Caffe Cicheti Iberico Pork Featured

Caffe Cicheti – Cruisin’ the Coasts of Italy

The Cicheti name is not new. The first restaurant holding this moniker is still going strong at Kandahar Street (Arab St / Kampong Glam area).

The newer Bar Cicheti at Jiak Chuan Road was the one that helped me realise they meant serious business. I mean, a sommelier who has perfected the art of funky wine pairing, and a homeboy who has fearlessly dived into the treacherous waters of Italian cuisine (a cuisine fiercely protected by natives and wannabe natives alike) – what’s not to admire?

And now, this team is showing off more of their chops at newly-opened Caffe Cicheti at South Beach Tower.

Caffe Cicheti Entrance

Sadly (or maybe not so sadly), the opening of Caffe Cicheti meant the hasta la vista of the much-loved Aussie café Fynn’s (same owner as Cicheti, hence the not-so-sadly) but that’s ok – we can always fly over to Australia for an aussie-style brekkie, but it sure takes a lot more to hop over to Italy, huh?

So, how does Caffe Cicheti compare with Bar Cicheti and is there even a comparison?

Not unless you’re a nit-picking Italian fiend, no. Caffe Cicheti positions itself as coasting up and down Italy, so perhaps I’d say there’s just a tad more of a seafood spin here. But otherwise, both Bar Cicheti and Caffe Cicheti serve up fresh, delicious Italian fare to suit tummies of all kinds.

*I heard they are looking to launch an all-vegetarian menu early next year, good, because now I can bring all my planet-warrior veggie friends along the next time.

Ok, so here’s what went down at Caffe Cicheti’s media tasting.

Sardines Caffe Cicheti
Sardine Fritte ($18) – little fishy poppers coated with semolina and fried. A good snack that disappears really fast.
Italian Tomato Salad
Panzanella ($15) – a zesty salad, great if you’re eating “clean”. Well, as clean as you can get with the inclusion of chunks of stracciatella.

A Soup to warm all hearts.

Cioppino Caffe Cicheti
Cioppino ($26) – I always thought this was as Italian as Italian gets but it’s actually American-Italian. Ok then, distant cousin of Spaghetti Meatballs, I’m diggin’ ya. Fine balance of seafood and tomato flavours.

On to my fave, PASTA!

Pesto Pasta Caffe Cicheti
Pesto ($22) – something I rarely make at home, simply because the cost of the raw ingredients, pine nuts and basil is eye-boggling here in SGP, so I get by with a decent version by Barilla. Of course, I expect nothing less than class for this simple dish, and yes, Caffe Cicheti nails it.
Gnocchi
Gnocchi with mushrooms ($23) – on the other hand, a dish I never make at home because I don’t know how to make it, and am not inspired to learn, and by that theory, a dish I always order when dining out. Was it fluffy? Was it tasty? Was it indulgent? Yes, yes, yes.

Veggie Delights at Caffe Cicheti:

Asparagus at Caffe Cicheti
Asparagus ($13.50) – charred and served with bagna càuda aioli, a flavourful garlic and anchovies dip with its roots in Piedmont as a fondue dish.
Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts ($10) – even if you hate this much-maligned veggie, you will (and should) love the way Caffe Cicheti does it. It is seasoned with pomegranate molasses and roasted with sticky, candied pecan nuts. Miam miam!

The porky pièce de resistance:

Caffe Cicheti Iberico Pork
Iberico Pork ($29.50) – even a non-pork lover such as I could appreciate the look and taste of this succulent fermented garlic and 5-spice rubbed rack.

For dessert, we had the Gianduja Semifreddo ($12.50) and the Olive Oil cake ($11). Yes, the olive oil cake was suitably dense and lemony, but come on… put a chocolate dessert in front of me, and nothing else stands a chance.

The semifreddo upped the intensity with 75% cacao dark chocolate and together with its perfect match, hazelnut, was a luscious dream to me. Too bad I had to share with 5 other people.

I’m ordering one to myself next time!

Gianduja Semifreddo
Olive Oil cake

And finally, what of the vino?

No disappointment here, if you like adventure, you will like Peruvian-Japanese sommelier, Ronald Kamiyama’s curation. With my seafood, I sipped on a Sauv Blanc with a strong saline slant – this was from a Marlborough-based sustainable Japanese winery.

Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner from Austria
Gamay Fleurie
Gamay from Fleurie

Then an unfiltered, floral-ish Gruner Veltliner from Austria which went well with my pastas and a gamay from Fleurie with my mains – gamay is not my favourite but it went fine with pork and the seafood soup.

A Moscato d’Asti from Piemonte rounded off desserts – it sure seemed a hit round the table. Many a pour was surreptitiously dispensed into the vessels when Ronald had his back turned. 😊

There you have it. Another success from the Cicheti group. I look forward to whatever new shenanigans they get up to!


Caffe Cicheti:

Address: 26 Beach Road, South Beach Tower #B1-21, Singapore 189768

Telephone: +65 6384 1878

Email: eat@caffecicheti.com

Website: http://www.cicheti.com/

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday: 11.30am – 2.30pm (lunch); 5.30pm –10.00pm (dinner)

Saturday: 11.30am–3.00pm (weekend brunch); 5.30pm–10.00pm (dinner)

Sunday: 10.30am – 4.30pm (Weekend brunch)


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