Work has been absolutely bonkers of late, so I passed over the gym, and went out for lunch with a bunch of my colleagues instead. I was in need of comforting (through my stomach of course), and also wanted to unload. So we drove out of the city to the lush green of the Dempsey Hills. To Open Farm Community which, imo, is one of the best restaurants in Dempsey.
I've only ever been to OFC for dinners, so it was nice to sample a different menu for lunch, by way of a decidedly modest set lunch menu. It rotates every few months for variety, and is unbelievably value-for-money. A 2-course set is priced at $35, while a 3-course is only $42.
A main option from the set lunch menu, the Pumpkin Agnolotti ($35 with the calamansi dessert) was mellow and nuanced in its sweetness. Enlivened with a herbaceous majoram & burnt butter vinaigrette, the kale puree lent a grassy bitter accent, while a sprinkle of gremolata crumble and garden sprouts provided texture.
The Coconut Laksa Barramundi ($30) was sided by a mildly spicy tumeric potato cake, crisp-fried beancurd skin, and poached baby boy choy. They've updated the style of this dish, with different accompaniments, and are now more generous with that luscious laksa sauce. Me likey! Me likey very very much!
The Roasted Red Snapper ($32) set atop a lively calamansi & sesame cucumber salad, squid ink barley, and flavoured with a garden roselle & hibiscus ketchup, was as disappointingly lackluster as before. The combination of flavours were a-ok, but didn't 'pop', and the skin on the fillet was missing that paper-crisp crackle. I don't know why the restaurant always recommends this dish. It's by far, their weakest link.
A dessert off the set lunch menu, the Calamansi & Bandung ($35 as part of a 2-course set lunch) of a calamansi sponge cake, calamansi cremeux, and bandung gelato was another example of how local flavours can be made modern and elevated to sophisticated restaurant-quality fare with refined plating.
I liked the herby contrast to the deconstructed Lemon Tart ($18) with the sweet basil ice-cream and basil chia seeds.
The Pandan & Banana Custard ($18) given some punch with a ginger biscuit, lemongrass sago, and sugarcane sorbet, was beautifully harmonised. Just don't eat it together with the lemon tart, the flavours clashed wildly.
Open Farm Community
130E Minden Road
Tel: 6474 5964
Open weekdays from 12noon to 10pm;
weekends from 11am to 10pm