Cicada, Clarke Quay: Modern Asian Cuisine Meets Mandarin Jazz

A multi-concept dining and entertainment venue, Cicada recently opened its doors at Clarke Quay’s Block C. It specialises in Modern Asian cuisine, cocktails, and late-night desserts.

Beer-battered white bait

The beer-battered white bait comes with freshly shaved wasabi snow (essentially wasabi mixed with flour) and wasabi mayo dip ($12). True to its namesake, the “snow” melts quickly upon contact with the hot and crispy white bait. The act is rather gimmicky and the “snow” doesn’t add much flavour. But the beer-battered white bait is not greasy and it is addictive.

Truffle edamame with honeyed chicken skin

Adding truffle paste to the truffle edamame with honeyed chicken skin ($9) is a nice touch, however, the truffle is overpowering and the balance is off. If this is presented as two separate items – truffle edamame and honeyed chicken skin – it would have been better.

Smokin’ dumplings ($22) is a good portion of pan-seared foie gras painstakingly cut into small cubes wrapped in eggy cottony-soft crepes. Smoky (courtesy of applewood smoke) and decadent. Very good.

Nori tacos

Tacos comes in a set of 3 and you can choose any 3 from the following for $14: salmon belly cubes with Japanese pickles, Korean beef bulgogi with kimchi slaw, pan-seared foie gras with peanut sauce and pickled cucumbers (additional of $4). Instead of using fried tortilla shells, Cicada uses seaweed tempura to hold the ingredients together with Japanese rice. It is a little messy to eat with your hands but these are finger lickin’ good stuff.

Baobao trio

Baobao trio is Cicada’s take on sliders. The toasted buns are made in-house and sandwiched together with some great fillings. It comes in a set of 3 for $12: crispy prawn kakiage (additional $2), chicken katsu, aubergine and mushroom. While the chicken katsu is nothing to shout about, I particularly enjoy the appetising rojak sauce that accompanies it and the pillowy soft charred buns.

oriental braised duck leg

Char-grilled vegetable platter

For mains, oriental braised duck leg ($24), char-grilled vegetable platter (2-4 pax, $35), char-grilled spatchcock (2-4 pax, $42) and sakura ebi capellini ($22) are recommended.

Char-grilled spatchcock

Among them, the standout dish is the sakura ebi capellini. Each strand is coated evenly wth shrimp oil, aromatic, flavourful, and umami.

Sakura ebi capellini

I like all their desserts–purple sweet potato panna cotta ($12), yam mille feuille ($12), sticky date pudding ($14), and Cicada’s chendol ($12)—although the sticky date pudding is, for me, the winner. The sticky date pudding is paired with a rich and buttery butterscotch sauce and contrasted with cold vanilla ice cream. It is warm, inviting, and moist.

Purple sweet potato panna cotta

For cocktails, the spiced ginger Bellini, (prosecco, fresh orange juice, ginger syrup, black tears spiced rum and Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters for $14 happy hour/ $17) can drive away covid19, right? (alcohol + ginger.) It is pleasant but a bit of a letdown as the prosecco is flat and the ginger syrup isn’t spicy enough.

Fennicillin (foreground), Farang (background)

The Farang (Remy Martin VSOP, ginger syrup, kaffir lime water, grape juice and lime juice for $15 happy hour/ $18) is refreshing and fruity.

On the whole, the food and drinks here are decent and coupled with the lovely (no loud thumping music) ambience, I can foresee myself coming back here again.

Clarke Quay Block C #01-10, 3 River Valley Road, Singapore 179022
Tel: +65 8123 1466
Sun to Wed: 5pm – 11pm
Thu to Sat: 5pm – 1am

Food: 6.75/10
Decor/ambience: 7/10
Price/value: 6/10

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Written by Vanessa Khong. Vanessa is someone who enjoys checking out the local food scene. She believes the way to her heart is through her stomach.

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