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Date Night: Air on Dempsey Road makes responsibility and sustainability taste good

By Hannah Choo 14 March, 2024

Founded by chefs Matthew Orlando, Will Goldfarb and entrepreneur Ronald Akili, Air strives to be the perfect multi-hyphenate—a restaurant, cooking school, farm and research lab

The ideal of any given dining destination isn’t just to be great, but to be there. It’s meant to be reliable, to cover all the bases, whether you need a meal to satiate, a moment to rest, or a space to learn something new.

A new restaurant in Dempsey Hill plans to be just that. Founded by chefs Matthew Orlando (Amass, Copenhagen) and Will Goldfarb (Room4Dessert, Ubud), and entrepreneur Ronald Akili (Potato Head), Air strives to be the perfect multi-hyphenate—a restaurant, cooking school, farm and research lab. “Making good food, good drinks and people happy is the priority. Anything else is the cherry on top,” says Orlando.

restaurant air
Matthew Orlando (left) and Will Goldfarb. Photo by Air

What’s it like at Air?

Situated behind Long Beach, an old-timey seafood restaurant, it has found a home in an old barracks complex that previously served as a clubhouse for civil servants. Casually sprawled across 3,700 square metres of land, it aims to inspire thought about food without being preachy. Air, which stands for ‘awareness, impact and responsibility‘, hopes to be a little less talk and a lot more action. Finally, a place to dine in peace without getting our ears talked off.

The restaurant is currently opening in phases. It will eventually take up two storeys, with 45 seats on the ground floor facing the lawn and another 45 on the second floor overlooking it. On a good day, one may dine outdoors, whether on the extended terrace on the ground floor or the lawn itself, where coffee, pastries and snacks are offered.

The best table on level two. Photo by Air

What should one order?

The kitchen itself is led by Orlando. As the chef who ran René Redzepi’s Noma and one of the world’s most sustainable restaurants (his now-defunct Amass had a good run), food here is unpredictable and remarkable. Fermented Cassava Bread, served with whipped mushroom XO butter, is always a good start, as is the Crispy Oyster Mushrooms with Sarawak pepper emulsion and pickled chilli. The White Fish Ceviche, tossed with green mango, kenari nut milk and kaffir lime, is wake-you-up refreshing, but if you want something creamy and rich, go for the Whole Coral Grouper. You will get a fish head rillette with emping chips, grouper confit with a charred green onion butter, and smoked rillette.

For dessert, one could indulge in Vanilla Bean and Coconut Ice Cream, served with a drizzle of ‘herb oil’ made from the restaurant’s garden, and dollop of caviar. But staying true to its sustainability theme is Reincarnated “Chocolate”, where chocolate is made with cocoa husks, cascara and coconut flesh, sans the cocoa beans—a textbook example of what they do at Air. The Whole Papaya is another—every part of the fruit is used, from seed to skin, and turned into panna cotta and granita.

What else is there to know?

To know more about the Air ethos, a research space, where chefs experiment and have fun with food, will soon welcome guests to come watch and talk shop. There is also a cooking school that will host classes and various programmes in the months to come.

Air
25B Dempsey Road
Singapore 249918
Tel: +65 8320 6184