There seems to be a bit of a pattern going on with restaurant names at the moment, whereby they pretty much do what they say on the tin. We have Burger & Lobster, Duck & Waffle, Ham & Sherry and now Fish & Meat. One could argue that this shows a certain lack of creativity, but then again at least it keeps things simple and you know what to expect!
Fish & Meat is another new restaurant opened by the ever-successful Maximal Concepts group, just above the group’s trendy bar, Stockton. The space, which was most recently Sal Curioso, is airy and inviting, with a simple, rustic design of bleached wooden tables, whitewashed brick walls and jam jars for light bulbs.
The menu, delivered by head chef Russell Doctrove, who has worked at a number of impressive restaurants in the UK, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, is just as simple. Whilst it doesn’t specifically list things under ‘fish’ and ‘meat’, as may be expected, it lists them instead under ‘small’ and ‘large’. The focus is on carefully selected farm-to-table ingredients, used to create honest, rustic-style dishes. And of course you’ll find a lot of fish and a lot of meat.
Much like Maximal’s other venues, this one has some pretty fantastic cocktails on the menu that you are unlikely to find elsewhere. The Farmhouse Jam, made with Ice Fox vodka, homemade blueberry thyme jam and prosecco, is one such example, whilst the wine list offers only tried and tested Italian wines.
Digging into the food, we began with two portions of hand-ground veal and pork meatballs. The blend of meat, coated in rich pepperoni sauce was delicious, yet what made these sizeable meatballs even more exciting was the melted fontina cheese that oozed from the centre. My advice: definitely make sure there’s at least one meatball per person on the table, for you certainly don’t want to be sharing these.
The marinated raw Ahi tuna was a simple yet interesting dish with delicate flavours. Chunks of compressed watermelon weren’t easy to distinguish from the tuna itself, until you bit into them and enjoyed the refreshing sweetness. The raw quail egg mixed in with the soy and basil vinaigrette made this dish almost like a modern tuna tartare, but a milder version.
Although nothing special to look at, the pan-fried baby octopus was excellent. The octopus had a wonderful texture, which balanced nicely against the crunchy frisee lettuce.
Last of the ‘small’ dishes was the O’Connor farm grass-fed beef carpaccio. The thin slivers of beautifully fresh meat were loaded with rocket, freshly grated Parmesan and jalapeño, which gave this classic dish a lovely kick.
Moving on to the ‘large’ dishes, the grilled whiting fish took us completely by surprise. The fish was perfectly flaky, served on a bed of silky avocado puree, with fresh avocado and charred jalapeños. Again, these delicate flavours came together beautifully, making this possibly my favourite dish of the night.
The slow-cooked Spanish Teruel pork belly porchetta was another winner. I was admittedly a little dubious of this dish, given that pork belly can often be more fatty than meaty, yet this one had the perfect balance of the two. The pork was incredibly tender, whilst the crackling on top was also excellent. A drizzle of salsa verde and a dollop of apple marmalade completed this dish, which we accompanied with sides of sweet corn polenta and green beans with asparagus.
To finish, the dark chocolate fondant, which sadly I could not taste, was satisfyingly molten in the centre, but apparently could have been just a touch richer and more chocolatey to give the salted caramel sauce a bit more of a contrast.
The whipped mascarpone “cheesecake” was lovely and light – much more so than a slice of actual cheesecake – and I loved the tartness of the raspberry sorbet. I annoyingly had to scrape off the shortbread crumble (see how seriously I take my no-wheat-for-Lent challenge!) but am certain it would have complemented the light, fluffy mascarpone beautifully.
Service was rather mixed; we were unimpressed with one waiter who couldn’t explain a single dish to us, nor suggest how many dishes it would be suitable for our table of four to share between us. There is also a strict two-hour seating policy before they kick you out to make room for the next lot – this may explain why the dishes came all at once. This is one of the things I find most annoying when eating out, as, if you’re paying almost $800 a head, you should be allowed to take your time. The food, however, was delicious, and the atmosphere very fun, so I can definitely see a return to Fish & Meat in sight, particularly once this rain has cleared up, so that we can enjoy the restaurant’s lovely balcony.
Fish & Meat
2/F, 32 Wyndham Street
(Entrance on Glenealy)
Tel: +852 2565 6788