Restaurant Review: Butcher Boy

The made-to-share portions at Butcher Boy show distinct influences from China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, all mixed up with the chef's Mexican flair.

Updated on October 06, 2017 8:10 am

Lu Yawen

Restaurant Review: Butcher Boy

The Buzz: Known for modern European cuisine done with careful restraint at fine dining restaurant Cure, chef-owner Andrew Walsh tries his hand at a comparatively more laidback dining approach. The goal: an Asian-inspired bar and grill. He does this together with chef Nicole Phillipson and bar manager Knut Randhem, who each bring their own contribution of flavours and memories.

Ambience: You need to concentrate a little to fully appreciate the walnut table tops, brass furnishings, and distressed leather banquettes at Butcher Boy where the purpose of light seems more decorative; the candles, vertical lights, and art deco glass lamps look amazing and bring out the textured cement walls but can’t help with illuminating photographs. The shadows and old school hip-hop blaring through the speakers suggest some debauchery might be had for the night.

Food & Drink: For Singaporeans or those living in a cosmopolitan society as such, we’ve the privilege of drawing inspiration from different cultures and putting them together in a dish. To this, the made-to-share portions at Butcher Boy show distinct influences from China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam, all mixed up with Phillipson’s Mexican flair.

We started with fried squid with burnt corn and a strangely tart squid ink curry ($20) that was a refined interpretation to the usual calamari rings you’d find in a bar. While the aubergine satay with green mango ($18) next was reminiscent of smoky skewered meats, thanks to the heat from binchotan in a Josper oven. But what best showcased the restaurant’s ethos of fun, lighthearted, convivial dining were the variants of buns and sandwiches such as their version of duck bánh mì: shredded duck meat with liver pâté and sriracha mayonnaise stuffed in whole wheat potato bread ($18 for two).

As its name suggests, it’s the meat that should be the highlight of the meal. There are seven options to choose from: there’s fish, which is bought from the nearby Chinatown wet market and served whole, cooked Vietnamese style ($38 for 500g); a bacon and cheeseburger ($28); and a vegetarian-friendly cauliflower steak grilled then lathered in teriyaki sauce ($24).

We had the Welsh marinated lamb rump ($34 for 220g, $68 for 440g) cooked to medium rare and served in slices, perfect on its own but here, you’re encouraged to dip the meat into sauces like sambal, black pepper, a citrus Vietnamese mix, XO, and yuzu béarnaise. Opinions remain varied on whether meats should be enjoyed as they are or paired with an overpowering dip but it does seem like a pity to drown the natural sweetness and umami of, say, the US grain beef short rib that has been rubbed with miso before hitting the grill ($33 for 180g, $66 for 360g).

We were, however, unanimous in our commendation for the coconut soft serve dressed with lychee-flavoured ice shavings, Thai milk tea jelly cubes, and fresh mango cubes with hints of galangal ($12). The peanut butter ice cream and plum jelly sandwiched between two spiced biscuits ($10), a take on the PBJ, paled in comparison.

The food is not the only attraction at Butcher Boy. We end, or if you wish to start, the meal with Randhem’s wild concoctions. A fragrant Thai Basil Tini ($16) with Colombian gin, sake, and jalapenos works great for an aperitif. Alternatively go for the Smoking Carriage ($22), an Old Fashioned with salted caramel syrup that leaves a rich aftertaste on the tongue, if you prefer more spirit-forward drinks.

Butcher Boy
31 Keong Saik Street, Singapore 089138
Tel: 65 6221 6833
Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday, 5pm to midnight
Friday to Sunday, 12pm to 3pm

Small plates from $10
Mains from $24
Sides from $8
Desserts from $10
Cocktails from $16

For more appetising stories, visit Food & Travel Sinagapore.

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