Big find in Chinatown

WHAT: Cato

WHERE: 237, South Bridge Road

WHEN: Tuesday to Friday, 5pm to midnight

CALL: 8299-6434

Cato is a restaurant and bar serving modern Asian cuisine. With the number of drinkers there, it seems more bar than restaurant, but the food is great.

The menu consists of two sections: Big plates (mains) and small plates (to be shared).

The mains are superior, with clever dashes of Asian influences that enhance rather than distract.

The shared dishes lack charisma but with mains that solid, let's just call it even.

What makes the seared barramundi fillet ($30) delicious is the explosive Indian fish curry made from a recipe handed down by the owner's mother.

My favourite plate to look at is the tea-smoked chicken with spicy Japanese noodles ($24). The chicken has a heady, seductive aroma.

I find the Bangkok lobster risotto ($36) too soggy but the authentic tom yum flavour saves it.

The pineapple pork curry with baked rice ($28) is pretty. It's traditional Eurasian pineapple curry served over slow-cooked pork belly.

The sizzling hotplate octopus ($20) from the small plates section had me on the fence. The octopus is tender but everything else is pedestrian.

This article was first published on April 27, 2016.
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