CATO Singapore just launched in cultural mecca with delicious bites and laidback vibes.
Double-storeyed restaurant and bar inspired by Modern Asian cuisine, CATO Singapore packs a punch when it comes to giving you an awesome night out. This jazzy, fun affair is lined with fancy cold brews, coffee stouts, craft beers, and more - whichever is your chosen poison, they will have it. Groove to the beats from their live DJs spinning 90's retro remixes, and then, hang out with friends over interesting fusion creations from CATO's talented chefs.
Image credits: CATO Singapore
The first floor seemed a little muted and has a slow, lulling effect for a quiet date night, but the second floor is truly made for memorable nights with its cozy setting, and a large arching window that oversees the grand glowing Sri Mariamman Temple in blue.
Prawn bisque with home-made cod, fishball and coriander leaf (SGD12) is a velvety product of simmered prawn shells for a more full-bodied flavour, typically served in an espresso cup for you to down in one shot... ideally. In reality, it was so full of goodness from the seas and I would really prefer to sip at it slowly and dip in bread to enjoy it in entirety. Portion is likely to be small as this is a 'quality over quantity' sort of tapas selection.
The super savoury Garlic fries (SGD8) would be good to share among a crowd. It is tasty with strong garlic-crusted flavour, but probably not the sort of fries to binge on as it can be quite overpowering after a while.
Chicken Noodle Salad (SGD16) is the spiciest thing I've ever tasted, meant to be both smoky, savoury, and sour with vinegar vinaigrette... but numb was the only feeling I had after the 'ghost chili' (bhut jolokia) which the noodles were seasoned with! It was pretty crazy, but people who love to push their limits... here it is.
Fashioning one of man's greatest discoveries - the salmon - in a very different way, the Acai cured salmon (SGD18) has cured the Tasmanian Salmon Rounds with superfood of acai berries, which is intended to accentuate the fattiness and juiciness of the salmon. Oh my, if the chef hasn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have known why this salmon tasted especially plump and delicious. Pair it with the marinated starfruit ceviche with light and refreshing calamansi creme fraiche and the maroon-coloured sweet acai jelly squares on the side.
Photo credits: CATO Singapore
The Crispy Squid in Thai Style Glaze (SGD12) is known to be a regular-favourite and also quickly swept off the table by fellow hungry dinner companions. Strangely, I didn't find that I like it as much, it wasn't crispy but instead, feels chewy, with a sweet and sour sauce that stays true to Thai cuisine.
Steam Baked Pork Cheek (SGD28) is wrapped in a Fata cooking foil in a rather aloof way, as if it doesn't care much for being photogenic in this era of Instagram... unwrapping it, an inviting aroma wafts over, revealing tender strips of sous vide pork cheek and steam-baked in a port wine mustard sauce. The pork cheeks were super tender, I didn't even feel like I had to bite it (not literally) but it sure doesn't feel like any other regular pork cheeks. My impression of it just went on an exponential curve after getting to know it.
My favourite amongst the mains, appetizers and sides goes to this ingenious Aunty Jasmine's Fish Curry (SGD25), made from a family secret recipe. The New Zealand Ling fish is used, doused in an in-house Indian curry made by CATO's culinary team. It is really good, my eyes watered with tears as I ate it because finally, a curry that is perfect in a way I liked it... generous and full of coconut milk, spices and spicy enough too. Honestly, the fish and curry took centrestage, and everything else was promptly ignored. If you're wondering, the little yellow blobs of caviar is olive oil.
What took my breath away was the Papaya Nougat Glace (SGD14) which I thought was really special... the homemade nougat had a soft texture almost like tofu, the juicy papaya chunks and caramelized almonds lies in a pool of papaya and sweet wine reduction, all in all such heaven on earth! Desserts should all be like this, a little mysterious and hundred-percent starry-eyes inducing. I didn't exactly know what I was eating before the chef came over to explain, I just knew this was glorious dessert in the making.
In comparison, the typically good Valrhona Warm Pistachio Chocolate Cake (SGD14) wasn't as spectacular in the creativity department, but scores brownie points in how classic and well-done it is. The ice-cream on the side is in a strong premium almond flavour.
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Date of Visit: Oct 28, 2015 Other Ratings: