The Place It has clinched One Michelin Star just six months into its opening, though it is unsurprising as well. Cheek Bistro is the new Cheek By Jowl, where the latter closed down last year and reopened as Cheek Bistro this year. I have not been to Cheek By Jowl previously, so I was all excited about my dinner at Cheek Bistro.
The fine-casual restaurant is conceptualised by the same team behind the now-defunct Cheek By Jowl, Chef Rishi Naleendra and his wife Manuela Toniolo. The centrestage of the space is the counter seat towards the end of the restaurant where you get to watch the open kitchen in action. Chef Rishi is no longer based at Cheek Bistro, and the culinary team here is relatively young and well-trained under Chef Rishi preciously. The table layout is casual and open, though I recommend requesting for the booth seats for more comfort and that bit more of privacy.
The Food The menu is quite concise and you get to choose from snacks, sides, small and large plates, and desserts. Modern Australian fare is the heart of the cuisine at Cheek Bistro, where there is a good portion of Australian ingredients on the menu. For snacks, I was recommended to try the Waffle with Chicken Liver Parfait or Whipped Ricotta (S$9) and no regrets at all. The waffle comes in bite size portion, spread with a smooth layer of chicken liver parfait which is delicious beyond words. This is one of the most memorable dish for me this year, so much so that I ordered another portion of it.
I also had the fresh Oyster (S$6/piece), which you can enjoy either with smoked tomatoes or natural as is.
From the small to large plates section, I like the the Beef Tartare (S$26). Served with endives, the beef tartare here is topped with millet which adds that bit of crunchy texture to the tartare. It is delicious.
This combination is simply too tempting to give it a miss. The Buttermilk Quail (S$28) is well-seasoned, very tender and that batter which coats the quail is crispy and flavourful from the buttermilk. My favourite part here is also the tangy Sriracha mayonnaise, which goes so well with the fried quail.
For the large plates, I had the Hapuka (S$38) where the oceanic fish is pan-seared to a nice crispy skin. It is served in a bed of bonito butter, braised leeks and puffed rice. The texture of the fish is just right, and the bonito butter sauce is awesome. The green puffed rice also adds a nice layer of crispy texture to the fish.
Our last savoury dish was the Cauliflower (S$28), a huge portion served with amaranth & Thai basil and buttermilk. This is my least favourite dish of all as there is not much surprise in terms of flavour, not that it is bad. The portion is also too much to stomach and it gets tiring after awhile.
Rants Not that it is bad but if I were to nitpick, the service can definitely be more polished. Do avoid interrupting diners to with the usually insincere question, “How’s the food?”.
Will I Return Again? There are many hits for me at Cheek Bistro and the chicken liver itself is enough reason for me to be back. I enjoy the fine casual vibes and it is great if you do not like the typical format and constraints of fine dining.
Make your reservations instantly at Cheek Bistro here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
21 Boon Tat Street
Tel: +65 6221 1911
Monday to Friday: 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 11pm
Saturday: 6pm to 11pm
Ranted by The Ranter