Chancing upon grilled meat in a restaurant these days might not seem like anything special, but what about wood-fired grilled meat? And not just any wood, but different cuts of wood that are changed each month to infuse food with yummy, earthy flavours that you won’t find anywhere else. Now that’s something.
You can enjoy such an experience at Meat Market, which is the latest addition to Hougang 1 Mall, serving up premium cuts of meat meticulously grilled over wood fires.
To all those in the know, places with wood-fired meats are a rare gem simply because of the tedious preparation and grilling process involved. The smokey flavours from the wood gently infuses into the meat and elevates its taste profile, giving you that oomph as you dig in. This is literally a meat lover’s dream.
The restaurant also features an open kitchen concept, which is always a great opportunity to catch the chefs in action as they cook up a storm.
Step into this warmly-lit establishment and you’ll instantly feel at home. The earthy tones of the furnishings paired with the contemporary interior design will give you a sense of classiness as you dine in comfort.
Speaking of dining, the kitchen whipped up a feast for us and we dove straight in.
Do not underestimate this bowl of Thai Beef Aglio ($12.90) from the pasta selection. I thought pasta would be the last thing I order at a restaurant specialising in meat, but this dish exceeded all my expectations.
The beef cubes were well-seasoned with a Thai-style sweet and sour spicy sauce. You could taste the flavours in every bite. While the cubed beef wasn’t of a particularly juicy and tender cut, it still provided a pretty nice texture to chew on.
The linguine was served al dente with a side of refreshing, citrusy pineapples. That’s right, pineapples in pasta. And trust me, it works.
This was a great way to start the meal, and the dish featured many elements that worked well together. If you’re dragging a friend along who’s not that big a meat-eater, I highly recommend this.
Feeling adventurous? Take things up a notch with the Black Nigiri ($18.90 for 10 pieces). You’ll get an assortment of beef and pork collar slices on black buttered rice, similar to sushi.
The rice grains are doused in butter and lightly coated with edible charcoal powder. I was expecting some kind of overpowering taste of grease from the butter but I was pleasantly surprised by the light, palatable flavours.
If you’re ordering a few dishes to share, these bite-sized portions are perfect. And now, on to the highlight of the night – the meat platter selection.
For two to share, you might want to give the Carnivore ($29.90), that’s served with chicken, pork collar, sausage and tenderloin a try. You’ll also get to pick two sides and one sauce to go with your platter.
We had ours with some Cheesy Tater Tots, Purple Cabbage and a serving of the Herb Vinaigrette.
The beef was juicy and tender with a slight pinkish hue to it. The gourmet premium meat experience was complete with that luscious layer of fat, giving rise to a velvety texture. It was a pretty decent cut of meat although I would have preferred it to be slightly more crisp on the outside.
The pork also proved to be quite a stunner, and was very tender, with a strong smokey flavour from the grill coming through.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much meat, but if everything does get too meaty for you, pour over a little of the tart vinaigrette, which will definitely cut through the flavours.
I love seafood almost as much as I love meat, so of course, I had to try The Fisherman’s Pride ($45.90), which is another platter on the menu.
The one thing I noticed straight off the bat – everything was definitely fresh. Even the grilled salmon didn’t have any fishiness to it. Also, while a lot of places tend to overcook seafood, Meat Market has got the temperatures just right.
The squid was thankfully not chewy, the scallops were super juicy and the soft shell crab was crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. In other words, it was a pretty faultless platter.
We were so full, but were convinced that we had to squeeze a little more in. End the meal with the recommended Coconut Blueberry ($6.90). It even comes with a popsicle!
The slight whiff of mint coupled with the refreshing taste of the coconuts will instantly settle the greasiness from the meat.
Otherwise, you could go hard or go home and get the popular Donut Fries ($6.90).
Dough fritters are shaped into fries, fried and then topped with a light sugary coat. Dip them into a scoop of classic vanilla ice cream and you have a winning dessert.
Meat Market definitely serves up some pretty impressive food fare. From the mains to the desserts, the team have taken quite a creative direction with their dishes and delivered flavours that hit home. This is one place you’ll come to hungry and leave absolutely satisfied.
Expected damage: $15 – $35 per pax