I am not a lazy eater… let me rephrase that. I am not a lazy food chooser. I love reading menu’s, descriptions of dishes and then making my choice… However, once in a while… I like to be surprised. I like not knowing what I am going to eat. Once in a while, I like surfing through the menu, but leaving the choice to someone else… And if that someone else is the chef himself… well, it cannot get any better.
That’s exactly what happened a couple of Sunday’s back. It was a lazy Sunday evening when I pinged a friend asking her about their evening plan. She promptly replied, “We are going to ODP for dinner. Wanna join?” Intrigued, “ODP?” I pinged back. “Oh, sorry, Open Door Policy… It’s a restaurant near Tiong Bahru… quite a favourite with us.” Well who doesn’t want to try out something new, especially if it happens to be someone’s favourite eatery!
Open Door Policy is located on the chic Yong Siak Street at Tiong Bahru, bang opposite the Forty Hands Café… Classily decorated in a mixture of rustic and wood… the place is endowed with some old style bare brick walls and… a glass roof! You can see right through the ceiling. I am sure it must be amazing to sit beneath that roof when it is raining! The first thing you see when you enter is an immaculately designed bar, and a glass-walled kitchen! In fact there are some bar stools outside the kitchen, allowing cooking enthusiasts to sit there and enjoy the chefs at work!
Moving to food… ODP has a decently extensive and creative ala carte menu. That’s no surprise, because the menu is written and overseen by Executive Chef Ryan Clift of the Tipping Club (ranked Asia’s 10th best restaurant in the 2011 Miele Guide) fame. Their menu is available on their website… however, going back to the beginning of this post, this time, at ODP we left the decision about what we eat with the chef… this is how.
The first line in their menu has something called “Feed us” sharing menu. It says “can’t decide and prefer to share? simply ask your waiter to ‘FEED US’ as we roll out a selection of delicious dishes for $47++ per head or add desserts for $59++ per head. One the recommendation of our friends, we went in for Feed Us, and were not disappointed. We were four of us, three hardcore non-veggies and one non-fussy, “I can try anything as long as it is veg” veggie. And all four of us were in for a treat:
 Freshly shucked oysters with shallot vinaigrette: Ripe fresh oysters with mild flavour of shallot and strong vinaigrette were served on bed of sea salt… the oysters were delicious. I am not a huge oyster fan, and ala carte, I would never order it. But I washed down two of those in quick successions! That’s thanks to feed us! Having said that, I personally felt that the vinaigrette was too strong, and would have preferred it slightly toned down. It was overwhelming the taste of the fresh oysters a little.
 Seared scallops with cauliflower couscous and preserved lemon: Just like oyster’s I am skeptical about ordering scallops… not because I don’t like them, but I personally believe scallops are one of the trickiest to cook! Cook them too long, and you have an unappetizing hard mass. But the seared scallops were perfect and the lemon just right. Delicious!
 Ginger and spring onion roast quail with fragrant herbs: I love quails… especially since I don’t often make them at home… the fried ginger endowing the dish worked perfectly with the quail. All in all an extremely interesting dish. The only complain, maybe the potion was slightly smaller… but that was about feed us. Three non veggie dishes for 3 persons.
 Spinach, broccoli and snap pea salad with goat’s cheese and pine nuts: This is the veggie starter. There are no vegetarian starters, but their choice of soups and salads is very good. This veggie got the goat’s cheese salad in his feed us, actually feed me, as he was the only veggie! The potion was large enough and the dish was quite good. Although I am sure he would have preferred an actual starter.
 Seared kingfish with clams, chorizo, saffron and parsley: By the time we reached the mains, we were a satisfied lot already. The seared kingfish was fresh, delicately cooked and moist enough! The saffron was an interesting flavour as I have rarely seen fish and saffron paired before.
 Slow-braised short rib with red curry jus and green mango salad: The short ribs were perfectly cooked, and deliciously presented in a red curry topped with along with the tangy green mango. The spice of the short ribs and curry and the tanginess of the mango blended perfectly. Great dish.
 Australian strip loin with hand-cut chips and sauce béarnaise: The steak was probably the only dish I did not particularly enjoy. Not because it wasn’t made well… it was just not to my taste. I prefer my steaks to be at least medium to well-done, if not well-done. However, at ODP we had rare steak, something I just don’t enjoy. A tip, check with the waiter what he will serve, and if it includes steak, you might want to suggest your preference. Having said that, the steak was beautifully seasoned.
 Beetroot and goat’s cheese risotto: This was a unique vegetarian risotto. I would never imagine the sweet tasting, beet root being paired with a pasta or a risotto. But what you know, it worked oh so beautifully! The baby pink was delectable… and so was the mixture of the goat cheese. If anything, I felt the potion was too small… compared to the other non-veggie dishes. \
We had asked for a 2-dessert, 2 potion each “Feed Us” option, instead of having four separate desserts. And here’s the choice:
 The ice cream ‘why just Sunday’: A cold dessert to wash down all the spicy and seasoned meal! Vanilla ice cream on bed of nuts and crunchies topped with “burnt dark chocolate”, chocolate and caramel sauce. Good dessert if not absolutely great.
 Apple crumble with vanilla custard: This was the absolute star of the evening. The Apple crumble is by far the best one I have had, ever! Freshly made, perfectly crumbly, the apple just melted in your mouth. The vanilla custard was equally luscious and made for a perfect end for the perfect meal!
How much would it cost me: If you go for the “Feed Us” option, it costs “S$ 55 per person. If you go for ala carte dinner, it would cost a table for two, without alcohol approximately S$ 75 to S$ 100. I would highly recommend a feed me for a larger group, as you end up with a variety. In between the four of us we tasted 10 dishes in all!
The Verdict: The place is delightful, albeit on the more expensive side. It’s rustic, yet classily so, and has a cozy and warm ambiance. It is an absolute treat for a non-veggie eater… with great, but extremely limited veggie options. So it might be a waste if all veggies decide to go here. On the other hand, you will get to taste some innovatively done dishes. I would highly recommend the “Feed Us” option. There is a downside to it. It is pricey, and the size of potions is not very large either. But the quality and choice of food is top notch. Overall, I would visit it again, maybe this time to taste their very limited brunch menu.
Address: 19 Yong Siak Street, (Yong Siak View), Singapore 168650 Tel: +65 6221 9307
Timings: Monday to Sunday: 12pm to 3.30pm, 6pm to 11pm. It’s closed on Tuesdays! Reservations recommended on weekends.