You know, now that I think of it, there’s something the very friendly front-of-house said as I paid the bill which sounds a bit ominous. When I asked her if Let’s Meat Up was a new place, she beamed. ‘It opened one month ago. Our only outlet!’
No one says that last bit if there aren’t plans afoot to change it.
So that raises a question: seeing as Singapore’s food scene has got more chains than your average BDSM dungeon, how much should a new arrival be welcomed? On the plus side, Let’s Meat Up is aimed at a new niche for fast-ish food, namely robatayaki. That said, I have seen robatayaki restaurants, and the place looks nothing like one. The name robatayaki means ‘grilling around the stove edge’, but the standard elements – the open grill, ingredients all laid out – are missing. Which means there’s only the food to go on.
Besides a fixed roster of starters, meals are combinatorial – you can choose a carb (rice or soba) and a protein, with options ranging from sausage to chicken thigh and minute steak. Some of the labels tug the eyebrows upwards – most notably gyoza, which are said to be filled with pulled chicken. Actually, I’m going to double check the menu to be sure…
… yes, it really says pulled chicken. And bless them, but pulled isn’t the first word these gyoza evoke. Pretty, yes, but also pushed, or more accurately squashed. The unusually flat dumplings turn out to be filled with normal minced chicken and spring onion – a classic and effective combo, with the chicken marinated to deepen its flavour. Why they felt the need to overhype this is beyond me.
The grilled chicken thigh, on the other hand, does well without any hype. It didn’t look like the grill had much of an impact on it, but the differences in a slab of meat (and it is a generous slab) are well-handled, from warm succulence in the just-done centre to drier, firmer edges. And the skin, glazed and gleaming, still has a little stretch to it but no flabbiness. Even the sunny side up is nicely oozing.
So to answer that earlier question, Let’s Meat Up is not quite refined yet, as you’d expect of a month-old shop. But there is definitely potential here, and as with children, the best way to influence them is to do it early while they’re still little. So go and critique the cooking, critique the overenthusiastic marketing. But do go.
Let’s Meat Up
68 Orchard Road
#B1-08 Plaza Singapura
Contact no.: 6835 7832
Hours: Daily, 11am – 10pm