Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cat Cora Opens Ocean Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa

17 comments:
 
Cat Cora's first restaurant in Asia is at Resorts World Sentosa

Hey, it's Cat Cora! You know her from various TV shows and Iron Chef America. She's the first and only female Iron Chef in a male-dominated line-up - something that takes not just culinary prowess but steely resolve and tenacity. This amazing woman's got books, cookware, TV shows, six restaurants in the United States, plus she's an avid philanthropist and mother of four!

Have always thought her cooking looked good, but now we can all get to try her dishes right here in Singapore - Cat opened her first overseas restaurant today at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora is right inside the S.E.A. Aquarium and literally flanks the world's largest oceanarium.

Yes, this!

Apparently the Open Ocean habitat is the largest oceanarium in the world

This is your tableside view - the majestic Open Ocean habitat! It houses manta rays, leopard or zebra sharks, mahi mahi, groupers, batfish, and shiny schools of fusiliers, scads and other fishes. This alone is one of the biggest highlights of the Marine Life Park, which houses the S.E.A. Aquarium.

I was surprised that this is the world's largest, surpassing even Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, which I visited last year (see photos and videos). Churaumi has three whale sharks in their tank, but S.E.A. Aquarium has more than 45 million litres of water, over 100,000 marine animals across 800 species, and the viewing panel for the Open Ocean habitat is officially the largest, measuring 36m long and 8.3m high.


The Ocean restaurant at RWS

The 63-seater Ocean Restaurant is a cosy den with undersea themes. Glittery opalescent mosaic tiles, fabrics in sea foam and aquamarine, lighting domes inlaid in pearl that shining down from the ceiling, and a carpet with patterns evocative of deep sea jelly fish and anemonies.

But you can't beat the real beauty beyond the glass windows.


This is art moving and changing before your eyes

Like a painting that's ever moving and changing, the marine life mesmerizes you with therapeutic art.

I'm a former scuba-diver, so I miss what I used to see in the sea. Couldn't help taking lots of photos...the way I used to get so distracted in open water training sessions.


One side of the restaurant gives you a magnificent oceanarium view
I guess these are the lucky tables that get "front row" views of the habitat. The dining view here is simply unbeatable, and I would happily come back for it.


Mirrors on the other side effectively double the restaurant space and brings the oceanarium view to the far side tables
But even if you are sitting on the opposite side of the glass windows, you can still view the marine life quite easily. The walls above the banquettes have angled mirrors that not only double the visual space but also the view. Custom made dining chairs with concealed swivel mechanisms make it easy for you to turn from all angles to enjoy the underwater scenes.



Imagine dining with a view like this!
How can you not be impressed, right?

And for some of us, we can enjoy food while watching food-to-be (yes, I'm sure many Singaporeans will be thinking of how to BBQ that stingray or steam that giant fish that keeps swimming by).

But Ocean Restaurant is about eating responsibly too. The restaurant uses sustainably sourced seafood which jives with the Marine Life Park's aim of ensuring the continuation of vibrant marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems.



Cat Cora introducing her dishes

The cuisine here is Mediterranean-Californian with Asian flair. Cat Cora has already studied the Asian palate and incorporated some local elements into dishes like Coq Au Vin Asia - lemongrass-sake braised spring chicken with roasted ginger, accompanied with Thai chili and young bok choy (S$32 for lunch, S$34 for dinner).

In keeping to her farm-to-table philosophy, Cat is glad to use as much as possible ingredients grown in or around Singapore. She believes in simple, light and healthy cooking styles.

We got to try the five-course Cat Cora Experience set dinner menu (S$158++) which offers some of her signature dishes paired with wines. These come in degustation-like portions (I'll show you the a la carte sizes later). This promo set's only available until 28 Feb 2013.

Oh and if you want to catch her at the restaurant, Cat Cora is around until 7 Feb 2013! But she will be back every now and then as well. Check out her interview on the RWS blog.


