Like us, you might still be reeling from the Michelin Guide’s decision to grant a Bib Gourmand to a $100 hamburger by Butchers Club Burger in its ‘street food’ category earlier this year. Though, full disclosure, despite a recent drop in quality, when we reviewed them back in 2014 we thought it was pretty amazing too. Obviously someone somewhere is still impressed. And with more and more outposts opening up across the city, the public is still equally enamoured. With the brand going from strength to strength, Butchers Club (BC) are no longer just spinning off tasty concepts but also a solid roster of chefs who have had a hand in preparing their signature meats.
Enter Kaleb Davies. The chef from BC’s steak frites arm have taken over the vacant lot that was formerly Saam. With chef Patrick Dang now in America seeking greener pastures, chef Davies has transformed the Graham Street space into Dub. Gone is the art on the walls, completely replaced by graffiti in greyscale, and this detail is all it takes to give the place a more buzzing and edgy vibe. The menu is one page only, which already includes starters, sides and desserts. Simple. We sit down looking forward to a no-frills meal and honest-to-goodness food.
Things get off to a wobbly start. Of all the things we order, our side of orzo pasta risotto ($58) arrives first. Disappointingly, the pasta is a little smaller than orzo and the dish is one that absolutely shouldn’t be pre-made and served early. The longer the dish sits on the table, the mushier it becomes. Regardless of the suitability of the pasta arriving before the mains, the garlic isn’t cooked long enough and still stings the tongue on contact. And in this case, there’s too much of it. We love cauliflower, though. And the curried and charred version ($88) here emits a scintillating aroma before it even hits the table. The vegetable deliciously soaks up the spices and the toasty flavours are a winner. If only it wasn’t served with some jarring, salty buds of caper. It’s something easily remedied by brushing the offending condiment aside, but it serves no purpose on what is otherwise a tasty starter.
The meats arrive next and they win us back in a big way. BC always serves its meats with minimal seasoning to showcase the superiority of its products and chef Davies, now striking out on his own, flexes his culinary prowess and adds a little of his own flair. The lamb T-bone ($298) isn’t anything complicated. Infused with mint and served with red wine honey reduction, the fresh, sweet flavours serve as a rustic replacement to mint sauce and are magnificent. The quality of the meat is superior and the thick cut is perfectly pink with just the right amount of gaminess that a good
cut of lamb ought to demonstrate.
The high standard of produce continues with the charred spring chicken ($228) where the bird is juicy and tender to the bone. The skin blisters with a tangy tom yum and kaffir lime marinade and we polish this off in no time.
Just when we thought we couldn’t be more impressed, our choice of dessert, the pecan pie ($88) turns out to be worthy of a standing ovation. The crust of the palm-sized pie is crumbly and hooked with just a hint of saltiness that teases out the notes of vanilla and bourbon in the filling and a mouthful ends with the crunch of the sugar-coated nuts on top. If the dessert offered any more comfort it’d be a thick fluffy duvet and we’d wrap ourselves in it and take a long nap. It’s that good.
The experience at Dub gets off to a rocky start but we’re beating our chests like King Kong by the end. Soho is in need of a reasonably priced venue with a straightforward approach to food and on this front Dub fits the bill. The starters and sides need a little work, but we’re sure the eatery can get it right.
51D Graham St, Central
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