'First looks' are initial sneak peeks at a new venue. Unlike reviews, which are strictly anonymous and paid for by Time Out, 'first looks' may be based on press trips or other non-anonymous visits. Look out for the full review coming soon.
The latest food concept to drop anchor at Pudong’s newly opened Lilacs Shopping Centre, Fresh Catch offers easy sailing maritime fare with a penchant for Mediterranean flavours.
The decor here is a fisherman’s Sunday best – think fresh paint over a Cape Cod fishing village. The bar, walls, and ceiling are festooned with all the paraphernalia you would associate with a seafood restaurant, and out back the space opens up onto a leafy terrace. No sea views unfortunately, but it is bound to be a good al fresco option when the temperatures start to climb.
While the space may look distinctively New England, Fresh Catch's menu makes several ports of call around the world. Embarking on our itinerary the starters represent Europe and Asia Pacific. The marinated salmon with caviar (48RMB) and tuna with avocado sauce and mango puree (48RMB) are jazzed up takes on Japanese tataki that are fun and full of flavour. The beef carpaccio with parmesan, rocket and black truffle oil (78RMB) is a well-executed Italian Job that comes topped with capers, radish and pickles.
Sailing through to the main course and Fresh Catch hauls in a hearty surf n’ turf centred around Australian steak and Canadian lobster which can be ordered separately or as part of a combined sharing platter.
The 1.2kg Pure Angus Beef Tomahawk (688RMB) comes with a serving of fries and four standard dips to dab in. Although any seasoned sailor will know to ask for the additional sauces that come at no extra cost, but are hiding off menu for some reason. The aioli, black garlic and sweet chilli are all lip-smackingly good.
The grilled Canadian lobster (whole 268RMB; half 138RMB) rests waiting on a bed of fries to be dressed in lemon, ketchup, or aioli. If you prefer your critters to come as part of an ensemble, you can also clamp your claws into the lobster linguine (158RMB) or mixed seafood rice (98RMB).
Dessert – often a castaway on many mariner’s menu – offers a pleasing end to Fresh Catch’s culinary voyage. The chocolate fondant with chocolate mint ice cream (68RMB) oozes a rich molten goo from its core that is lifted pleasantly by the mint, while cheesecake (58RMB) stands zestily atop a sturdy raft of Oreo biscuit, and waffles (58RMB) arrive under a tricorn of mascarpone, Nutella and fresh strawberries.
First Catch is hassle-free, easy going and offers the best of land and sea, and with bait as good as this it won’t be long before the punters come nibbling.