of the meteorological reports if you decide to dine outside. But, at least the two Chocolate desserts and the lemon tart that people seem to be raving over online – were polished off pretty quickly by my friend and his family, so that can’t be too bad I reckon.
Oh, and because it’s a farm – do bring along mosquito repellant or patches. Those with sweeter blood might suffer a little. But thankfully, our whole crew came very prepared.
All in all – it was a pleasant experience in a nice ambience, and I definitely will give this another shot in some time, when the reservations aren’t so crazy!
REVIEW: Simple, tasty food. Order the hot favourites without expections based on the menu descriptions and you won’t be disappointed. Pretty and elegant ambience. Great with big groups and children. Crowded as hell on weekends, so remember to call ahead to make reservations.
Be prepared to spend about $50-$60 per pax.
**This meal was entirely paid for by ourselves. Is not an advertorial. Not a hosted lunch. And the opinions are entirely my own.
Open Farm Community130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
Telephone Number: +65 6471 0306
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri:12:00–15:00, 18:00–22:00, Sat-Sun:11:00–22:00