(CNS Foodie): My partner and I were in the mood for al fresco dining, especially somewhere with an ocean view. Catch was our choice and we were looking forward to the evening out, but unluckily Mother Nature decided to let it rain. Despite the dismal weather, which surprised us, as we scampered to the restaurant for cover, the staff was clearly equipped. After a polite apology for the delay while they rearranged the seating area, and a short but pleasant wait in the bar, we were seated.
First order of business was checking out the wine list, which we found very comprehensive and well-priced; in fact, simply reading it was enjoyable. We found it hard to choose with many major wine-producing areas represented, but finally settled on a Rickety Bridge Pinotage ($41) from South Africa. We had decided we would be dining on seafood, yet weren’t in the mood for a white. The lighter and very smooth Pinotage, of the Pinot Noir family, was the clear choice for us.
Our waiter was friendly and well informed on the menu, and although there was nothing on special he did have some good recommendations. With his help, we decided on crispy octopus ($17) and pork n scallop ($16) for starters.
The crispy octopus was exactly that; crispy and soft with just enough flavour so as not to be overpowering, served with a local herb salad, butter beans and a red pepper sauce. The beans added an interesting subtle flavour; they can easily go very wrong, but Catch got it right and they were wonderfully soft.
Pork n scallop is one of those dishes which, once served, causes one’s dining partner to get big puppy dog eyes, wishing they had ordered that instead. The pork belly was soft and juicy, seared and crispy on the outside. If that was not mouth-watering enough, perched on top was an almost perfect scallop. The accompanying sauce amatriciana, which originated in the Italian city of Amatrice, added just enough spice to the pork, as well as the pear and celery salad.
We could have stopped there, and it would have been an amazing evening. Excited as we were, however, we stayed to select fish for the main course.
After much arm wrestling with my partner, as we had both wanted to order the same thing, we finally went with the crusted mahi mahi ($29) and a catch of the day, blackened grouper ($32).
The mahi mahi, with pink peppercorn and panko crust, was served alongside roasted pumpkin and sautéed callaloo with a drizzling of coconut pumpkin sauce. The dish was as nice to look at as it was to eat. Firm and juicy, with light peppery flavours, it created a wonderful blend in your mouth. Just a little had to be shared, however, to ensure your dining partner would be jealous they had not ordered it themselves.
Then there was the grouper. Blackened is one of my favourite ways to enjoy fish, and the way Catch did it was gorgeous. Once again, just crispy enough on the outside with a soft juicy centre, a lemon butter sauce adding that little bit of tartness to round off the flavour. The roasted potatoes were soft and made to melt in your mouth, with the vegetables cooked al dente to round off this beauty. Once more, a little had to be shared, as words could not express what the taste buds were experiencing.
The Pinotage was lingering in the background, coupling with and bringing out the taste of the seafood. I prefer not always following the trend of drinking white wine with white meats, and this was one of the reasons why.
We were done and happy to call it a day when our waiter slipped us the dessert menu, the sneaky move of the evening. I could not resist and was seduced into ordering the smores bar ($8), an irresistible creation boasting a chocolate ganache centre coated with “seared” marshmallow and served with caramel ice cream. Wow! The taste took me back to my childhood, roasting marshmallows on the campfire, with the chocolate ganache making it even better. It was a taste sensation which will coax me back for more, just like the name suggested.
Despite the curveball with the weather, which affected the ambience (the reason the ambience rating is 4 spoons and not 5), that did not make the evening any less enjoyable or memorable. The staff handled the situation with aplomb; the service was top notch and our only hiccup was that they had run out of fresh bread to give us on arrival. The wine, however, made up for the minor short fall.
For this sort of dining, the $175 bill was worth every penny. We just need Mother Nature to cooperate for our return visit.
Gratuity: 15% added to the bill