A remarkable experience indeed is what we got to take back from Abu Dhabi after our visit to Catch located at The St. Regis just off the Corniche. It is not often that we plan trips to Abu Dhabi unless something spectacular or extraordinary grabs our attention. Having said that, our lunch at Catch exceeded all our expectations of how remarkable our meal would turn out.
We arrived at the St. Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi that is located on the side of the Corniche Road away from the sea. We were amazed to discover an underground tunnel that linked the hotel to the Beach Club on the other side of the road. Once we happened to pass the tunnel, we were blown away by the beautiful view of the waterside and right before it lied a standalone restaurant that looked graciously white with large window panels, that goes by the name of Catch.
The whole aura and vibe of this restaurant is positively inviting, with spacious interiors and natural light adorning the entire restaurant. Of course, we were lucky to be blessed with beautiful weather so it was obvious we would be sitting outdoors.
It was difficult to focus on the food menu or anything else for that matter since the sanctity of the view captivated us to an extent that we could stare at it for days.
We were ecstatic to find on our table mats a customized menu of some of the “must try” dishes that were handpicked by the head chef himself. He was kind enough to sit with us and explain the entire menu and how each dish was prepared.
Another point worth noting about Catch is that they boast some of the most exotic cocktails and an extensive wine list. Before we began our lunch, our kind server poured a couple of glasses of Laurent Perrier Brut champagne, and then left us to explore the restaurant.
As we were about to be presented with our Amuse Bouche, two very unique and captivating mocktails were placed at our table. It is called the Scarlet Sail that is a very fruity drink made with blended strawberry,basil and lemon juice. served in a container that is shaped like a Conch (type of seashell). Loved it!
We were then presented with our Amuse Bouche of Octopus and Passion Fruit Dressing. The octopus was marinated a cooked beautifully. It wasn’t too rubbery (like most octopuses we’ve had) and the dressing was mildly tart, thus enhancing the flavor of the octopus.
For our First Course, we had the White Meagre Ceviche for appetizers, with grapefruit dressing, ginger and radish condiment. Ceviche is a dish made from fresh raw fish that is cured in citrus juices. The grapefruit dressing cooks (or cures) the fish, thus it’s not technically raw. We also loved how the grapefruit dressing added a bit of sweetness and bitterness to the dish, unlike normal ceviches we’ve had that are too sour for our liking.
From the salads, we had a simple Grilled Avocado Salad with warm tofu, shaved asparagus and Ponzu dressing. The avocados were perfectly grilled and soft, and the tofu added a nice crunchy texture and bite to the salad. The Ponzu dressing which is a tangy soy based sauce that is made using citrus fruit, was very refreshing and added a lot of Japanese flair to the salad.
We then moved on to our Second Course which comprised of Catch Signature Sushi & Sashimi. The presentation of the sushi and sashimi platter was like a work of art; too pretty to devour. We couldn’t pick a favorite since we relished them all. However if we had to, the Salmon Sashimi which is thinly sliced very fresh raw salmon and the Special Californian which consisted of Alaskan King Crab Meat, Kani (a food product made from fish), Cucumber, Tobiko orange and spicy mayonnaise , definitely topped them all.
We also had the Blow Torch Dynamite Roll that comprised of Deep Fried Salmon, Pickled Radish Roll, Creamy Crab and Tobiko (Japanese word for flying fish roe). Loved the creaminess of this roll and how spicy it was. Definitely the best among all in the platter.
In spite of having sampled (more like devoured) the first two courses, we were nowhere close to being stuffed; probably because of how phenomenal each dish tasted so far. So we were eagerly waiting for our Third Course to arrive at our table. Traditionally presented in bamboo baskets, the Dim Sum Platter comprised of an assortment of dim sums served with a chilli dipping sauce on the side. Among the dim sums included;
– Steamed Scallops Shumai which are perfectly steamed scallops wrapped in thin dough and steamed to perfection. The Shumai is simple in flavor enabling the scallop to shine through. It also tastes even better with the chilli dipping sauce.
– Prawn Hargao which are shrimp dumplings that are usually presented in a pleated shape. These dim sums are transparent and smooth, with the dough being thin and translucent. We loved how the shrimp was cooked perfectly and the dough although extremely thin, was sturdy enough not to tear when we picked it up with chopsticks.
– Squid Ink Dumpling which a dumpling that derives its jet black color due to the addition of squid ink. Loved the silky smooth consistency of the dumpling that was steamed to perfection.
Also included in the third course was the Deep Fried Calamari with Chilli Salt, Szechuan pepper and coriander. The crispy batter that coated the calamari was perfectly thin, the calamari itself was tenderly cooked, and the seasoning was perfect. The tartar sauce (a dip comprising of mayonnaise, chopped onions and gherkins) went really well with the calamari. A perfect snack food to go along with your drinks.
For our next course, this was the best yet, comprised of mains. We had the signature dish of Sea Bass “Papillotte Style” served with seasonal vegetables. The Sea Bass was cooked “en papillote” which means it was cooked in a folded pouch of parchment paper or in this case, a special plastic bag that was tightly sealed.
This cooking technique helps hold in the moisture to steam the Sea Bass until it becomes tender and flaky. We loved the simplicity of this dish and the French cooking technique used that helped preserve the flavor and juices of the fish. It was most definitely a delight to swipe the plate clean.
We also had the Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek with glazed carrots, turnips and creamy celeriac puree. We loved how the beef was smoked and served inside a Food Dome Cover with the smoke trapped inside.
Once the cover was lifted, our senses were enlightened with that beautiful smoky aroma. We also loved how succulent the beef cheeks were, and how the smokiness shone right through the flavor of the beef. This dish is definitely a treat to all the senses.
It is obvious how astonishingly outstanding our tasting session was turning out to be, and then, just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, it was time for dessert!
Along with our tea and coffee, we were presented with an assortment of some of the best Mochi we’ve had. Mochi is a Japanese delicacy which looks like small, round and colorful dessert balls. The outer layer of the Mochi is a soft, pounded sticky rice cake and filled with different flavors of ice cream on the inside. It tasted absolutely refreshing and delightful. Our favorite flavors had to be the pistachio (green mochi) and the strawberry (pink mochi).
As part of the “grand finale” of our lunch, we were then presented with our second dessert and final dish of our meal. The “Melting Chocolate Sphere” which is a thin and round chocolate sphere is stuffed with chocolate mousse, brownies and rosemary marshmallow. It is served with hot chocolate sauce on the side that is intended to be poured over the chocolate sphere, melting it and thus allowing all the ingredients within the sphere to appear. This theatrical presentation of the dessert left us in awe, and of course the taste was impeccable and flawless too. This was definitely the most perfect way to wrap up one of the best tasting dates we’ve had.
White Meagre Ceviche – Dhs68
Grilled Avocado Salad – Dhs68
Catch Signature Sushi & Sashimi – Dhs148
Dim Sum Platter – Dhs88
Deep Fried Calamari – Dhs68
Sea Bass “Papillotte Style” – Dhs188
Braised Wagyu Beef Cheek – Dhs218
Assortment of Mochi – Dhs45
Melting Chocolate Sphere – Dhs55
Ambience – 5/5
Food – 4.5/5
Service – 5/5
Value – 4.5/5