Picture going to a Michelin-starred restaurant and you might conjure images of starched white table cloths, chandeliers that hang heavier than the memory of a lost love and staff who’d wax lyrical about the beetroot they unearthed from an obscure planet with a straight face.
Not at Cheek Bistro. Now, the casual spot has made dining out a tad more playful by launching a weekend brunch that’s relaxed without sacrificing the ethos that has earned it a Michelin star.
This new menu is an eclectic mix of influences from Australia, Sri Lanka and classic brunch favourites. Here, you can have fish and chips and a vegemite custard while sipping on a Sri Lankan iced coffee.
Want to sink into something comforting? There’s always the Grain Porridge ($18++) for a trio of grains like quinoa, bulgar wheat and millet cooked with coconut milk and palm sugar. If eggs are more fitting for a bright weekend morning, then order up the Shakshuka ($18++) — where it’s baked with the classic tomato, red peppers, chickpeas and served with a generous dollop of yoghurt.
Otherwise, what’s so special about brunch here — the bright and inquisitive minds amongst you might ask.
We start with the Beef Cheek ($28++) which comes with radicchio and a herb salad. This tangle of flavour is given a piquant zing by way of a pommery mustard — house-made, we’re told — which is frankly the way it should be done at award-winning restaurants.
The Fish and Chips ($34++) here has been raved about all over Instagram and it certainly does not disappoint. The thick slab of red snapper is fried to perfection, with a crispy outer coat and moist tender flesh that’s flakier than your ex boyfriend.
Our favourite though, has to be the Mushroom on Toast ($18++) which comes with a side of soft eggs suspended in a mushroom consomme. We’re not talking about pedestrian button mushrooms here as one might see in many other lacklustre brunch spots but bluefoot mushrooms — a delicacy which is otherwise known as pied bleu in French.
Its velvety texture and woodsy flavour is uplifted with umami vegemite custard that sits in a round blob on the side.
Don’t leave without trying the Sri Lankan iced coffee — a nod to chef Rishi Naleendra’s roots. It’s brewed with condensed milk and spices not unlike chai and if you fancy, you can add a shot of arrack and make it a caffeinated cocktail.
Consider this breezy weekend well spent.