Moorish Dinner at Artichoke Cafe & Bar

I’ve been meaning to check out Artichoke Cafe and Bar for the longest time but just never got around to doing so till recently. A little bit of an Arabophile, I love Middle Eastern food and have been thinking about getting a fix so I was thrilled when J organized dinner at Artichoke. Serving Moorish cuisine with a modern twist, Artichoke’s food is inspired by  street food in Spain, Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Morocco.

Mezze, like Tapas, are amongst some of my favourite comfort foods for it’s wide variety of dishes but each with it’s own unique flavour. After a particularly tiring and stressful month, having Mezze felt strangely comforting even though it wasn’t a cuisine that I grew up eating.

Artichoke's Mezze: Beetroot Tzatziki, Pistachio Dukka & Garlic Breadcrumbs
Mezze: Beetroot Tzatziki, Pistachio Dukka & Garlic Breadcrumbs

This was my first time trying Beetroot Tzatziki with Pistachio Dukka (spice mix) and garlic breadcrumbs. The garlic breadcrumbs had a lovely crisp texture that contrasted with the firm, juicy chunks of beetroot and soft, tart yoghurt.

Artichoke's Local Mushrooms - baharat butter, local spinach, sheep's cheese
Local Mushrooms @ S$18
Baharat butter, local spinach & sheep’s cheese

I loved this dish as the juicy mushrooms and crunchy spinach had been sautéed in spiced butter and topped with shavings of sheep’s cheese. I thought the cheese tasted a little like Manchego but I reckon I should ask them what cheese was used the next time I visit. Interestingly, Artichoke has a philosophy of using sustainably-sourced ingredients such as local agricultural produce. Thus, this dish contains locally-grown mushrooms and spinach. This is definitely a Must-Try!

Sultan's Delight: Crispy duck, kashkaval cheese & smoked eggplant
Sultan’s Delight @ S$30
Crispy duck, Kashkaval cheese & smoked eggplant

This dish had an interesting name, Sultan’s Delight aka Hünkar Beğendi in Turkish. In a twist from the classic recipe that features lamb on a bed of aubergine purée, this dish featured duck instead. I reckon the chef must have used duck confit for this dish as the duck had a lovely  smoky skin with tender and moist flesh. The dish would have been better if some parts of the browned duck skin was still crisp (as one would expect from reading the menu) instead of being mushy from the moisture of the other ingredients. Served on a bed of creamy, smoked aubergine purée that had been mixed with some Kashkaval cheese and a dollop of marinated tomatoes; this dish was tasty, creamy and smoky with a touch of refreshing tartness. A Must-Try!

Artichoke's Roast Lamb
Artichoke’s Roast Lamb

Even though it was about 8.30 pm on a Thursday evening, we were lucky to still be able to order a portion of Artichoke’s signature Roast Lamb. Moist and tender, I wished the lamb had some browned bits for me to crunch on. This item’s off the menu so enquire with your server for availability when you visit. Alternatively, if there are 4 to 6 of you or even more, pre-order the Roasted Lamb Shoulder two days ahead as the portions are meant for sharing.

Artichoke's Date Pudding
Date Pudding @ S$14
Caramelised milk, coffee jelly, peanut brittle & salt

Though this dessert probably doesn’t fit anyone’s definition of eye candy, it blew me out of the water for its amazing mix of flavours and textures. The soft and moist date pudding sat in a pool of rich caramelised milk (Dulce de Leche), topped with crunchy bits of sweet and buttery-tasting peanut brittle, mildly bitter coffee jelly and crushed roasted peanuts. Definitely a Must-Try!

My favourite #cider! An apple a day keeps the Dr away!
Brothers Toffee Apple Cider 

I think this could be one of my new favourite hangouts. In addition to well-executed modern Moorish cuisine at reasonable prices, Artichoke serves my favourite Toffee Apple Cider by Brothers. I’m such a wimp at times when it comes to alcoholic drinks, as I love the sweet stuff even though I generally prefer savoury food. Tasting like mildly-spiced apple that had been mixed with butterscotch and cream soda, this is one of the most approachable ciders I’ve ever had. Worth a try for ladies seeking a sweet alternative to beer.

Artichoke Cafe and Bar
161 Middle Road
Singapore 188978
Inside Sculpture Square
(beside NAFA)
Phone: +65 6336-6949 (reservations recommended for weekends)
Enquiries (no reservations): wassup@artichoke.com.sg
 
Operating Hours:
Brunch – Saturday & Sunday: 11.30 am till 4 pm (last order 2.45 pm)
Dinner – Tuesday to Saturday: 6.30 pm till 11 pm (last order 9.45 pm)
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