Open Farm Community is Dempsey's newest kid on the block and current restaurant du jour. Its farm-to-table concept has been blogged about to death, so I shan't flog that dead horse and bore you with that backstory. What I find more notable is that Open Farm Community is helmed by celebrated chef Ryan Cliff, of The Tippling Club fame. The Tippling Club has been on my to-eat list since its inception (the list, not the restaurant), and I've put off dining there for the longest, in no small part attributed to its name evoking a cocktail bar setup, instead of a proper restaurant.
It's too bad then, that I've only just understood the culinary genius that is Ryan Cliff. Although we were banished to counter seats at the bar (we didn't think reservations were necessary on a Thursday evening, but boy were we wrong; the restaurant was a full-house!), we relished dinner. The fare at Open Farm Community was wholesome, soulful, exquisite, and quite simply, sustainable clean-eating at its most delicious. One last superlative: the east and west flavours are effortlessly fused here at Open Farm Community, with nary a whiff of contrived pretension.
The 'Hail Caesar' ($25) was a novel deconstruction of the classic green salad, with romaine lettuce cups cradling tender slabs of smoked chicken, layered with 5J jamon, the thickest ever parmesan crackers, slicked with a light horseradish caesar dressing, and finished with soft-boiled egg confit and garlic croutons. This was well-executed, elegant, incredibly balanced, and the best caesar salad I've ever had. A must-try.
The Sweet Corn & Basil Soup ($19) chunked up with charred baby corn, caramelised onion strips, and mopped up by fluffy hunks of pita bread, was velvety smooth and nuanced.
I loved the subtle hints of sweet juiciness of the corn juxtaposed against the refreshing mint of the basil.
The Mud Crab Pappardelle ($29) complemented the sweet flecks of shredded crabmeat with a mild Thai curry gravy swirled with coconut milk, dotted with yellow squash, and topped with fried Thai basil leaves. Despite the spice, this was very restrained.
The 48 Hour Barolo Braised Oxtail Strozzapreti ($26) was unabashed and bold, the smoky sweet of the wine highlighted by the heft of the meat, and cut through by fresh thyme and parmesan crisps.
The Coconut Laksa Barramundi ($29) was outstanding as well, the skin of the fish seared to a tantalising crackling, yielding luscious moist flesh underneath. This was sided by an otah-potato cake blend, blanched bok choy and garnished with chilli oil beads that looked like ikura.
The amuse bouche was a duo of blackened Sweet Potato Leaf Crackers with a lime mustard grain espuma dip. Truly fantastic stuff.
Open Farm Community
130E Minden Road
Tel: 6471 0306
Open weekdays from 12noon to 10pm;
weekends from 11am to 10pm