Beet is the new kid on the block at Kau U Fong in Central. It opened two months ago with little fanfare but it has been earning rave reviews ever since.
The airy, effortlessly cool eatery has high ceilings, Oxford Blue banquettes, dark-wood furniture and an internal picture window lined with jars of pickled vegetables, through which diners can watch the kitchen team at work. The restaurant’s interior is minimalist and rustic, qualities apparent in the food prepared by Robuchon-trained chef Barry Quek, whose impressive CV includes gigs at De Wulf in Belgium, and Attica in Melbourne.
Beet prides itself as an ingredient-driven restaurant, which is good news for the indecisive – the menu is compromised of a handful of snacks, starters, mains and desserts. Better yet, the five-course tasting menu ($690) claims to let us “experience what Beet is about”. Decision made. A trio of snacks starts the meal: a tangy palate-prepper of snapper ceviche on a cracker; creamy, airy chicken liver on shortbread; and an umami-packed mini profiterole of chestnut and aged parmesan. Next is hamachi crudo, a highly Instagrammable dish that draws many to Beet. This art on a plate features a pool of dill oil, kefir cream and caviar surrounding flavourful hamachi sashimi, topped with thin circles of Taiwanese peach. The sweetness and crunch of the peach blend well with the punchy herbaceous dill, while the hamachi brings depth and a creamy texture. A little more relaxed in presentation, the Te Mana lamb is exceptionally flavourful.
Two cuts of lamb – loin with a perfect, juicy pink centre, and charred, caramelised belly, which melted in our mouths – are served with dollops of black garlic purée, sugar pea shoots, figs and eggplant, drizzled with sweet soy sauce. The dessert is incredibly smooth hay ice cream with macerated strawberries and wild rice crisps, a welcoming refresher after all the bold flavours. Petit fours of ultra-moist brown butter financier, paired with pu’er tea, really hit the spot.
For a tipple with dinner, don’t be afraid to ask the friendly, knowledgeable staff for recommendations. We adored the Negroni and the gin-based 20th Century. The drinks list also includes lesser-known spirits, such as aromatic Fernet Hunter, and natural wines, all carefully curated by beverage director Raphael Holzer.
Modern European cuisine is nothing new, yet Beet surprises with its choice of ingredients, harmony of flavours and colours, and precise execution in each of the dishes. We can’t wait to see what new creations chef Quek will bring to the table. The cocktails and the wine list are also excellent.