Nestled along South Bridge Road across from the Sri Mariamman Temple, CATO sports a humble exterior which belies much more when you enter.
I was ushered from the first floor, which was a large restaurant space, to the second floor bar area. Sharm, the managing director of CATO told me that couples from Meet Drinks would be brought to. There were enough seats around and the arrangement made it easy to mingle or keep engagements more closed and intimate.
“Definitely the G’Vine gin and tonic and the Thai style glazed crispy squid.” Said Sharm, a recommendation for a first date at CATO that took the better part of a split second. “CATO has a myriad of craft beers and a crafted contemporary cuisine to match the pace and excitement for your first date”
The Thai style glazed crispy squid was served on a board, neatly stacked in a well balanced mound in the center, a good portion to snack for two. The crisp, golden batter wrapped evenly around the squid, the batter was thick enough with a crunchy consistency that held throughout.
The squid blazed a clear path away from the pitfalls of squid being too damp and wet, holding too much of a pungent fishy taste, and especially in this case with batter, being overly dry. Fresh and chewy, each bite was met with the juicy flavour of squid.
Holding the traditional standout tastes associated with Thai cuisine, my tastebuds were rushed with a very light touch of sourness, with a large majority being split between sweet and salty. The aftertaste held a tinge of peppery spice. A side of sea salt at the corner of the board allowed me to add more zing to the catchy dish.
The G’Vine gin and tonic exceeded my expectations. With many gins, there is a strong bitter citrus taste that holds the drink, and once downed, the citrus fades and gives way to a distinct dry bitter quality as the aftertaste, which tends to colour everything eaten and drank after with its stamp.
However with the G’Vine gin and tonic, I enjoyed the characteristics that marked an enjoyable gin and tonic. Most gins are made from grain whereas the G’Vine gin is made from grapes, the citrus bite was less and instead held a honeyed sweetness that didn’t make any of the drinking feel like it was overpowering, and I enjoyed the aftertaste, dry, less bitter and citrusy, but more importantly, it stayed long enough to leave an imprint but not overstay a welcome that would overly dominate drink and not let the food complement it. The aftertastes of both squid and gin and tonic melded like harmony. I found myself experimenting with the amount and time in between each bite and drink to experience how the synergy would be like.
I had to go for a second serving to sate my appetite for the night.
Thai style glazed crispy squid and G’Vine gin and tonic
Modern asian cuisine
Thai style glazed crispy squid
– Sweet and savoury batter
– Crunchy batter
– Side of sea salt to add more twang
– Fresh and chewy
– tangy after taste that matches drink
G’Vine gin and tonic
– G’Vine Nouaison gin, only grape based gin
Use MeetDrinks to meet someone new today for a drink at CATO – located at 237 South Bridge Rd, 058786