Cicada was one of the first establishments (besides old-timers Colbar) to set up shop Portsdown Road. In recent months, the area has been renamed Wessex Estate and several other restaurants and cafes have moved in, like Pietrasanta and Laurent’s Chocolate Bar. I do want to try them all at some point, but tonight we decided to go with the original one first.
Cicada was worryingly quiet for a Friday night, with most of the hip crowd over at Pietrasantra instead. Still, that left the ambience very relaxed and not kissy-kissy, which suited us fine. Service was good, albeit slightly slow in bringing us menus and refilling my warm water.
Food was good, particularly the crab Caesar salad. I think it was because there was loads of dressing, plenty of crispy bacon, a generous helping of crab meat and topped with a poached egg.
The pizzas here come in either 8 inch or 12 inch sizes. The 8 inch is a perfect size to share as a starter. We were deliberating between the seared tuna pizza and the scallop with asparagus. We ended up ordering the tuna, but it paled in comparison to the much more strongly flavoured Caesar. The pizza had a good thin crispy crust, but the olives and onions overpowered the tuna, which you couldn’t really tasted unless you plucked it off the pizza and had it on its own.
The burger here is called The Infamous Cicada Burger, and I must say it was good, but in a posh burger way, rather than a good meaty way. I think it was a wagyu patty, topped with Gorgonzola and Gruyere cheese and shimeji mushrooms, but while it was flavourful and done very well, somehow it don’t think it will immediately spring to mind when I have a craving for an old-fashioned burger. Still, this is one of the best posh burgers I’ve had in a while.
We also ordered the Slipper Lobster Cappellini, which comes in a tomato cream sauce with ricotta cheese and topped with tobiko roe. The pasta, being angel hair, was cooked a tad too long; I think this dish would work better with a thicker pasta. The taste of the sauce was good, though.
Unfortunately, we didn’t end our meal on a high. We ordered the profiteroles to share, and were really disappointed. The cream inside was a bit solid, like it had been frozen, and the choux pastry was thick, dry and hard. Next time I think we’ll pass on dessert.
We’ll try the other joints at Portsdown at some point, particularly Pietrasanta which looked good but a bit poseur, so you’ll read about it when we do.
I think the service here is actually very good. The setting is also very cool – laid back without being too posery. Given the small car park, finding a space probably will be a problem if you go later though.
Food-wise, the crab salad and burger are fantastic. You can taste the quality of the $29 burger. My only issue is that it kind of tastes more like a steak sandwich than a burger.
Overall, I’d recommend this place.
7 Portsdown Road
Lunch: 12noon - 3.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.30pm(Closed on Mondays)