86 East Coast Road #01-05/06/07
T: +65 6344 0240
HGW reservation: https://goo.gl/NVFzyW
Alas, the conservation site of the stoic iconic Joo Chiat Police Station in Katong has been refurbished & now renamed, Katong Square. Located next to the infamous I12 Katong mall, this white washed colonial architecture is impossible to miss. And it fronts Hotel Indigo, and 1 min walk from Holiday Inn Express.
The quiet little Katong precinct was once upon a time, the hippest happening hype of the island, during the post-independence era of Singapore. And in the recent decade, much has been done to bring back the glory days, appealing to the residences (locals & expatriates) inclined towards modern lifestyles of the affluent working class.
Launched in November 2016, Times Square is a restaurant that offers American inspired menu of both, good food & interesting beverage concoctions. Designed with the intent to bring NYC to Katong, offering diners a glimpse of New York, minus the need of your passport and 20+ hours of back breaking jet-lag.
Occupying 3 units of the 1st level, Times Square is decorated with motifs, colors, art & paintings that reminisce of NYC. It can seat more than 80pax comfortably- the layout of each section (unit floor space) is unique, where different table sizes can take varied number of diners. The section closest to the Taxi Stand entrance, boasts of a huge wall projection screening cartoon, to keep the young-lings tamed in their seats, and most certainly can be reserved for private functions too.
The kitchen is helmed by Chef Paul Then, who has decades of intercontinental culinary experience, and his wealth of knowledge in ingredients & techniques are to be reckoned as you dine along. His crew pride themselves in creating & crafting their dishes from scratch, and eventually, plating. They ensure freshness in their offerings, from the making of pastas & pastries from scratch, to the preparation & carving of portions, all done in-house.
The service crew fronting the line, displays good American/ Aussie cordial hospitality, and has pretty good knowledge of the menu, suffice to offer recommendations; should you be spoiled for choice, or if you’re undecided, while glossing the menu. Expect to be pampered like a fimine dining guest, because they change the side plates after every dish, and periodically check on your dining satisfaction too.
Before we get down to the dishes, there’s always lemon laced water, iced or warm if you prefer. But I will say that the Chocolate Milkshake & Strawberry Milkshake, are 2 of the best I’ve tasted in quite a long while. Their textures are thick & smooth and not overbearingly sweet. For the Strawberry Milkshake, there’s actually a fresh tingle of blended strawberry. And most importantly, do not melt down into diluted watery puddles.
Prawn & Crabmeat Slaw – deshelled poached prawns, accompanied with sweet savory tasted deshelled crab meat, on tapenade, on purple cabbage lightly pickled, on a bed of thin sliced carrots… Taste grows on you
Tomato Confit – a flaky filo pastry base, stacked with baked provolone cheese & mesclun salad on top. The tomatoes are oven roasted, and the natural sweetness locked in. Nice!
Salted Salmon Salad – is composed with haricot beans, herb sprinkled roasted baby potatoes, with twirls of salted salmon standing out, all glazed with Tarragon Bearnaise sauce and topped with a runny poached egg. I like!
California Crab Cakes – deshelled crab meat, rolled like a tart, coupled with trio peppers & fresh herbs. It’s not every day that anyone gets to ingest crab, without getting hands messy. Enjoyed it much
Roast Spicy Lamb Pizza – in-house pizza dough made from scratch, stacked with spicy lamb buts, chorizos slices, onions, trio pepper strips. All thorough baked via a state of the art conveyor belt oven, gives it a kiln oven finished fragrance. And topped with fetta cheese bits before serving
Seafood Otah Pizza – Like the former, in-house pizza dough made from scratch, fired through the state of the art oven. Stacked with a host of seafood; scallops, mussels, prawns, in-house mackerel otah & sambal belachan chili. I’ll be back for more. Something that Singaporeans should fall head over heels with, because I did!
Parmesan & Pepper flakes, if u need to jazz the pizza up a little
Curry Pilaf Au Gratin, Seafood – HK style inspired, piping hot, flavorful, fragrant pilaf rice, blanketed with a layer of molten cheese. Mild curry seasoned seafood; scallops, mussels, prawns & bits of broccoli. Comforting! Shiok!
Times Square Lobster Capellini Pasta – deshelled Boston lobster, accompanied with sliced crunchy sweet asparagus, stacked on compact rolled angel hair, laced with butter & truffle sauce. Mix it thorough, let the pasta soak in, before u munch… and thank me later
Singapore Chili Crab Pasta – deshelled crab meat in chili crab sauce, with strips of pepper, scallops, mussels, prawns in the mix, topped with a runny poached egg. The sauce is somewhat different from typical chili crab sauce. Perhaps, the fun is in mixing the broken yolk.
Times Square Bagel Beef Burger – the bagel is in-house made from scratch, altered to be less tough, to accommodate local palates. Cheese intensive with layers & in the patty, sherry mushroom sauce & onion marmalade.
Lamb Chop Macadamia Crust – to me was the highlight, took my breath away. Succulent med rare tender & juicy, perched on bacon wrapped medallions, topped with bread crumbs. And the herb laced bearnaise sauce goes nicely with the proteins. Thin sliced rolled zucchini, radish & carrots, with seasonal purple cauliflower, dressed on a carrot puree together with the roasted baby potatoes.
Chocolate Sensation – is a minimalist combi platter, comprising of a good scoop of raspberry sorbet, seated on top of a crunch praline wafer biscuit with chocolate fill, and a flourless white chocolate sponge cake. The molten white chocolate leaking from the sponge, after a nudge. Dissect it down the middle & the oozing would be quite a spectacle
Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcake – is a riot of Caramelized Thousand Layers Pastry, Fresh Strawberries, and Strawberry Ice Cream, served in a martini glass. The rim is lined with evaporated strawberry, and it’s topped with a sheet of sugar crystal.
Sphere – comprising of Warm Date Pudding, Sea Salt Butterscotch Sauce & a scoop of Maple Walnut Ice Cream. And a golden brown caramelized sugar hemispheric crown. Consider to use some coffee or tea for this
There’s a list of in-house cocktails on the menu that we got to sample. They bulk of the cocktails are citrus & lemon based. So if you have palate for acidic flavors, I think you will find something that suits your preference.
The conservation of the venue triggers nostalgia, while the décor & setup of Times Square, breathes a new breath of freshness, not quite as predictable as most other eateries. The elaborate attention to detail put into each dish, crafted & plated nicely to be served, tastes fresh & good. I reckon from pricing is simply screaming “best bang for buck”.
I foresee myself making an intentional trip to Katong to revisit Times Square. I should think that I don’t speak just for myself.