We chat with Will Meyrick, the “street food chef with a global attitude”, to discover the delights of his latest Hong Kong restaurant opening, Monsoon.
About the chef
Will Meyrick’s career led him from London to Sydney before he was wooed to Asia by opportunities in Bali, Thailand and Hong Kong. Ultimately, it was Bali that claimed Will’s heart, and where he chose to establish his Sarong Group. Today, he’s a household name in Indonesia thanks to appearances on the Top Chef television franchise, plus Back to the Streets on the Asian Food Channel.
Will also has a slew of successful restaurants under his belt; Sarong (San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Award winner); Mama San (the Miele Guide Asia’s Top 500 Restaurants Award winner); Hujan Locale in Ubud; and Billy Ho Izakaya Japanese in Canggu – and now Monsoon.
What can diners expect at Monsoon?
We’ve created signature street dishes from around the region as well some signature standouts that I’ve collected from my travels. Standouts include the Chiang Mai Duck Larp – crispy duck crackling with lemongrass, fresh herb, coriander, served with butter lettuce; and the Ancient Royal Beef Salad – beef brisket simmered in coconut, shredded bamboo, lemongrass and roasted chilli sauce.
Chef Gede Budiana is heading up the Monsoon kitchen; you’ve worked together before, right?
Yes, Budiana was one of the first chefs I met and worked with in Bali. He was part of the opening team at Sarong, my fine-dining restaurant in Seminyak.
What is it about Southeast Asian food that you love most?
The history and the culture behind each dish!
You’re in Australia at moment; right? What’s your usual base?
That’s right; I’m in Perth – I’ve been here since March because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. I’m usually based in Bali and I’ve been in Asia almost 20 years now. I fell in love with the rawness of Asian culture, the heritage and the bold flavours.
This has been a turbulent year for many industries, including F&B. Are there any silver linings for you?
Money comes and goes; you must always have some savings and be prepared to rebuild – nothing is forever. As for the F&B industry, we have to be willing to adopt new technology and be flexible when it’s just not practical to travel to train the team in person. If anything, this is a return to the basics as we slow down the process, document all the recipes, and create an archive that the culinary team will always be able to refer to for consistency and authenticity.
Will the pandemic affect how you interact with the team at Monsoon?
We’re embracing technology while also acknowledging the world situation. So, I’ve been doing my best to set up Monsoon remotely. Although I can’t be in Hong Kong personally, I’ve regularly liaised with Budiana and the Monsoon team via video conferencing and working live online with Zoom.
What’s the first place you want to travel to when things open back up?
Back to Scotland to see my mother!
Any thoughts on upcoming food trends?
I expect that takeaways and meals cooked at home based on a restaurant experience will be big. This is why we’re launching Monsoon at Home, a series of insightful online cooking demonstrations that will be distributed via the restaurant’s social media channels, so Southeast Asian food lovers can create the dishes at home.
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2020 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.