Our first taste of Meta was earlier this year when a group of us took our EATSingapore book and received an extra main course which turned our five-course Spring menu into six. Since then, Meta has earned a covetable Michelin star and this sits proudly on their mirrored pillar in the kitchen. I was extremely fortunate to be able to dine there again this year and the experience was wonderful. While the star is surely well deserved, Meta is not just about that prestigious award. They are about a damned good evening, really amazing food and fabulous service.
Second time around
My second taste of Meta found us sitting at the counter overlooking the kitchen. I don’t know about you but I love doing this. You can see all the work that goes into one little dish – the detail, the care and finesse with which it is all done. I love dining like this. If you go to Meta, make sure you ask for a seat at the counter. Better yet, one towards the front where you can get a bird’s eye view of Chef Sun in action.
Meta is gorgeously sleek and modern with black granite benchtops and an abundance of mirrors. It is also rather narrow and long. Much of the seating overlooks the kitchen. How they keep it so sparkling clean while working is a wonder to me!
An autumn feast
This is another review where I’m happy to talk about the whole menu because they change it up every season, so I won’t be spoiling too much of your experience with oversharing. The autumn menu reflects all that is seasonal and fresh right now and while there is that familiar feel to the dishes, they certainly don’t taste boring and traditional. Chef Sun and his team infuse each dish with their own style. French techniques with an Asian flair. The progression of tastes is right on point.
Before the meal started, we were presented with one of their supplementary dishes, their enormous Irish oyster. This had to be taken in two bites but was a fresh and lovely start to the evening.
While enjoying the oyster, we watched one of the sous chefs piling a little cracker high with shaved daikon. This turned out to be one of their snacks, a beef tartare. Beside the tartare was a little tart of foie gras topped with what I believe was fig and prettily decorated with edible petals. I am in love with these little bites that appear before your dinner begins. The ones at Meta were a wonderful start… after the other wonderful start if you are lucky enough to get their supplementary oyster dish.
Me, the foodie groupie
I’ve been accused of being a bit of a foodie groupie. But I’m sorry, I can’t help but think that chefs are magicians, rockstars and celebrity all-in-one (this in any level of a kitchen that they work in). I just can’t fathom a career where so much care and passion is needed. Really, standing in a hot kitchen to make food for other people, hours on end for those intense hours of service! Who would do it? I’ve talked to a few and interviewed them in our Chef Talk section. There are a few more interviews to be written but all-in-all, they are non-fussed by their “celebrity” status in this day and age (some rebel against it!). In fact, they just want to produce good food and please their patrons… admirable!
So every time a chef came up in front of me with a new dish and talked me through the ingredients and techniques, I was thrilled. And they thrilled me often at Meta.
A new ingredient I hadn’t met before
Has anyone heard of an ice plant before? I hadn’t and of course, I asked what this was. The server was happy to tell us that it was part of the succulent family and named because the leaves look like they are covered in ice. To the palate, it is surprisingly crunchy and sweet, tasting of cool, clear water. It was a nice combination to the smokey quail and stronger flavours of pancetta and turnip.
Extras are always appreciated
Because we were again dining using the EATSingapore book (this time with someone else’s book), we got a free course which turned out to be a beautiful crispy-skin fish with mushrooms. A warm broth was poured into the plate, just to the side of the fish so as not to make the skin soggy. This happened right in front of you when they brought the dish to the counter and the clear liquid surrounded the other elements of the dish. Different textures of mushrooms and black fungus accompanying the fish added crunch and a bit of chewiness. The broth… it was comforting, luscious and balanced, with the right amount of salty flavour.
The lamb loin was the final of our savoury dishes, one that I found uncharacteristically western in composition. However, the lamb was moist and soft. Accompanying jus, all sorts of salty-sticky goodness. With the fresh peas and asparagus, it ended the main part of the meal on a high for me.
Such sweet delights
At this point, one of the chefs came up to us and said that Chef Sun wanted us to try their extra dessert. This dessert appears on their seven-course menu whereas we had ordered their five-course. We did not say no! And so… Perhaps my favourite dessert of the season! Simply called Green Apple, it was a tangy apple sorbet sitting on what I believe to be a Calvados (apple brandy) cream. To the side, a pickled ribbon of fennel topped by parmesan crumb. Light, refreshing, with a hint of savoury. It was an absolute delight, one of those dishes that you have to think about and analyse… Do the savoury elements work? Does the fennel add anything? Who puts parmesan in a dessert? I ended up deciding that it was a wonderful combination and I loved it.
This was followed by their much sweeter dessert. A rich, decadent gooey persimmon served next to dark chocolate cake and topped with ice cream and a chocolate crumb. The slight bitter of the walnut was needed against the sticky sweetness.
Meta is a place where the love and passion for providing a beautiful meal and enjoyable experience are first and foremost. For me, it was the whole package that made me love it. There’s the great vibe when you walk through the doors, the hum in the kitchen where chefs clearly care about what they are doing. I really enjoyed being able to talk to the chefs over the counter as they presented dishes to you. But of course, the unique take on food from the familiar lamb dish to the dessert that teased at being sweet and savoury… that made the evening.
Chef Sun also told us about his new restaurant opening in November called Kimme on Amoy Street. He said the cuisine would be more casual. “What I can’t do at Meta, I can do at Kimme”, he told us. I can’t wait to visit.
For more information visit metarestaurant.sg
9 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089117
Phone: +65 6513 0898
We booked and paid for our own meals and it was worth every penny. We did get an extra dish because we brought the EATSingapore book and we were given the complimentary Green Apple dessert. I am SO grateful about that. Obsessed with that dish!
Images were taken by Angela Manners and apologies about them! It’s so hard to take pics in low light.