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Small Plates

Small Plates

Assorted tapas, starters, finger food, gastropub grub and the likes, that I like. These are the ones that fall into the grey area of a standard menu. They also happen to be great as multiple orders for sharing.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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These spicy and salt-seasoned fried sardines were really addictive. Each fish, measuring between 4 to 5 inches, came coated in a thin crunchy batter and was completely edible from its bones and fins to its head and tail.
Pretty sure they‘d go very well with beer.


The first thing I popped into my mouth when at Meatsmith Telok Ayer which was where the media tour began, had me almost hyperventilating - this new snack of Scotch Quail Eggs by Head Chef Eddie Goh and Group Head Chef Alasdair McKenna was just too good!
Crunchy from the crumbed coating, each hot golden-brown ball hid a quail’s egg wrapped in housemade chicken sausage meat. It was finished with some pork rub seasoning and topped with avruga caviar. I would have loved more of this intensely tasty thing but the night was young and I knew for a fact, much, much more food was lined up for us, so one was all I had.
Don’t be obliged to show any restraint though when you decide to give this a try. Be a baller and go all out.


I only managed to visit @cheek.sg three days ago, a few months after it subtly shapeshifted into a bistro. To me, the intangible but undeniably present qualities that have remained of #cheekbyjowlsg is Chef-owner Rishi Naleendra’s unique take and elegant execution of choice produce and ingredients as evidenced by the new dishes on the menu, and his wife Manuela’s disarming smile and relaxed hospitality which makes everyone immediately feel at home (she has quite the knack of changing your mind about a midday glass of wine too). I may have missed Chef Rishi that day (he’s busy getting his new restaurant on Amoy Street ready for the scheduled opening in mid July), but I saw Chef Alan more than capably holding the fort with the team during the lunch hour rush.
Although my friend and I had already ordered a few dishes including the barramundi for ourselves, we were surprised by chef with the house-cured trout shown above. You can bet we were only too happy to give it a try and yes, it revealed itself to be most delicious.
The layer of very fine black olives was a delightful savoury foil to the clean-tasting fish. Even more so when whooshed through the light almond cream, and interspersed with bites of the crisp, cool shaved fennel. Needless to say, the plate was as clean as a whistle by the time we were done.


My hands-down favourite from my spontaneous lunch at Cheek Bistro. I literally went “Wow!” when I took my first bite. Though surprising, the micro herbs and crispy fried shallots went amazingly well with the creamy cheese and fresh, juicy heirloom tomatoes. What however, elevated the dish to become nothing short of spectacular was the addition of fermented green chilli. It brought an eye-opening tropical sultriness of heat, tang and intoxicating aroma that was completely unexpected but made total sense because when I had a mix of everything in my mouth, it tasted unspeakably perfect.


What is possibly the most instagrammed of all the items on Cheek Bistro’s menu so far, the Waffle with Chicken Liver Parfait also tastes as good as everyone says.
I loved it most when I bit into the parts of the light, crunchy waffle that hid more of the sweet date jam (it‘s under the supremely light and creamy clouds of chicken liver). The pickled mustard seeds is an ingenious touch as it brought a little extra texture and burst of flavour to each bite.


I recommend starting off your evening here with this. The herb is dipped in batter and tossed into very hot oil to be cooked till crunchy. While the heat accentuates the inherent aroma of the leaves, the coating adds texture and extra flavour.
It goes supremely well with drinks.


Took my parents out for dinner here last week and realised the vibe is quite different at night compared to the day - oops, haha. Nevertheless, although they were the oldest folks there, they enjoyed the food. And that is all that matters.
Shown above is one of the snacks we started with - the Uni Crab Slaw on Fish Crisps. It was a tasty combo with a stealthy heat from some jalapeño. And although my mum removed the uni (it’s a new thing for my parents), my dad took a surprising shine to it.


Don’t expect the typical style of serving for the pasta here. There are only three pieces in the plate but each is a delightful mouthful. The al dente pasta parcel is stuffed with roasted hazelnuts, blue cheese and bechamel and cooked in a brown butter sauce.


The fish was cut quite small, almost the same size as the chunky English-style chips, then battered and fried to a golden-brown crunchiness. That made it easier to enjoy it as you can fork each piece up at a time while holding your drink in the other hand.
What we loved too was that the dish came with all the classic condiments of malt vinegar, sea salt and lemon so you can season it exactly to your preference.


Most people would order this for the Burratina because I mean, who wouldn’t be turned on by the silky-smooth blob that gives way to lusciously thick creaminess. But allow me to draw your attention to the sludgy brown puddle it rests on. That is housemade burnt onion jam and it is what elevates this dish to must-try status. Not only is it sweet from the caramelisation but the way that onion marmalade has been seasoned, zaps it with complex tastiness. Make sure to schmear a lot of it on the warm, crunchy sourdough along with a generous glob of the sea salt-sprinkled cheese to pack all the flavours into a single mouthful.
Then take a big bite, roll eyes in ecstasy and repeat.


Another tapas that I think is worth ordering (and reordering) here is the prawns in garlic oil.
On the night we had a family gathering there, the prawns were plump, firm and sweet and the oil they came in, heavy and silky. Bread was provided to be dunked in the oil. The presence of dried chillies and garlic in there was more of a quiet base note than something loud and sharp. So yes, subtle it may have been but tasty it was for sure.


I was taken aback at how delicious this dish was. The meatballs had the right texture that leaned towards the soft and were perfectly seasoned. It just so happen the tomato gravy they came in was equally good as it had been calibrated to a balanced tanginess.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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