28 October, 2009

The Cathay Restaurant - A Dash of Nostalgia

Did you know? When The Cathay Restaurant first opened in 1940, it served European fare and not Chinese cuisine. Its fame reached new heights when it re-opened in 1951 to serve mainly Cantonese and Shanghainese cuisine.

Cathay Restaurant (2)

The restaurant was close in 1964, but re-opened once again on 27 January 2007, as the choice venue for exquisite Chinese food set amidst an ambience of understated elegance. It is now located at the level 2 of The Cathay, with a capacity of 200.

Cathay Restaurant (3)

HFB was greeted with a saucer of Deep-fried Silver Cod as a complimentary snack. Crispy with a hint of spiciness, it was a really addictive to nibble on.

Cathay Restaurant (4)

Dinner proper was started with the introduction of Cathay Twin Combination – Baked Sea Perch done Japanese-style with Egg White, and Smoked Duck Roll ($14.80++). While the former was well-executed – nicely baked and full-bodied with flavour, the latter paled in comparison – it was lacklustre and uninspiring.

Cathay Restaurant (5)

The highlight of the evening surely belonged to the acclaimed Double-boiled Shark’s Bone Cartilage with Bamboo Pith plus Shark's Fin in Spaghetti Squash ($28.00++). Painstakingly boiled for 8 hours to a milky white, the hearty soup came with big chunks of shark fins along with natural goodness of nutrients that are critical for bone and joint health (think glucosamine-like compounds). And if you thought that was all, feel free to shred the side of the hollowed spaghetti squash, which gave one strands of the fruit that resembled the Italian pasta. This soup alone is filling enough for a meal – so a portion to share might be ideal for two.

Cathay Restaurant (6)

Next up, the Baked King Prawn with Minced Meat done “Portuguese Style” ($12.80++) – and true to its cooking technique, the dish was characterised by its rich, filling and full-flavoured taste. However, HFB felt that the prawn was over-baked, thus the texture of its flesh was slightly dry.

Cathay Restaurant (7)

The scallop was of substantial size from the Braised Stuff Fresh Scallop with Prawn Paste in Crabmeat Sauce ($10.80++), and came coupled with a nice silky crab meat sauce. His only gripe was the prawn paste that tasted quite funky – which sparklette quite adequately described it as “those pseudo prawn/lobster balls you find at steamboat restaurants.” HFB agreed.

Cathay Restaurant (8)

The staple for the evening was XO Fried Rice ($8.00++) that came with generous servings of Scallops, Prawns, French Beans, Bean Sprouts and a dash of Ebiko, or Prawn Roe. The rice was thoroughly fried resulting in each grain being nicely coated with the XO sauce. HFB would prefer a stronger “Wok Hei” flavour, but otherwise still a respectable dish.

Cathay Restaurant (9)

An exquisite dessert, the Chilled Pumpkin Puree with Yam Ice Cream came in a Young Coconut shell ($6.00++). Nicely chilled with thick puree, HFB also thought the pumpkin and yam combined well.

Cathay Restaurant

Disclaimer: No ratings would be given, as this is an invited taste test. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Kara, and The Cathay Restaurant for their hospitality.

2 Handy Road
#02-01, The Cathay
Singapore 229233

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Melody Fury // GourmetFury.com said...

This looks pretty awesome... whoa. I really want to visit Singapore.

His Food Blog said...

Let me know if you are coming. Would be delighted to play host. :)

Anonymous said...

the shark's fin looks AMAZING.

His Food Blog said...

Hey jnd,

Indeed. Loved the soup best!

It was so flavoursome that I'm sure most will love it.

S Lloyd said...

Wow, No I didn't know it was serving occidental food when it first open. Interesting to know. I need your help: I am planning in the future to tour the world for the best gastronomic cities and build up some documentaries of their top 10 best restaurants. At your location, what would you consider as the top 10 (old type of food considered, as long as it's upscale fine dining).
Thanks for your inputs. It might help me building up the list of restaurants to go to in your region.

His Food Blog said...

Hi S Lloyd,

Sounds great, but I reckon let's bring this discussion offline.

Why don't you drop me an email me at hisfoodblog@gmail.com, and we can discuss this further.

Looking forward to hear from you. (:

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