Lovely soft rolls and pretzel-like breads
Some lovely soft rolls and pretzel-like bread to start things off. Some people are "rice bins" (rice lovers), I am a "bread bin". Hahaha.


Amazing shafts of light dancing among the fish
You will be continue to be wowed as you nibble on your bread. I love how the shafts of light play with the fish weaving in and out of them.



Degustation portion: Sous Vide 48°C Ocean Trout with Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress
AMUSE BOUCHE
Sous Vide 48°C Ocean Trout with Sustainable Caviar & 
Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, 
Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress

This is one of Cat Cora's signature items. The tender ocean trout and pear contrasted with the hard, candied almonds. The caviar lent a sea-like saltiness, the pear gave heady sweetness, and the tomato jelly a touch of tang. Overall a nice fusion of flavours that make you want a second bite.



Spotted eagle ray - we nicknamed him "Manja Ray" cos he just seems to want us to pet him
A spotted eagle ray - we nicknamed him "Manja Ray" cos he kept coming by, seemingly wanting us to pet him or stroke his belly. (Manja = "likes to be pampered" in Malay)



Degustation portion: Sakura Shrimp Risotto with Morel Mushroom Black Truffle Butter Ikura and Seared Hokkaido Scallop
HOT STARTER
Sakura Shrimp Risotto with Morel Mushroom 
Black Truffle Butter 
Ikura and Seared Hokkaido Scallop

The aromas of mushroom and shrimp combine to make the risotto both smoky and umami. The creaminess was comforting and the rice still retained some bite.  The scallop was seared way longer than I am used to though.


There goes that manta with the many fish attendants
It's a whole city of fish but there are never traffic accidents, no matter how close they swim alongside each other.



Degustation portion: Vongole of Manila Clams  with Spicy Fennel Sausage,  Garlic Broth & Toasted Sesame Croutons
SOUP
Vongole of Manila Clams with Spicy Fennel Sausage, 
Garlic Broth & Toasted Sesame Croutons

This soup manages to be full-flavoured and yet clean-tasting. The yuzu zest complements the clam and garlic broth.

Available for lunch ($18) and dinner (S$20) in portions at least twice this size.


Fancy having this guy gliding by as you eat?

Whoa, fancy looking up to see a giant manta ray gliding by?




Degustation portion: Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin  with Leek Bread Pudding  & Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables
MAIN (OPTION 1)
Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin with Leek Bread Pudding & 
Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables

I think the tasting portion may have been slightly overdone, as it's a small piece. But the spices in the seasoning rub kicked up the interest point. The chili heat was a little strong for some, but I liked it. Also a pleasing sauce of roasted pureed vegetables.



Flash mob!

Ooh, flash mob!

Every now and then the smaller fish will rush to one point and then after some fuss, dash away as quickly as they had assembled.



Degustation portion: King Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze, Meyer Lemon Cous Cous & Hot House Cilantro
MAIN (OPTION 2)
King Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze, 
Meyer Lemon Cous Cous & 
Hot House Cilantro

This was very nicely done, with the fish retaining a "just barely cooked" tenderness inside the caramelised crust. Apparently this dish (sometimes using Arctic Char) is specially created for Ocean Restaurant.



I love the baby rays!

I love the baby rays! Cute, right?


Degustation portion: ‘After Eight’ Mint Variation  with Chocolate
DESSERT
‘After Eight’ Mint Variation with Chocolate

This dessert is for chocoholics. It is also available for dinner at S$16.




There was a huge manta ray with a crazy entourage of little fish

There's that manta ray again with the crazy entourage of little fish. Anyone remember Mr Ray from Finding Nemo? The one who takes the 'school' of fish kiddies on a ride?


And here below are the full a la carte portions. Some dishes are available for dinner only, and as you may have noticed, the lunch menu is a little lower in terms of pricing as well. Cat Cora has also included some kids' options for lunch (fish and chips, S$12; crispy nuggets, S$12; fries, S$8).


