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Meat Feasts For The Caveman

Meat Feasts For The Caveman

When I am in the mood for meat, there is nothing quite like a great steak, juicy burger, pork chop or anything bacon to have me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. This is my list of go-to's for when I am feeling carnivorous.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Once I saw Executive Chef Greg Bess share this new dish of Veal Tongue at Spago on his Instagram, I wanted to try it straightaway. So there I zipped the very next day to have a happy solo meal (it’s been a while since I did one of those).
If you are like me and adore tongue, you’ll know it is similar to steak albeit with a very fine-grain texture. I love it however it is prepared and served, but Chef Greg and his team managed to elevate this rather exotic part of a young cow to a particularly beguiling rendition that’s fit for fine dining.
Grilled over binchotan to a perfect balance between tenderness and chewiness, the thick slices of tongue are plated with a veal jus that‘s been sparked with verde, a splash of emerald-green parsley oil, salty-ish fried capers and crispy strips of potatoes. The result is very moreish, delightfully appetising and unusually rich and filling.
For now, the dish is listed as an appetiser in the a la carte Dinner Menu, but will be added to the Tasting Menu in Spago’s Dining Room (in an appropriately sized portion of course) very soon.

Although I don’t dine at Korean restaurants on a regular basis, I find the food I tried at “Joo Mak” to be exceptionally tasty and very good value-for-money. Besides serving what I consider the best Seafood Pancake in Singapore and a much-better-than-average kimchi as part of their banchan, they also do superb meats for barbecue. We tried the pork belly ($15) and the ribeye ($28), and thought highly of the quantity and quality of both.
The venue is not that big and can feel a tad cramp. This also means during the weekend, you can expect long queues. The good thing is “Joo Mak” takes reservations so I would recommend making one.

H O S T E D
Wagyu fans, this is for you.
Located on the 55th level of ION Orchard (yes, spectacular views of Singapore are guaranteed when you dine here) has created a special “Meat To Share” platter. It features 500gms of prime Wagyu Ribeye blanketed in Manjimup Truffle, accompanied by the tastiest of sides.
The steak is from @Westholme, an Australian company that has bred Wagyu cattle for over two decades. The proprietary nutritional feed and free-roaming arrangement for their cattle to graze on pristine tracts of native grass result in meat that’s highly impressive in quality and flavour. Executive Chef Jake serves it carefully charred on the outside but still a gorgeous pink within, so you can be sure every bite of that smoky, ridiculously tender juiciness segues into a knee-weakening #beefgasm.
Now let’s examine the company the Ribeye keeps. There’s a serving of hand-cut chips (a.k.a. chunky fries) dusted with herb salt, a vine of slow-roasted sweet tomatoes glossed in aged balsamic, as well as perky crisp baby romaine lettuce over which buttermilk-cured yolk is crumbled.
As for sauces, you have chimichurri, Madeira jus and aioli fighting for your attention. I must admit though, I loved my steak bare as the default sprinkle of sea salt flakes was all it needed to make my mouth water.

M E D I A T A S T I N G
All of us found this outstanding. The meat was fantastically tender, and having been marinated in soy sauce, mirin, burnt onions and apple juice, then finished with burnt soy and brown butter, the result was deeply fragrant and flavoursome. It was recommended that we savour it Korean Ssam-style, that is, wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves with pickles plus a smear of yuzu kosho. We did and it was terrific.
A must-order for all meat-lovers.

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No photo can do this enough justice. But if you are like me and adore pork, you need to get yourself a platter of the Grilled Iberico Pork Ribs at FOC.
The meat-on-bone is charcoal-grilled in the Josper, so a crazy beautiful smokiness envelopes the incredibly juicy, tender and very flavourful pork. Not that you need anything else because that’s heaven right there but the smoked pumpkin purée it comes with, is spot-on too.
Each order of the ribs is hefty, so unless you are a protein fiend, I reckon it is more ideal for sharing. Six of us were able to take a small portion each last night but we did order many other items as well.

