Beet

Crave - - FEAST - Words Iris Wong Food photo Happy Yuen

THE SPACE

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.

THE FOOD

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.

THE VERDICT

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.

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