Open Door Policy

Tiong Bahru's cool dinner spot goes gluten- and dairy-free

ODP has boldly gone gluten- and dairy-free, and we are quite excited and impressed by the results. The new brunch highlights are the spicy chorizo poached egg, and the spiced avocado king prawn with gluten-free pita bread and a sunny sideup egg. Save your stomach for French toast paired with agave-poached berries and whipped soy milk ice cream.

The buzz: It's always a bit scary when a beloved restaurant radically alters its concept. But given our love for Open Door Policy, and the expert changes in the menu over the years, we knew that when they announced they were going completely gluten- and dairy-free, it would be something good. And we were rightODP is now perhaps the only restaurant of its kind in Singapore, serving light, produce-driven fare that still delivers both the comfort food, inventive flair and casual-glam vibes we've grown to expect from chefs Ryan Clift and Daniele Sperindio.

The vibe: The new concept has brought ODP more in line with its sister restaurant on Demsey Hill, Open Farm Community, which makes a big to-do about its on-premises food gardens grown in partnership with Edible Garden City. It should come as no surprise then that there's some farming stuff going on in the narrow, Tiong Bahru space as wellthe entire left-hand wall is mounted with rows of exotic microgreens, nourished by subtly mounted pink lights. Naturally, the kitchen doesn't get all its goods from these planters, but we're gradually growing less eye-roll-y and more cautiously admiring of the Spa Esprit Group's commitment to urban farming.

The food: Easily the sexiest gluten- and dairy-free menu we have tried, the focus here is on sustainably sourced seafood, locally grown greens whenever possible and nut-based cream and cheese subsitutes. Naturally, herb sauces and garnishes abound and enhance. But that doesn't mean there's any dearth of meat here. One of our favorite starters is the chorizo, octopus and spinach salad ($25), served with a homemade gluten-free pita. The bread is a bit dry, so do douse it in the olive oil that comes with. Most intriguing is the selection of pastas—all gluten free, of course. The simple aglio e olio-inspired fresh spaghetti is one of our favorites, with artichoke hearts, ribbons of mountain asparagus and smoked mackerel ($28). Also remarkable is the vegan maccheroni pasta ($24), with toothsome pasta and a pitch-perfect Bolognese sauce made with portobello mushrooms. On the fish front, don't miss the deceptively simple and very meaty King Paiche fish ($36), sourced from the Amazon and served with a subtle green curry sauce. Save room for the wonderful, all-raw date and walnut cheesecake ($16), with a crumbly wholegrain crust and a lemon zest-y, cashew based "cheese" filling.

The drinks: The brief cocktail and mocktail lists are priced at $20 and $10 respectively. Try the tangy and aromatic blackberry and rose bellini, and the booze-free Moroccan punch (with English breakfast tea, mint, orange and cinnamon).

Why you'll be back: You are gluten intolerant but deliciousness supporting; you are intrigued by inventive cooking methods and substitutions; or because you've been coming to ODP for years and a concept overhaul is just another reason to continue.

Venue Details
Address: Open Door Policy, 19, Singapore, 168650 Singapore
Phone: 6221-9307
Cuisine: Western
Price Range: BBB
Open since: October, 2011
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; daily 5-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm
Nearest trainChinatown
Parking available: at Chay Yan Street
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