The descriptions “gluten-free” and “dairy-free” conjure up images of food that’s healthy – yes – but not quite appetising. The people behind Open Door Policy were determined to challenge that mindset and stun palates.
So in August this year, the gastropub launched a 100% gluten-free and dairy-free menu that’s touted as Singapore’s first. The menu, conceptualised and created by Spa Esprit Group’s Cynthia Chua, executive chef Ryan Clift, and ODP’s head chef Daniele Sperindio, aimed to put healthy and sustainable food on the table that will make people come back for seconds.
The restaurant has said no stone was left unturned in the selection of substitute ingredients to recreate the same taste and texture that gluten and dairy affords. Having tasted the food, this is an effort we can attest to. From starters down to desserts, most every dish was tasty and satisfying.
For starters, we had the warm chorizo and octopus salad ($25) and the celery and almond soup ($24). Of the two, the soup was more unlike anything we’ve tasted – in a good way. The celery and almond lend the soup much texture and flavour, and the Hokkaido scallop is a nice surprise.
More impressive yet are the mains – the king crab orecchiette ($29), doused in a saffron and corn sauce, features a generous topping of king crab, and a sprinkling of sugar snap peas. The natural sweetness from the crab meat and the sugar snap peas combined with the crunch from the peas and the al dente quality of the orecchiette lend this dish a touch of Spring.
Then there’s the braised veal ossobuco ($32). To achieve veal ossobuco that is braised till fall-off-bone tender is a feat all on its own. But the fluffy and creamy bed of carrot risotto that it sits on is no sideshow either. In fact, the dish comes close to the best veal ossobuco risotto we’ve ever had at the Antica Osteria Stendhal in Milan. We would return to Open Door Policy for this dish alone.
The other thing that resonates is Open Door Policy’s commitment to bringing green in. The restaurant walls have been turned into vertical green gardens, with rows of fresh watercress and vegetables harvested daily by chefs for salads and dishes. Easy on the eyes, easy on the stomach.
As the distance between diners and the origin of food increases, it’s encouraging to see restaurants such as Open Door Policy attempting to bridge that gap. And as you dine at the gastropub, the vertical green gardens on the walls are a pleasant reminder of that noble endeavour.
Open Door Policy, located at 19 Yong Siak Street, is open from 12pm-3pm and again at 6.30pm-11pm daily.