Restaurant Review

Butcher Boy - Greens take centre stage

At bar and grill restaurant Butcher Boy, the meats take a back seat to its vegetable dishes

Chef-owner Andrew Walsh of Cure in Keong Saik Road has opened another restaurant just five doors down the road.

The three-week-old Butcher Boy bar and grill is more casual, but like its older sibling, works Asian ingredients into Western dishes.

With a name like Butcher Boy, you would expect the meats to be the highlight. So it is rather ironic that my dining companions and I find ourselves raving over the restaurant's vegetable dishes instead.

It is not that the meat dishes are bad - except perhaps for a grilled ribeye that is overly salted - but they just do not stand out from what you find in most grills around town.

The vegetable dishes we try, however, do.

There is the Cauliflower Steak ($24) that everyone at my table loves. Grilled florets are mixed with others that are battered and deepfried tempura style, then drizzled with teriyaki sauce and topped with julienned burnt apple. There are contrasts in texture and a nice touch of acidity, and the sauce gives it a meaty umami that has my friend, who usually avoids vegetables, loving the dish.

The starter of Aubergine Satay, Green Mango, Coriander ($18) is another inspired combination of ingredients. The aubergine, which is grilled till soft, goes well with satay sauce. The thick and heavy sauce, meanwhile, is balanced by refreshing strips of sour mango.

  • BUTCHER BOY


    31 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6221-6883, open: noon to 3pm (Fridays and Saturdays), noon to 4pm (Sundays), 5 to 11pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 5 to 9.30pm (Sundays)

    Food: 3.5/5

    Service: 3.5/5

    Ambience: 3/5

    Price: Budget about $70 a person

Then there is the side order of Burrata, Nashi Pear, Kale, Beetroot Slaw ($12), which is even more refreshing; with juicy chunks of chilled beetroot and a blanket of pear snow.

Compared to these, the meats seem ordinary - especially the US Grain Rib Eye (from $33 for 180g), which is rubbed with so much salt that my friend describes it as "almost cured".

We end up leaving most of it behind.

It is not cured, of course, because I add the leftover meat to a noodle soup the next day and, with the salt washed off, it actually tastes pretty good.

The Iberico Pork Belly (from $32 for 200g) has a crisp crackling but, being Chinese, I cannot help but compare it with Cantonese roast pork. It falls short because the meat is not as juicy. But compared with what I have eaten at many Western restaurants not helmed by a Chinese chef, it is commendable.

The Grilled Market Fish, Vietnamese Style ($38 for 500g), fares the best. I get a whole red snapper grilled and served with a sauce made with galangal, fish sauce and lime juice that is tart and appetising. It comes with a generous coat of julienned spring onion, red chilli and kaffir lime for more punch.

The Fried Chicken, Yuzu Kewpie, Bao ($18 for two) is worth trying too. The chicken is juicy and comes in a soft clam-shell bun - the type used for kong bak bao - with shredded purple cabbage and a thin spread of Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise to bind them. You do not quite get the yuzu flavour though.

Desserts are a must.

My favourite is Chocolate Textures, Salted Crackers, Matcha ($12) where chocolate in different forms - from mousse to crisps - is piled high in a glass with crunchy crackers and nitrogen-frozen ices. Every spoonful reveals a different combination of flavours, textures and temperatures, making you want to go on to another spoonful and then another.

If you are looking for something lighter, go for the Calamansi Curd, Burnt Lime Meringue ($12). The sweet-sour balance in the curd and meringue is perfect, and it comes in a nice crumbly tart pastry.

Like many new restaurants I have visited in the last few years, Butcher Boy tends to get very noisy when it fills up. A reason is that most restaurants nowadays are designed without sound-absorbing materials such as curtains, carpets or table cloths. And with space at a premium, there is not even room for a potted plant to deflect the noise.

That means this is a place best for a gathering of friends. For business discussions or romantic interludes, you may find yourself fighting to be heard.

•Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke and on Instagram @wongahyoke

•The Sunday Times paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'Greens take centre stage '. Print Edition | Subscribe