WE TRY: CICHETI’S BOLD AND ROBUST ITALIAN CUISINE

Tucked away in Singapore’s vibrant Kampong Glam conservation area, Cicheti is a rustic Italian trattoria with two Singlish-speaking owners at its helm. Yet, their take on traditional Italian cuisine is as authentic as they come, thanks to chef-owner Lim Yew Aun’s dedication to recreating beloved dishes from the regions of Sicily, Naples, and more.

Inside the signboard-less restaurant on Kandahar street, a dome-shaped wood-fired oven takes centerstage. It is here that the restaurant’s signature Neapolitan pizza acquires its airy edges and charred crust. Take the steps up and you’ll find the second floor, a cozy space featuring dark wood interiors and local artist duo Ripple Roots’ colourful mural. The homely feel of the restaurant sets the scene for intimate conversations and hearty dishes that are designed for sharing.

Featuring bold and robust flavours, the restaurant’s new menu retains firm favourites that have been reworked, while introducing new dishes bound to resonate with diners familiar with the Cicheti brand.

Sea prawns.

For starters, go for the sea prawns, featuring wild-caught tiger prawns sourced daily from Tekka Market. The fresh sweetness of the crustaceans shone through even as the smoked herb butter left our tastebuds tingling with paprika, garlic, and other spices.

Another excellent dish is the zuppa di cozze e n’duja, a Sicilian favourite where fresh mussels are sautéed in a tomato and white wine sauce. Bits of nduja (spicy sausage) within offer a nice textural contrast, while accompanying slices of toasted bread made good vessel for mopping up the sauce.

Zuppa di cozze e n’duja.

Save your appetite for the mains, such as the delightful paccheri, featuring tender beef ragu that has been slow-cooked for eight hours and layered between paccheri—a type of tubular pasta. The playful-sounding casarecce is another must-try, where short twisted pasta is mixed in a feisty tomato-based sauce speckled with pickled peppers. Both pasta dishes paired nicely with the fruity and bright Falkenstein Pinot Nero from Alto Adige.

Napoletana pizza.

Heartier offerings come in the form of the off-menu Napoletana pizza, a classic rendition of creamy stracciatella, slivers of briny anchovies, and lemon zest on a crusty base. Seafood lovers will enjoy the zuppa de pesce, said to be the ultimate Italian expression of the saying “bounty of the sea.” The comforting tomato stew features the best catch of the day, from scallops to mussels.

The new desserts, a strawberry parfait and a deconstructed lemon tart, were tasty but not outstanding. We recommend ending your meal with a glass or two of the bubbly yet refreshing 2016 Elio Perrone, Bigaro, Piedmont, IT. Brachetto blend—a combination of two grape varietals.

More information here.

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