Another day, another hip new opening on Keong Saik. The comings and goings of the street are no strangers to Andrew Walsh, the chef-owner of Cure, a restaurant on the road that offers modern European tasting menus. His new concept, Butcher Boy – just a few doors down – couldn’t be more different, though. The casual joint oozes laidback charm with a slight edge, much like a Tinder date who turns up with rolled shirt sleeves and a devilish grin. This butcher boy isn’t the kind of man who’s too eager to impress, preferring to let his personality do the talking. In this case, that’s the job of the food and drinks – a mix of Asian-inspired small plates and tipples paired with slabs of grilled meat. Wink wink.
The menu is inspired by Walsh’s travels around Asia, so expect dishes like Korean steak tartare ($24), fried squid with curry sauce ($20) and buns served with chilli crab dip ($18). And while the portions are small for the price tag, nothing disappoints. Mix the tartare with spicy onion kimchi and spoon it over a crisp endive for a tantalising mix of flavours. Those looking for something sweet, spicy and salty will like the crispy baby squid served with a spicy squid ink curry sauce, finished with burned corn. But the real winners are the panko-crusted golden buns, crunchy on the outside and dense on the inside. These are perfect for dipping into the chilli crab sauce.
For a place called Butcher Boy, we have high hopes for the meats on our visit. While the Josper charcoal oven gives it a good sear, the Black Angus Tender Valley rib-eye ($42 for 250g/$84 for 500g) is too lean for a typically fatty cut, making it hard to chew. Surprisingly, the cauliflower steak ($24), though, is stellar. Some florets are fried, others grilled and the remainder puréed. The whole thing is drizzled with teriyaki sauce and topped with apples to add piquancy and sweetness.
Keeping to the Asian-inspired theme, the drinks menu features cocktails like the Street Side Milk Punch ($18), a boozy Thai milk tea spiked with cachaça that could use an additional swig of evaporated milk. The Smoking Carriage ($22) is a take on an Old Fashioned made with Dictator 20 rum and served in a box filled with hickory smoke so you won’t find yourself missing whisky.
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