The Cathay Restaurant
2 Handy Road, #02-01
T: 6732 7888
Kudos to the kind folks at HGW & Cathay for inviting me to the table
This restaurant has heritage as old, if not older than our nation. Quite appropriate for the SG50 mood that’s ongoing presently. Originally established (in the 1940s) to reach out to the colonial clientele back in the day, over time, transformed to feature Cantonese & Shanghainese cuisines. Perched nicely on the second level at the Cineplex, it’s not difficult to locate. Don’t be mistaken, this is not a CNY review, but more so; a feature that covers some of their regular items on their menu, on any given day.
All in all, 16 dishes (excluding desserts), so I will spare you the long thesis and cover some I felt shouldn’t be missed.
Fresh prawn with fresh fruit salad – I know, I know, don’t roll your eyes till you’ve given it a try. It’s not every day that you’d get naturally sweet prawns that taste good on its own. More importantly, has a good natural spring to the bite, and no, the meat doesn’t flake. So, the combination of cut pineapple and apricot with a generous dose of mayonnaise should raise some brows.
Marinated Sea Whelk – this is something familiar yet unfamiliar. The sweet, sour & mild spicy blend is drizzled over the scalded sea whelk, served chilled. One can’t help but to recollect the familiarity to the Thai chicken feet salad. Except, with the whelk, the crunch factor is less laborious for the jaw.
Crispy Eggplant with Pork Floss – this is not something you’d find readily available in most other Chinese restaurants, but I’ll say this is somewhat addictive, to the likes of the familiar phrase “once you start, you can’t stop”
Drunken Chicken Roll – the name in itself suggests that the elements within isn’t intended for the under 18. However, one would find it pretty heartwarming when it the chilly climate rings. The taste of the alcohol isn’t overbearing, and has a light tinge of herbal fragrance, given the presence of dried wolfberries rolled within.
Braised “Sharks” Fin Soup with Crab Meat & Bamboo Pith – I understand that many activists have violent objections towards the notion of how fishermen harvest the good stuff. The fins served herein are tiny; the barramundi or seabass would have their fins called sails. Best consumed with a light dash of pepper and dark vinegar.
Deep Fried Soon Hock – This I find is pretty neat. The fish is deep fried whole in an arch like posture, fried to the crisp even the fins are like crunchy crackers. The fish is dissected into almost equal portion, roll the portions in the sauce for taste.
Black Pepper Cray Fish – do not fret having to slap on surgical gloves for sweat pumping procedure to consume. The cray fish is already halved down the middle, so all it takes is to lightly probe the flesh off its crust. The lightly salted flavor and bounce to the bite makes for a pleasant dish to savor.
Cathay Roasted Crispy Chicken – there’s little wonder why they’d call it a signature. Unlike most roasted chicken, the meat is tender, moist & juicy. I’d speculate that they first prepare it like a confeit, prior to roasting the skin to a crisp.
Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin – I’m somewhat curious how a typically western style dish could be found in an oriental menu. Nonetheless, tenderness is key, for I didn’t require the services of a steak knife.
Crispy Chinese Pancakes – the crust is light, thin & crispy, with light mushy sweet lotus paste. We sat deliberating & ruminating over the filling, for there was a nice fruity essence to it. But none could exactly deduce what element it was. Applying the theory of elimination, we drew 2 possibilities, either; apricot and/or pineapple. Perhaps you might want to give it a try and shed some light on the matter.
Almond Jelly with Longan – almond lovers should probably enjoy this dessert much. The aroma is potent, and the texture of fine ground powdery almond is present as you ingest. Evidently, the sweetened Longan aren’t cringing, makes for a very enjoyable closure to the meal.
Here are some other dishes served:
Braised Abalone with Mushroom & Chinese Spinach Fried Prawns with Wasabi Salad Cream Crispy Fried Prawns with Crispy Oats Braised Beancurd with Conpoy Stir Fried Fresh Scallops & Cuttlefish with XO sauce Stewed Ee-Fu Noodles with Chives Honeydew with Sago Guilingao Coconut Jelly