The hype: The people behind 2013’s unlikely standout Italian joint Cicheti on Kandahar and two-year-old popular brunch spot Fynn’s at South Beach have proven to be able to create great F&B concepts, and it’s exciting to know that they’ve now opened Bar Cicheti along Jiak Chuan. While obviously inspired by sister restaurant Cicheti, Bar Cicheti is a very different establishment and stands out in its own way.
The vibe: Convivial, warm and woody, the dim 42-seater shophouse space is elegant yet casual, easily accommodating those looking for a full dinner experience or just drinks paired with appetisers. Either way, you’re gonna have a good time.
The food: There are only two focuses at Bar Cicheti: pasta and wine. Chef-owner Yew Aun Lim and his kitchen team makes the pastas themselves and prepares each dish only when ordered, so you know you’re getting freshly prepared plates each time. All pastas here come in either tasting or full portions, so you get the option of ordering more varieties of smaller servings if you so wish.
The pasta list is kept succinct but substantial enough, with a few inducing that addictive quality that will have you scuffing down plate after plate. Go straight for the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe ($14/$26), a simple pasta that gets most of its flavors from just pepper and cheese. The use of sarawak pepper gives the dish big, bold notes that elevates the usually straightforward dish. Trust us and order a full portion of this for yourself.
Other sure-satisfying pastas include the Fusilli Nero ($15/$28), a umami-laden squid ink pasta mixed with uni, crab and anchovy perfect for seafood lovers; the spinach Pappardelle ($15/$28) served with ragu bolognese and aged parmesan for a more intense flavor; and the Tagliolini ($15/$28) that’s drenched in lamb sugo, truffle salsa and then topped with slices of girolle.
Other than pastas, there’s also a good selection of antipasti that works great as appetisers or bar snacks. Try the fried sage leaves ($8) that’ll have you hooked for more, the plump and herbaceous Japanese clams ($16), and the saucy beef meatballs ($15) that will remind you that some meatballs truly are better than others.
The drinks: While Lim works the kitchen, his cousin and co-owner Liling Ong makes sure the drinks department is sorted. Ong ensures the wine list here, like the food menu, stands apart from their OG restaurant and she’s succeeded in doing so with help from sommelier friends and frequent visits to winemakers in Europe.
Get her to recommend wine pairings and she’ll offer you selections not often found at other places. Instead of the usual prosecco to start, for instance, she’ll offer you a white that has the same refreshing qualities of the bubbly drink. Bottles start from $69 here and there are enough varietals to sate whatever wine lust you may have. Get them by the glass for a taste first, or try their bigger 250ml pours if you’re especially thirsty.
Why you’ll be back: Their focus have paid off with an attention to detail you’d otherwise not get at other Italian places that offers pizzas, secondi and a plethora of other things too. Head to Bar Cicheti for great wines and pastas with a twist that won’t disappoint—it’s as simple as that.