Meat Smith calls itself a casual diner, one of the newer ventures of Singapore’s renowned hotelier and restaurateur Loh Lik Peng’s Unlisted Collection group. It exudes full-on edginess with its blacksmith’s workshop ambience, and as the name goes, this modern American-style smokehouse specializes in all things meaty.
Situated just across the road from its sister restaurant The Market Grill, Meat Smith holds its own very well, if not better, and you’d be hard pressed to get a table without reservations on a Friday afternoon. The indoor dining area features communal tables, bench seating and cool, heavy metal high chairs with seats that looked like manhole covers, as well as a semi-open kitchen.
Their often-updated menu, while not extensive, covered every course and portion preference, and their daily specials are written on prominently-displayed chalkboards.
Crispy Pork Rinds (SGD5.00)
Perfect with a glass of beer, these crispy pork cracklings were polished off within minutes, but it is definitely not a sharing portion. Social obligations begone – nobody should have to share their pork cracklings!
Beef Tongue (SGD13.00)
Paper-thin slices of beef tongue were topped with peanuts, a slightly spicy “aioli” and negligible (read: easy to flick off) bits of coriander. It all came together in a delicious harmony of flavours, perfectly light and refreshing as an appetizer.
From their Specials of the Day board, we got the Fish Tacos which were sublime – mini tortillas topped with nori, crispy breaded fish, coleslaw and a zingy sauce that exploded with flavour from all the elements. I really wish they’d put it on their regular menu!
½ Nashville Fried Chicken (SGD20.00)
There was a Southern option which was good ol’ buttermilk fried chicken with an almost shattering crisp on the outside while retaining juicy and tender meat inside. But it is the Nashville style fried chicken that you’d remember, with its red-hot fiery colour and heavily coated with a spicy blend of chili powder, not unlike the Japanese shichimi togarashi. I found it a tad too spicy to enjoy the flavours properly without gulps of beer/iced water between each bite, but those with higher spice tolerance would enjoy this.
½ Pork Ribs (dry version) (SGD25.00)
St Louis spare ribs were barbecued to fall-off-the-bone goodness, then dry-rubbed with a similar spice blend as the Nashville fried chicken, but with more restraint and hence much more enjoyable. I’ve had this a couple of times with my colleagues, and it had consistently garnered appreciative grunts around the table as those carnivores stuffed their faces. There was also a wet version on the menu, which I suppose would come slathered with the classic BBQ sauce.
Brisket (180g) (SGD26.00)
Described as California USA 365-day grain-fed Angus, all these hyped-up beef jargon meant little if the dish was not executed skillfully. Fortunately, the meat was incredibly tender and unctuous, thanks to all the marbling. There were no other fussy elements to interfere or mask the quality of the meat, reflecting simplicity at its best.
Picking a sweet ending to round up the meal here was easy as there were only two dessert items on their menu. These safe selections would please most palates with a chocolate item and a fruity one.
Mississippi Mud Pie (SGD10.00)
The epitome of American diner desserts, this decadent, silky chocolate pie with an Oreo cookie base was an instant hit, and the plate was practically wiped clean.
Apple Cobbler with Smoked Ice Cream (SGD7.00)
The tart, cinnamon-y apples and the crisp pastry were alright but forgettable, and all of us found the “smoke” flavour too odd. It was a good thing we saved some of the mud pie for last.
In all honesty, Meat Smith displayed a stellar performance in its meaty offerings, complemented by a neat selection of craft beers, cocktails and other thirst-quenchers to wash the guilt down. The only thing left for them to do is to step up their dessert game by a few notches!
Overall rating: 6.5/10
167/169 Telok Ayer St,
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer