Eunice Quek recommends

Food Picks: Open Farm Community's local flavours, Kuro Maguro, The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, and Ippudo's almond jelly noodle

Red garoupa burger at Open Farm Community
Red garoupa burger at Open Farm CommunityPHOTOS: EUNICE QUEK, KURO MAGURO, OPEN FARM COMMUNITY

OPEN FARM COMMUNITY'S LOCAL FLAVOURS

In its efforts to champion local produce and flavours, Open Farm Community in Dempsey has revamped its menu with 10 new dishes.

One of my favourites is the holy basil gnocchi ($30), with pickled okra and lemongrass dressing - a unique take on the typically Italian dish. The gnocchi is not too doughy and is well coated in the fragrant dressing.

I also like the red garoupa burger ($30), with generous chunks of the fresh fish, along with the housemade tartar sauce and toasted squid-ink buns. It comes with fries and is good for sharing.

Other highlights include the crispy Jurong frog legs ($26), with root vegetables and curry served with pita bread; and barbecued half chicken ($36), with sweet corn ragout, potato fondant and mustard frill salad.

WHERE: 130E Minden Road MRT: Orchard WHEN: Noon - 4pm (weekdays), 11am - 4pm (weekends and public holidays), 6 - 10pm daily; closed tomorrow and Sunday for Chinese New Year TEL: 6471-0306 INFO: www.openfarmcommunity.com


FRESH FROM JAPAN

It is hard to go wrong with the trendy donburi (rice bowls), especially when they are topped with the freshest sashimi.

The latest hotspot is the new 32-seat Kuro Maguro at Tanjong Pagar Centre, which specialises in donburi topped with bluefin tuna.

It is by Misaki Megumi Suisan, a maguro and sashimi wholesaler from Kanagawa, Japan, which is also behind MaguroDonya Miuramisakikou Sushi & Dining at multi-concept Japanese restaurant Eat At Seven in Suntec City.

The company imports the fish directly from Kanagawa's Misaki Port to Singapore via ANA air freight. Because of the direct shipping, prices are reasonable for the premium fish cuts.

Take your pick from the otoro meshi ($32.80), with fatty tuna belly; sansyoku meshi ($32.80), with akami (lean maguro), chutoro (medium fatty tuna) and otoro; and kiwami meshi ($42.80, photo), with a selection of premium seafood including uni and amaebi (sweet shrimp). I also recommend the toro aburi meshi ($32.80), for the smoky char of the torched tuna.

Salad, sashimi and mini don items are also available.

In line with the restaurant's grand opening, there is 50 per cent off the otoro meshi donburi from Wednesday to Feb 3, limited to a bowl a person. WHERE: 01-04 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar WHEN: 11.30am - 2pm, 5.30 - 10pm daily, closed today till Monday for Chinese New Year TEL: 6386-8561 INFO: www.facebook.com/KUROMAGUROMD


NEW DISHES AT THE KITCHEN AT BACCHANALIA

Chef Ivan Brehm may have left the one-Michelin-starred The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, but its new head chef, Australia-born Luke Armstrong, 29, is already showing a lot of promise with his new dishes.

The eight-course dinner tasting menu ($188++, additional $125++ for wine pairing) features dishes such as hand-dived scallop ceviche with creme fraiche, black truffle, yuzu and soya dressing; hamachi (Japanese amberjack) tartar with jalapeno creme, avocado and lime; beetroot with Lardo di Colonnata (salami made from pork lard) and cabernet sauvignon vinegar; and grass-fed tenderloin (photo) with aubergine compote, garlic veloute, bone marrow and thyme jus.

Both the scallop ceviche and hamachi tartar start off the meal on a refreshing note and the beetroot dish is worth a special mention. While the dish's description in the menu did not mention the inclusion of uni (sea urchin), it is a welcome addition. Its briny flavour pairs well with the beetroot and lardo.

I like the play of textures for the tenderloin, with the aubergine compote, corn and a crisp quinoa chip.

Overall, the meal is a strong showcase for chef Armstrong's culinary chops and I look forward to more of his creations.

WHERE: The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, 39 Hongkong Street MRT: Clarke Quay WHEN: Noon - 2.30pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 6 - 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays, closed on Monday for Chinese New Year TEL: 9179-4552 INFO: www.bacchanalia.asia


DESSERT RAMEN AT IPPUDO

The signature tori paitan (tori means chicken and paitan means white soup, referring to a thick and creamy soup) ramen from Ippudo's new takeaway concept Kuro-Obi may be all the rage, but I suggest you head to the Ippudo outlet nearby for dessert ramen.

The almond jelly noodle ($6, photo) - served in milky "soup" - is one of the ramen brand's new offerings for the new Marina Bay Sands outlet and it is a refreshing way to end a hearty ramen meal. I am normally not a fan of almond desserts as many taste very strongly of artificial essence, but I slurped all of this up after savouring my bowl of ramen.

WHERE: Ippudo, B2-54/55 Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue MRT: Bayfront WHEN: 10.30am - 11pm (Sundays to Thursdays and public holidays) and 10.30am - 11.30pm (Fridays, Saturdays and eves of public holidays) INFO: www.facebook.com/ippudosg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe