A night out with the crew, five at a time. And in these occasions, we often wanted a place with good finger food, ice cold beer, and a friendly atmosphere. You get all these in the Southern BBQ/Smokehouse in Telok Ayer called MeatSmith.
MeatSmith (Telok Ayer) is a smoky meat-centric beer haven at Telok Ayer right in the Singapore CBD. Established since 2014 and operated under the Burnt Ends Group, MeatSmith is their American Southern barbecue concept, serving up righteous gourmet cuts that are flawlessly marinated and smoked.
The decor was pretty spartan – wooden benches and rustic wooden chairs. The place was not meant for a long seat-down dinner. We got the only booth seats in the corner right next to the bar as this was the only seat that can take 5 persons after the restrictions were put in.
Meat were dry aged in house, similar to many good steakhouses. Our party could not but resist to order a nice little tomahawk to go along with their classic premium platters of BBQ meats.
The platter for four persons came with three starters and 4 meats, with pickles and corn bread. They were kind enough to upgrade the starters to 5 pieces since we also ordered a tomahawk 😉
We started with some Scotch quail eggs & caviar, held stable on the plate with some mayo sauce. It tasted like a croquette, only richer because quail eggs were used. And the caviar gave it a luxe feeling, even though they were not the top shelf stuff. Nevertheless each caviar roe burst with lots of flavours and umami as you popped the quail egg in your mouth. If you order this as an a la carte, caviar is optional – I would recommend it.
Before you think that the pork belly is similar to Cantonese BBQ, you will be terribly disappointed because there’s not crackling skin. The pork belly burnt ends were smoked for hours in the Southern BBQ smoker, the fats had rendered to leave behind a nice soft consistency and a crust on the “burnt ends” of the fats.
Made with those fork-tender briskets from the smoker, these spring rolls were great appetisers to start the dinner with. Served with a sweet curry sauce that reminded me of the ones they used to give out with the McD nuggets, I preferred these rolls on their own and let the briskets take centrestage.
Hamachi smoked pineapple tacos rounded up the three appetisers. They came in a hardshell with smoked hamachi and caramelised pineapples. I was usually not a fan of tacos, but this one I can bear.
In the meat section, there’s usually three regular meats they smoked daily. There’s the beef briskets that were marinated in brine and given a salt and pepper rub, and smoked for over 14 hours – so tender, so moist, so good, the MUST order if you come here. I pity the neighbours to have to endure the smell of these bad boys sweating it out in the smoker. And there’s the icon wagyu striploin (M4/5 I presumed, given the marbling) that was grilled over the smoker. Icon wagyu is a cross-breed between the Japanese wagyu bull with Angus cows. And the way they were raised, they do not have that superior melt-in-mouth, but instead they still taste like beef.,
The spiced pork ribs were smoked for 3 hours with an apple cider glaze. The meat simply feel off the bones and the glaze gave it all the flavours that you would find yourself licking your fingers. The Chef’s special was the Nashville grilled chicken – a nice half portion of chicken that has been butterflied and grilled on the fire, succulent and tender.
There nearly forgot about this. The pickle plate and corn bread came after the tomahawk, but thank God for those pickles, they helped to reduce the greasiness of the BBQ. And the corn bread with smoked butter just brought me back to the South once again.
Smoke king crab legs with gumbo sauce
Gumbo, a staple from Louisiana, consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the Creole “holy trinity” ― celery, bell peppers, and onions. This soup was made into a sauce that went on top of the smoked king crab legs.
The crab legs did not have any of the smokiness. They tasted frozen and flaky. Not the best dish of the day, and it was not part of the regular menu.
1kg dry aged tomahawk
Next, the piece de resistance for the evening – 1kg dry aged tomahawk.
The tomahawk steak is essentially a ribeye beef steak specifically cut with at least five inches of rib bone left intact. The extra-long, french trimmed bone utilises the same culinary technique that shapes a rack of lamb. A 1kg tomahawk will yield around 700g of ribeye, enough for two or three folks to share, but with the platter before us, there was plenty of meat to go around.
Grilled to a nice medium rare, the meat was flavourful due to the dry ageing. Dry ageing is like maturing the cheese to release all the hidden flavour profiles. The tomahawk came with their signature Meatsmith BBQ sauce, mustard BBQ sauce and chimichurri sauce. I enjoyed it with just a sprinkle of sea salt given the marbling and tenderness of the F1 wagyu.
The side order of Caesar salad was will made (i.e. not drowning in sauce), I like the oriental touch of adding pork crackling on the salad instead of bacon chips. Yummy. The MeatSmith slaw as cider vinegar dressed Souther slaw, a bit like achar.
The dessert section was very limited, and they were just big American sweets like sundae and cheesecake. Remember this place is for meat.
The place was an extension of Burnt Ends, the Michelin 1 Star place where a table was so difficult to get. And when the restrictions for dine-in were lifted, the waitlist returned. “The Covid-19 situation threw a spanner in everything and made us look at our business in a very different way,” said the 37-year-old Burnt Ends chef and founder David Pynt, who has been living in Singapore since 2013, in a press interview.
They have a good thing going there. I was chatting with Thomas, GM for the Burnt Ends Group who was on duty that night, he was such a good host. “Burnt Ends is our higher-end restaurant, Meatsmith is in the middle, and Meatsmith Xpress is our casual option for customers,” he explained the difference between the two restaurants. Some of the favourites from Burnt Ends appear in the menu here as a regular item, while Burnt Ends remains experimental.
They have another outlet in Little India where the vibes were different (and the menu slightly varied to pay tribute to the ethnic location), and they recently just opened in Doha. Definitely will return or try the other outlet.
Meatsmith Singapore (Telok Ayer)
167-169 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068620
Tel : +65 6221 2262
Date Visited : Sep 2021
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