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

When you tap on the geotag or hashtags related to @cheek.sg, you are bound to see a number of posts with the famous Chicken Liver Parfait Waffle. Its fame is understandable given the spot-on combination of a savoury mousse of meat cream, sweet date jam, crunchy mustard seeds and fragrant, light, crisp freshly-baked batter.
But I ordered the vegetarian version for the first time yesterday and was instantly smittened. Just look at that beauty above. In place of the chicken liver was a fat squiggle of ricotta whipped to fluffiness with a little cream, and finished with lemon zest sauce. It had a swoon-worthy mouthfeel as there’s surprising weight in the puff of whiteness. I thought it was divine in every way.
Do give it a try when you visit.

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Priced between $1.40 and $1.60, these local snacks are as satisfying gastronomically as they are aesthetically.
Made by hand in small batches by the couple who operates this hawker stall in Old Airport Road Food Centre (they work really long days, beginning at 6.30am and ending around 5.30pm), the crispy puffs are an irresistible combination of a deepfried crust formed by layers of thin, flaky pastry, and delicious fillings that, in the case of the savoury options, are wetter than most.
My mum loves their classic curry chicken and potatoes, but I am partial to the sardine myself as it has a refreshing note of lime that vanquishes fishiness. The black pepper chicken is not a commonly found filling which is why it has its fans.
For those with a sweet tooth, you might be interested in giving their crispy yam puff a try.

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Naked Finn’s take on the Otah has the gonads and mantle of farmed local scallops buried within the rempah paste. The shallow dish means the Otah is flattish in form and dryer than moist. It is aromatic and quite spicy though so a little goes a long way. Good for sharing if you enjoy bold flavours.

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I think this is ideal for sharing and makes for a delicious start to any meal at Burn.
The burrata is made in-house, and has goat’s milk added which, I was told by owner Pav, gives it a more savoury facet of flavour. Piled on top are freshly grilled padron peppers that bring on a juicy, almost fruity crunch and subtle fragrance to the creaminess. Don’t worry, they aren’t spicy at all.

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I did not expect to find such amazing #Samosas in a fancy place like @thedempseycookhouseandbar.sg but I did.
Exceedingly crispy of skin, the generous filling is a brazenly spicy, very aromatic and moist minced chicken (swipe for a close-up of that). Served alongside is a light and refreshing cilantro yoghurt dip which proves to be the perfect foil, and can help dial down the heat as well. Just dunk your Chicken Samosa a little deeper if your tolerance level for spicy food is on the lower end of the scale.

H O S T E D
Brined in orange juice and rum, the twice-roasted chicken is sheer joy to eat as it’s so juicy and tender ($15 for a half, $28 for a whole). Spread over it is an appetising spring onion, garlic and ginger relish - it tastes a lot like the kind of dip you get when you order roast meats in Hongkong. Another item on their extensive menu worth getting for sure.

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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.

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M E D I A T O U R
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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H O S T E D
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.

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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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