Cover BBQ Galbi (Shortrib)

The modern Asian Michelin-starred establishment was recognised for its progressive menu showcasing inspired combinations of seasonal ingredients

Korean-born chef Sun Kim and his team have more reasons to celebrate this month, as Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants announced that Meta is this year’s recipient of the American Express One to Watch Award. The accolade, which was revealed in the lead up to the announcement of the prestigious 50 best list, is selected by award organisers and regional experts and is given to a rising star in the region that isn’t part of the ranking.

This well-deserved recognition has been a long time coming for the Asian restaurant that celebrates authentic Asian flavours and high-end European culinary techniques. Since its launch in 2016, the Tetsuya Wakuda-trained chef-owner has also come into his own by incorporating his South Korean heritage into creative dishes cooked using premium seasonal ingredients.

“While Meta honours chef Kim’s Korean heritage and the traditional dishes of his childhood, the menu boldly integrates elements of Japanese and French cuisines,” enthused William Drew, the content director of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

He added: “Chef Kim’s progressive cooking techniques and creative execution, combined with a serene dining experience, make Meta a worthy winner of the American Express One To Watch Award 2021.”

In response to receiving the accolade, Kim said that he is “very humbled and honoured to receive this award from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants" which he couldn't have done without the hard work and support of his talented team. "I started Meta in my early 30s and as I’ve grown older, it allowed me to think about what I love to cook and the type of food I enjoy to eat," he shares with Tatler Dining, adding that his food has definitely matured and refined over the years. "I am always working on the right textures and techniques to achieve the best flavour profiles.”

(Related: Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards: Thai Chef Jay Fai Receives Icon Award—Asia 2021)

Meta joins the prestigious roster of past winners, including Masque in Mumbai (2020), JL Studio in Taichung (2019), Toyo Eatery in Manila (2018), TocToc in Seoul (2017) and Florilège in Tokyo (2016). 

Kim and his team’s achievements will be honoured at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 online ceremony, which will be held on 25 March (4.30pm). It will be streamed via Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook page and the 50 Best Restaurants TV YouTube channel.