On the busy Telok Ayer street among the local eateries and rows of Korean restaurants, Meat Smith stands out with its raw and rough blacksmith design. Behind the metal-plastered door, the dimly lit dining room features a well-stocked glowing bar, a couple of communal benches and slightly sticky wooden tables. The menu was short and sweet, 5 options per section with a simple lunch deal. There were at least 8 more special items on the blackboard (sorry it was too dark to read).
Brisket Brandt Farm USA, 265 day grain fed Agnus
We were both surprised by how small the portion was; two meagre strips of 1cm-thick of rather dry-looking meat. This was also a lunch set option served with a potato salad plus a small draft - it’s not going to feed anyone.
Brisket is usually one of my favourite cuts, I love how the slow cooking reduces the slab of meat into a melty succulent mass of beefy goodness with small lumps of fat that dissolves in mouth. The brisket here wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. The meat itself was quite tender, but it was lacking the juices and bovine grease that makes brisket addictive. Instead the lean meat with dense and firm with subdued flavours. It felt as though the slow-smoking had drained the flavours out. It wasn’t unpleasant, but not quite what I signed out for.
Sandwich - Nashville Fried Chicken chili glazed with pickles, lettuce and mayo
I suppose a burger is a type of sandwich. This wasn’t a burger-size sandwich though, it’s somewhere between a slider and a burger. The size issue aside, the fried chicken was nicely done with a thin layer of crispy batter enveloping a hunk of very juicy chicken. The rest of the ensemble, though, was nothing special. They could have made more of an effort with the bun, like a buttery, airy brioche bun instead of some flat, chewy bread. It was alright.
Mustard Potato Salad
The sides were bigger than the main event, and better too. Though charlotte potatoes are usually used for salads for their crisp crunch, these ones are slightly grainy which worked really well with the mustard kick.
Mac n Cheese
Ah I have a thing for mac n cheese - it’s so comforting. As long as the macaroni is smothered in cheese sauce, it cannot go wrong. Hits the spot.
It’s fair to say both of us were underwhelmed by Meat Smith. For a meat-centric restaurant that focuses on barbecue, their signature brisket failed to impress. There was no smokey aroma, no charred crispiness, no bovine wholesomeness - thankfully they didn’t screw things up much either. I still have high hopes for their sister restaurant, Burnt Ends; the Aussie BBQ did make it to the list of top 50 in Asia after all. Let’s hope my next meat fix will be better satisfied
167-169 Telok Ayer Street
Tel: 6221 2262