Lunchtime feasting at Open Door Policy.
Open Door Policy is by no means a new kid on the Tiong Bahru block, but recently it’s had a facelift and a menu shake up and we were lucky enough to sample the latest additions to it’s lunch time repertoire. With Ryan Clift handing over head chef duties to Daniele Sperindio in 2014, we were excited to see what this emboldened young Italian chef had to offer up.
Firstly, I loved the rustic feel of Open Door Policy. It’s cool, it’s welcoming and the brick/wood combination just makes everything feel very down to earth. Tables line the entire length of the restaurant with the best seats in the house facing the open kitchen.
Chef Daniele has drawn upon numerous international influences to create the latest lunch menu, in fact eating here is a culinary round the world trip. Throughout the course of our lunch we saw nods towards Latin America, Europe and Australia. Whilst initially I thought this to be really rather confusing, having tasted the food Chef Daniele’s style is crystal clear. This is comfort food elevated to the highest level, created with the freshest produce and executed – dare I say it – perfectly.
Whilst we tried the entire menu, I’ve selected some of my personal favourites to share. Each dish can be ordered a la carte, however a two course lunch menu at $35++ is also available.
Spicy lamb spring rolls ($20)
This is the only dish that featured on the previous menu, and I’m glad they were deemed worthy enough to make the transition to Chef Daniele’s latest vision. The lamb mince inside the crispy pastry is delicately spiced with Indian flavours. The addition of a salsa, yoghurt and avocado brought the dish to life and added a much needed zing.
Guacamole risotto ($20)
Inspired by Latin America, this risotto is imaginative and utterly delicious. The rice was firm and held its texture with each grain generously slicked in guacamole sauce. It was hugely satisfying piercing the soft boiled hens egg and watching the golden yolk ooze through the sea of green.
Tortilla chips added texture in the form of crunch and the whole thing was seasoned to perfection. This is a super comforting starter and one that I would definitely order again.
Crab Cakes ($20)
These cakes were jam packed with delicious sweet crab meat, they were soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Very good in their own right, but the addition of gribiche sauce made all the difference. It was tangy, herbaceous, and I loved the fairly chunky texture – a great piquant sidekick to the mellow crab cake.
Warm Octopus terrine ($21)
This beautifully presented octopus terrine was a pleasure for the tastebuds as well as the eyes. The octopus itself was simply prepared – seasoned and slicked in olive oil, it was fresh, light and soft. The addition of crunchy romanesco, crisp potatoes and sweet tomatoes added to the bright, breezy nature of this dish.
Braised Beef Cheek ($32)
This dish was my favourite main course of the day. The meat had been cooked for 48 hours and fell apart at the touch. It was packed with savoury, umami flavour and worked brilliantly with the earthy mushrooms and subtly truffled potato puree. I loved the simplicity of this dish – a mere three components brought together by a rich,red wine jus. I could eat this for every single meal, every single day.
Kangaroo Fillet ($34)
If you’ve never tried kangaroo I’d recommend giving this dish a whirl. For me this fillet can only be described as half way between steak and venison. It had a mild gamey flavour, and the meat itself was tender. I loved that the sprouts, nuts and baby onions gave it an autumnal vibe.
The vinegar jus provided a nice dash of acidity that cut through the richness of the meat and enhanced the flavour of the vegetables.
Seafood Risotto ($28)
Risotto is one of my all time favourite comfort foods, and this one does not disappoint. The rice is rich with flavours of saffron and lobster bisque. The mussels, prawns and scallop perched on top were fresh, sweet and tasted of the sea. It’s a humble dish that Chef Daniele has elevated to new heights.
Eight Spice Apple Crumble ($18)
This apple crumble is, without hesitation, one of the best apple crumble’s I have tasted in a long time. And I’m British – apple crumble is one of our national treasures. The apple itself was cooked beautifully, soft yet retaining a nice bite. The delicate spicing was subtle but added a wintery warmth to the dish. My favourite part..? The crumble topping, naturally. It was crispy on the top, slightly chewy and contained just the right amount of sugar. The silky creme anglaise rounded off proceedings with some much needed moisture – delicious. The portion is huge but I demolished the entire bowl. I’d go back just for this.
Chocolate Pistachio Souffle ($18)
Three words; Oh my goodness. Let me introduce you to the world’s lightest ever souffle! This pistachio number is so airy you may mistake it for a cloud, it melted on the tongue leaving the most subtle nutty flavour. A perfect dessert, it’s so light that you may as well be eating air. There will always be room in even the fullest of bellies for this apres dinner treat.
Caramel Creme Brulee ($18)
There is nothing more satisfying than cracking through the sugar atop a creme brulee, and the the caramelisation on this dessert was just enough to create that pleasing shatter. Beneath the golden crust was a delicious caramel egg custard. With just the right amount of sweetness and finished off with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, this was another hit on the dessert front.
Green Punch ($19)
Made with Hendricks gin, cucumber, mint, apple juice and lemon, this is one zesty, refreshing drink. It’s fruity, it’s sour and the herbaceous notes really come through. It’s also pretty dangerous, it’s so thirst quenching you’d never guess it was laced with booze. The rest of the house cocktail list looks equally delicious and I imagine it would be rather easy to work your way through the entire lot.
So there you have it, in my book Open Door Policy continues to deliver on every level, I doth my cap to the entire team. Great service, great food, and great atmosphere. I’m counting down the days until I return…
Expected Damage: $40 – $100