Meta Restaurant

meta - 14Meta is the most recent fine dining space in Singapore. Located in one of the most “gastronomic” streets in town, Keong Saik Road, where restaurants pile up, as well as some of the main stars in the city. Here the tune is a modern Asian cuisine (which isn’t exactly new), created by Sun Kim, a young chef of Korean origins who’s been designing his career as a protégée of the famous Testuda Wakuda, having passed through his Tetsuya in Sidney and through the Waku Ghin at Singapore.

But on to our experience; entering the small restaurant (doesn’t seat more than 30 guests), the idea is of being in a young and cosmopolitan bar, seated on the counter that runs through the entire room and serves as a kitchen. The idea is to turn the preparation of the dishes into a show, allowing us not only to taste but to accompany all the steps and works concerning each dish. This way assuring the fun!

meta - 4The menu presents 3 tasting options, 5 courses ($88++) 8 courses ($128++) and a vegetarian version of 5 courses. Chosen the 8 courses menu, we quickly started the feast with two great amuse bouche: Asparagus with crunchy quinoa, soy and chili – a snack with excellent texture and a nice balance of flavours – and Pork belly in kale – tasty and succulent meat involved in a slightly braised kale. An excellent omen to what would come next.

meta - 5Amuse bouche

meta - 1Oyster, grapefruit, lemon and ginger
A giant and succulent oyster, nicely completed with the slight sweetness of the grapefruit and the fresher notes of the lemon and ginger. A delicate and well accomplished dish!

meta - 2Amaebi (Japanese sweet shrimp), yuzu and apple
A dish created to highlight the Japanese shrimp. Sweet, moist and succulent, well balanced by the yuzu, the apple and the ikura, with the head of the shrimp slightly grilled, and its interior very delicate. A beautiful dish and full of flavour!

 meta - 3 meta - 8Wagyu Tartar, pear kimchi, egg jam and rice
Another brilliant dish, with the meat slightly cooked and prepped with great technique. Accompanying, a pear kimchi (a nice combo of two ingredients the Koreans use a lot) that could have been more intense and strong. Also excellent, the egg yolk gel, cooked at low temperature, and the contrast of textures given by the puffed rice. A pretty dish, well accomplished, transporting us to the classic Korean Bibimbap.

To go with these first dishes, we had an Italian Pinot Grigio 2014 from Kris, a wine that reflects very well the features of the caste, with beautiful citrus and apricot notes, with light touches of honey and flowers, allowing it to accompany the first starters.

meta - 9Hokkaido scallop, endive, miso and cuttlefish ink
Perfectly cooked scallop, with a delicate flavour enhanced by the shoyu sauce, nicely accompanied by the flavour of the braised endive, the body of the cauliflower puree with miso and the excellent crunchy tapioca and cuttlefish ink. A great dish!

meta - 10Sea Bass, clam, fregola and basil
In the fish dish the domain of the technique was once again noticeable, with the crunchy skin and the moist interior. Great pasta (fregola), cooked al dente with a clear and tasty broth, elevated by the clams, seaweed and the daikon cooked at low temperature and soft laminated garlic. A less ambitious dish on the aesthetics side, but so full of flavour!

Harmonizing with the two previous dishes was the white Amigos 2011 of the Australian McHenry Hohnen, made with a basis of Marsanne, Chardonnay and Roussanne. A wine with excellent structure and interesting notes that end in a sweet and balanced way. A wine of the new world that seemed came out of France.

meta - 11Short Rib, parsnip and mushrooms
The short rib seems to have conquered the fine dining restaurants of Singapore, present in many of the main menus in town, and Meta is no exception. Meat cooked at low temperature, with flawless texture and a special flavour. Also good were the sides, the parsnip puree, the mushrooms and the slightly cooked vegetables. Very good!

meta - 12Grapefruit Cheesecake
Savouries aside, we enter the field of the pastry chef Tammy Mah, and in a good time, with a chocolate golden globe, filled with a great cheesecake mousse and grapefruit sweet. A great, great dessert!

meta - 13White chocolate, sesame, wasabi and yogurt
Another modern dessert based in Asian ingredients, with a cake made of sesame, accompanied with white chocolate domes, yuzu sabayon, wasabi and pop rocks with chocolate. A fresh and well accomplished ending!

meta-qz“The Rock”
To finish the Meta’s experience, Tammy Mah awards us with a coffee meringue, prepared with liquid nitrogen, so fun is in order when the guests literally release smoke. A very used technique, but still successful among the public.

Ending the harmonization was an Alto Las Formigas – Malbec Classic 2013, an Argentinian wine, especially interesting for light dishes like these at Meta. A silky wine, of thin tannins and a good aromatic range.

The wine list is mostly concentrated in biodynamic and organic production wines, from the old and new worlds, with interesting choices by Carolina Schulze, the nice Spanish manager of the restaurant, whose passion was well marked in the energy and joy with which she spoke to us about the wines and dishes in the menu.

Once we ate at the counter, similarly to most of the guests, the service is executed by the cooks themselves, awarding us and presenting the dishes as they’re finalized. A relaxed and informal environment set, mostly and above all, in the kitchen and its food.

Final Remarks
I must confess I didn’t arrive to Meta with the greatest expectations, especially for being a very recent space and about which I didn’t have many information. But in good time we decided to visit, a modern and conceptual space, set in a distinct gastronomic offer, with the presentation and plating glued to a more occidental cuisine. Though in terms of ingredients, the Asian side of Meta is much more noticeable (maybe it would be interesting a greater inclusion of the Korean cuisine in the creation of dishes). The technical domain, the flavour and rigour with which the dishes are presented are points plus in this species of gastronomic theatre we’re inserted in when seating at the counter of Meta.

Having in account the concept of the space, the chef’s age, the quality of the presented dishes, few months after opening, I’m sure to state that Meta will be the great rookie of the year in Singapore and one of the city’s greatest bets to put another name at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. A place to visit, for sure!

Meta Restaurant
9 Keong Saik Road – Singapore
+65 6513 0898

Versão Portuguesa 

Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

We were at  Meta by invitation, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.
Flavors & Senses in SIngapore with the support of Samsonite and of Singapore Tourism Board – #YourSingapore.

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