Nine years now, Artichoke is #stillnotdead! I’m pretty sure they will survive for a long time as long as the funky, creative and damn humorous owner, Bjorn Shen is still around. One of the OG in the Singapore’s cafe scene, Artichoke has recently refreshed their menu, and as usual, diners can expect a myriad of #weirdbutcool and #notsoauthentic Middle Eastern dishes! Some of the MUST-TRY includes the Hummus & Iraqi Spiced Mushrooms, Green Harissa Prawns, Cauliflower Kushari (super addictive), Baklava Cheesecake, Date Pudding and many more! Best to jio more friends, so you guys can order more variety to share 😉 This place is definitely a nice (read: unpretentious) place to unwind after a hectic day of work and pardon my French, just chill over good food and drinks and LEGIT don’t give a F**K!
Here’s a sneak peek of what you can look forward to at Artichoke! Be it after work, or a weekend brunch, get ready to feast to your heart’s content! I left the place with a very full (but satisfied) stomach!
Starting our feast with some appetisers first! In frame, Bag of Turkish Bread ($4.50), Hummus & Iraqi Spiced Mushrooms ($14), Sea Asparagus ($12) and Spinach ($12)!
Let’s start with the Hummus (since I’m a huge fan of Hummus) first, it is prepared with whipped creamed tahini, lemon juice and garlic, then blended with blanched chickpeas, cumin and Cobram Estate olive oil. You can also find locally farmed abalone mushrooms that are seasoned invbaharat (a leavened thyme spice mixed, containing 7 spices) and sauteed with olive oil and garlic. It goes really well with the toasted bread btw! A friend of ours ate about 3 pieces of them!
Sea Asparagus was not too bad. Best to eat it with the labneh on the side because it alone was a tad salty!
Spinach was quite a refreshing dish, especially with the sliced black plums. If you’re not a fan of spinach, you should give this dish a try! It might change the way you think of spinach 😃
Crab Toast // $14
Can totally imagine myself ordering this dish again, along with a bottle of beer! Blue swimmer crab meat is mixed with Greek yoghurt, mayonnaise, chopped chives, chopped and degorged cucumber, then generously piled on fresh house-baked brioche. It is then served with deep-fried chicken skin and garnished with Ikura. Would recommend you to take a HUGE bite, and then take a sip of your beer! Damn shiok!
Cuttlefish Shawarma // $25
Another amazing bar bite from Artichoke! Skewered sashimi-grade cuttlefish is marinated in Artichoke’s #notasecretanymore shawarma blend ( including spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, star anise, cumin and coriander) and shallot oil, then evenly cooked through over a mangal grill. Flavoursome, and yes, not too chewy!
Green Harissa Prawns // $38
This was one of my favourite dish at Artichoke! Very Thai-inspired (similar to Green Curry), this dish is prepared with rocket, mint, parsley, coriander, spring onion and green chilli which are blended together to get a deep rich green sambal. Prawns are also grilled till deeply caramelised. Love the hint of spice (okay it gets spicier with every mouthful but it’s too shiok) and remember to dip your toasted bread with the shiok sauce!
Charcoal-Grilled Duck “Shish Taouk” // $30
Fresh duck breast cubes are marinated in yoghurt, onion juice, spice (cumin, corriander, paprika, tumeric) for a minimum of two days, skewered and cooked on a charcoal grill with olive oil and lemon. Served with sumac onions and two sauces – Zhug (Middle Eastern pesto) and Toum (garlic meringue with whipped egg white, oil, salt). Not gamey at all! Squeeze some lemon over for a more citrusy flavour!
Hashbrown, Fresh Chive Za’atar and Sour Cream
Shit! This is too addictive! Hashbrown was fried to perfection – crispy and not too oily. Goes really well with sour cream, rids off the greasiness!
Or you can go for a refreshing salad after a heavy main? Generous portion too!
Cauliflower Kushari // $24 (Weekend)
Can never resist Fried Cauliflowers and the rendition at Artichoke was 😍 Cauliflower is deep-fried till it shrivels to have a bitter sweet flavour and mixed with rocket leaves, onions, lentils, mint, puffed corn and fragrant basmati rice, then tossed in shallot oil, and seasoned with salt and amba (similar to mango chutney). I think I can finish the entire bowl myself!
Crispy Lamb Floss // $28 (Weekend)
Braised lamb shoulder is shredded and cooked till crispy – I can assure you that there’s no gamey taste at all. I’m not a huge fan of lamb dishes but this one, I approve! It is served with thinned down hummus, sunny side up, and turkish bread toast with fresh and fruity olive oil.
Chicken Urfa Kebab // $28 (Weekend)
Kebab is made with minced chicken thigh mixed with onion, garlic, dried spices, ice cubes and kosher salt. The mixture is shaped on a skewer, then cooked over a mangal fueled by coal. Served with a side of cabbage salad (red and white cabbage is charred whole, then the leaves are separated and tossed in tahini and amba), orange, mint and a dolllop of garlic sauce. Remember to have it while it’s hot!
Malabi // $14
If you love a sweet+sour dessert, you’ll definitely fall in love with this dish! It has passionfruit granita, avocado pudding at the bottom (love it) and garnished with Thai basil leaves and meringue pieces.
Baklava Cheesecake // $22
Seems like the ‘Burnt Cheesecake’ trend is not dying down anytime soon! Artichoke has their own rendition and I SUPER LOVE IT! Made with cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks, then topped with toasted chopped pistachios, orange blossom honey, syrup prepared with rhubarb, lemon and sugar, whipped cream, edible dried rose petals and kataifi pastry. It was not too sweet/jelat and literally melts-in-the-mouth.
Date Pudding // $16
I know this dessert looks a little shady and unpromising, and like what Bjorn said, it looks like a pile of cigarette butts, but I can assure you it was DELICIOUS! Date pudding is prepared with soaked dates, cream, butter, eggs, brown sugar, flour, then steamed in a water bath. Smoked milk is a “twice-cooked” dulce de leche (condensed milk is boiled in the can for 6 hours and cooled before being poured into another pot to caramelise again till a black char is formed to give a tinge of smokiness). Smoked milk is poured over and finished off with coffee jelly, cashew praline, cashew nut brittle, cracked sea salt and cocoa powder.
*For more information, please head to their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/artichokesg/ to find out more!
Nearest Mrt Station: Bencoolen
Location: 161 Middle Rd, Singapore 188978
What To Order: Crab Toast, Hummus, Green Harissa Prawns, Cauliflower, Cheesecake and Date Pudding
Cafe Rating: 4/5
Food Ratings: 8/10