good thai-indian-europeanish food at this hidden open-air cafe in serangoon. I’ve heard of this place quite a bit – but I never knew it was quite this close to me – and it’s now become a regular friday-dinner haunt (especially since there’s the prospect of dessert just a few doors down).
it’s a baffling prospect to go to a place that serves up three cuisine options all at once – and rather a relief to find that this isn’t some madcap venture, and that the food is genuinely all good. I put this down to the fact that it’s done up food-court-style, with the cafe basically serving as a communal dining area for three different stalls (and therefore three kitchens): thai yai, masala mantra and the french onion.
the place is packed out – and a little cramped (though not uncomfortably so, especially since it’s a casual joint) – and you get handed this large folder of a menu upon seating. you take your pick amongst the three menus – or do what we did, and go for all three – and the food comes relatively fast and fuss-free.
it was a predominantly indian meal for us – we particularly liked the value-for-money sets on the menu – and so the table was laden with naan, roti and a mixture from the tandoor: chicken tikka, two larger pieces of leg and some fish for me. all tender, well-spiced and moist, these were very good. almost on par with the much-more-expensive zaffron kitchen, and in reasonably-sized portions (and lots of raita, my favourite).
we got appetisers to share from the european menu – a lobster bisque and calamari. the first was a little watered down, but not offensive – which is to say that its quality is rather in line with the surroundings. the calamari took a long time to come – it arrived after we were basically done with everything else – but it was springy, thick rings of squid in a decent batter.
the thai fried rice though, was truly surprising in execution. it had all the wok hei and flavour you’d expect from a restaurant, and there was a huge mound of it. the sister wolfed it down – except for the mouthfuls stolen from her plate (which might explain her atypical speed). their mango salad is also pretty decent – the grated mango is served over slices of fried fish, which we didn’t expect, but truly appreciated. there’s quite a bit of kick in it, and the fish does make the salad warmer than you’d expect, but it was a very good dish.
it’s now on our roster of family haunts – and the variety offered here is one of its largest draws, especially since we don’t always agree on what we want to eat. I think the european store might be the weakest player in the three – we can take-or-leave its more commonplace offerings – but the thai and indian dishes warrant returning for.
bear in mind it can get a little hectic during dinnertimes, and they seem a little short on staff: they were rather harried when the place filled up and we had to wait to get our orders in, but when they’re there, service is pretty dilligent. and remember to head over to wimbly lu for dessert: waffles!
The Fat Cat Bistro
15 Jalan Riang
tel +65 6285 5276