Full a la carte portion: Sous Vide 48°C Ocean Trout with Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress
Sous Vide 48°C Ocean Trout with Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress

This is the full starter size. The King Salmon version is available at lunch (S$24) and dinner (S$26).



Full a la carte portion: King Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze, Meyer Lemon Cous Cous & Hot House Cilantro
King Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze, Meyer Lemon Cous Cous & Hot House Cilantro 

Full entree size (S$46, dinner only)



Full a la carte portion: Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin  with Leek Bread Pudding  & Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables
Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin with Leek Bread Pudding & Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables 

Full entree size (S$120, dinner)

Now this is a massive slab of wagyu!



There are windows on the other side - probably those famed suites that have windows built right next to the oceanarium?
There are windows on the far side - probably those famed suites that have windows built right next to the oceanarium?



Gorgeous crystal lighting fixture
One of the crystal lights near the entrance (car park side) is gorgeous (near the door to the carpark). A lot of care went into choosing the furnishings and fixtures.


It is a beautiful marine colony
We were loath to leave the beautiful vista, but the fish have to sleep. Towards the end of dining hours, they turn off the lights in the oceanarium.




Ocean's entrance from the B1 carpark
You can access the restaurant by via the West Zone Carpark, B1M. Diners can park near Equarius Hotel. If you don't drive, take one of the resort's buggies (the carpark is so huge, they have buggies ferrying people along main attraction points).

Alternatively, if you are visiting the aquarium, you can enter and exit the restaurant from the other side.

Well, I'm betting that the restaurant is going to be packed for weeks to come. Cat Cora's name will draw the crowds, the prices are fairly reasonable, and the oceanarium view alone is worth coming for.


OCEAN RESTAURANT BY CAT CORA
22 Sentosa Gateway, Marine Life Park
S.E.A. Aquarium
Tel: +65 6577-8888 for reservations
Open daily 11am to 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)
Minimum spending of S$25++ per person between 11.30am to 2.30pm; 5.30pm to 10.30pm


Blue, silver and marine elements are the accents


Many thanks to Weber Shandwick and RWS for the invitation.

17 comments:

  1. great photos of the aquarium. And I spotted myself! haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I really love the aquarium, as you can tell! Yes! I see you too!

      Delete
  2. I spot Leroy! I just read this and remembered the oceanarium was someplace I've wanted to go since they announced it, wonder if the restaurant still has slots for reservations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jacob, I am guessing it's gonna be full for quite a while, but glad to hear you'll be going. Look forward to hearing what you have to say!

      Delete
  3. I will be distracted by the aquarium if dining here! Lovely place

    Wilson
    www.PlacesAndFoods.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I had to remember to chew my food! lol

      Delete
  4. Is flash photography allowed? Will it "disturb" the marine life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Derrick. Well, they didn't put up any rules, but I think using the flash might backfire, because the thick glass windows will reflect it back. The lighting in the tank itself is sufficient. I didn't use any flash for the aquarium. :)

      Delete
  5. This makes a wonderful dining experience! I couldn't ask for more for dining and looking at my favorite marine species :) Been to oceanquarium, but yet to visit ocean restaurant. Hope to visit soon :) www.foodesteem.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read a few reviews and yours is clearly my favourite. I like how you justapose food with the marine life - letting dinners re-live the experience again. Couldn't have written it like you did. Enjoyable read! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Daniel! I went a little overboard :)
      But I really enjoyed shooting the gorgeous scenes in the aquarium.

      Delete

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  11. Love the food shots and sharing the pictures of the marine animals... feels like a nice experience to be dining there!
    I'm considering taking my hubby there for dinner for our wedding anniversary+his birthday! Seems like there were other not-so-nice reviews going around too... hoping it won't be too crowded on a Friday night so we could have a nice, quiet meal :)

    Thanks for sharing!
    Dee

    ReplyDelete

 
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