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H O S T E D
Housed in an old black and white bungalow amidst the lush greenery of Rochester Park is a microbrewery that has its roots in Thailand and Russia. This very spacious joint (according to owner Sergei, it is suitable for events as their venue can seat up to 500 people) serves a large variety of beer brewed right on their premises by Angelo. It was fascinating to hear him share so passionately about the science and the process when we visited last night.
To pair with the beer, the food items I enjoyed the most were the Chicken Wings (they‘re very crunchy and surprisingly spicy) and the Crispy German Pork Knuckle. Both, a match made in heaven with beer. Shown above is the latter, a massive serving suitable for 2 to 4 people depending on how hungry everyone is, was really very good. Having been brined for seven days, the meat tasted tender, moist and very flavourful through and through. But the extremely crunchy skin was what I loved most. It was addictively salty but stopped short of being too much. The sauerkraut and mashed potato served alongside were faultless too.

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This was a big hit with us when we dined there last Friday night.
The brazenly crunchy crackling skin of this Porchetta, a classic Italian dish of stuffed pork belly roll, was terribly addictive. Head Chef Jay Lee’s use of sweet potato (this must be his touch of Japanese) for the stuffing was clever indeed. It was a good match for the moist and juicy pork.

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H O S T E D
Things heat up when you get to the main course in the NEW Modern Middle Eastern set menu at The Ottomani.
Designed for sharing, there is a delightful sounding vegetarian option that showcases local roots, sweet potato dumplings and acuka (a type of walnut and pepper paste - thanks google!) but as always, it is the meats that draw me more. For selection are Tiberias Snapper, Omega lamb shoulder, 150-day-aged Beef Brisket and Kurobuta pork collar. They are all pit-roasted, a process that imbues them with a distinctive smokiness that adds to their overall flavour.
Shown above is the pork collar. It’s actually served uncut but I wanted to show what the blackened hunk of meat looks like on the inside. Having been marinated in Turkish coffee and Szechuan pepper, this leaner cut is not exactly very moist but it is cooked till tender and possesses a caramelised sweetness and quiet heat. Make sure to swoosh each piece through the puddle of zhoug to feel the fireworks of bright spiciness in the mouth as you chew on it.

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Though unassuming in appearance, the piping hot “Coppa Romana Cigars” blew my mind.
These spring rolls are filled with chopped up pieces of slow-cooked pork trotter, pig cheek, pig ears and pig tongue (yeah, all the parts I love most about that animal) and fried till golden brown crispness. Served on the side is a salsa that is a great foil for the richness.
If you are into the exotic parts of a pig, please do not miss out on ordering this. If it wasn’t for the fact that we still had a whole pizza and a hefty plate of pappardelle cooked in Wagyu beef brisket stew coming pur way, I would have insisted on a second round.

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H O S T E D
What’s better than a big, juicy piece of charcoal-grilled steak?
One that has a demi-glacé poured over it followed by oodles and oodles of finely shaved black truffle.
Carnivores will find the sight of the medium-rare pink of this “Txuleta” (it is pronounced as “chu-let-ah” and means T-bone in the Basque language) contrasted with the dark glossy sauce and matte shagginess of the truffle, most bewitching.
Chef-owner Aitor reckons one serving of this bone-in beef can feed 3 to 4 people, depending on what else has been ordered and how hungry everyone is. So now you have another option for when the need for meat hits.

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Our table of twenty-one adults made short work of this pair of roasted suckling pigs. And as glorious as their golden brown skin looks in my photo, the flesh beneath was the star for most of us. It was magnificently juicy and soft beyond measure, slipping off the bones faster than you can say “Suck”.
The skin was done very crispy but perhaps because I am more familiar with the Chinese style of roasted suckling pigs, I found this a tad chewy.

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H O S T E D
I can’t believe I am saying this but sometimes, even I find the full-bodied creaminess of bone marrow a bit much. Thus, I think it’s rather brilliant of the chefs at @bedrocksg to blanket their dish of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. This herbaceous topping cuts through the richness by layering on aroma and a lovely fresh spark.
At $25++ for three hefty pieces of bone, troughs brimming in marrow, plus a side of toasts to gob all that lusciousness on, I think this is a dish you won’t want to miss getting as a starter to share.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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