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Twirling light and bright into Spring at Bar Cicheti

March 26, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

As we say goodbye to a sleepy Winter and transition to a spirited Spring, the sweet, hearty harvests of Italy will make their way to the plates of Bar Cicheti, Singapore’s first homegrown pasta and wine bar.

As always, pastas are handmade and the perfect backdrop to the season’s best produce – paired with a beautifully eclectic wine list to satisfy all palates. The new menu is a tribute to all three partners’ love for springtime in Italy: restaurateur Liling Ong, chef Lim Yew Aun and sommelier Ronald Kamiyama worked collectively to design a focused list that evoked their personal favourite memories, from driving through the hills of Tuscany to the seaside sunsets in Sicily.

“There’s no better time to eat and drink your way through Italy than the onset of Spring. Chef Aun’s rich, comforting dishes give way to fresher, brighter tastes that celebrate the Spring bounty, while Ronald’s new floral-forward wine selections are delicious on their own – and each with a lovely story to tell – but are just perfect with our pastas,” says Liling.

Ronald’s gutsy perspective on wines continues to favour off-the-beaten-path regions, unknown varietals and different vindication techniques, with a number of biodynamic, organic and sustainably farmed labels in his arsenal. He recommends beginning withthe 2017 Pojer & Sandri, Zero Infinito Frizzante, a small-batch pét-nat from Trentino, Italy, that’s made entirely of certified organic Solaris – unfiltered with no sulphites added. Bright and fizzy tropical notes make it the ideal, refreshing start for the meal ahead.

Chef Aun has created four Spring-inspired specials dressed in vibrant colours and flavours of the
season – available for a limited time only. Twirl up forkfuls of Spaghetti (S$28) done one of two ways – the first, is coated in a creamy, housemade jalapeño pesto that’s tossed with chopped pistachios, toasted pine nuts and a generous grating of ricotta salata. Pairing perfectly is the 2015 CVNE, Monopole Clásico—fresh, fine and bone dry—a peculiarity of a Spanish Rioja which sees manzanilla sherry introduced to the barrel aging process, resulting in a nutty characteristic that lends itself beautifully to the roasted flavours of the pesto. The other is a classic Spaghetti alle Vongole (S$32), where the sweet leek of Spring gets a fresh coat of char, adding an irresistible aroma to the clams’ briny tang.

The third sign of Spring are hand-stamped medallions of Corzetti (S$28)—a Ligurian specialty dating back to the middle ages—that need nothing more than earthy slices of porcini and button mushrooms sautéed in a flavourful Marsala sauce. Best enjoyed in between sips of the 2006 Tenute Sella, Lessona, a lost expression of Nebbiolo from Alto Piedmont that’s making its way back into vogue.

Vibrant aromas of leafy underbrush, moist soil, berries and herbs, along with a shared provenance,
bring out the earthy undertones of the moreish mushroom ragu. For a taste of the lush Lazian
countryside, the final seasonal special is Bucatini (S$30), where thick, hollowed strings of pasta are
tossed with spring peas, citron zest and a seared Hokkaido scallop, in a hearty saffron broth.
Adding to the new permanent menu is an update of Bar Cicheti’s tight, confident rotation of pastas

offering more vegetarian options, new pasta shapes and in-season ingredients. All available in either starter and entrée size – pretty purses of Anolini (S$18/28) stuffed withtaleggio, ricotta and parmigiana are finished in a decadent brown butter sauce, topped with caramelised onions and a sprinkling of hazelnuts. The ever-trendy Cacio e Pepe gets more bite than before with slippery strands of hand-rolled Pici Cacio e Pepe (S$18/28) – spiced with Sarawak black pepper, fresh marjoram and a squeeze of lemon to cut through the rich parmigiana.

Linguine (S$22/35) is an uncomplicated toss-up of handpicked blue swimmer crab and treviso
radicchio—an Italian chicory that together with the crab, release sweet flavours of land and sea—
brightened with orange zest. On the other end of the spectrum, thick, stubby tubes of Paccheri
(S$20/34) are paired with slow-braised polpo and given the Puttanesca treatment – fresh tomatoes
simmered long and slow, folded with fiery flavours of chilli, anchovies and capers, and to finish, a
sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs. Here, the 2016 Château de Trinquevedel Rosé is ideal for the
bright, tomato flavours in the feisty sauce. This is a fourth-generation gem from the Tavel appellation of Southern Rhone, France–where only rosé wines are allowed–made with mostly Grenache and other native varietals such as Clairette, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. Excess never tasted so good.

Tagliolini Nero (S$22/35) is chef Aun’s way of reimagining Bar Cicheti’s reigning darling, Fusilli Nero (S$19/32). While the original is a feisty umami bomb of squid ink fusilli, crab lump, Japanese uni and basil and anchovy crumbs; the latest contender is an ode to the sea at its seasonal best. By folding freshly harvested squid ink deep into the dough with military precision, each strand is unabashedly black and briny and lends itself to an ocean-fresh medley of Hokkaido scallops, local squid, and Japanese uni – all coated in a bisque reduction that tastes like the sea.
All these dishes are available in two sizes, for a little bit of everything, along with a selection of new and signature antipasti and desserts that have been updated for Spring. Wines at Bar Cicheti are available by glass, quartino and bottle, with Ronald and his team on hand to help diners pick the perfect wine for any pasta or occasion.

FEED ME TENDER

Get the best tastes of the season by opting for the menu’s new ‘Feed Me’ option. Choose from the S$68 or S$88 option and get served up 1 antipasti, 4 pastas and 1 dessert – all to share and entrusted entirely to chef Aun and his team. Wine pairing and vegetarian options are also available.

SIP ME TRUE

Happy hour just got interesting. Every Monday to Thursday, join Ronald and his team at the bar from 6-7pm or 9-10pm and enjoy a wine tasting flight of 3 at S$28. Discover new and lost grape varietals from up-and-coming winemaking regions, experiment with natural wines that put the fun in funk, and taste the difference of provenance at its truest expression. There’s something new to uncover with every visit.

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