The guys behind Pirata, The Optimist, TokyoLima and Pici have a winning formula when it comes to opening Italian, Spanish or even Japanese-Peruvian restaurants. Their newest concept, however, does not fit the mould of any particular country’s cuisine. MEATS, whose name speaks for itself and clearly indicates that it wouldn’t be suitable for vegetarians, opened recently on Staunton Street and offers a simple, meat-centric sharing menu with influences from across the globe.
It’s hard to believe that this space used to house Jaspa’s, as it has been completely transformed. The décor is simple, laid back and cosy, consisting of lots of wood, leather banquettes and tiled flooring, all in muted colours. The focus, inevitably, is drawn to the kitchen at the back, with large windows so you can view all the action, including techniques such as house-smoking, rotisserie and charcoal grilling.
We started our meal with some utterly delicious roasted chicken croquettes, which are served on a bed of roasted garlic mayo that would scare off even the most fearless of vampires – but in a good way! The crumbed outer shell was perfectly crispy, giving way to a beautifully creamy centre.
Even more impressive, however, were the lamb ribs, cooked with cumin and sesame to the point where they fell effortlessly off the bone and melted in the mouth. I could have devoured an entire plate of these little ribs myself, if I hadn’t have had to share…
Moving onto the main courses, we were recommended to try the rotisserie chicken. Whilst this was perfectly tasty and juicy, particularly when drizzled in MEATS’ chicken sauce, it wasn’t a particularly memorable dish that I would insist on ordering again.
The beef cheek, however, in Bordelaise sauce with button mushrooms, was wonderfully rich and decadent, although I am glad I was sharing this one, as it would certainly have been too heavy to tackle alone.
The clear favourite of the mains was the Iberian porchetta, served simply with a drizzle of green herb salsa. The meat was incredibly succulent and full of flavour, and I adored the decent layer of crackling that encased it. I am a big fan of crackling and this was spot on.
All three mains were complemented by a selection of side dishes: the heritage carrots, sprinkled in za’atar with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of yoghurt, were excellent; the ‘ugly potatoes’, cooked in chicken juices to create a rich, sticky, caramelised outer layer that tasted divine; and, our absolute favourite, the slightly spicy fried rice, mixed with the meat of the day (in this case pork and beef), siracha mayo and a perfectly runny fried egg.
The dessert selection consists of only three options, which made it easy to choose two between the three of us. The coconut lime pie left slightly mixed emotions around the table. I’m not sure if it was a slip of the hand, or if the intention was always to make the pie crust overly salty – when eaten together with the tangy lime curd, sweet chunks of meringue and refreshing coconut ice cream, it all worked quite well, but if you got a chunk of pie crust on its own, it was almost unpalatable.
The pear tarte tatin with bourbon caramel and vanilla ice cream was a lovely twist on a classic dish and was well received by us all.
For ample amounts of food alone, we paid a little over $400 each, with an additional few hundred for those who were drinking wine. Service was very good, although at times it was hard to attract attention when the restaurant was at its busiest. Manuel Palacio and Christian Thalpo, the owners of Pirata Group, have once again produced another successful concept, one that is guaranteed to satisfy all the many carnivores in our city.
G/F, 28-30 Staunton Street
Tel: +852 2711 1812
Open for dinner every day and brunch on weekends. No reservations.