Singapore may be small, but we are inundated with choice when it comes to eating out. Sometimes, this can lead to the first-world problem of CHOICE(!) ANXIETY(!!). If, like us, this leads you to becoming a sad creature of habit who keeps eating at the same old places, check out our bite-sized JUNK food reviews for what you should be eating next. (Or not!)
We don’t always need to eat in fancy places, but having said that, we do like the food at Bar Cicheti (“Chee-Keti”), a pasta and wine bar near Keong Siak.
If your idea of pasta is really pasta-forward – with the ingredients playing supporting act – then this is the place to come to. (And if your idea of pasta is Ikea penne, then we also encourage you to splurge a bit and come try.)
Most of the pasta is made fresh here, and therein lies the adventure. Pasta that comes out of the box is great – super comforting, super familiar – but it’s also designed to be supremely consistent. The homemade stuff they serve here is more varied, and can have a very unfamiliar bite. Yes, it’s all served al dente, but it can also be a bit more chewy, or a more doughy, depending. And that’s the fun of eating fresh.
Try the antipasti of Salvia Fritta, fried sage leaves to you and me. These battered and deep fried leaves were perfectly crisp and lightly salted, resulting in the most unlikely moreish snack. We also liked the Lingua Di Manzi Tonnato – braised beef tongue with a tuna salsa and onion marmalade – which showcased a deft mix of flavours and textures.
But the stand out pasta dish of the evening was the Paccheri – large tubular pieces of pasta folded with slow braised octopus, anchovies and capers in a light tomato sauce. A sophisticated dish, with nuggets of octopus and fried bread crumbs appearing in every bite like a delicious game of hide and seek, but in a fun “surprise and delight” way, not a “cheat your money” way.
If drinking fabulously while dining is your bag, then it will also be good to know that the wine list has been put together by sommelier Ronald Kamiyama, a bit of a known personality on the circuit. Read: your wine recommendations are in safe hands.
The interior of the place succeeds in being minimally slick but not wanky. Which is actually quite rare in this market as interior designers tend to go balls-to-the-wall – an effect of designing for interesting portfolios, not proper dining experiences.
Conclusion: the ideal spot for a not-too-try-hard-nice-meal-out™ evening, the kind of place to go when you feel like something kind of special, even if you’ve got nothing in particular to celebrate at all.