Rishi Naleendra‘s produce-driven restaurant on Amoy Street
Rishi Naleendra, the man behind the now-defunct Cheek by Jowl, which subsequently morphed into the Cheek Bistro we continue to know and love, has opened Cloudstreet. Here, expect nothing like what you’ve seen before from the Sri Lankan-born chef.
The hype: Rishi Naleendra, the man behind the now-defunct Cheek by Jowl, which subsequently morphed into the Cheek Bistro we continue to know and love, has opened Cloudstreet. Here, expect nothing like what you’ve seen before from the Sri Lankan-born chef.
The vibe: Rarely has the interiors of any of Amoy’s many other shophouse establishments ever wowed us the same way Cloudstreet has. Entering 84 Amoy Street feels like you’re stepping into another world, one designed to make you feel more at home (a rather whimsical one) than at a restaurant. Pull up a low counter seat by the massive open kitchen to witness up-close a magical, fine-tuned operation at work.
The food: Part of the enjoyment at Cloudstreet has got to do with not knowing what you’re about to be served. With that in mind, read on, though we’ll still make sure to maintain some suspense.
Toss away what conventional fine dining etiquette has taught you. You don’t even get a menu at Cloudstreet. They’ll simply serve you a tasting menu ($168 for 5-course and $198 for 7-course dinner) based on your dietary restrictions. Doing this helps assuage expectations based on dish names, and we tend to agree this works. Though you do get the full list of dishes you ate upon leaving.
First, the snacks. You get four of them, counted as a single course. There’s a pickled mussel dish that helps perk up both your palate and your mind—you’ll know what we mean when you eat it—as well as a savoury pea sorbet that’s worth mentioning. It sets the tone of your dinner right, that what you see may not be what you taste.
Probably the best bread in Singapore
After a couple of appetisers, some more familiar than others, you’ll finally reach your bread course. And boy, do we love this. Eschewing traditions of having the bread served as an accompaniment from the start of your meal, their Singapore stout (actually the Brewlander Respect Porter) and liquorice bread is instead served right before the main. It’s a sizable homemade rye loaf cut into quarters, glazed with sticky molasses and served with a side of whipped butter. Biting into it reveals a texture that’s a cross between fluffy steamed cake and a dense bagel, resulting in a one-of-a-kind bake that you have to eat to believe.
The bread would have easily outshined the main that’s coming up next, if not for how amazing it is too, albeit in a whole different way. A cut of grilled lamb saddle is served with three sides—a spring onion sambal, green chili and mint chutney, and a baby jackfruit curry wrapped in a radicchio leaf. Pair the lamb with each one for three distinct bursts of flavours, or mix them all together; your choice.
The drinks: There’s the more common wine pairing ($128-158) and the more unique non-alcoholic pairing ($78-98) option here, though even the vinos are rather unconventional. Picking one over the other is purely a matter of preference, but we’d definitely say the flavour profiles of the non-alcoholic beverages are broader. They are all concocted in-house, and play with ingredients from teas to fruits, using processes ranging from fermentation to infusions (and even grilling).
Sommelier Vinodhan Veloo (with a name like that it’s as if he’s born for this job), formerly from Odette, takes charge of the wines, and there’s a truly impressive list here. From a red-hued pinot gris from La Castellada that is wonderfully aromatic, well-bodied and complex, to cult favourite bottlings from Austrain winemaker Claus Preisinger, be prepared to expand your experiences beyond the usual.
Why you’ll be back: Perhaps referencing the eponymous book’s missive, Cloudstreet is a home—maybe a dramatic, sometimes messy one—but a home that’ll have you coming back again and again nonetheless. It’s Naleendra’s way of wearing his heart on his sleeve, and one we’d gladly savour comfortably anyday.