Modern Korean/Asian restaurant Meta has been at its present Keong Saik location since November 2015. But come September, it will move a few doors down to take over the bigger, brighter space that Luxe used to occupy. After running the hotspot for almost three years, chef-owner Sun Kim acknowledges that that he has finally found his point of view. His cuisine, underpinned by refined European techniques and Korean flavours, has evolved. Some of his new creations now incorporate a bunch of Southeast Asian and local ingredients.
For the tasting menus, diners can choose between five and seven courses. But to kick off, you are first presented a series of snacks. At Meta these are not just an afterthought. The chef puts in much effort to create the amuse bouche, which may include crispy sago chips topped with a serving of gochujang-marinated sous-vide octopus, and finished with ikura, garlic aioli and tosaka nori powder, or the beef tartare crowned with uni. For the latter, a cone-shaped nori is filled with wagyu beef tartare marinated in Korean soy dressing and topped with creamy Hokkaido uni. There’s also the super silky chawanmushi – delicate egg custard is studded with fresh scallops and poached clams and dressed with dill oil.
We then move on to the starters, which include Japanese bonito (katsuobushi) served with horseradish crème fraiche, and brightened with a salad of sliced mandarin orange segments and crunchy endives. The unique combo is further perked up with an umami bomb from the oyster dressing and shaved dried oysters.
Mains-wise, the flavours are pronounced yet not overwhelming. A solo Carabinero prawn cooked with prawn oil and butter, is presented with a dollop of butternut squash puree and a sprinkling of kaffir lime. The prawn is accompanied by a serving of Korean rice fused with homemade sambal made with fermented shrimp paste and chilli. The spicy rice nestled under petals of lightly charred confit brussels sprout rounds of the dish nicely.
For meats, there’s the perfectly executed spatchcock poached in butter and pan-fried. It is served with caramelised celeriac puree, green peas and bacon coated in dashi butter. More textural contrast comes in the form of confit daikon root and peeled lily bulbs. You’ll also get to savour charcoal-grilled New Zealand Lamb rack served with creamy zucchini puree, lamb jus and charred garlic shoots. The chef spikes the tender meat with a touch of salty, savoury fermented black bean.
Finally, to liven up the palate, you’ll be served a dessert dubbed ‘Tropical Summer’ – presented in a hollowed-out coconut husk and filled with glutinous rice perfumed with coconut and buttery coconut and pineapple crumble. The creation further layered with kiwi sorbet and a shower of icy coconut granita is refreshing and great for scorching days. Judging by the success of his summer menu, we can’t wait to see what Sun has in store for us at his new venue.
9 Keong Saik Road (new location is at no. 1). Tel: 6513 0898. Website here