Catalunya serves contemporary Spanish tapas food, created by an international team of chefs from once the world’s best restaurant El Bulli, Santi, Drolma, and Sketch. Situated between One Fullerton and Fullerton Bay Hotel, the architecture is a pearl out at sea, very, very gorgeous. The interior is just as beautiful: dark, sexy, a little like a club (can get noisy), ambient lighting and full paneled glass so that you have a nice view of the river–and a nice view of fireworks during National Day. We were excited!
But the service was a little condescending and uppish. It was hard to explain what was wrong with the service, but it was the turn of voice, the tone. Knowing that it was our first time there, the waiter dictated, not advised, recommendations. And when we didn’t take his recommendations, he said, “Are you sure? This isn’t suitable for 5 people.” When we mispronounced words, the waiter corrected us in a supercilious manner, “Oh do you mean ‘to-re-HA’?” When we pronounced correctly, the waiter couldn’t hear us and made us repeat several times. He treated us like we were country bumpkins, suaku. Ok lah, we are, but don’t need to look down on us what.
The clientele was also strange. Families were there, celebrating little children’s birthdays–an entire table of 10 children or so. This was something I didn’t understand. The ambience was nightclub-ish. The place was designed for adults who wanted to see and be seen, it was clearly not a family-friendly place. Why would families bring their children here?
As for the food, there was one great dish. On the whole, it was good–which was expected–but overpriced. The best dish was the orgasmic lobster rice ($80, left): the short-grained rice was cooked in fish broth and finished in josper charcoal oven, giving the dish an intense seafood aroma. But $80 was too high a price, considering that there were about 10 spoonfuls of rice in the pot. 5 of us had 2 bites each.
The most popular dish was the traditional suckling pig “Sergovian Style” ($135, below), enough for 3-4 persons. It was slow-cooked for 12 hours till tender and roasted just before serving so that the skin was crispy. To show you how tender it is, a server will cut the pig in front of you with a plate. Tastewise, Mr NGFL said, “This is Spanish babi guling, nothing special.” We all agreed with him. The Spanish suckling pig we had at Skye (Jakarta) was far superior.
The suckling pig looked scary, even to carnivores like us.
Because we were disappointed with the food, we moved on with the desserts and had almost FOUR! desserts on the menu. All four were all fantastic, so go crazy with the desserts.
In addition to the above-mentioned dishes, five of us had croquettas ($15), star anise pineapple ($12), Spanish tortilla ($16, liquid egg served in martini glass), chorizo y estrellado ($18, fried egg with chorizo on a potato bed), crispy paella ($16 x 2 servings, crispy rice in broth), flane and crumble ($12), torrija ($14, picture above), almond tart ($15), and rice and milk ($12), coming up to $450 for 5 persons, or about $90 for one. Although the overall rating we give is higher than the average of 3/5–objectively most things were done right–we don’t think we’ll be back any time soon because of the service, ambience and overcharging. The food was good but not good enough for us to tolerate the little afflictions we suffered for dinner.
How to Get to Catalunya
From One Fullerton, walk along the bay towards Fullerton Bay Hotel.
Rating: 3.312/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.