From The Straits Times    |

In recent years, I’ve noticed a sustained spike in interest among Singaporean foodies about the stuff that goes into their meals, as well as where they hail from and how they are made.

This obsession with clean eating means than “gluten-free” has become quite the diet buzzword these days. First things first: What is gluten? Well, gluten is a protein found in some grains like wheat, rye and barley, and is the “magical” ingredient responsible for the chewy, satisfying texture in our favourite carb dishes such as pizzas, pastas and even creamy soups.

For a minority who suffer from celiac disease, gluten is harmful and can even be fatal, as the condition triggers their bodies to attack their small intestines and prevents them from absorbing vital nutrients.

However, while there are some studies linking gluten to health issues like depression and obesity, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support abstaining from it completely unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease.

As for myself, I’ve always been very thankful because I love my carbs (both savoury and sweet) so I cannot imagine life for people who have to make do without them. I have tried gluten-free and non-dairy foods and found them to taste pretty awful – there’s a particularly bad aftertaste I get in the back of my mouth – and the textures always fell flat.

So when I got a tasting invite for a gluten- and dairy-free menu at Open Door Policy, I was intrigued to see if it would be any good.

And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. The dishes were full of flavour, even for their bread, pasta and desserts, all of which are notorious for being laden with gluten. Everything is also made fresh in-house on a daily basis.

My favourite dish was the braised veal ossobuco risotto. The texture of the risotto was perfect; it was rich, creamy but the grains were still separate and had a chewy bite to it.

Images: Open Door Policy / Braised veal ossobuco
A fork – tender veal  ossobuco with full – bodied carrot risotto and smoked paprika, topped with watercress that is harvested in – house

As for the desserts, the one that won my heart was definitely the dates and walnut cheese-free “cheesecake”. Concocted using alternative ingredients and precise fermentation techniques, this really tasted just like the real deal! Bottomline: If I hadn’t been informed beforehand, I would never have guessed that this menu was gluten and dairy free.

Dates & walnut cheesecake, paired with crunchy red apple

Fluffy signature soufflé served with double chocolate crème anglaise

I would come back for more, just because I love how the food tastes. People with restrictive dietary needs, you have a new go-to place to check out!

Open Door Policy is located at 19 Yong Siak Street (Yong Siak View), Singapore 168650. 

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