• Samantha Chiew

Bar Cicheti, Keong Saik


Spring is here! Although you can’t feel it in Singapore’s year-round sunny weather, you’d get the chance to taste it. Bar Cicheti is introducing a spring menu that pays homage to the sweet and hearty harvests of Italy.

The new menu is created as a tribute to the love for spring in Italy of all three partners of Bar Cicheti -- restaurateur Liling Ong, chef Lim Yew Aun and sommelier Ronald Kamiyama.

As Singapore’s first homegrown pasta and wine bar, I came expecting handmade pasta with authentic Italian flavours and a huge array of wine to pair with every dish. Luckily, I believe that Bar Cicheti lived up to its name and reputation, serving up one of the best pastas I’ve had in Singapore.

I’ll get straight to the dishes here as I tried 12 dishes from appetisers to desserts, sending me straight into a food coma after I was done.

The first appetiser or antipasti of the night was the Salvia Fritta ($8), which is a dish of fresh sage leaves coated in a batter and fried to crisp. The fried sage is then topped with a sprinkle of sea salt for an extra crunch. I personally liked this dish as it was easy to eat, and I felt that it was a more “healthy” option with it essentially being a vegetable (or herb).

Wine pairing: NV Domaine Amirault, Les Quaterons Brut, Crémant de Loire, FR. Chenin Blanc blend

Cheese is quite a staple food in Europe. And drawing its inspiration from the Italians, Bar Cichetti has included the Burratina ($25) in its menu. The burratina cheese is flown in straight from the motherland – Italy and served with a specially imported Greek olive oil, some sea salt and the crème de la crème of this dish – a housemade burnt onion marmalade that was perfectly seasoned and caramalised, such that it gave off a smokey and sweet flavour.

Wine pairing: NV Domaine Amirault, Les Quaterons Brut, Crémant de Loire, FR. Chenin Blanc blend

The Asparago ($15) is part of the spring menu and a must-try, in my opinion. The asparagus is drizzled in a butter sauce, which has been sautéed with bacon – and served with ricotta cream and ricotta salata. I especially loved the smokey char from the asparagus, as well as the buttery and meaty sauce to complement it.

Wine pairing: 2015 Holdvölgy, Vision, Tokaj, HU. Furmint blend

Another antipasti off the spring menu is the Carciofi Alla Giuda ($17). In this dish, artichoke is deep fried to bring out the flavours and soften the fibres. It is then served with some lemon zest, salt and topped with a drizzle of truffle oil. A horseradish aioli is also served on the side.

Wine pairing: 2016 Graziano Pra’, Montegrande, Soave Classico, Veneto, IT. Garganega blend

The meatballs here are amazing. And they're one of Chef Aun's signature creation, made with a special blend of beef brisket mince and then mixed with some milk-soaked bread to give it a soft, tender and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Wine pairing: 2016 Château de Trinquevedel, Tavel, FR. Grenache blend

And finally, on to the mains. We had the Spaghetti ($28), which surprisingly kicked a fairly spicy punch. This is because Chef Aun has used jalapeno pesto increase of the typical leafy spring greens. The whole dish is then topped with pine nuts for an added bite feel.

Wine pairing: 2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico. Rioja, ES. Viura blended with sherry

For something with a lighter note, try the Bucatini ($30). This is my first time trying Bucatini pasta, a thick, hollowed pasta, which is a Lazian specialty. Here, the pasta is cooked in Osmanthus-scented water, then tossed in a buttery saffron broth and topped with sweet Hokkaido scallops and Chinese spring peas.

Wine pairing: NV Sorelle Bronca, Sole Cielo Terra, Veneto,IT. Glera

Add some seafood into your meal with the Paccheri ($20/$34). This dish features thick, stubby tubes of paccheri pasta with braised Spanish octopus, anchovies and capers in a homemade tomato sauce and topped with toasted breadcrumbs for an extra crunch.

Wine pairing: 2016 Frank Cornelissen, Contadino, EtnaRosso, Sicily, IT. Nerello Mascalese blend

Meat lovers, be sure to try the Agnolotti ($19/$29)! For this dish, grass-fed beef cheek is prepared for 2 whole days then braised for 10 hours. The super soft and tender meat is then stuffed into pasta along with some parmigiana (sort of like a ravioli). This is then topped with a simple butter sauce and drizzle of beef jus, such that you won't get anything that would overpower the taste of the braised beef cheek.

Wine pairing: 2006 Tenute Sella, Lessona, Alto Piedmont,IT. Nebbiolo blend

This pasta may look simple, but taste it and it's a whole bunch of interesting and complicated flavours blended together. The Pici Cacio E Pepe ($18/$28) features hand rolled pici pasta that nicely soaks up the sauce that consists of parmigiana, Sarawak black pepper, fresh marjoram and a dash of lemon.

Wine pairing: 2010 Villa Mongalli, Montefalco Rosso, Umbria, IT. Sangiovese blend

After tasting all that pasta, its now time for some dessert. We had some pretty legit Italian desserts, such as the Cannoli ($14) and Traditional Tiramisu ($14).

The cannoli was my favourite, as it was a little different than the usual slightly doughy kinds you get elsewhere. Here, the cannoli (marsala wine-infused ricotta, candied citrus, cranberries, chocolate chips and chopped Israeli pistachios) is wrapped in a thin pastry, which gives off a more crispy texture and allowing you to better enjoy the filling inside.

Wine pairing: Amaro Averna, Siciliano

No Italian meal is complete without some tiramisu. Although the tiramisu here didn't stand out as much, I would say that it's still pretty good tiramisu with its sweet and creamy eggnog tiramisu and topped with strong coffee.

Wine pairing: Luxardo Amaro Abano, Veneto

I personally feel bar Cicheti has done a great job with both its food and wine selections. That's why on a random weekday, you'd also find the place packed. So, make sure to make a reservation before coming!

Bar Cicheti

10 Jiak Chuan Road,

Singapore 089264

Tel: +65 6789 9801

Opening hours:

Lunch - Tuesday–Saturday: 12.00pm–2.30pm

Dinner - Monday–Saturday: 6.00pm–10.30pmClosed on Sundays

#BarCicheti #Duxton #TanjongPagar #Italianfood #pasta #winebar #KeongSaik

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