Sean and I had passed by this place while strolling through Keong Saik Road in the daytime. And after scanning their menu, we decided we’d definitely come back for dinner. And right before we did, it’d earned its first Michelin star! What better excuse to give it a go.
Meta, short for “metamorphosis” promises just that. Asian-French cuisine that stays true to French culinary tradition, while showcasing Asian flavours. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but we definitely left feeling both impressed and satisfied.
Walking through these glass doors, we were shown to one of about 20 counter seats that give you a full view of the workings of the kitchen. The ambience? Simple, yet elegant. We couldn’t wait to eat, and ordered their 5-course Winter Menu ($105++) with a Supplementary Dish.
As you might have guessed by now, the chef, Sun Kim is from South Korea. Many of the dishes had the faintest hint of familiar Korean favourites.
We began with an amuse bouche of Octopus, ikura, pickled rhubarb and nori on a crispy rice cracker. Colourful, but rather forgettable.
This next appetiser, however, was something quite special. Here’s the Korean Strawberry Pomegranate Foie Gras Tart.
Gorgeous flavours, and the citrus tartness of the strawberries really cut the richness of the goose liver so well. Loved this.
And to round off the appetisers, (i can’t believe we haven’t even gotten to the first course yet!) we were served the Prawn Chawanmushi with Oscetria Caviar and Dill Oil.
Caviar on anything is always a treat. But that dill oil. Wow. It really brought out the sweet flavours of the prawn and helped elevate this dish to something quite memorable. And we were barely even started!
Our dish course of the day was our supplementary dish of of Irish Oyster & Lemon with Gochujang ($10). Look at those amazing colours!
I’d initially thought that gochujang (which is a kind of spicy Korean bean paste) would’ve completely overwhelmed the super fresh oyster. But surprisingly, that combination of savoury, sour and sweet really gave this dish a whole lot of oomph, and I really enjoyed this one. A great way to start the meal. Now we were getting hungry.
The first course was Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Apple, Celery and Plum.
Again, that conspicuous dill oil! But I must say this time, it would’ve worked better without. The trout was fresh, the pomelo bits provided some variation in texture. But overall, this was a rather understated and refreshing dish.
Next up, the Hokkaido Scallop with Lily Bulb, Petit Pois, and Bacon.
I’d never had lily bulb before. And I must say, it went really well with the scallop. With a crunchy texture, and well-seasoned, it added a whole other dimension to an otherwise straightforward seared scallop dish. Delicious!
But this next one is the real beauty. I’d been really looking forward to trying it after seeing the chef serve it up to those that came before us. Behold the Oxtail Tagliatelle with Shiitake and Garlic Crumble. Honestly, this reminded me a little of Korean jajangmyeon, only way more heavenly.
This was absolute MAGIC. Sean and I ate in silence for awhile because no words could describe its beautiful, rich flavours. The pasta (handmade, of course) was cooked al dente, and sautéed in a savoury, fragrant and thick oxtail sauce with all the umami goodness of the shiitake mushrooms. Topped with a golden brown garlic crumble and crispy vegetables, this just slid down my throat and into my stomach like it just belonged there. I still dream about this today. Mm..
And for our fourth course, we had this Mayple Farm Duck Breast with Chestnut, 13 Spices and Endives.
Slow-cooked to a tender, juicy goodness before being seared on both sides for even more char and flavour, this was another dish well-executed. The doneness was perfect, the flavours were tasty but did not overwhelm the meat. And accompanied by a semi-sweet chestnut paste, this was another thumbs up.
By then, I’d had more than my fill. But I couldn’t wait to see what Chef Tammy Mah (touted to be a real up-and-comer) had to offer. And she didn’t disappoint. Here’s her brilliant interpretation of a Carrot Cake with Ginger, Orange and Caramel.
I loved what she did with the carrot slices, painstakingly turning them into petals. The cake itself was moist and rich with all the nuances of the spices. And then that glorious sorbet with a hint of ginger and that delicious melt-in-your-mouth cookie crumble. What a treat!
Overall, I’d say Meta exceeded my expectations. Nearly every dish hit the spot and despite Chef Sun not actually being there, the restaurant ran like a well-oiled machine. But at the same time, it had the warmth of a passionate team taking great pride in their creations. And really, we felt the difference. Highly recommend this place if you’re in the area. And if you do visit, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Address: 9 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089117
Phone: 6513 0898