Caffe Cicheti at South Beach Avenue offers classic Italian and other Mediterranean favourites with an Australian touch in a casual dining spot.
What was previously modern Australian cafe restaurant Fynn’s at South Beach Avenue has now been transformed by owners The Cicheti Group to Caffe Cicheti. It’s the group’s third F&B concept and definitely its most casual yet, after its flagship Cicheti and Bar Cicheti. But while Cicheti is more of a classic Italian restaurant along the serious, fine-dining stripe, and Bar Cicheti a contemporary pasta and wine bar targeted at a more romantic set, Caffe Cicheti retains the casual cafe vibes of its Australian-themed predecessor.
That doesn’t mean you won’t get some serious Italian grub here. In fact the quality of the pasta at Caffe Cicheti is on the same level as its siblings (which means we think it rivals some of the best pastas around town). We’re really rather impressed by Pesto (S$22++), a heap of perfectly al-dente spaghetti tossed in a delightfully herbaceous sauce; it’s a dish that’s simple to make but difficult to master, and Caffe Cicheti nails it.
Another pasta dish that hits the spot is the Gnocchi ($23++), which features gnocchi topped with a mushroom veloute, forest mushrooms and shaved parmegiana. Traditionally the potato-based dumplings are more commonly parboiled, but here it’s seared on the pan to attain a crisp outer skin while retaining its moist centre, certainly a more contemporary Australian take on the dish.
Seafood lovers should try their Ciopinno ($26++), that tomato-based seafood stew of Italian-American origins. Here the bowl comes chockfull with clams, shrimp, scallops and other assorted seafood in a rich, savoury broth that begs for toasted focaccia for dipping. Carnivores may want to look to the Iberico Pork ($29++), a lovingly grilled piece of chop with both fatty and juicily meaty parts for your chewing pleasure. Make sure you order a side of Celeriac Mash ($9.50++), to go with it.
You can’t be Italian or Australian without a proper wine list to go with the grub, and here co-owner and sommelier Ronald Kamiyama has curated a tight but expressive wine list that goes swimmingly well with the food offerings. You can’t go too wrong with the Takaki Okada Folium ($17/29/85++ for 150ml glass/250ml quartino/bottle), the refreshing Sauvignon Blanc complementing pretty much any pasta or seafood-based dishes. Likewise for the Terres Dorées Futes de Chene Beaujolais Blanc ($15/25/75++). There are some lovely surprises too in the wine list, such as a number of pet-nats, the lightly sparkling wine done in the ancient method gaining some momentum here in Singapore.
For teetotallers, Caffe Cicheti has also kept Fynn’s cold-brewed tea and juice offerings, retaining – and reinforcing that relaxed Aussie cafe vibe.
Caffe Cicheti is the sort of cafe restaurant you’d expect to see in an upscale, touristy seaside suburban town, and will not be out of place along the seafront at, say, Busselton in Western Australia, or Melbourne’s St Kilda Beach. But while it’s nowhere near the beach – despite the name of the stretch – Caffe Cicheti should pull in a healthy crowd, perfect as it is for a business lunch or after work tipples.
Address 26 Beach Road, South Beach Tower #B1-21, Singapore 189768 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 10pm from Mondays to Saturdays; 11.30am to 4.30pm on Sundays
Tel (65) 6384 1878