open farm community, family leisure, lifetsyle, minden road, urban farming, restaurant

Surrounded by lush foliage of Dempsey Hill, the 35,000sqf Open Farm Community (OFC) is built with two elements in mind: farming and food. The root of this latest venture by Spa Esprit founder Cynthia Chua is in urban farming, represented by an expansive garden producing herbs, vegetables, and fruit.

The produce goes straight to the kitchen, where chefs incorporate them in modern cuisines such as fermented carrot tartare, coal-baked barramundi with cucumber coleslaw and roasted eggplant, and lemon tart with basil ice-cream.

open farm community, ofc, restaurant, urban farming, dining
Image: Open Farm Community

This concept allows consumers to connect with their food – as its made, they are able to see, touch, hear, smell and taste it. Cynthia envisions OFC to be a venue that strengthens our understanding and respect for food and its origins. "We want to provide a platform where families can come together and explore the many facts of food through art, tours, workshops and, of course, eating," she says.

Alan Barr and his team at Grey Matters, together with celebrity chef Ryan Clift and urban farmers Edible Garden City, worked on transforming two decrepit buildings with a wild landscape into a space that supports Cynthia's vision.

The space features an outdoor dining area with a massive red timber screen, white-red Bloom Parasols by Sywawa Design, and a yellow ping-pong table that has become a focal point for guests. The dining areas outside are right next to the farming plots, creating a vibrant beer-garden atmosphere. Guests can also order from Common Man Coffee Roaster, a small takeaway shop. 

open farm community, ofc, leisure, urban farming, dining, restaurant, community

Behind the open area is a colonial-industrial building, where guests dine in a rustic-industrial setting and are able to watch the chefs at work or look out to the garden from tall French windows. The ceiling lighting is made of salvaged steel window grilles twiner with fairy lights, while the feature walls is a sea of blue and green tiles laid in a diamond pattern.

"The interiors follow our signature style, which features a heavy use of materials, patterns, and textures. For instance, we used antique timer floors in the main dining room and terracotta tiles for the roof," says Alan. 

The lush garden and its quirky sculptures by ceramist Steven Low add playfulness to the space. Salvaged dock wood is used for garden pavers and planting beds, and rain water for irrigation. "Our intent is to create a community, not a restaurant. We wanted a space to show how urban farming practices do work and are sustainable," says Alan.

Visit Open Farm Community at 130E Minden Road, tel: 6471-0306.