Last Updated: May 16, 2019
I walked past Bar Cicheti along Jiak Chuan Road one evening after attending a work event, and my friend was the one who insisted I go in to take a name card after we’d glanced through the menu.
A few months went by before I had the chance to return and try the food, but all that while, I’d heard raving reviews about their homemade pasta.
What really drew me was the cosy and warm ambience, framed by a high arch of lights that greet you as you enter Bar Cicheti. It takes centre stage to the dining area and makes the entire establishment that much more intimate.
Get your greens in this alternative way, with Salvia Fritta (S$8), which is essentially deep-fried sage leaves lightly dusted with Maldon salt. These were similar to thin crisps and had very little taste, to be honest.
But regardless, as a small snack before our meal, this was pleasant and satisfying.
I also tried some items from their seasonal Spring menu, in which Asparago (S$15) was a shining ingredient. It featured grilled asparagus, herb butter, ricotta cream and ricotta salata to serve as a starter with plenty of textural diversity.
The asparagus spears were incredibly sweet and paired well with the mildly pungent ricotta. It’s definitely a different take on your typical salad and is great for sharing between two.
For a meat starter, the Lingua di Manzo Tannato (S$18) was an ideal choice. The braised beef tongues were satisfyingly tender and robust in taste, with the onion marmalade adding a sweet note.
My only gripe was the portion being too tiny, but I suppose it has to be since I’d be filling up on mouth-watering pasta!
But before I got to the pasta, I had the Polpette di Manzo (S$15) — brisket meatballs in tomato paprika sauce and peppered with gremolata and parmigiana. I love meatballs, especially if they’re homemade and well-seasoned.
The union of savoury and tangy here was delightful and I wish that I could have a side of pasta (with even more meatballs) to make this a complete main course.
The tomato was acidic and sweet, and the pepperiness of the paprika was palate-tingling.
Simply named Spaghetti (S$28), this Spring menu special focuses on clean and simple flavours with the use of housemade jalapeno pesto, grated ricotta salata, chopped pistachio and toasted pine nuts. The dish may look mild, but it packed quite a fiery punch as the jalapenos took centre stage on the palate.
However, when combined well with the grated ricotta salata, the heat was muted slightly, and every bite was aromatic.
The Bucatini (S$30) was a very delicate dish, with flavours that arose mainly from Hokkaido scallops, saffron and citron zest. I wonder if it’s because I’m biased towards big flavours, but to me, this pasta creation felt flat.
It failed to excite me, in spite of how fresh and sweet the scallops were, and it’s not something I would encourage one to order (or for myself to re-order). Its saving grace was the perfectly-cooked al dente pasta; all the dishes had them and that tiny detail really impressed me.
Whoever doesn’t try and love Paccheri (S$20/S$34) is crazy. It’s a tubular-shaped pasta that’s paired with slow-braised polpo (Spanish octopus) and given the puttanesca treatment – fresh tomatoes simmered long and slow, folded with fiery flavours of chilli, anchovies and capers.
To finish, it’s sprinkled with a handful of toasted bread crumbs. It’s comfort food with sensational texture at its best, and it sure did reassure me that this was a great choice for the evening.
All that was missing was more of it.
I reckon I loved Agnolotti (S$19/S$29) the most because I like stuffed pasta. It’s commonly paired with a meat sauce that’s bold and savoury. The ten-hour braised grass-fed beef cheeks were no exception and I could imagine myself ordering a larger portion on a chilly day.
The pasta had a great bite to it, while the beef cheek lent a nice, rounded (almost gamey) flavour profile to really level up this dish.
Go back to absolute basics with Bar Cicheti’s Pici Cacio E Pepe (S$18/S$28) that uses Sarawak black pepper, fresh marjoram (synonymous with oregano in some Middle Eastern countries) and parmigiana. In spite of how stripped down it is, I got a nice hit of heat from the Sarawak black pepper.
I would’ve never thought that such a simple creation could impress me, since I usually enjoy complex flavours and textures in my food.
If all that pasta hasn’t already satiated your hunger, their homemade Tiramisu will complete the meal, I’m sure. The quality of their handmade pasta is without a doubt, top notch, and there’s no arguing they want diners to focus on exactly that.
Keep great pasta simple and it will shine, like how it does at Bar Cicheti.
Expected Damage: S$25 – S$50 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
10 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089264
10 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089264