Grilled meat cuts and Asian-inspired baos on Keong Saik
The hype: This Asian-inspired bar and grill focuses on cuts of grilled meat specialities in Asian sauces, complete with Asian-centric cocktails, baos and buns, and Asian desserts. Headed by chef-owner Andrew Walsh of Cure and Cure Concepts just down the road, Butcher Boy serves up classic plates with an Asian-fusion twist, so every dish is an exciting new experience. He may be Irish, but don't belittle his taste for Asian flavors. Together with his team of chefs, Walsh puts out unique plates that compromise on neither spice nor authenticity for the fact that Butcher Boy is located in expat haven Keong Saik Road.
The vibe: The cozy 58-seater is designed as an oasis within the concrete jungle, brought out most prominently by the industrial-style decor and little island bar in the middle of the room. Against dim lighting, the textured concrete walls and green leather couches make the place tasteful yet casual—perfect for a no-frills get-together that may or may not end in drinks. You’ll notice several framed artworks of flora in Singapore by local photographer Robert Zhao, which add an unexpected bohemian touch to an otherwise classically designed space. Come night, a DJ booth in the back spins everything from old-school ‘80s to hip- hop to keep the vibe fresh and fun.
The food: For starters, head straight for the Salmon, Ikura, Wasabi, Nachos ($20), a new take on the chips-and-dips genre that tastes every bit as good as it looks, and sets the bar high for the rest of the meal. Then there’s the Aubergine Satay, Green Mango, Coriander ($18)—succulent grilled aubergine served on a bed of nutty satay sauce. You’d never expect aubergine to go well with satay sauce but it does; paired with Thai-inspired salad, the sauce is fragrant, and the aubergine deliciously soft such that it melts instantly in your mouth.
A unique "Bao, Bun, Bahn Mi" section serves up the best of Asia’s carbs, from Japanese yuzu buns to classic fried mantou. We recommend the Warm Chilli Crab, Buns ($18), which serves fried doughnut balls in place of the typical mantou—yet nails the taste with a zingy new texture. We imagine fellow Singaporean diners will agree that the chili crab itself could do with more spice, but the fried buns really do save the dish.
Of course, what’s a place called Butcher Boy without its meats? The restaurant’s unique selling point lies in that all grilled meats come accompanied with a choice of five distinct Asian-influenced sauces: sambal, black pepper, Vietnamese, XO sauce, and yuzu bearnaise. The Black Angus Tender Valley Rib Eye ($42 for 250g) is generous in taste and portion, but the US Grain Beef Short Rib ($33 for 180g) wins for its tender and juicy texture. Pair it with the sambal sauce—it lacks the same kick as nasi lemak sambal, but works perfectly with the clean cut.
The gastronomic adventures continue on the dessert menu. Butcher Boy makes their own soft serve in-house, with a sundae machine that whips up proper works of art. It’s a toss-up between the Coconut, Thai Rice Pudding, Mango ($12) and the Chocolate Textures, Salted Crackers, Matcha ($12)—sundaes that, simply put, are elevated reworkings of Thai mango sticky rice and Singaporean Milo Dinosaur respectively.
The drinks: The cocktail menu abides religiously by the Asian-inspired theme. Made fresh by Bar Manager Knut Randhem himself, each cocktail draws from familiar flavors from around the region. The Lychee and Fennel Punch ($18)—gin, infused fennel syrup, preserved lychee—and Plum Sloe Gin Fizz ($18) are easy favorites for those looking to start the night out slow. But don’t leave without trying the Smoking Carriage ($22)—a hard concoction of salted caramel syrup, bitters, orange, and smokey Dictador 20 rum presented in a wooden box that releases literal smoke when opened. That, and the Street Side Milk Punch ($18), an all-round favorite for looking deceptively like Thai milk tea, while packing a punch with a knock-out dose of cachaça. Best part: it comes in a to-go bag, so you can sip your way to giddy sleep even after you leave.
Why you’ll be back: Original, inspired dishes, desserts and drinks that leave you planning for your next visit even before you’re done. As a dining establishment, Butcher Boy may be on the small side; but its big flavors and creativity more than make up for it.
|Address:||Butcher Boy, 31 Keong Saik Rd., Singapore, 089138 Singapore|
|Open since:||August, 2017|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 5-11pm; Fri-Sat noon-3pm; Sun noon-9:30pm|
|Nearest train||Outram Park|
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