When chef Rishi Naleendra closed his Michelin-starred restaurant Cheek by Jowl, many were taken aback. After all, the place was garnering rave reviews for its innovative modern Australian fare and stellar wine list curated by Rishi’s wife Manuela Toniolo. However, fans were soon appeased when the husband and wife team reopened the space under the name Cheek Bistro with a brand new look and concept. We were big supporters of Cheek by Jowl, so of course we had to check out the new incarnation to see if it held up to its former reputation.
It was a Wednesday night when we popped into the Cheek Bistro and the place was full, which created a nice buzz in the air. Where the old space was a bit more formal offering up a fine dining set menu, Cheek Bistro is more casual with an a la carte menu of small and large sharing plates. In our opinion, changing the menu into a more easy-going format was a great move as it allowed us to order up a number of plates and try more dishes on the menu.
We started with the sourdough and butter ($6), which was a lovely precursor to the main meal, and a bottle of the Novala Valpolicella ($98), which paired perfectly with our first dish of beetroot ($22) with golden raisins, goat’s cheese and radicchio. Staying on the vegetarian theme, we opted for the cauliflower ($32) with barley, Thai basil and a beautiful Tête de Moine cheese as a larger plate with a side of broccolini ($18) with green goddess sauce, crunchy toasted almonds and a hit of salty anchovies. All up, the food was super satisfying and the service was commendable, which is a plus because that can be hard to find here sometimes.
Cheek Bistro is the hipper, more laid-back version of Cheek by Jowl, and like the name suggests, it sports bistro vibes. Inside you’ll find olive-green booths and wooden tables, plus an open kitchen where you can watch the culinary team in action. The menu isn’t huge, but it has enough dishes to please all sorts of eaters including a great selection of vegetarian offerings.
Would we return? Definitely, yes! This is an easy place to keep going back to because the execution of dishes is fab and the vibe is super cosy. We really love the change and can’t wait to try more of the dishes next time. We recommend coming here with a date or a small group of friends so you can sample a range of dishes. It’s an easy one to add to your resto hit list!
Cheek Bistro, 21 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620. p. +65 6221 1911. Open Mon – Fri 12pm – 2:30pm, 6pm – 10:30pm, Sat 6pm – 10:30pm