Taking its name from small plates served in Venetian bars, Caffe Cicheti (pronounced “CHI-KEH-TEE”) is a casual-dining eatery inspired by Italy’s coastal cuisine. Borne of the people behind Italian trattoria Cicheti and contemporary pasta bar Bar Cicheti, the intriguing new restaurant takes over mod-Aussie restaurant Flynns at South Beach Tower, Singapore.
The concept is a departure for this emerging group. Where its earlier ventures tended towards dim interiors and bar-like atmosphere, Caffe Cicheti is brightly lit and charming.
With floor-to-ceiling windows and bistro-style seating, it’s an inviting setting for an indulgent brunch or a cosy dinner.
The cosy interior of Caffe Cicheti
Helming the kitchen is chef and co-owner, Lim Yew Au, who has designed a menu that emphasises great ingredients and unfussy cooking. Sommelier-partner Ronald Kamiyama takes care of the drinks list, a diverse selection featuring natural wines from New Zealand to artisanal sparkling apple juice.
The Panzanella is a modern take on Tuscan bread and tomato salad
The Panzanella (SGD15), for example, is a modern take on Tuscan bread and tomato salad. Juicy tomatoes, crunchy croutons and cucumber, and fresh stracciatella cheese are brought together with a drizzle of olive oil for a refreshing starter.
This went brilliantly well with bread, which the restaurant uses to make paninis for weekday lunch. The bread is made using the pizza dough from Cicheti, evident from the charred leopard-spotted exterior and chewy texture.
Pesto pasta with shaved parmigiana
As someone who has struggled to get a reservation at the perennially booked Bar Cicheti, I was particularly excited to try the pastas here. Safe to say, it didn’t disappoint. The Pesto (SGD22), made with almonds instead of the traditional pine nuts, is creamy and aromatic.
The Gnocchi (SGD23) is pan-fried, adding a nice crispiness to the pillowy dumplings. It came served on a bed of mushrooms and mushroom sauce, making for an umami-rich dish.
The Cioppino, a seafood stew
For mains, we had the Cioppino (SGD26), a seafood stew of flower clams, gray prawn, squid and scallops simmered in a tomato broth. Homemade focaccia is served on the side as a nice touch, perfect for soaking up the sauce.
Iberico Pork with greens
The Iberico Pork (SGD29.50) is great for sharing. Rubbed with fermented garlic and five-spice mix, it’s cooked sous vide for tenderness and seared on a grill for a smoky finish. Pair that with some greens like Brussel sprouts (SGD10) or Asparagus (SGD13.50).
Asparagus with bagna cauda aioli and toasted bread crumbs
With a more casual-dining oriented menu, Caffe Cicheti is a solid addition to the Cicheti family. Featuring simple Italian fare that is familiar and comforting, it also has just enough of a modern touch to keep you coming back.
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