Update – 23 August:
Tried their very-worth-it set lunch. A choice between 2-course at $30 or 3-course at $38, featuring some of their classics like the Cured Ocean Trout and Barramundi.
We had the earthy Salt-baked Beetroot with creamy goat’s cheese and the Roasted Quail as starters. Both dishes were delicious, nice contrast of textures – firm, crispy, creamy thanks to the well-thought out pairing of ingredients.
For mains, we both had the Barramundi. I wrote about this dish in my original post and wasn’t that impressed, but they have made some changes to this dish and now, I have to say, it is yummy!
The addition of the crispy seaweed rice puffs is just that fun tweak this dish needed to make it, literally, pop. Also the sweet caramelized onion and bonito butter were flavour bombs to further enhance the perfectly (and I really mean, perfectly) cooked fish, with its crispy skin and soft flesh.
It’s a buzzing vibe, so, well-suited for casual business lunches. For slightly more privacy, ask for the standalone tables as opposed to the tables along the wall. If you’re having a serious business lunch though, the ambience is a little too bustling for that.
Very worth it for the quality and the portions, a 2-course is enough to make me feel full!
Original post – 31 March:
My hubby seems to have a thing for duck and waffles. I don’t get the fuss. But after trying Cheek By Jowl’s version, I’m starting to see the light.
Located along Boon Tat Street, next to FYR Cocene Ond Drinc, Cheek By Jowl is a Mod-Oz restaurant, focusing on seasonal highlights.
Helmed by former Maca head chef, Rishi Naleendra who has extensive experience in award-winning restaurants like Tetsuya’s and Yellow in Australia, the menu is a hodgepodge of cultures, very representative of what Mod-Oz cuisine means.
Back to their star dish – the Duck and Waffles ($36). The kick-ass bit here is the Five Spice Caramel Sauce. A glossy, intense, perfectly-balanced fragrant and peppery sauce blankets the tender duck leg confit, and as if I am mopping up a curry with my prata, I mop up the sauce with the crispy waffles. Delish!
My starter was the cured Ocean Trout ($22), which was fresh and tasted lightly of citrus and aniseed. The dish was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the zingy yuzu and cucumber dressing and I also appreciated the additional palate teaser of buttermilk, which added a slight sour tang to the dish.
Then there was the Braised Rabbit ($24) – probably sounding way more exciting on paper than what I eventually had. Although the rabbit was cooked well, i didn’t get much hit from the Szechuan pepper. It was all rather mild.
Another braised dish, the Lamb Shoulder ($36), on the other hand, fared very well. A generous portion of fork-tender lamb accompanied by creamy, minty peas and parsnip sauce to add more moisture to the dish, I enjoyed it even more thanks to the crunch that the crushed pistachios added.
The Barramundi ($32) though, falls into the “nothing to rave about” trap. Like the rabbit, the fish is well-cooked with crispy skin and flaky flesh, but no kick from the accompanying sauces or ingredients. The black sauce that comes with the dish looks like it might have been a rich, squid-ink sauce to intensify the delicate flavour of the fish, but no, it’s charred scallions and i don’t think had enough of a punch to help the fish along.
We did end the night off with a kick indeed, thanks to the Coconut ($15) dessert. Featuring Laksa Leaf ice cream and Green Chili puree, it gives a nice heat hit to the cooling Coconut and Pomelo concoction and is altogether refreshing, sweet and spicy at the same time.
I see the Ocean Trout and Coconut is available as part of the $30 (2-course) or $38 (3-course) lunch set so that could be an option.
At the end of the day, I do think that Cheek By Jowl has the right intent to palate-tease and combine unexpected ingredients for surprising twists, but this doesn’t come through with a bang for all dishes, so be selective when you order. Also as the menu is seasonal, I’m guessing there’s lots more new experimental dishes on the way, so maybe you can tell me how it is the next time you go!
Cheek By Jowl:
Address: 21 BOON TAT STREET, SINGAPORE 069620
Contact: (65) 6221 1911 or INFO@CHEEKBYJOWL.COM.SG
Reservations via Chope: https://book.chope.co/cheekbyjowl
MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS (LUNCH & DINNER)
SATURDAYS (DINNER ONLY)
LUNCH – 11:30AM TO 2:30PM
DINNER – 6PM TO 10:30PM