Open Door Policy: 100% Gluten and Dairy-free joint is a treasure trove of surprises

From the get go, Open Door Policy's (or more fondly known as ODP) new 100% gluten free and dairy free menu offerings were a bit of a turn-off. If it hadn't been for the promise of uncompromised quality in comfort dishes such as pasta draped in bechamel (Wait.. what? How?) and sustainable dining by means of vertical farming, I wouldn't have been caught dead wondering in a hipster yogi joint.

Chef Ryan Clift pulls of the new menu with the same razzle dazzle of a magician. Building climaxes of expectations with words such as grilled bread, and maccheroni pasta and finally being greeted by thunderous applause when the rabbit is pulled out of the hat. Yes, executing the new concept at ODP does require a whole bag of tricks, back-breaking work and definitely can be described as a magical experience in most ways.

It's a modern day greenhouse: industrial oxidised metal netting on the ceilings casting melancholic perforated shadows over the dining tables and an entire wall of herbs and greens growing above the banquette seating. It's tranquil and the peaceful settings transcends the glass walls separating the chefs and the dinners - the kitchen in full view working with military precision through pristine clean glass windows.

The epiphany starts with the Celery and Almond Soup ($24) which employs the creaminess of fresh-pressed almond milk (done in-house) to balance out the edgy flavors of the celery. Cauliflower florets and an immaculate seared scallop complete the picture and kicks off the meal in high gear. Even better is the Warm Chorizo and Octopus Salad ($25) that followed, the grilled bread on the side resembling nothing that the usual door stopper toast you would expect from gf breads, instead in its place is a chewy slander piece resembling flat bread with huge hits of roasted rosemary and drizzles of EVOO which are perfectly in sync with the Mediterranean vibes of the chorizo and octopus salad. 

Another dish worth to check out is the Slow Cooked Celeriac ($24). This one will take you by surprise. Splashing in a pool of watercress sauce and topped with cured speck; my first misconception was that "it looked a whole lot like fish"... dumb blonde moment right there but the knife working thru the chalky chunk gave it away. Delicious and chock full of comforting flavors, this isn't usually a dish I would order but has not successfully managed to convert me into a celeriac lover.

Celiacs rejoice! There is pasta on the menu, and yes, you've probably heard of gluten free strands in the market right now, but these are all made in-house. Here's breaking it down for you, first, flour is replaced with blends of rice flour and other starches containing zero traces of wheat, and then almond milk (reminder: made in-house) is worked in to construct the dough. Open Door Policy goes the whole nine yards, making the maccheroni pasta and orecchiette from scratch; major props to the team for their hard work and dedication.

This pays off with a bevy of comforting dishes such as the Vegan Maccheroni Pasta ($24), Fresh Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts, Pistachio and Mortadella Ham Ravioli and the King Crab Orecchiette ($29). Stripped down, the former served with a Bolognese sauce made from cooked down portobello mushrooms and nothing else is finished with a dairy-free bechamel jizz. If vegan pasta tasted that good, I can (sorta) imagine doing this for life. The King Crab Orecchiette ($29) rallied an audience of its own, the deep earthy tones of saffron well infused into the corn sauce adhering with a certain endearing nearness to the shell pasta whilst chunks of king crab steal the show.

On the selection of larger plates, I would strongly recommend the Braised Veal Ossobuco ($32). A Milanese speciality, the fork tender meat sits on a bed of carrot risotto perfumed by smoked paprika. This works wonders with pleasing the carnivorous folks.

Slow Cooked Celeriac
The meal meanders into the sweet realm with desserts once again smirched in the inquisition of "HOW?". ODP defies all odds to produce a stellar cast of desserts without the use of dairy products nor gluten, the questions slowly fading away as the dishes took to the spotlight. First up, the charming Dates and Walnut Cheesecake ($16) knock expectations out of the ballpark with its hearty crust made from walnuts and seeds standing firmly up to the frozen cheesecake composed of compressed medjoul dates and walnut milk set with the slightest bit of agar. Served alongside sliced apples, this closely resembled a school lunchbox set. Taking its cues from the gluten free structure of the previous dessert, the Why Sundae? ($16) combines soy and palm sugar gelato with gobs of other intensely chocolate trimmings for an indulgent treat. From peanut butter crumb to chocolate wafers and honeycomb, this was like a snickers bar on gf steriods.

For something a little more Asian, definitely order the Sago and Coconut ($16), the dehydrated sago wafer hiding a plethora of treats under its wing including tumbleweeds of fresh mango cubes and a delicious black sesame ice cream that is quick to meet slushy deaths due to the absence of stabilisers nor fats.

Sago and Coconut
Who knew that gluten and dairy free food could taste to good? If you're one with inhibitions to blow out the window, visit the new ODP to get your misconceptions challenged. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Open Door Policy
19 Yong Siak Street
t: 6221 9307

Opening Hours:
Mon: 12 - 3pm; 6 -11pm
Tues: Closed
Wed- Fri: 12 - 3pm; 6 - 11pm
Sat - Sun: 11am - 4pm; 6 - 11pm

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