THE OCEAN RESTAURANT REVIEW

I had dined at the Ocean Restaurant twice in 2 months. Both times it took a month to secure a reservation. Yes, despite the chilly underwater vibes it exudes, this place is hot! Located at the S.E.A. Aquarium on Sentosa Island Singapore, the small and intimate restaurant is one of its kind, where every patron dines in the company of hammerheads, tiger sharks, cow nose rays, manta rays, barracudas, trigger fish, groupers, all species of angel and butterfly fish, and many others.

Theatrical!

Be transported into a sea of calmness the moment you step into Ocean Restaurant, and be greeted by a wall to wall, floor to ceiling display of the deep blue “sea” and fish, both the monstrous to the tiny! Cameras click away each time a cute one swoops by, or a fearsome one graces past, or a school of shiny fins hurries in! The feeling is unprecedented!

Contrary to what most expect, Ocean serves more than just seafood. Both the lunch and dinner menus include a variety seafood, meats and vegetarian choices. As to whether the food was tantamount to the breathtaking aesthetics? Here we go….

Alaska King Crab – A refreshing little plate of shredded Alaskan King Crab meat on Thai mango Salad. Sweetness of the mango, tartness of the tomatoes and creaminess of the avocado, combined with briny sweet crab meat and a tinge of bitter-savory pesto sauce for dimension. Lovely combination of flavors and textures on one plate. Refreshing to the palate and beautiful to the eyes.

Loch Fyne Smoked Scottish Salmon– The salmon was deep and smoky, balanced out with chilled sour cream and bits of kiwi gherkin. Thin sourdough crisps to hold it up in one bite! I’m seldom impressed by smoked salmon but this was beautifully cured.

Puglia Burrata Tomatoes– Big chunks Puglia’s premium tomatoes which are meaty, sweet and juicy, served in a ponzu Yuzu dressing and accompanied by a creamy burrata. Honestly, not much creativity here…, but high quality ingredients (though a little more burrata would be nice!).

Grilled Iberico Pork Collar– Possibly the best hot appetizer on the menu. Incredibly tender pork collar with a soft crunch to it. Every bite laced with subtle sweet peach jus. Everyone needs to try this!

Remember to ask for a refill of the umami broth.

Shellfish Bouillabaisse– Prawn filled wantons (big ones!) in a rich velvety seafood broth with strips of crunchy wakame and a baby Bok Choy. Just look at that color on the broth! The briny aroma when it cascades into your bowl, the intense umami when it touches your tongue, and a handsomely filled dumpling to soak up all that flavor. Totally unlike an bouillabaisse I’ve encountered, and I like it. The chef must know how very comforting his soup is and made extra for seconds! So drink up and fill up!

Maple Leaf US Duck Rillette Teriyaki Style– Duck rilette in a foamy potato espuma, which is a potatoes that’s been puréed and foamed to a consistency so light and airy, it’s like eating liquid cotton! It isn’t heavy or overly rich despite starting as potato. The bits of shredded duck lends texture and flavor; pops of crunch from the tiny rice crackling was a nice addition. I love the way it’s presented… albeit a lot less duck than expected, but evidently, less is sometimes more!

Pan Seared Barramundi– Crispy skin, thick meat in a mildly spicy salsa sauce. Nicely seared without drying out the fish! And though I’m not big on spicy food, that salsa was a good match.

Guinea Fowl Supreme A la Plancha– Although the rolled up chicken wasn’t seared as smoky and toasty as I’d expected from a plancha, the tenderness of the meat and the service rendered made up for it. The chef had personally tuned down the spiciness of the accompanying General Tso Sauce for the chicken; and when it arrived still fiery spicy (for me), it was exchanged again for another even milder one. Our server checked on me constantly to make sure I was alright, every time I took a bite, and followed it with big gulps of water! With all that care and concern, I didn’t have the heart to send the sauce back again! And instead, pressed on and enjoy the tender chicken on its own! Having said that, it was a good sauce with a good kick. A little sweet in a lot of spicy (by my standards). I’m not biased against spicy flavors and know a good one from the bad. This, I think, really complimented the chicken and I imagine it would kick ass with some rice too!!

Australian Organic Striploin– My least favorite of all the main courses because my steak was chewy (despite the medium rare doneness) and lacked flavor. Let’s hope it just wasn’t my day and I just happened to score an unusually inferior steak!

Potato Dauphinois– On their vegetarian menu, this was the only option for mains. Impossible meat ragu on top of a little tower of sliced potato. Flavors are on point, with both the potato, roasted just soft enough to retain some bite; and the impossible meat ragu, which tasted just like meat! This was rather straightforward and unimaginative.. although taste-wise, was alright, I felt a little shortchanged and certainly expected more from them if this would be the only vegetarian choice on their menu.

Almond & Chocolate Fondant Tart
Thai Coconut Jelly
Bergamot Line Strawberry

Surprised myself by liking the Bergamot Line Strawberry best because of the citrusy flavor in it. Very light on the palate yet so creamy and delicious!

Reasonably good food overall. I did enjoy the starters more than the mains, but whatever shortfalls, the view, once again, made up for them. I must add that the service was remarkable as well. Despite running a full house (both visits), every staff member remained calm, composed, friendly, cheerful, and efficient. Food service paced perfectly. Water topped up promptly. No complaints there!

Due to back to back bookings (there’s also a sitting for afternoon High Tea after lunch service), you’re unable to hang around too long to enjoy the aquarium. But you could always purchase a ticket to tour the aquarium further, and for as long as you like, or until they close (whichever comes first!). It will be SGD41 well spent as it is an impressive aquarium.

Mesmerized!
Step into bewildering wonderment via a solitary door in a quiet, secluded car park.

Ocean Restaurant @ Equarius Hotel, 22 Sentosa Gateway, B1M, #B1-455 & 456, Singapore 098136. Phone +65 65776869

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post!

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