On paper, Ocean Restaurant should be the hottest dining ticket in town: it’s uniquely housed within the world’s largest oceanarium at Resorts World Sentosa, with a breathtaking front-row seat to the massive undersea habitat, and headlined by an immensely likeable celebrity chef, Cat Cora, lauded for her philanthropy and sustainable approach to cooking.
A year later, that hasn’t quite been the case at Ocean, but some tweaks to the menu may help the cause, along with new chef de cuisine Yew Eng Tong and his team. While dinner largely remains a moneyed, haute cuisine affair dominated by four-course tasting menus ($138), we’re happy to see a bit more flexibility at lunch time, with sets allowing diners to choose what they please, from starters ($20-$30), fish & seafood ($22- $32), meat ($26-$36) and dessert ($18) courses, with a minimum order of $38/person (which also happens to be the price of a day pass to the S.E.A. Aquarium).
The culinary team displays chops in cooking meat like the Asian-inspired braised-seared short rib with bean sprouts and black truffle vinaigrette, and confit of duck leg with Japanese sweet potato and pomegranate molasses. With seafood sustainability a clear tenant in Cora’s beliefs, Ocean shines in its sourcing and preparing of seafood options. The barramundi – which is farmed in Penang – is served with crisp skin and parma ham floss, while the endangered Patagonian toothfish (a close cousin of the meaty cod) is said to be responsibly fished off the remote Antarctic Heard Island.
In terms of the ambience, it’s still as majestic as ever, with the huge floor-to-ceiling glass panels of the aquarium giving the restaurant an azure glow. You’re likely to spend most of the meal gazing in wonderment as giant manta rays, zebra sharks and shoals of silvery fish glide past. It’s a surreal and hypnotic experience and the restaurant’s design (by Sydney-based firm Diana Simpsons Design) takes full advantage of this – angled mirrors are placed at the opposite end of the viewing window to ensure nobody in the 63-seater misses out on the view.