Cathay - a name synonymous with movies of the past era. What most people don't know is that Cathay actually operates a rather niche eatery in its premises which goes by the name of The Cathay Restaurant. Started in 1940, the restaurant served up European fare but switched to Chinese food in 1951 and was purportedly Singapore's finest Chinese restaurant at that time.
Situated on the 2nd floor of the spanking new Cathay building, The Cathay Restaurant embraces the modern with its unpretentiously upclass decor yet retains his heritage by showcasing portraits of movie stars from the golden era. Retro-ish (if there's such a word) I must say.
Doubled Boiled Shark's Bone Cartilage with Bamboo Fungus - I've always been a fan of shark bone soup and The Cathay Restaurant's rendition didn't disappoint. But then again, it wasn't outstanding either. The soup was tasty but did come across as a little too milky for my liking and left a slight starchy residue on my tongue after every mouthful, which I personally found a little unsettling.
Deep Fried Spring Rolls - This is not your usual spring rolls because it comes with fatty pork, mushrooms and turnip as ingredients. Found it rather normal in spite of all the ingredients, probably due to the overall blandness but the skin was nice and crisp though.
Siew Mai - Interestingly, the Siew Mai had this predominant mushroom taste owing to the fact that one of the ingredients in it was a sizable chunk of mushroom. This is something rather unique but I personally found it a little too "mushroomy", totally eclipsing the traditional pork taste that I associate with Siew Mai. Just an individual preference I guess.
Pan Fried Pork Chop with Special Sauce - The pork chop was very well marinated as evident by the lightly sweet flavours each bite held. However, the pork was a tad on the chewy side which made eating difficult and there was a slight overuse on the amount of Chinese celery as I found the taste pretty evident, to the extent of being a little overwhelming.
Poached Seasonal Vegetables - Funny how poached seasonal vegetables would turn out to have beancurd in it. Not that I'm complaining though. The beancurd was tasty but wasn't firm or silky enough to make the premium grade cut. The vegetables tasted like they had been blanched in boiling water and served up with gravy.
Special Homemade Noodles with Mixed Seafood - I honestly don't see or taste anything special about the homemade noodles. Sure, it was chewy but that was it. Beansprouts and fresh average sized prawns graced the dish which tasted to me a little like Hor Fun due to the slightly smoky and starchy gravy. Having said that, the gravy was really too weak to make much of a difference, especially when the noodles were practically tasteless. I had to resort to adding soya sauce.
Double Boiled Dried Apricot with Sea Coconut and Red Dates - If you get a kick out of having a sugar rush, then this dessert is probably for you. It was insanely sweet and I must say even for a sugar fanatic like me, I had a hard time trying to finish it. I attribute this to the extra sugar they added into the syrup on top of the sweetness from the already very sweet apricot.
With a 1 for 1 offer from Standard Chartered, I only had to fork out about $55 for 2 pax, which I feel is rather reasonable given the acceptable quantity and decent quality of food. If the standard of the dim sum is anything to go by, food quality at The Cathay isn't exactly top notch, but its refined enough to warrant another visit. Not without a high percentage discount though.