Farm-to-table foods are more than just organic food. This food and movement is more about knowing where your food comes from and supporting local farms.
For chefs, farm-to-table foods are a lot more expensive to source than mass imported ingredients from other countries, but they do it anyway, as they want to have more control over the ingredients they serve and believe in obtaining food that is fresh as possible. When the food is harvested from Singapore itself, it is likely the produce was harvested just a day or two before it reaches your plate.
Singapore is a tiny island, but there is a small but robust community of hydroponic and organic farms, as well as chicken farms and fisheries that your food can be sourced from.
And which are the restaurants that have sourced ingredients from farms? Here is a list of farm-to-table restaurants in Singapore you need to check out if you want fresh ingredients in your meals.
A dish of frogs may not be your usual pick on the menu, but you might want to give the one served at Vineyard a try.
The walnut crusted bullfrog with beans ragout and roasted cashews from Jurong Frog Farm was pleasantly nutty, savoury, and mildly sweet, thanks to a teriyaki sesame dressing. The meat was firm and springy, which is what I would expect for frog meat, but the walnuts added a nice crunch. The beans ragout that the frog legs were nestled on gave the dish a boost of freshness and accentuated the nuttiness.
However, if you don’t want to be too adventurous in your food choice, go for the local farmed brined poulet that is served with a vegeables and shimeiji mushroom ragout in poultry jus. Classic and wholesome.
Vineyard is at Hort Park, 33 Hyderabad Road, #02-02, Singapore 119578
2) Flip Flop
Unknown to many, this sleek looking hotel actually has an urban farm on the rooftop. Though it’s not normally open to the public, you can request for a free farm tour at the lifestyle concierge at the hotel lobby.
All sorts of herbs, fruits, and vegetables grow on that rooftop. As we had the opportunity to get a peek, we spotted some fresh kale, pineapples and even lime trees growing.
The produce is used in nearly all of the restaurants in One Farrer Hotel & Spa, but the restaurant we went to was Flip Flop, which is good for a laid back and chill brunch too.
We recommend you get the Smashed Avocado, Sweet Corn, Jalapeño Pesto & Poached Egg on Doris’s Dilly Bread as the dill (used in the bread), as well as the basil (used in the pesto), and the corn are harvested from the farm. The toast is a quintessential way to have brunch, and you’ll enjoy the smooth spread of smashed avocado layered on the crusty and fragrant dill bread.
Flip Flop is at One Farrer Hotel & Spa, Level 6 poolside, 1 Farrer Park Station Rd, 217562
ALSO READ: CRACKING THE CONTROVERSY BEHIND COCONUT OIL
3) Open Door Policy
Walk into Open Door Policy, and you’ll find rows of plants lining the walls from the entrance to the back of the restaurant. The fresh watercress, herbs, and other vegetables are harvested daily for the dishes, and when the supply in the restaurant is in danger of diminishing, garnishes are supplied from local farm, Edible Garden City.
Try the new brunch menu and enjoy the Chili Pork Con Carne Wrap – made with spicy ground pork and scrambled eggs wrapped in injera flatbread and served with a side of homemade paprika-spiced fries.
One pretty amazing thing about Open Door Policy is that it is completely gluten and dairy free. People who suffer from allergies to these ingredients no longer have to worry about what they order from the menu. And people without allergies don’t have to worry about taste being compromised as a lot of research has gone into making sure the substitutes for products such as butter, taste just as good.
Open Door Policy is at 19 Yong Siak St.
4) Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong
Ah Hua Kelong is a fish farm that recently branched out and established its first restaurant in a shop house on Haji Lane. The ingredients are shipped within 12 hours of being farmed.
The menu is a small one, with only ten items, and you’ll find that the dishes are simple and original. Meaning you shouldn’t expect the usual salted egg yolk, truffle, chilli crab pasta instead be surprised with burnt miso and butterscotch dressing in the seafood.
Try the Curry Mussels, which have a more rendang-like consistency and are spiced perfectly, allowing the sweetness of the fresh mussels to take centre stage while still giving a spicy zing.
Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong is at 55 Haji Lane.
5) Open Farm Community
Open Farm Community is probably one of the farm-to-table restaurants you have heard of, as it is a pioneer in the scene and is really a lot more than just a place to get wholesome food.
Like you would imagine from its namesake, it’s a whole community of farmers and artisans (who sell their produce there at the regular markets) and a hub for people to learn more about farming (through workshops and farm tours).
Try the Watercress Soup, complete with a soft boiled organic egg, crispy kale, and warm pita bread to dip in the soup. Best enjoyed on rainy days, we’re sure.
Open Farm Community is at 130E Minden Road.
Helmed by Florian Ridder, the former sous chef from Alma, Summerhouse is made a haven where Chef Ridder tries to source from local farms as far as possible, makes his dishes from scratch (he churns the butter himself), and reduces the amount of sugar in his food to let the natural flavours come through.
Sounds like a health junkie’s paradise, doesn’t it? Summerhouse also has its own edible garden from which all the garnishes are harvested. Fish is sourced from a local kelong, while other produce is mostly sourced from a mixture of Singaporean and Malaysian farms.
