Whether you or your child struggles with food sensitivities, mama, the newly-expanded menu at Open Door Policy in Tiong Bahru features a plethora of delicious gluten-free and dairy free dishes.
The door to Open Door Policy is not open (that was too good to resist) as I make my way into a long room with a hipster and casual vibe (we are, after all, in Tiong Bahru), and a welcoming open kitchen layout. But of course there’s nothing casual about the extremely well thought out and completely gluten-free (gf) plus dairy free (df) menu at this neighborhood bistro. Even celiacs can dine at this completely gf kitchen where a lot of attention and care is given to sourcing purely gf certified ingredients.
ODP has been around for a while but only just last year did it turn completely gf and df – a bold move towards a more niche offering and diner base – but there is plenty on offer here, including lots of great family-friendly dishes.
Plus, with the introduction of 15 new menu items developed by assistant head Chef Freddy Ang under the guidance of Executive head chef Ryan Clift (also Executive Chef, Open Door Policy, Open Farm Community and Chef-Owner, Tippling Club), food sensitivities and allergies aside, anyone and everyone can delight in the interesting and well-prepared food served here.
Introducing new and creative dishes to this type of concept isn’t just important for keeping things fun and fresh for repeat customers (many of whom have gf and/or df restrictions of course). It’s also clear, looking at the new menu, that dishes with broader appeal are being introduced to perhaps catch the eye of many who don’t have dietary restrictions but are looking to eat healthy, clean and fresh.
Indeed, Chef Freddy’s new menu items are cooked with high quality, nutritious and innovative ingredients incorporating superfoods like turmeric, purple sweet potatoes, nuts and oily fish. Chef also uses ‘on trend’ cooking techniques such as sous-vide and makes his own nut milks and even his own almond flour.
A number of different gf flours such as rice, tapioca, arrowroot, oat and almond flour are used to make the breads here, and while Chef Freddy admits that after 15 years of cooking with regular ingredients like flour and butter, gf and df cooking is certainly challenging, he’s clearly done his homework and even enjoyed figuring out appetizing and workable ingredient substitutes. This gf mama with a son who doesn’t eat wheat or dairy knows just how much work goes into gf and df menu and food preparation!
We began our tasting menu with a delicious avocado crab salad served with crunchy gf charcoal bread made with tapioca flour. The kids will love this dish! We then tucked into two hearty soups…the first a warm wasabi scallop soup served in a teacup. The flavors are just as gorgeous as the presentation and once again the dish is served with a crisp gf focaccia bread. I really enjoyed all the textures and crunchy elements. The next soup was a watercress greener than the Incredible Hulk served with a poached egg and more gf flat bread.
The ‘Vitel Tone’ is a cold and beautiful appetizer—thin slices of veal on crisp gf bread…the bread was fried and slightly soggy by the time we bit into, it but the dish is flavorful and the veal is perfectly cooked.
The Roasted Pork Rack was my absolute favorite with the most delicious purple sweet potatoes you have ever tasted, the sauce mildly spiced and the pork, juicy. Next up was the sous vide salmon and while its presentation didn’t quite match some of the other dishes, it’s probably the most kid-friendly dish from the main dish selection, along with the Threadfin served with a refreshing Thai mango salad. The fish is mild and non-fishy and the skin is just perfectly crisp.
The Ossobuco came next served with gf rice (didn’t know that was a thing!), followed by a veg tempura served over risotto and the Spaghetti Vongole, a welcome sight for us all of following a gf lifestyle (seriously how hard is it for restaurants to stock gf pasta?!).
The desserts absolutely delight — the Calamansi chocolate tart looks too good too eat (gotta love those crunchy dehydrated strawberry bits!), and the perfectly spiced and super comforting Apple Crumble with dairy-free custard (made with cashews, egg yolk and vanilla) really hits the spot. Mamas if you have kids with gluten and dairy allergies, this is the perfect sport to bring them for a delicious dessert treat!
I left impressed and stuffed to the gills, but had to take a peek at the brunch menu… going out for brunch can often be very challenging for families dealing with food allergies (especially if, like me, you don’t eat eggs!) and the brunch menu here looks promising. I vow to return with my family in tow!
Opening hours: Open Monday to Sunday (closed on Tuesdays); 12pm to 11pm (Mon-Thu); 12pm to midnight (Fri); 11am to 4pm (Saturday and Sunday brunch); 6pm to midnight (Sat dinner); 6pm to 11pm (Sun dinner).
Open Door Policy, 19 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650, Tel: (+65) 6221 9307, www.odpsingapore.com