(Hosted) Nothing deceptive about it. What you see is what you get at the newest restaurant opened by Chef @a.a.walsh.
Located just off Club Street on Gemmill Lane, this Asian-Fusion Raw Bar and Fish Grill serves a variety of small bites and substantial plates with cocktails and wines to pair. Interestingly, last Saturday when we were there, the lunch crowd was 95% female. Perhaps it has to do with the space which is really quite lovely. Its relaxing atmosphere makes it an easy spot to stop for snacks and drinks or to linger over a full meal. The fact that is isn’t enclosed on all four sides also has it feeling open and welcoming. I have heard a few people say it was a bit warm when they visited but we felt comfortable. Maybe because the weather was slightly overcast then.
In his introduction, @catfish.sg’s Head Chef Erik (@thenordicchef_) told us that their aim is to “elevate seafood through great flavours and great techniques”. I think a few of the courses in the Catfish Experience Tasting Menu we had (it costs $158++ per pax and is available only for dinner) did exemplify that well.
Our meal commenced with items from the Raw and Snack sections of the menu. First up, Champagne and Oyster “Fruits de Mer” which saw Bafun uni, beetroot-pickled salmon and Sturgeon caviar piled alongside the small but plump and creamy Canadian oyster in its shell for a surprisingly tasty combination.
The Japanese Catfish Taco was a crunchy bite of fried wantan skin cradling catfish dressed appetisingly in plum sauce, umeboshi-mayo, wasabi and a topping of hazelnuts.
Much-instagrammed, the Catfish Mini Cones Selection consisted of a trio of cones, each filled with a different ingredient combination. I really liked the one with raw scallop, avocado cream and Bafun uni. The other two which had salmon, ikura and furikake cream, and Wagyu tartare with caviar, winter truffle and wasabi cream cone, were decent.
A genuine standout for me was the Hasselback Potato crowned with lime-marinated blue fin tuna, trout roe and wasabi cream. They proved solid with the extremely crunchy potato (it was a tad salty but I had no issues to be honest).
The Squid Noodle Ramen featured chewy noodles and fried chicken in a broth of chicken and truffle. Can’t say I was a fan of this.
The Sesame Prawn and Scallop Toast was however, a big winner with me. I thought the crispy-coated toast, plated with a refreshing citrus emulsion, was so superb on its own, even if the grilled Argentinian prawn, caviar and uni were left out, I wouldn’t have minded.
For the main course, Chef Erik served us a Barbecued Red Snapper that was coated in Sichuan spices. Accompanying it, a laksa cream sauce and a bowl of their take on coconut rice, blanketed in crispy tendrils of fried egg. Overall, a flavourful creation that wasn’t as spicy as the name suggests. The highlight for me was the rice. It was also tasty mixed with some of that laksa cream.
Both desserts turned out to be amazing! While the chocolate mousse (it’s made from two kinds of Valrhona chocolate) with luscious orange custard, orange segments and honeycomb pieces was fabulous, I was more drawn to the Pavlova. Beneath the light-as-air meringue (it had the perfect crunchiness) was fromage blanc mixed with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and a basil and yuzu granite. Everything about this was perfect.
Amir (@theflyingsomms), the charming Operations Director, and @ch.limm plied us with drinks throughout the meal. As I wasn’t having any alcohol, they kept me happily lubricated on a few wonderful mocktails. The first was a blend of @Melatidrinks, citrus, berries and @singhasodas. Hot on its heels was a Bloody Mary which I finished rapidly as its lime zest-sprinkled savoury tomato and pickle juice drink suited my palate to a T. Lastly, @ch.limm shook up a gorgeous gold leaf-decorated glass of coffee with cardamom and vanilla which made for a really enjoyable finale.