Restaurateurs Manual Palacio and Christian Talpo are set to expand their cosy family of honest, down-to-earth eateries — including Pirata, The Optimist, TokyoLima and Pici — next month with MEATS, a brand-new “meat bar” dedicated to unconventional cuts prepared using house-smoking, rotisserie and charcoal-grilling methods. Before the official launch next month, MEATS is debuting with a limited-time pop-up at The Optimist, so you can be amongst the first to scope out the menu (10–14 September and 17–21 September; book here for reservations).
The latest concept from Pirata Group promises to be an absolute delight for carnivores, celebrating the raw, primal pleasures of ripping into premium hunks of lamb, beef and pork prepared in a straightforward, fuss-free manner. Whether it’s slow-roasting over a charcoal grill or house-smoking for a woodsy aroma, precise preparation methods are meant to impart maximum flavour with minimal seasoning — expect only a sprinkle of sea salt here, or a dash of Szechuan peppercorns there.
Going back to the elementals of fire and raw butchery, MEATS will be a place where you can “roll up your sleeves and dig into a juicy, satisfying feast,” says co-founder, Manuel Palacio.
If all this sounds too enticing to wait until October, make sure you head over to The Optimist from now through 14 September, or from 17–21 September to get a sneak peek at the menu. Taking over the second floor of Northern Spanish grillhouse The Optimist, the MEATS pop-up will give diners a first taste of signature dishes, with a set sharing-style menu priced at a reasonable HK$450 per head.
MEATS’ head chef, Paddy McDermott, will behind the butcher’s counter, carving up some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including lamb chops rubbed in coffee with South Kentucky BBQ sauce; tender skirt steak paired with spicy jalapeño; and Iberian pork served in a black garlic and miso butter with a side of pork belly crackling slow-roasted with Szechuan peppercorns.
To round out the feast, a number of snacks and small plates: chicken croquettes with roast garlic and mayo; sriracha steamed buns filled with crispy smoked bacon in tonkatsu sauce; chicken drumsticks with a fiery kimchi hot sauce rounded out with sweet black sesame honey; and tender bone marrow ramped up with anchovy butter and tarragon breadcrumbs. For dessert, cool down with the coconut lime pie featuring clouds of coconut meringue and homemade coconut ice cream.
In addition to the signature dishes above, guests can look forward to a menu at MEATS that includes slow-roasted porchetta, lamb shoulder, rotisserie chicken and juicy homemade sausages. Rounded out by an affordable drinks list including specially selected bourbons, draft beers, wines by the glass/carafe and craft cocktails, the new SoHo eatery has the potential to be one of the hottest new openings of the year. With the same winning formula of delivering high quality at a lower price point, we can’t wait to see how MEATS stacks up to Pirata Group’s other perennial favourites around town.
The Optimist, G/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2433 3324