MANILA – With the summer in full swing, there is no better time to check out the fairly new restaurant Catch, which aims to elevate seafood dining with its contemporary menu and city vibe.
“We are proud to have the distinction of being the only gourmet modern seafood restaurant in the Philippines serving in urbane style,” its owners said in a statement.
Catch, which opened last December, took over the spot previously occupied by Lulu in Makati’s Salcedo Village. Despite the change in name and concept, it is still run by the same group led by chef Tom Hines, whose other restaurants include Smith Butcher and Grill Room, Ampersand, Poulet Manille and Ebeneezers.
The shift wasn’t really surprising. Lulu’s menu before was already dominated by fish and shellfish, with an emphasis on “ethically sourced” ingredients, such as fish that are line-caught.
At a recent food tasting for select writers and bloggers, Dixie Marinas, one of the owners of Catch, reiterated their concern for the environment, particularly on the issue of overfishing.
At the same time, she noted that it’s about time someone opened a modern seafood restaurant in the metro considering the Philippines’ image as a tropical paradise.
Indeed, although Catch takes pains in assuring fresh seafood, the menu is a lot more varied and interesting compared to the casual "dampa" restaurant – from ceviches and tartars to crab cakes and bouillabaisse.
Despite the gourmet positioning, Catch still retains the friendly vibe of a neighborhood hangout, especially with its sister bar, Hooch, next door.
In fact, it is best to start off with some craft cocktails at Hooch, which can be enjoyed with an order of tuna sisig, which had the right level of heat that would make you want to order rice.
A more elegant option for bar chow is the trio of tostadas topped with tuna poke, battered fish aioli and salmon tartar, which truly sets the mood for a fancy evening.
Here’s what you can expect at Catch.