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Dinner is on again (woohoo!), but I’ve got to say, I’ve really enjoyed going out for lunch more often. There are some amazing lunch deals in this city that are absolutely worth leaving the office/putting on real trousers for (depending on your work-from-home situation at the moment). I always enjoy MEATS and was keen to check it out again when they announced a new chef and new lunch menu ($198/3 courses; Monday–Thursday).
Koki Oda is MEATS’ new head chef. Raised in Nagoya, he’s gained 12 years of experience in restaurants across Asia, spanning Michelin-starred French spots in Japan to more casual eateries in New Zealand and Bali. The new lunch menu isn’t drastically different from before (fret not – the popular fish tacos are still on the menu!), but there are some lighter and more creative plates too.
There are five options for starters: duck salad, fish tacos, beef salad (+$15) and grilled Caesar (vegetarian). Honestly, it all sounded delicious! It was a tough call, but we opted for two new dishes and the classic fish tacos.
The first new dish was the beef salad. This was nice and fresh, with red onion, Asian herbs and a fish-sauce-spiked dressing giving lots of flavour without being too pungent. A decent amount of marinated beef flank cooked to medium rare was added and worth the extra $15, especially if you’re not going for a beef main.
We also tried the grilled Caesar, which came as two romaine wedges topped with a Parmesan and horseradish dressing. We loved the addition of cashews.
The fish tacos are always a hit, featuring plump fish pieces and an addictive chipotle aioli.
There are six options for starters: porchetta (a former special), USDA ribeye (+$98), burger, salmon fillet, oven-baked cauliflower (vegetarian) and half a rotisserie chicken. All come with fries.
Are you a fan of vitello tonnato? If the answer if yes, you’ll probably be interested in this porchetta version. Tuna mayo and a caper powder are slathered on a lovely slice of juicy roast pork. Our slice was quite fatty, not in an overwhelming way, but this may be a good dish to share. To get the most out of this dish, I’d make sure to have a decent amount of the lightly tangy sauce with each bite – otherwise the flavour kind of disappears.
Next we tried the salmon fillet, which is pan-fried in a white wine sauce and served with grilled lemon. I thought this might be a bit of a risk (that it might come out well done), but it was very nice and moist. I would definitely order this again.
And lastly, while understanding the restaurant is called MEATS, we were curious about the miso-glazed cauliflower. This was perhaps the most flavourful of all the dishes we had. We loved the strong cashew sauce and how it balanced so well with the pomegranate seeds.
Dessert or coffee
To end our meal, we tried both desserts: chocolate brownie and rotisserie pineapple. I’ve always really enjoyed the dessert at MEATS (their coconut lime pie is delicious), and the new options didn’t disappoint. The chocolate brownie with dulce de leche and vanilla ice cream is destined to be a crowd-pleaser. The grilled pineapple with sweet-and-sour syrup and blood orange sorbet is a healthier option, but it really hits the spot. Sometimes dessert can be overlooked in a set menu, but at MEATS, dessert ends the meal with a bang.
MEATS continues to serve up interesting comfort food, and it’s great that there are now some lighter options for guests. It remains a delicious, good-value restaurant.
28–30 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, 2711 1812, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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