Last Updated: May 25, 2018
If you’ve yet to explore the upper floors of Orchard Central, now you have every reason to do so. STRAY by Fatcat has recently opened at Level 4 and it’s safe to say that this is my current favourite lunch spot.
The restaurant is the second venture by popular local ice cream bar, FATCAT, which is known for its innovative flavours and bold cooking techniques. The open concept is the perfect place to grab a quick lunch, without compromising on flavour.
The lunch menu includes a complimentary tea or coffee, and for something light, opt for the Fruit Basket ($4 a la carte). It was great as a palate cleanser and wasn’t sour like the usual fruit teas.
For something equally light but a little more fun to drink, order the Volcanic Chrysanthemum ($8.50). The cold chrysanthemum tea will arrive swirling in a smoking glass of mandarin pulp and popping boba, with tiny bursts of strawberry in every sip.
The Campfire Mocha ($8.50) was very interesting to drink and beats a cold brew any day. Cold mocha is served in a bottle alongside an inverted glass filled with smoke.
Besides the aesthetic appeal and theatrics, the smoked dome actually does the trick in enhancing the flavour of the mocha with a woody aroma.
It may be lunchtime, but if you need a little pick-me-up, order the Keep Popping ($12) set of three alcoholic spheres. A trio of Lime (Lime, Rum, Osmanthus), Blood (Mandarin, Shiraz, Lemon) and Lychee (Lychee, Rose Wine, Lime) spheres sit delicately and pretty on spoons, perfect for an afternoon treat.
The combinations are on point and make for bursts of flavour (with that bit of an alcoholic kick). My favourite was the Blood sphere, which was basically refreshing sangria.
STRAY is still in the process of launching the full menu, but here’s what you can expect for the lunch specials.
Try the Salmon Yu Sheng Bowl ($18 lunch/$20 a la carte), which is a festive take on the poke bowl trend sweeping Singapore. I love yu sheng and while I was left to lo this one on my own, I didn’t mind at all since it meant that I had it all to myself after.
The usual yu sheng accompaniments sit on top of pearl rice, with a hearty portion of marinated salmon sashimi and an additional onsen egg. This is one oriental-style sashimi bowl that I’ll definitely be back for.
I wholly expected the selection of rice bowls to include a beef option, since wagyu on rice seems to be a bit of a lunch craze these days. The Black Pepper Wagyu Bowl ($20 lunch/$22 a la carte) at STRAY is one of the better ones I’ve had, greatly complemented by a pink ginger foam.
The Chef recommends trying the ginger foam first before mixing everything together with the onsen egg and perfectly cooked slices of black pepper wagyu beef.
My favourite dish of the day was a tie between the Salmon Yu Sheng Bowl and the Salted Egg Chicken Waffles ($19 lunch/$21 a la carte). I’ve never had salted egg with waffles before, but fried chicken and waffles is one of my all-time favourite brunch dishes, so I figured the combination would work.
It did. The saltiness from the egg yolk paired nicely with an accompanying sweet curry sauce, and tasted even better with bites of the crispy fried chicken cutlet. I loved the creativity of the dish, especially the charcoal waffles.
If you have a bit more time after lunch, stay for some of the amazing (and Insta-worthy) desserts. Corals Under The Sea ($26) is the culmination of a memory that one of the Chefs keeps close to his heart.
A near-shipwreck on a holiday with his family and his subsequent experience with beautiful marine life led the Chef to create this refreshing dessert of snow fungus, spiced pear sorbet, green apple coriander granita and aloe vera poached in osmanthus wine.
Tied together with “sea water” (tangerine and Kronenbourg Blanc), this unique Asian dessert is worth the price tag, given the incredible amount of detail and effort in every single component.
Another unique dessert that at first astounded with the slightly steep price, As Easy As ABC ($30) is a play on the popular Apple, Beetroot and Carrot (or ABC) juice. When the Chef was a young boy, he asked his mum if he could grow ABC juice as just one fruit and she told him to try.
19 years later, I find myself presented with this ingenious creation by that very Chef. The dessert looks like a whole beetroot served on soil, with accompanying rocks and roots. The dessert is then sprinkled with apple Yakult that’s been frozen with liquid nitrogen – putting the A in ABC.
I was just about to ask about the carrot juice and realised that it’s hidden, encased in the rock-like object made of tempered chocolate. Crack open the “beetroot” and you’ll realise that it’s also chocolate that encases beetroot mousse and pomegranate.
The whole dessert takes about two days of preparation and was an excellent end to a wonderful lunch.
STRAY’s doing everything right if you ask me, and the passion and innovation that goes into the dishes is evident with every bite. Drop by for lunch as soon as you can because this cat is coming out of the bag.
Expected Damage: $20 – $40 per pax