Open Door Policy by Ryan Clift

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Steak tartare at ODP – Photo courtesy of Alex Ang

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In yet another sign of the gentrification of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhood estate, another concept has debuted at the increasingly hip Tiong Bahru precinct. Since October 2011, Open Door Policy (“ODP”) has opened under the watchful eyes of Tippling Club’s Ryan Clift, in collaboration with Cynthia Chua of Spa Esprit Group and 40 Hands’ Harry Grover.

But while Clift is known for his iconoclast culinary approach, the food at ODP is anything but. For ODP, Clift has distilled a menu of ‘modern bistro fare with a rustic twist’. And befitting the unpretentious cuisine on offer, the trio has fashioned a decidedly rustic, if narrow, space of exposed brick walls with an eclectic assortment of recycled classroom tables and chairs.

Diners who wish to see the chef – in this instance, Clift’s former sous chef, Alex Phan – in action will do best to reserve the counter seats fronting a glass-wrapped open kitchen.

But kitchen theatrics should not detract from the parade of affordably priced bistro fare on offer, not least truffle-perfumed, rough-cut steak tartare ($19) served with toast and potato crisps, arguably one of the best we’ve had.  Equally stunning was the mound of 48-hour sous-vide braised beef cheeks ($29) that cut like butter – it arrived on a bed of heart-warming carrot puree, crowned with lashings of snow pea tendrils.

Instead of hopping across to stable mate – Forty Hands – for single origin coffee, ODP brings them to you by way of a coffee menu aptly named “visiting VIPs”. Have your cup of joe chilled via cold drip ($6.50) or filtered ($8.50 for 2) with sweets. And on this note, the white chocolate mousse with raspberry headache ($14) gets our thumbs-up for the subtly chocolaty flavours balanced with assertive sweet and tart notes from the raspberry sauce.

Judging by the crowd of hungry diners filling up the reservations list, ODP seems to have won the plaudit of price-sensitive diners hungry to get a taste of Clift’s new down-to-earth cuisine.

Open Door Policy | 19 Yong Siak Street | 65-6221 9307

Rating: 22/30

This article first published in inSing.com.

© Evelyn Chen 2013

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