Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chill Out Chic

These days, it seems like a new lifestyle "village" is discovered every month (Tanglin Village, Dempsey Village...) and yet another chill-out restaurant/cafe/wine bar is opened every week. Do all of them live up to expectations?

Set in the leafy environs of Wessex Village, along Portsmouth Road, Cicada clearly aims to offer the same sort of laidback experience as its more famous neighbour, Colbar, albeit in a way more upmarket way. For one thing, one gets to sit outside. That's where we started out, outside, until the mosquitoes got to us. Oddly enough, when the mosquitoes got going, as mosquitoes are wont to do at dusk, the staff could not offer any solutions - no mosquito coils, no incense, no nothing. We ended up requesting to be moved indoors. That too did not pass without incident. The staff kindly offered to move our drinks to our new table; at that point in time, we hadn't ordered food yet. Lo and behold, the staff managed to leave behind two drinks which some other staff cleared away. We had to alert the staff before the situation was redressed - two new drinks were delivered by the apologetic staff. Not exactly the most laidback of starts...

Our experience with the food was similarly mixed.

from left: latte, starfruit martini, anjou pear juice

"The Perfect Mojito"

As expected, the menu had lots of chi chi circle must-haves - mojito(e)s, martinis, chilean sea bass. The drinks were not controversial.

amuse bouche aka cheese puffs

french onion soup

pan seared blue fin tuna salad

rare beef salad with tarragon aioli

prawn bisque with slipper lobster

Of the starters, I liked the prawn bisque best. It was rich and fragrant, and yet I'd say the lobster bisque at the Churchill Room is still better. HM liked the tuna salad, but I took issue with the smaller than expected portions of tuna. The rare beef salad could have been great, except for the fact that it was really overdressed; the leaves were drenched.

chilean sea bass with vanilla sauce

lamb cutlets

capellini with slipper lobster

parpadelle with duck confit

Now, the mains were more memorable. While the lamb cutlets and chilean sea bass weren't too exciting, the pastas got good reviews all round. All four of us enjoyed the al dente texture of the pasta. The sauce for the capellini was a runaway hit. I liked the duck confit, although the others did find it a little rich (whaddya expect, it's duck confit!)

peanut butter brittle chocolate brownie cake

apple crumble with vanilla ice cream

We ended the night with just two desserts and a good thing too, because the portions were relativley large. The peanut butter brittle chocolate brownie cake was just too rich. The apple crumble was decent, with reasonably buttery crumbly pastry and gently stewed apples.

Everything said and done, we weren't blown away. I'd say that the place has potential, not least because of the location, but they really need to work on the food and polish up their act. Oh and it won't hurt to play better music either. We won't be rushing back any time soon.



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