Personally I think Keong Saik road could be a classic example ideal for showcasing the diversity of food choices available within our tiny nation. Within the short span of around 300 metres, you can find eateries serving Indian, Indonesian, Chinese, Western, Caribbean, Japanese etc. Not only that, they are available in different price range, from the humble coffeeshops to fine-dining restaurants. Located along the same road, you can find bib gourmand eatery Kok Sen Restaurant listed in the Singapore Michelin 2016.
There are another 2 restaurants along the stretch which I thought was worthy of Michelin’s notice – Cure (helmed by Chef Andrew Walsh, formerly from Esquina) and the one I’m writing about in this post – Meta. (PS. Meta was awarded 1-Michelin Star in the results announced on 29th Jun 17).
Meta is helmed by Korean Chef Sun Kim who serves French-inspired cuisine with an Asian flair. Chef Kim honed his skills at the acclaimed Tetsuya (Sydney) and Waku Ghin (Singapore) before setting up a place of his own.
We were happy to snag places at the counter where we were in close proximity to witness Chef Kim in action. Before starting our degustation menu proper, we were served several amuse bouches, beginning with the Octopus with rice cracker and salmon roe. Popping this bite-size snack into our mouth, we were treated an explosion of textures on our palate. From the crispy cracker, chewy octopus, rich cream cheese to the delectable burst of umami-filled roes.
The second amuse bouche was Beef tartare with white kimchi and mushroom topped with grated parmesan cheese. Both these “tartlets” had rich and strong flavours, prepping our taste buds and getting us ready for an exciting night.
Our first dish was Irish Oyster ginger, lemon, gochujiang. Gochujiang is Korean Spicy Miso, aka hot pepper paste, a condiment used widely in their cuisines. The chive oil accentuated the freshness of the oyster and the gochujiang was a perfect replacement for the typical Tabasco. We washed down the succulent oyster with the pairing wine of the light and crisp Sauvignon blanc.
Japanese Hamachi avocado, yuzu, creme fraiche was light and refreshing.
The next wine pairing was Greco di Tufo an Italian white grape variety and we enjoyed it with the Bibimbap spanner crab, seaweed, zucchini. Instead of having to describe how every grain of rice, every bit of the veg and shredded crab meat contributed to a well-mixed color, flavour, and texture; I would summarise this as “possibly the best bibimbap I could ever find in Singapore!”
Bossam iberico pork pluma, romaine is another dish with its roots from Korean cuisine. I first tried Bossam (boiled pork wraps) at a Korean bar (Joo Bar) and fell in love with this dish. Chef added a few other elements such as topping it with oyster leaf and a fried garlic chip to create more depth and added texture to this commonly found dish in Korea.
Grouper mussel, clam radish had crispy golden brown skin and firm meat. As grouper has very mild flavour it was prepared with very light seasoning. This dish was served with Cotes du Jura Chardonnay.
The next dish was Duck breast potato, kimchi paired with Pinot noir from Burgundy. While it was easy to have our attention drawn to the duck breast that had a dark, charred and crispy skin with the pink centre; I was equally impressed with the pickled kimchi pave and the ultra-smooth potato on the side.
For the main there were 2 options: Lamb or Beef and we opted for one of each. A quintessential ingredient used for Korean stews – doenjang (fermented soybean paste) made its grand appearance in both the dishes. Here’s the tender New Zealand Lamb Loin parsnip, kale, doenjang.
The Westholme Wagyu Tenderloin bone marrow, black garlic, doenjang was paired with Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River. The doenjang flavour was more intense for this dish which was challenging my threshold for the slightly “stinky” taste.
Time for some sweet treats to end our meal, first up was the Melona melon, fromage blanc. Thinly sliced melon strips were carefully plated around the dollop of fromage blanc forming a flower dome. This dessert was fragrant and beautiful.
The second dessert was Camouflage chocolate, black sesame, gochujang. I loved the crunchy bits which was nutty and spicy (this is where gochujang was secretly added). It was an interesting combination as I could not have imagined adding a touch of spiciness to a sweet dessert dish.
The petite four comprised of strawberry discs, white chocolate, mochi, matcha powder and back sesame mochi.
While waiting for our desserts, the section that Chef Kim was manning had completed service. He was seen washing and cleaning up the section together with his other staff before changing out from his uniform. I must say as with most Koreans, Chef Kim has a good fashion sense. As he made an exit from the restaurant and zoomed off in quick energetic strides, we were wondering if he was happy to end his shift to go home or to go chill?
In any case, after finishing our meal we also left the restaurant feeling happy and satisfied. Undoubtedly Meta is a hidden gem waiting to be uncovered.
[Update in Jun 17]
Meta was awarded 1 Michelin Star in Singapore’s 2017 list. Thankfully we visited them before they were thrust into the limelight.
Other Related Posts: