Saturday 6 September 2014

An Iron Chef meal at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora ~ S.E.A Aquarium

Only recently did I find out that Chef Cat Cora is actually Iron Chef Cat Cora when I watched her on Chopped (Food Network). At that point, I felt like a terrible foodie for not knowing this fact.

Dining at Ocean Restaurant has always been a plan on hold because firstly, it's in Singapore and I don't live in Singapore and secondly, it's going to be a pain in the wallet. However, the experience of watching fish while eating (fish) seemed to be something fascinating and worthwhile so the plan was back on track during our recent trip to the aquarium.

Look at the school of fish in the background!

For the lunch menu, there is a choice of a 4-course meal at $60++ or ordering the items ala-carte off the menu.

For the starter ($20), the choices were Scottish Salmon Rilette, Kingfish Tartare, Blue Swimmer Crab Risotto, Sauteed Norwegian Prawn or White Onion Soup.

LC ordered a Salmon Rilette which turned out very good - I enjoyed it even though it was raw. Well seasoned, tasted good with the sour cream, lemon compote, fresh salad leaves and crispy puffed rice paper. The textures and tastes went very well together. Some assembly is required.

My 4 medium-sized prawns were sauteed aglio olio style with parsley pesto and parmesan sauce. Prawns were not overcooked and I didn't mind the taste of the parsley pesto even though I won't eat it usually. Parmesan gave it salty notes and the pine nuts in the pesto was nutty and fragrant.

The next course was a 1st Main: Fish ($22) with choices of Pan Fried Fresh Fish from New Zealand, Crispy Skin Barramundi or Pan Seared Glacier 51 Toothfish ($10 supplement).

My Barramundi was overcooked and dry. The skin was crispy yes but the meat was tough.  The apple slaw seemed to be out of place  swimming in the salty sauce.

LC's Toothfish however was fresh and delicious! The meat was flaky and smooth. It was like eating a non-oily cod.

You'd be surprised that you're getting a 2nd Main: Meat ($26) but looking at the portions, it makes perfect sense. You either get a Braised Seared Beef Short Rib (10$ supplement), Miso Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly or Crispy Boneless Confit of Duck Leg.

I took the risk (again) to try the Duck Confit (I really don't have much luck with duck) but the duck confit turned out to be the best I've eaten ever. Smooth and tender. Breaks away easily and well marinated.  The dots of sweet potato had a yuzu citrus tang to it. But, the caramelized hazelnut was not evident.

LC's Pork belly was well done and tender with crispy skin.  The miso infused sauce it sat on was tasty and just right.

After good appetizers and main courses, I was really looking forward to Dessert ($18). Choices were Cheese Curd & Berries, Chocolate Pudding or Vacherin (Creme Fraiche & Strawberry Puree).

LC's Vacherin was like soft serve ice cream. The creme fraiche was light, the puree was light and fluffy. There is no photo because dessert was served while I was at the toilet and LC got excited and ate it to a puddle by the time I got back.

The cheese curd was light like eating cheese fluff. There was no strong milky taste usually associated to cheese desserts but you do get light, creamy and airy curd.

Halfway through, there was some berry puree in the middle, a delightful surprise.
After the lunch, we sat there for awhile, enjoying the sights. There was no rush by the waiters or time limit that we had to adhere to so I had time to take photos of our under the sea dining experience.

A shark-like creature with a group of fish following it everywhere.

Huge silver-scaled fish, they were shiny and reflective like mirrors.

Giant parrot fish.


This fish was swimming round in vertical circles.

Well, hello to you too, smiley stingray!

Another stingray.

Same stingray.

It was an expensive lunch with small portions, I will not deny that. But the food quality was quite impressive and the view was beyond compare. Service was good and the waiters were fairly attentive. I would advise having a small meal before heading over, the full-course lunch will fit in nicely and provide you energy to run around the aquarium once you're done.

Also, the restaurant will give you bragging rights that you've eaten at a Iron Chef-level restaurant.