The hype: It’s no ruse. This playfully-named restaurant by Andrew Walsh’s Cure Concepts (Cure, Butcher Boy, Bao Boy, Ember Beach Club) is the fifth one under the acclaimed chef’s belt, and all signs point to it being an even bigger hit than his other openings.
The vibe: Catfish looks right at home taking over the space that once was Club Street Social. It retains (perhaps doing an even better job) much of that modern, upbeat vibe while completely changing the aesthetics of the place. Find fish net-inspired lights hanging overhead, groovy music, a hip and happening crowd, plus enough foliage to make you feel like you’re transported to a classy resort venue as you dine.
The food: With a name like that, you know seafood is the name of the game here. Head Chef Erik Gustafsson helms the kitchen, and he has done a fine job catering to local palates while being informed and influenced by his Swedish culinary background.
The menu isn’t huge, offering quality over quantity. Start with snacks like the Hasselback Potato ($16) with bluefin tuna and wasabi. Or try the popular Catfish Mini Cone Selections ($48), a rack of six cones filled with an assortment of premium seafood and meats ranging from uni to caviar, beef tartare to scallop.
For small plates, the Sesame Prawn & Scallop Toast ($58) with uni and caviar (yes, more luscious seafood) won’t disappoint. Each bite will have you chomping on copious amounts of fleshy scallops sandwiched between crispy sesame-coated toast that’s topped with a whole prawn.
For mains, while there are meat and vegetable dishes (we hear the beef short rib is amazing), we’re here for the seafood, so the Whole Sichuan BBQ Market Fish ($42) with samphire, crispy herbs and laksa sauce is what we went for. It’s served zi char style, in the sense that the entire fish (head, tail and body) is presented unsliced.
Though the dish looks simple, the flavours here are very layered. The thick and creamy laksa sauce is piquant and tangy, while the crispy herbs placed atop the fish are so moreish you can eat them on their own. Combined together, you have a highly addictive plate of fish that will have you hooked line and sinker. You and your dining companions will be picking at the bones for every last scrap.
The drinks: Like all Cure Concepts joints, the beverage programme is solid, making for the perfect accompaniment to the saucy, flavour-packed menu. Pair your meals with a good selection of wines, bubbly, beer, sakes, highballs or cocktails. The choice is yours.
We recommend starting off with a glass of champagne first, then going for a few fancy cocktails (all $24) to suit the elegant evening. We loved the Sake 75, their take on the French 75, for its good use of sparkling sake instead of champagne. Or try the Pot O’ Gold, a creamy coffee concoction that’s best had as your last drink of the night.
Why you’ll be back: Here, the only catfishing going on is how deceptively simple each dish seems, only to deliver an intensely satisfying hit of flavour with each mouthful. Seafood lovers looking for a lively, elevated night out, you’ll be hopelessly hooked and loving every second of it.