Cheek By Jowl

Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Out And About -

You think you know mod-aus­tralian un­til you’ve been to Cheek by Jowl. Defin­ing the cui­sine as “freestyle”, Sri Lankan-born head chef Rishi Naleen­dra’s free-spir­ited ap­proach to food cul­mi­nates into bold and in­vig­o­rat­ing dishes. To say he does things dif­fer­ently would be an un­der­state­ment: each item on the menu is con­structed start­ing with the veg­eta­bles; he can use French cook­ing tech­niques on one dish and Chi­nese tech­niques in the next; he doesn’t write down the recipes (but the rest of his team does); and he’s been dy­ing to change a dish that’s a crowd favourite. But be­fore you brush him off as an­other ide­al­is­tic young toque, Naleen­dra has the skills to show for it.

The food is hon­est and straight­for­ward, tinged with play­ful­ness; ev­ery in­gre­di­ent con­trib­utes to the taste, tex­ture or smell of the dish. De­serv­ing of spe­cial men­tion are the Smoked Mack­erel (S$22) with pick­led cu­cum­ber then sprin­kled with a burnt lemon pow­der, the tender Slow Cooked Lamb Tongue with herbed yo­ghurt and the sur­pris­ingly good Co­conut (S$15) dessert com­pris­ing a fra­grant laksa leaf ice cream, pomelo and green chilli sauce that gives a slight kick at the back of the throat. We rec­om­mend get­ting the Chef’s Menu, which is avail­able for lunch (five cour­ses for S$58+) and din­ner (five cour­ses for S$88+) and in­clude a few ap­pe­tis­ers and mains that you can’t or­der a la carte. If you’re a fan of or­ganic wines, chat with gen­eral man­ager Manuela To­niolo, who is also Naleen­dra’s wife, to take your pick of vi­nos from South Aus­tralian bou­tique vine­yards.

21 Boon Tat Street. Tel: 65/6221-1911. www.cheek­

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