Open Door Policy, Tiong Bahru estate’s well-loved modern bistro since October 2011, opens its doors to fresh and bolder ideas with a new head chef, Daniele Sperindio, helming the kitchen.
Chef Sperindio began his culinary journey at a tender age of 13 in Genoa, Italy, and honed his culinary skills in Paris and Monte Carlo after he completed training at the Professional Institute Marco Polo. He was also the sous chef of Michelin-starred Antica Osteria del Bai of Genoa, and has worked in fine dining restaurants in the US. He adds to his portfolio a Sommelier certification from the United States Sommeliers Association (USSA), for the benefit of marrying food with wines beautifully with a deeper understanding.
Beetroot Risotto (cooked in sherry vinegar) topped with Feta Goat Cheese and Pea Tendrils ($25)
Open Door Policy is favoured for its modern cooking techniques, which bring out the best of the ingredients and adding sophistication to hearty contemporary classics at the same time –essentially eclectic comfort food coked with finesse. The menu undergoes a major revamp, replacing 70% of list with exciting new dishes.
Several of the new dishes hint at Chef Sperindio’s Italian roots, but ODP’s style remains a fusion of European, Western and Asian flavours, drawing inspiration from Clift’s UK and Australian Background and Sperindio’s Italian and French culinary experience. The new menu will see an increase in portion sizes, while the price point remains. Also, accompanying the new menu is a new selection of cocktails by previous head bartender of Tippling Club, Zachary de Git. Popular signatures remain on the menu, such as the Watercress Soup with Soft-Poached Hen’s Egg and Truffle Oil, Slow-braised Short Rib with Red Curry and Green Mango Salad, and the sizeable ODP Burger featuring wagyu beef patty weighing a hefty 250g. (I want to try them all!) Chef/partner Ryan Clift is still heavily involved despite handing over the kitchen reigns, continually collaborating with Sperindio and De Git to provide tasteful gourmet experiences.
Fresh Burratina Cheese with Wagyu Beef Bresaola, Confit Cherry Tomatoes and Cristal Bread ($26)
A fabulous palate-opening move would be one with fresh burratina cheese, wagyu beef bresaola (air-dried, salted, aged beef), cherry tomatoes confit, and freshly baked cristal bread. Most arousing is the fresh burratina cheese imported from Italy, a combination of two cheeses with mozzarella encasing creamy fior de latte cheese.
Crumbed Mediterranean Anchovies with Red Onion Jam and Caper Berries ($20)
Another excellent starter is the salad of crumbed Mediterranean anchovies and anchovies pickled in chardonnay set on a tangle of rocket greens with caper berries, and the outstanding homemade red onion jam that provides an endearing caramelised sweetness.
Spicy Lamb Spring Rolls served with Fresh Salsa, Yoghurt and Avocado ($20)
Chef Sperindio enjoys incorporating bold local flavours like curry and chilli into his dishes –the Spicy Lamb Spring Rolls served with Fresh Salsa, Yoghurt and Avocado for instance is a great success. The irresistible spring roll snack – filled with homemade minced lamb cooked in coconut cream, curry and other spices – makes it totally legit to disrupt the flow of any meal with an impromptu order.
Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Couscous and Preserved Lemon ($24)
Another dish I don’t mind having over and over again is the Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Couscous and Preserved Lemon, featuring the star ingredient of succulent Hokkaido scallops, and co-star blood sausage that needs a bit of “stepping out of the comfort zone” for those who are sceptical to try. The cauliflower puree and couscous are great accompaniments, as much as the dressing of basil oil, raisins and preserved lemon are great complements.
Handmade Chorizo ‘Torrtelli’ with Fried Sage, Burnt Butter Sauce and Spinach ($25)
As you move on to mains, you will see more of Chef Sperindio showing off his expertise in Italian cuisine, with the Handmade Chorizo ‘Torrtelli’ (filled with chorizo and shallots, scented with port wine, and mixed with fresh terracotta cheese) for instance. Like all Italians, Sperindio adores pasta. Fresh pastas are made completely by hand.
Glazed Iberico Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Gnocchi, 30 Crushed Cashews & Butternut Pumpkin Sauce ($30)
The dish of Glazed Iberico Pork Belly is a personal favourite. Picking only the most succulent cut, the Iberico pork is brined overnight before being slow-cooked for twelve hours. To serve, it’s seared and glazed with balsamic and soy, served with sweet potato gnocchi, butternut pumpkin sauce and crushed cashew nuts. Drool-worthy. This is one dish that is certainly worthy of a return engagement; one of the best pork belly dishes I’ve had, if not the best.
ODP Bouillabaisse with Prawn, Scallop, Seabass, Squid and Baby Fennel ($28)
Chef Sperindio is skilled in cooking a wide variety of seafood, and it is the ODP Bouillabaisse that makes a great impact on diners. This spectacular dish brims with prawn, scallop, barramundi fish, squid confit, pan de cristal bread and baby fennel, doused in rich lobster bisque. The freshness of seafood prevails, each seared lightly to lock in the juices. Mop up the last bit of lobster bisque with bread so none of that goodness will go to waste!
Strawberry Consommé with Fromage Blanc Sorbet & Nitro Raspberries ($16)
End the meal on a fruity and refreshing note with the Strawberry Consommé with Fromage Blanc Sorbet & Nitro Raspberries. Strawberries are cooked in sugar while blackberries cooked in port wine –both absorbing flavours like a sponge! Other elements include fresh raspberries, mint meringue and fromage blanc sorbet. Most intriguing is the cooling Nitro Raspberries, emitting a trail of vapour as you pop it in your mouth.
Espresso Mousse with Brownie Cookies & Buckwheat Caramel Bar ($18)
The dessert of Espresso Mousse with Brownie Cookies & Buckwheat Caramel Bar brings sweetness and comfort. Brownie cookie bits are topped with a light, airy and creamy espresso mousse, garnished with a slice of dehydrated mandarin and served with a buckwheat bar coated in salted caramel sauce.
Dumpling Doughnuts with Yuzu Curd & White Peaches ($18)
Chocolate Pistachio Soufflé with Crème Anglaise ($18)
The Chocolate Pistachio Soufflé with Crème Anglaise is a popular favourite. Served straight out of the oven like all soufflés are, the exceptional pistachio soufflé with a dark chocolate ganache centre is sliced open and filled with crème anglaise; leaving diners visually and palatably enchanted.
For specialty coffee to accompany desserts, ODP’s dedicated coffee bar features Mazzer Grinders and a 2 Group Synesso Hydra espresso machine –professional equipment found only in the best cafes.
If you can’t already tell, I am mesmerised by the food at ODP. Food is several cuts about the average bistro fare. A five-course tasting menu is available at $68++ per person –a great steal in the current Singapore dining scene. A two-course set lunch menu that includes a glass of wine or cocktail is available at $35++ per person. If you can’t decide what to order, blow obvious hints to the waitstaff for the ‘FEED US’ sharing menu and leave it to the kitchen team to roll out a selection of dishes for $51++ per person (two savoury courses) or $62++ per person (three courses including dessert). This fun and easy option allows diners to taste a variety of dishes without the long wait of a multi-course tasting. Menus will be refreshed and updated every three months. Can’t wait to re-visit!
Open Door Policy
Mondays to Sundays: 12pm to 3.30pm, 6pm to 11pm (Closed on Tuesdays)
Bar opens till 12 midnight on Fridays and Saturdays