Some people swear by waking up early on weekends. I’m not one of them — unless you tempt me with Cheek Bistro’s Sri Lankan iced coffee all over again.
Chef Rishi Naleendra‘s take on the classic uses Ethiopian beans, and is iced and spiced with cardamom and cloves. It’s rich, milky and goes down a treat. Hedonists are free to add a shot of Arrack, a traditional Sri Lankan coconut spirit. The coffee sets the tone for our unusually upbeat Sunday morning, which has us perched on bar stools watching the action in the open kitchen. The ambience is distinctly casual — a word one rarely associates with Michelin-starred restaurants.
For the uninitiated, Cheek Bistro is the younger, laidback sibling of Cheek by Jowl. The restaurant was made for relaxed meals, with its warm lighting, wood furnishings and cosy nook seating. Its newly launched brunch menu is an extension of its modern Australian fare.
Start your morning with the brunch staple of eggs. The Shakshuka is a pan of comfort, with chunks of smokey tomatoes and red peppers, chickpeas and a big heaping of yoghurt. Thin slices of crisp, toasted sourdough are served alongside — ask for more to spread it with the paprika-laced salt.
The Son In Law Eggs has runny yolks oozing over soft pita bread. Mop it all up with hummus and dukkah for crunch and a heady dose of spice.
What really takes Cheek Bistro beyond your average brunch spot is its heartier dishes. The Slipper Lobster Po Boy sandwiches sweet, fleshy morsels of battered slipper lobster with crisp iceberg lettuce and chipotle sauce between two soft buns.
The beef cheek is deliciously charred and tender in the middle. A housemade pommery mustard lends the beef a punchy tanginess, while radicchio and herb salad rounds off the dish with a sharp and bright earthiness.
In place of wine, we sip on zero-alcohol wines by Melbourne label NON. These are made by infusing hot water with dried fruits, herbs, and spices. The fizziness of the lightly carbonated Salted Raspberry and Chamomile is reminiscent of natural wines. It’s dry, lengthy and peters out to the notes of the soothing flower. The Toasted Cinnamon and Yuzu sports a burnt floral citrus profile, and pairs perfectly with the smokey char of the beef cheek.
Here for sweets? Cheek Bistro aces this department with the crowd favourite of Chocolate Waffles with chocolate ice cream, salted caramel, and honeycomb crumble with berries. To set the right tone for the week, order the Rosemary Panna Cotta for a formidable combination of textures and flavours. It’s served lightly salted and peppered with juicy seasonal figs, housemade ricotta ice cream, and crispy flakes.
Cheek Bistro, 21 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620