A Korean chef takes on French-Asian gastronomy with gusto
Claim to fame: Eye candy chef-owner, Sun Kim who smiles as genuinely as he cooks ably
Reason to go: No holds barred French-Asian flavors, nailed almost every single time
To look out for: The psychedelic oyster dish
Korean-born Sun Kim left Seoul for Australia’s greener cooking pastures with no knowledge of English. Four years later, he’s acquired not only a proficiency in the English language, he’s also earned himself a solid French-Japanese culinary training with Tetsuya Wakuda, first at Tetsuya’s, Sydney, and then at Waku Ghin, Singapore.
Now chef-owner of Meta, he serves Asian-inflected French gastronomy that marries a gutsy mix of French and Asian flavors constructed with western techniques. From his parade of snacks, “chawanmushi” is a seasonally changing fixture, in spring it arrives as a wedge of charred Hokkaido scallop tataki on a silky confection of egg custard cooked with kimchi, onion and cabbage in dashi, served with flecks of smoked caviar, and finished with a drizzle of chive oil. Taking pole position on Kim’s spring tasting menu is Jeju Island abalone, braised for three hours in Korean anchovies and kombu, optimizing umami and rendering the texture perfectly tender and springy. Served with a salad of lily bulb and garlic shoots enrobed in an abalone liver and oyster vinaigrette dressing, over a bed of multigrain (barley, buckwheat and Puy lentil) risotto cooked in flower crab stock, this dish is emblematic of the trailblazing Korean-Japanese-French genre that Meta brings to the fore. There’s also the supplementary course of oyster, now a Meta signature. Available only at an upcharge, the mollusc arrives in a dizzying kaleidoscope of colors––vibrant red from gochujang, piercing green from chive oil and translucent light yellow of ginger lemon––imparting a exhilarating burst of sweet, tangy and briny aromas with every bite.
Meta is set in a 40-seat shop house space, 10 of which by a wooden counter and the balance spread out in a generous dining room that is framed by a wine chiller. At any one time, the restaurant’s beverage list offers about 200 wine labels, with 10 available by the glass. Three types of sake are also on hand––by the bottle and by the glass––on a rotating basis.