Singapore Restaurant Week 2011: La Cicala - Gastronomic Ruminations
I was invited to a preview lunch tasting of the Singapore Restaurant Week 2011 Set Menu at La Cicala, a Spanish gastrobar located in the space previously occupied by Indochine on Club Street.Picture courtesy of La Cicala and Sixth Sense Communications & PR Consultancy
La Cicala serves tapas in addition to an a la carte menu. Inspired by Spanish gastronomy, each dish is prepared with quality produce hailing mainly from the Mediterranean region. La Cicala is also Singapore's first official outlet for Bombay Sapphire gin.
La Cicala's Manager, Eduardo Ortega, explained that the lunch and dinner menus were similar with the exception of a choice of two main courses for dinner instead of the fixed main course for lunch.
Restaurant Week Set Lunch Menu @ S$25++starter - tapas platter marinated olives & anchovies, iberic cold cuts selection with country bread & tomato sauce, atlantic octopus in escabeche with basil caviar and croquetas main grilled iberico pork cheeks, fava beans, apple mint & sherry jus dessert ravioli of crema catalane with salty caramel & blood orange foam ******
Restaurant Week Set Dinner Menu @ S$35++starter - tapas platter marinated olives & anchovies, iberic cold cuts selection with country bread & tomato sauce, atlantic octopus in escabeche with basil caviar and croquetas mains grilled iberico pork cheeks, fava beans, apple mint & sherry jus or Fideua: short noodle pasta, pan-seared prawns & scallops, fresh herbs dessert ravioli of crema catalane with salty caramel & blood orange foam ******
Tapas Platter (1) marinated olives and anchovies (2) Iberic cold cuts selection with country bread & tomato sauce (3) Atlantic octopus in escabeche with basil caviar & (4) Croquettas
The Iberic cold cuts selection in the Tapas Platter consisted of Lomo Iberico de Bellota (longish slices on the right) and Chorizo (round slices on the left). Lomo Iberico is cured ham made from the loin of black Iberian pigs and is one of the most expensive hams in the world. Lomo Iberico de Bellota is the finest because of its marbling and the nutty flavour due to the pig's diet of acorns. I loved the rich and savoury flavour of the Lomo Iberico de Bellota and the spicy flavour of the paprika-infused Chorizo. They went quite well with the comparatively slightly sweet-tasting toasted country bread. I love olives and anchovies so I enjoyed the briney flavour that they offered. I'm not a fan of octopus in general but the octopus dish here was poached well such that the flesh was not excessively chewy but tender with a slightly tart flavour from the escabeche marinade. The Croquettas, incidentally one of the house specialties, were delicious! The golden-brown breaded spheres were filled with creamy, molten fontina cheese fortified with chorizo bits and topped with a little dab of the chipotle dip. The croquettas were not excessively oily and had a nicely crisp exterior which oozed with the savoury richness of cheese and sausage.
Grilled iberico pork cheeks, fava beans, apple mint & sherry jus
The grilled Iberico pork cheeks were awesome! Pork is not one of my favourite meats though I make exceptions for well-prepared pork dishes that do not have a strong porky flavour. The airy whipped creme fraiche topping had been flavoured with vanilla seeds and added a lightly touch of flavour to the smoky, charred skin. The flesh melted in the mouth and though I could see that each slice had a huge percentage of fat in it, it's virtually forgiven because of the soul-warming melt-in-the-mouth texture. Of course, it helped that I was sharing the mains with Hsian Ming...so, our fat intake was halved.
Fideua Short noodle pasta, pan-seared prawn & scallop, fresh herbs
Fideua is a main course option that is offered for the Restaurant Week Set Dinner menu. Fideua is a Valencian dish and is a pasta-based version of Paella. The scallop was well seared with crisp browned edges and a sweet, succulent interior. The prawn was firm however the flavours of the seafood were overshadowed by the strong flavour of the pasta. The pasta had been cooked in fish stock, saffron and aniseed liquer. I could taste the saffron but I felt that the aniseed liquer seemed to overwhelm the flavour of the stock rendering its flavour akin to local prawn noodle soup base albeit a little sweeter and less savoury.
Crema Catalana Ravioli of crema catalane with salty caramel & blood orange foam
This dessert seems to be a modern interpretation of Crema Catalana, the Spanish name for crème brulée. Unfortunately my blood orange foam covered the third hemisphere completely and I realised when I got home that I had captured a somewhat erm, interesting, shot of the dessert. Anyway, the texture of the Crema Catalana was light and reminiscent of Panna Cotta. The browned blobs of salted caramel added a deliciously buttery and savoury touch to the dessert. The blood orange flavoured foam was delicate and barely discernible. The flavour of the blood orange was more apparent in the sauce that the crema catalane was partially submerged in.
Thank you, La Cicala for the hospitality and to Carlyn Law and Loh Hsian Ming of Sixth Sense Communications & PR Consultancy for arranging the tasting because I was away and couldn't attend the media preview of Singapore Restaurant Week 2011 (October edition).La Cicala 49 Club Street, Singapore 069426 Telephone: +65 6534-8812 Operating Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 12pm to 2pm Mondays to Saturdays: 6pm to 10.30pm Closed on Sundays
Singapore Restaurant Week menus are a good deal, so make a note in your calendars and set an alarm for booking starts when the clock strikes 0.01 am on 21 September 2011 via http://www.restaurantweek.sg/Pre-Booking Available From 14 September 2011: For American Express Cardmembers (excluding DBS and UOB-issued AMEX cards) From 19 September 2011: For subscribers to DiningCity.com’s newsletter. DiningCity.com is the organizer for the event. Log onto www.diningcity.com/singapore to sign up for the newsletter.