Restaurant, Circular Campus and Cooking Club, AIR at Dempsey is a multi-faceted culinary playground aimed at growing the appreciation for thoughtful dining.

AIR is probably among the most highly anticipated culinary projects to have been recently unveiled in Singapore. Established by two feted names in the culinary world Matthew Orlando and Will Goldfarb, AIR is set to be a premier dining destination for many reasons.

Located in a lush and verdant corner of the thriving Dempsey F&B enclave, the multi-concept space occupies over 40,000 square feet that includes not only a beautiful resort-like restaurant, cutting-edge research lab, and cooking school, but also features a sprawling lawn and a thriving garden farm where some of the produce used in the kitchen is grown.

The entire complex makes for the perfect leisurely weekend afternoon stroll before or after your meal, a space that frees the mind as much as your concepts around sustainable eating.

Chefs Will Goldfarb and Matthew Orlando

Little wonder too, if you know Matthew Orlando. He was founder of the now-defunct New Nordic restaurant Amass in Copenhagen, renowned for his incredible talent in coaxing out every bit of use and flavour from produce. Then there’s Will Goldfarb, the Bali-based American pastry chef behind Room4Dessert, whom you may have chanced upon in the 2018 Netflix series Chef’s Table: Pastry along with other dessert luminaries.

But the biggest reason to visit? AIR is surprisingly casual and approachable, and not as expensive to visit as one might think.

You’ll find dishes like White Fish Ceviche, which takes any sustainable local white fish and tosses it with green mango and Kenari nut milk, or the very enjoyable Crispy Oyster Mushrooms, which is effectively tempura mushrooms mixed with pickled chilli in a very Asian manner.

The Grilled Squid Salad is somewhat bizarre yet still moreish, a melange of thinly-sliced grilled local squid with puffed rice, shredded vegetables, and shaved coconut. A Southeast Asian chaat, perhaps?

The Whole Grouper

The mains are substantial too.

The Citrus Glazed Duck Breast is a fun clash between French and Chinese culinary approaches when it comes to duck. Here it’s seared to perfection – and still juicy within! – and then you’re supposed to smear it altogether with creamed cashew, smoked chili oil, and a piquant house made kosho for a big pop of flavour.

The Whole Coral Grouper – which is good for two to share – doesn’t come as an entire fish, or so it seems. Instead it appears as a large fish filet, first confited and then seared over fire, set on a bed of charred green onions. What remains of the rest of the fish is then rendered into a sauce using butter and fish broth from boiling its bones. Even then those bones aren’t discarded; instead it’s transformed into a lavash.

It’s entirely delectable, of course. But I suspect some diehard conservationists are likely going to point out that coral grouper is, unfortunately, a highly overfished species.

Re-Incarnated 'Chocolate'

As for dessert, the Re-Incarnated “Chocolate” is a must. Somehow the wizards of AIR somehow resurrected the flavours of chocolate from the discards of chocolate making into a brownie. Drizzled with a caramel sauce made from banana skin and served with a mousse derived from cascara – the dried skins of coffee cherries – you’ll never guess that no chocolate was used in its making.

What we particularly like about dining at AIR is that it doesn’t come across as preachy. While far too many sustainability-minded restaurants tend to shove their well-meaning philosophies down your throat, AIR – Restaurant, Circular Campus, and Cooking Club -prefers to let its food do the talking.

And you to do the thinking.

Closer to nature at AIR Restaurant

Restaurant AIR

Address 25B Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249918 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5.30pm to 11pm Wednesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Tel (65) 8228 1528
Facebook air_cccc
Instagram @air_cccc
Reservations book here

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