Dishes vary depending on seasonal produce, but be assured you’ll taste the best Chef Ridder has to offer with his Collective Farming tasting menus.
Summerhouse is at 3 Park Lane.
7) Poison Ivy Bistro at Bollywood Veggies
For couple Ivy and Ho Seng, the idea of starting a farm-to-table bistro was first germinated when they read a news story on farming in Singapore. After some research and planning, the duo bought a ten acre parcel of land in Kranji and established their own farm.
The bulk of what they produce though, is bananas. More than twenty varieties, actually! The bananas come in different shapes, sizes and textures, but you will find that they are all succulent and sweet to taste.
It probably goes without saying that you shouldn’t leave the bistro without trying their banana bread that’s made from scratch.
Poison Ivy is at 100 Neo Tiew Road.
8) The Green Door
The Green Door is a lush and beautiful garden bar located in the depths of Dempsey. What we love about this place is that fresh herbs and fruits are used in their drinks. Cocktails – that are normally refreshing – are enhanced with botanical and fruity notes.
Case in point: ‘Terrible Tyler’s Threesome’, which is a mix of vodka and lychee liqueur that has been elevated with fresh passion from the garden and sweetened with splashes of apple and lemon juice. Try that tipple or any other from their menu which features a good selection of drinks mixed with fresh ingredients.
The Green Door is at 13A Dempsey Road.
You may have heard of Artichoke, a contemporary middle eastern restaurant, which has been described by a Palestinian patron to be “completely unauthentic but really good”. It’s hard to decide if that should be a seal of approval or not, but we’re intrigued, especially so when we learned that the restaurant has a herb and vegetable garden that has about 17 species, including dill, mint, and borage. These offerings are supplemented by locally farmed eggs, fish, and vegetables that Chef Bjorn orders from six local farms.
One additional detail we like was that after the plants are harvested, leaves and branches are used for smoking meats and the remaining ashes are used to fertilise the garden.
When you’re at Artichoke, try the popular Feta Burrata that uses fresh basil leaves from the garden and creamy burrata cheese dressed with a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
Artichoke is at 161 Middle Road.
10) Smith Marine
If you’d like to get away from it all for a bit, head to Smith Marine. A floating restaurant that is located in the middle of the waters, near Pulau Ubin, Smith Marine started as authentic fish farm that was first built in 2006.
Today, Smith Marine is a part fish farm, part restaurant and part fish pond; the latter which is perfect for people who are new to fishing, but want to have a taste of eating fresh fish they caught with their own hands.
A trip to Smith Marine will set you back $100 for the two-way ferry, not including the cost of the food. If you would rather not fish for your own food, choose from the menu, which includes prawn, crab and mussels, fresh from the farm itself.
Smith Marine is in the Johor Strait. Visit the official website for instructions on how to get there.
11) Oxwell & Co
Photo: Expat Living Singapore
Oxwell & Co is located in a four-storey shophouse, complete with a gastropub, quaint dining room, and a mysterious looking apothecary room. At the top of all this, on the rooftop, is an edible garden from which herbs are harvested and used in both food and drinks.
Try the Bathtub of Gin, which is good to share among four people. For $70, you get a literal, albeit miniature bathtub that is filled to the brim with gin and tonic. Fresh rosemary from the garden and ribbons of cucumber are added for a fresh and botanical touch to the concoction.
Oxwell & Co is at 5 Ann Siang Road.
12) Kitchen @ Bacchanalia
This one Michelin-starred French restaurant prides itself on providing the best ingredients imported from all around the world – something which you probably already knew. But what you likely didn’t know is that Kitchen @ Bacchanalia rents a space at a local hydroponics farm where it grows its own produce such as basil, peas, and leafy vegetables for salads.
Though the ingredients are small and used on the side, you can’t deny it feels nice knowing some of the ingredients at this esteemed restaurant come from Singaporean farms.
Kitchen @ Bacchanalia is located at 39 Hongkong Street.
Afterglow is big on supporting local farms and food artisans in Singapore. It sources its food from many different sources all around Singapore and has an entirely plant-based menu that is completely unprocessed.
Say goodbye to regular pasta, and hello to zucchini noodles that have been made by spiralising the vegetable and cooking it for just the right amount of time so it becomes tender, but not too soft that it becomes mushy, instead retaining an al-dente texture. The ‘zoodles’ are tossed in a dehydrated cherry tomato and bell pepper sauce, then topped with ‘meatballs’ that are made from walnuts, shiitake, and dates.
Afterglow is at 24 Keong Saik Road.
Photo: Felicia Yap
Founder of Plentyfull, Claudia Sondakh, and Chef Victor Loy.
Plentyfull is the kind of place you should go to when you’re absolutely starving, and we say this because there are rows and rows of hearty grain bowls, soups, and desserts – so much delicious-looking food that you’ll want to try them all. Though you’ll inevitably feel a little guilty from the food coma you’re likely to have after visiting Plentyfull.
At Plentyfull, the menu changes every two weeks or so, depending on how much produce the farms are able to supply, so it’s a good idea to call and check in with them on the menu, or simply have a look at their Facebook page for updates.
Plentyfull is at 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk.