Best Italian in Singapore? Cicheti is a front runner

This firm favourite has been around for about 2.5 years & speak to any foodie in Singapore, mention ‘Italian food’ & you can guarantee that Cicheti will be on the tip of their tongue as a recommendation. Pronounced ‘chi-KEH-tee’ the name is inspired by the signature small plates found in Venice wine bars. Informal, everyday, classic Italian food is the general principle & they absolutely nail it.FullSizeRender[1]

The restaurant is in a conservation shop house in the bustling Arab Quarter. Beautiful from the outside & warm, inviting & full of life on the inside. It has all the qualities of a good Italian restaurant with the dominant & huge, central wood-fired oven & plenty of Italian décor, including a floor map of Naples as you walk in. We booked late in the day & got a table upstairs in a little outdoor rooftop spot which goes to show just how popular the place is. First tip, book!

FullSizeRender[2]The menu is one of those where, quite frankly, you could close your eyes & pick anything with pretty good certainty you’re going to enjoy it. We landed on a selection of 3 Antipasti. Their signature burratina comes with salty parma ham, arugula & a moreish pesto, pistachio nut treat. The burratina is as good as anywhere we have tried in Singapore [including the fabulous Latteria]. Creamy, rich & fresh. We also had the signature meatballs which come in a deep, rich tomato sauce & toasted bread. Once again, fabulous. The final antipasti was the roasted pumpkin insalata with burnt butter, granola & a yoghurt dressing which was once again a hit. The three dishes were generous but not a morsel was left from any of the plates as the 3 of us shared & thoroughly enjoyed all of them.FullSizeRender[3]

Onto the main events, after much debate we chose 3 different dishes. I went for their famous pappardelle al ragu with braised lamb shoulder. I’ve had it before, I had it again & to be honest I’d order it next time. It’s so good. Thick, al dente, homemade pasta strips & a rich, meaty sauce. Can’t fault it. Charlie went for the slightly healthier option of cioppino, a stew of fish, prawns, squid, clams & mussels all bobbing about in a huge bowl of tomato sauce, chilli & garlic. It was tasty but could probably have done with a few extra hits of fish in & amongst the soupy sauce.

Finally, our Hong Kong friend ordered the squid ink taglFullSizeRender[4]iatelle which came with crab meat in a tomato sauce & crispy breadcrumbs to finish. I managed to get a good forkful & can vouch for it. Delicate crab, wonderful pasta & a sauce that brought it all together. Another hit.

It’s also worth mentioning that the staff are wonderful & we had a good chat with Ravi who runs the place brilliantly with an attentive eye, but an informality that makes you feel very welcome.

Get down there. It’s a winner every time.

Cicheti, 52 Kandahar Street

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