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Three years, one Michelin star and plenty of other accolades later, Cheek by Jowl has run its last service. Thankfully, its replacement doesn't fall too far from what chef Rishi Naleendra initially set out to achieve. We might even like Cheek Bistro more than the original.
The update is warmer and more convivial than its predecessor, with a fresh coat of paint, indoor plants and art by the multi-talented chef adorning its walls. Its à la carte-only menu is unfussy and retains some Cheek by Jowl favourites so you can put down your pitchfork and breathe easy.
Sit close to the kitchen and watch Rishi's team of talented young chefs – the average age of the crew is 26 – produce flawless plates in synchronised action. Head chef Jay Teo has been with Cheek since the start, and will take over running the bistro when Rishi helms his new project just walking distance away (watch this space for more information).
In true Cheek tradition, start your meal with a series of snacks. You're probably well acquainted with the oyster topped with smoked tomato granita ($6) but the new waffle with chicken liver parfait ($6) is a real showstopper. Sweet, creamy and ingeniously topped with some pickled mustard for a slight tang, these waffles need to come in American IHOP portions.
Choose from a variety of small and large plates as you move on to mains. Burrata and heirloom tomatoes ($22) can be found on almost every restaurant menu but Cheek's deployment of fermented green chilli spiced with cumin and flecks of crispy shallots elevate this from the humdrum usual. The same can we said about the beef tartare ($26), which comes topped with crunchy millet and a side of crisp endives to use as an edible spoon as well as the unctuous lamb ribs ($25) that easily slide off the bone.
Bring your meal to a close with the goat's cheese parfait ($15), which cleverly combines dessert with the cheese course. The frozen curd has just the right amount of barnyard funk and is balanced with dehydrated white chocolate and frozen strawberry crumbs. Australian-inspired bottled cocktails like the Wattleseed Negroni ($20) and Blood and Bone ($18) with blood orange and eucalyptus tea are available on its beverage menu. But take some time to thumb through its excellent selection of wines – including those from the Gut Oggau family – you might just discover a new favourite. Or as we did with the revamped Cheek, rediscover an old one.
21 Boon Tat
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm; Sat 6pm-10.30pm|
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