Tour: Cicheti Italian Restaurant

Discover the flavours of Italy in the Arab Quarter of Singapore and revel in il ristorante's urbane interiors, where Old World charm meets modern-day glamour.

Updated on August 07, 2017 15:08 pm

Jerni Camposano

Review of Cicheti Italian Restaurant in Singapore

This Italian dining spot has been attracting a well-heeled crowd since it opened its doors in Singapore in December 2013. And it's no wonder why.

Nestled fittingly on Kandahar Street, Cicheti (pronounced “chi-KEH-tee”) lives up to the high standards of authentic Italian dining—fresh flavors, a menu that marries traditional and modern, impeccable service, and an elegant and cosy ambience.

store front of cicheti italian restaurant in singapore

Cicheti's distinctive take on Italian fare reflects the region's long history of nomadic travellers, cross-cultural cuisine, and stunning scenery.

Named after the signature snacks served in Venice's bacari (wine bars), Cicheti is your typical go-to spot for sumptuous Italian food—and more. As much as possible, Cicheti aims to weave Italy's culinary history into every detail of its concept, branding, and execution.

cosy and luxurious interior of cicheti italian restaurant

"Indeed, Italian cuisine often has specific, easily identifiable, unique characteristics that can be traced to specific regions or that resemble customs in general usage throughout the country," explains Chun Y. Gee, managing director of GEE Global.

Cicheti tapped on the expertise of multidisciplinary consultancy firm GEE Global to help bring this dynamic concept to reality, drive the overall design in collaboration with WATG architecture and design firm, and ensure that playfully-layered references are integrated into every element of the restaurant.

Cicheti's dynamic duo—Chef Yew Aun Lim and Liling Ong—is at the very core of bringing the best of Italian flavours to the shores of Singapore. Chef Yew Aun's love affair with traditional Neapolitan pizza and Italian cuisine is complemented by Liling's innate entrepreneurial vision.

best sellers italian food at cicheti italian restaurant
Some of Cicheti's bestsellers: Margherita Di Bufala Neapolitan Pizza, Pomodori Secchi, and Pappardelle Ragu

“We are passionate about fresh flavors and locally-sourced seasonal ingredients to create a true range for our slant on Italian favourites to new ideas,” says Chef Yew Aun. “While remaining faithful to the heritage of Italian-influenced foods, we’ll add our own simple interpretations: our food and drink menus will be intriguing, yet approachable.”

This two-storey food haven in the Arab Quarter calls a conservation shophouse its home. Don't be fooled by its upscale, sophisticated furniture and fixtures. "The rich, inviting glow of the restaurant's interior design creates a warmth to invite guests to savour in the experience," says co-owner Liling.

authentic and traditional italian food preparation in kitchen of cicheti italian restaurant in singapore

According to GEE Global, Cicheti's interior layout presented interesting challenges: historic conservation shophouse, a massive two-ton wood-only fired oven, dual-level dining, open kitchen in a narrow space to showcase the freshness of food preparation, and small space allocated for the kitchen. "Cicheti's interiors bring old-world allure to a modern sensibility," says Chun.

artful and modern elegant interior dining space of cicheti italian restaurant in singapore

The artful blend of mixed-use materials allow for a space that is inviting, comfortable, and lively. The cohesion of the varying layers of materials and hand-selected custom furnishing, fixtures, and equipment specifically created for Cicheti is seamless and sophisticated.

Stone, wrought-iron furnishings, leather accents, and copper-like layered walls all contribute to the classic yet modern feel of this food place. Brick walls and weathered oak tables lend a natural touch to the space but maintain its simplistic elegance.

On the ground level and second floor dining are multiple seating areas to allow you to sample the delectable dishes. Cicheti also features a bar lounge space and a 10-seat kitchen-height dining spot upstairs and outdoor seating on both levels.

turkish interior design elements in cicheti italian restaurant

If you're looking for the perfect environment for a romantic dinner date, this is the place to check out. Ambient lighting is courtesy of antique Turkish pendant lamps and a custom-made Invisible Cloud Chandelier by Canadian design firm Castor. This unique chandelier is made up of 2,000 recycled light bulbs of varied dimension and colour.

map of naples flooring

Photo courtesy of Cicheti Facebook page

Look down and you'll see another interesting piece in Cicheti's interiors. The restaurant's signature "tattooed" floor features the map of Naples to "complement Chef Aun's flair for authentic Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-only-fired oven shipped directly from Italy."

modern italian restaurant in singapore

Chun further notes, "It was more about the overall cohesion bringing together the brand story, identity system, menu, interior design, and experience all together in order to convey a singular brand. The overall effect is our interpretation of a modern 'mom & pop' Italian restaurant."

Photos by Jimmy Cohrssen

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