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


Last Friday, I was invited to a preview of Ocean Restaurant at S.E.A. Aquarium. Opened by Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef from Iron Chef America, it is her first restaurant in Asia and the latest addition to Resort World Sentosa's impressive line-up of celebrity chef restaurants.

Showcasing Cat Cora's signature creations, the dishes at Ocean Restaurant have a Mediterranean-Californian influence with a touch of Asian flavours. In keeping with Cat Cora's farm-to-table philosophy, the restaurant uses sustainably sourced ingredients. At long last, sustainable food is gaining traction in Singapore.

If you'd like to catch Iron Chef Cat Cora, she will be serving a specially created 5-course set dinner at Ocean Restaurant till 7 Feb 2013. If you're unable to do so, the dishes are available on the a la carte menu.

Amuse Bouche: Sous Vide Ocean Trout, Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress
Sous Vide 48°C Ocean Trout, Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond,
Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress @ S$24 (lunch) & S$26 (dinner) 

We sampled tasting portions of the 5 course dinner during the preview. I will only be posting images of the a la carte portions so you have a better idea of the serving size. Dinner commenced with an Amuse Bouche of Sous Vide New Zealand Ocean Trout, Sustainable Caviar & Prosecco Pear Crushed Almond, Vine Tomato Jelly & Garden Cress. This was my favourite dish of the evening as the firm yet tender piece of ocean trout was succulently sweet with a pleasantly oily omega-3 filled flavour. It was perfectly complemented with the savoury yet not overwhelmingly salty sustainable caviar, given a touch of sweetness with the Prosecco infused pear and candied almond slices. A beautiful harmony of flavours and is definitely a Must-Try!

Sakura Shrimp Risotto with Morel Mushroom-Black Truffle Butter, Ikura & Seared Hokkaido Scallop
Sakura Shrimp Risotto with Morel Mushroom-Black Truffle Butter,
Ikura & Seared Hokkaido Scallop @ S$28 (dinner only)

The Hot Starter was Risotto cooked with Morel Mushroom and Black Truffle Butter and garnished with deep-fried Sakura Shrimps, Seared Hokkaido Scallop, Ikura (Salmon Roe) and some edible gold leaf. The tasty Risotto was enhanced by the crunchy and umami-rich flavour of the fried Sakura Shrimp. The Hokkaido Scallop that I had was a tad overdone as was the risotto as the rice grains had become mushy by the time it was served. I reckon this could be due to the dish being kept warm on the line for a little too long as the restaurant was full on preview night and the kitchen crew must have been scrambling to serve us all at once. I suppose the final product will be closer to the dish that I snapped in the picture shown above, and if so, the Risotto is worth a try!

Soup: Vongole of Manila Clams with Spicy Sausage, Garlic Broth & Toasted Sesame Croutons
Vongole of Manila Clams with Spicy Sausage,
Garlic Broth & Toasted Sesame Croutons @ S$18 (lunch ) & S$20 (dinner)

The picture above shows the tasting portion for this soup. The a la carte portion should be about 50% larger. Chef explained to us that the broth had been prepared with garlic slivers and sliced Chorizo sausages that had been sautéed to extract their flavours. The soup was clear except for the red tinge of oil from the sautéed Chorizo, tasty and light with a tangy touch from the Yuzu (Japanese Citrus) zest that had been added to lift the flavour of the clams that had been removed from their shells for the diner's convenience. The rich yet "clean" flavour of the consommé was testimony to the pains taken to clarify the stock.

Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin with Leek Bread Pudding & Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables
 Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin (MS6 marble score) with Leek Brioche Pudding 
& Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables @ S$120 (dinner only)

Diners are given a choice between 2 main courses: King Salmon with Mandarin-Habanero Glaze, Meyer Lemon Cous Cous & Hot House Cilantro or Grilled Basque Wagyu Striploin with Leek Brioche Pudding & Roasted Sesame-Coriander Vegetables. I prefer to consume raw salmon to cooked salmon so I opted for the beef instead. RWS' Executive Chef Alan Orreal explained to us that the beef was sourced from a sustainable farm in Victoria, Australia in keeping with the restaurant's paddock to plate philosophy. The beef was tasty and had a hint of spiciness from the chili rub. It was a little too spicy for one of the ladies at my table but I enjoyed it immensely with the Chimichurri Sauce (comprising Cilantro, Italian Parsley, Garlic, Dried Red Chili, Ground Cumin, Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil) that it was served with. The leek and brioche pudding was creamy without being too heavy on the stomach, a nice starch complement to the beef. If you love your Wagyu or are in the mood to splurge, this is worth a try.

Dessert: 'After Eight' Mint Variation with Chocolate
'After Eight' Mint Variation with Chocolate @ S$16 (dinner only)

The last course was a dessert that was created by RWS' Executive Dessert Chef Kenny Kong and Executive Chef Alan Orreal. In a twist to the minty and chocolatey flavour that we've come to associate with 'After Eight' Thin Mints, the dark chocolate bar is filled with apricot instead. Served with vanilla pod ice cream, the dessert was a pleasantly sweet end to the meal. I was so full, I couldn't finish it. I will be back to visit Ocean Restaurant to try some of the other items on the menu and to enjoy the awesome view of the fish, which will get better in the coming months as more species will be added to create a vibrant underwater world.

View from restaurant

The restaurant is located alongside the Open Ocean habitat within the S.E.A. Aquarium. Guests are treated to an amazing and therapeutic view of the marine life within part of the world's largest oceanarium. This picture shows a large Manta Ray surrounded by smaller fish.

Smaller Manta Ray without a crazy entourage

There are other Mantas Rays and other types of ray fish such as Eagle Rays in the exhibit but you can always tell which one is the biggest fish in the "ocean" by the number of small fish that hang around it. If you're wondering how I knew that, it's because I was privileged to be given a short tour of the Open Ocean  habitat by Shuo, who has been working hard to ensure that the living conditions are optimal for the creatures at S.E.A. Aquarium. It's always nice to talk to a fellow diver. I never saw any Mantas in the wild during any of my 55 dives, to see them in an aquarium is on the one hand thrilling yet I wish I could be in the water with them gawking as they glide gracefully and effortlessly through the water.

Cat Cora at Ocean Restaurant, Sentosa

If you're planning to catch Iron Chef Cat Cora while she's in Singapore and try the 5-course set dinner, dial +65 6577-8888 for reservations.

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora
S.E.A. Aquarium, Marine Life Park, Resorts World Sentosa, 
8 Sentosa Gateway, 
Tel: +65 6577-6869
Email: Ocean@RWSentosa.com
Operating Hours: 
Daily from 11 am to 10.30 pm (last order at 10 pm)
Please Note:
- Minimum spending of S$25++ per person between 11.30 am to 2.30 pm & 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm. 
- All prices subject to 10% service charge & prevailing government taxes
Getting there: 
Admission to Ocean Restaurant is via West Zone Carpark, B1M. Diners can park near Equarius Hotel.
PS: Thank you, Resorts World Sentosa and Weber Shandwick for the hospitality. :)