Cheek Bistro brunch menu review: Son-in-law eggs, buttermilk quail, and more
Not your average platter
Since its casual do-over, Cheek Bistro has certainly stood by its vision of churning out fun, playful fare without any compromise with regards to ambition and culinary technicalities. So much so that it has earned a Michelin star less than a year after its revamp.
Which is why when a brunch menu recently came up, we were safe to say, enthused. A candid concept that chef-owner Rishi Naleendra was always determined to bring forth with the birth of Cheek Bistro, being the casual sibling from his bunker of restaurants. And this will be a permanent fixture — only on weekends, because that's probably really when locales can afford to head out to a languid brunch.
On the menu, there are recognisable café staples and then there are new formations that we haven't quite seen before. The former sings of plates like shakshuka — lined with tomatoes, red peppers, chickpeas, yoghurt, and toasted sourdough, as well as mushrooms on toast, where you'll see an artful take of blue foot mushrooms alongside vegemite custard, and paired with soft-boiled eggs in a rich mushroom consommé. There's also a Sri Lankan coffee signature here, adapted from Vietnamese's rendition, but just loaded with a myriad of spices and quite a generous amount of sugar.
Amongst the toast counterparts, one derived from the grimly humorous fable, did catch our eye. It tells of a mother warning her future son-in-law that if he ever mistreated her daughter, his balls would be fried up and served like a hot meal — hence Son-in-law eggs. Which in Cheek Bistro's case, was delightfully executed. Soft pita bread plied with a hummus and a house blend of dukkah spices could have already been a treat on its own, but when met with perfectly fried eggs cooked with a slight runny center, the dish came full circle.
For a bolder ramp up your palate, call for the beef cheeks. They're first slow cooked then fried, stapling a caramelised char all around, then met with a punchy gastrique (which could have used a dial back on the salt) of mustard, chili powder, and paprika. A deftly fried slipper lobster also lands itself between two soft buttery buns, which could have also laid lower on the salt factor especially with the sweet flesh of the lobster. We then took a fun turn to Cheek's Not Hot Chicken, essentially buttermilk quail atop of fluffy waffles tapered with a sweet smoky syrup. Everything fell together immaculately, including the choice of quail instead of the typical chicken.
There's also a sweeter version to waffles and they lay slightly on the heavier side, with chocolate waffles and ice cream, teased with salted caramel and honeycomb crumble. What you shouldn't miss is the rosemary panna cotta — a delicate dessert upheaved with seasonal figs and a savoury ricotta ice cream with the finishing touches of salt and pepper. There were textures and new immersion of flavours with every bite — and it is certainly the high everyone should end their brunch on.
Cheek Bistro's weekend brunch is is available every Saturday and Sunday, from 10am-4pm. For reservations, please email [email protected] or call 6221 1911.