Move over Maison Ikkoku. For a long time, the café-cocktail bar represented all that was cool and good along quiet Kandahar Street – but no more, thanks to Cicheti, an Italian-inspired restaurant dishing out good food and cool vibes in equal measure.
An independent venture by chef-owner Yew Aun Lim and his cousin Liling Ong (both of whom have remained well under the radar until now) – which can often be a recipe for disaster – Cicheti seems to be as well thought-out as they come. It’s flashy, yes – attracting a well-heeled crowd even on a Tuesday – with bespoke details, custom-made furniture by creative consultant Chun Y. Gee and antique cameras to up the hip quotient, but the atmosphere smacks of convivial warmth rather than attitude. And though its name comes from the small snacks native to Venice’s wine bars, it’s hard to pigeonhole Cicheti’s food; Yew’s cooking covers a multitude of influences from all over Italy.
The menu is spearheaded by a selection of ten-inch Neapolitanstyle pizzas ($17-$19), all painstakingly rolled out by Yew behind a glass-encased kitchen, and nicely-charred in a two-ton wood-fired oven imported from Italy. The Bismark ($19) deploys housemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese for a winning combo with ham, bacon, mushrooms and a runny egg yolk that adds a creamy lusciousness to the bread.
We’re told Yew handpicks the seafood from the market every morning, so portions are limited – there’s even less if he deems the catch unworthy. Yew’s meticulousness with provenance is also evident in the branzino sotto sale ($35), a whole sea bass crusted with salt and given a blast in the oven. At that price, it’s a steal and feeds two comfortably.
52 Kandahar St (www.cicheti.com, 6292 5012). Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Sat 6.30pm-11pm.
52 Kandahar St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm; Sat 6.30pm-11pm|
|Do you own this business?|