Joining a slew of hip restaurants opening along Tras Street is Buttero, serving up Italian fare cooked up over coal pits or rotisserie style. The diner is certainly aptly named; the term ‘buttero’ refers to a shepherd or cowboy in Tuscany.
The interior of the eatery borrows from a Midwest saloon: an old piano sits upfront and weathered brick walls and plenty of wood furniture set the scene. To add a homey feel to the place, black and white photographs of its Aussie-expat executive chef Logan Campbell with his family are scattered throughout the restaurant. Graphic art by caratoes (a Hong Kong-based Belgian street artist) depicting teepees and a girl in a field of gold keep the place looking modern and edgy.
The menu boasts a selection of pastas, light entrées, and hearty meats with an all-American barbecue feel. Case in point: the Dirty Steak ($34), a Carolina dry-rubbed wagyu flank steak, is cooked over hot coals until charred and blackened, then dressed with zippy salsa verde, and crowned with crisp onion rings – the meat comes out tender, well-cooked and satisfying. Also delicious was the special of the day, a comforting stew of baked New Zealand clams with barley and belly bacon ($25) doled out in a cast iron skillet.
The house-made gnocchi with sautéed sprouts and New Zealand honey, zest and sage ($21), on the other hand, doesn’t impress. With an almost equal ratio of gnocchi and brussels sprouts, it’s unclear whether it’s a vegetable or pasta dish. Some of the gnocchi pieces don’t hold their shape well and come out broken apart.
Equally lackluster are the crisp waffle fries doused in a creamy sauce made from a trio of cheeses and completed with shreds of pulled pork ($15). While the dish sounds good in theory, the tough pulled-pork offers little flavour – though the fries are delectably crispy. For an alternate deep-fried dish, a better bet would be the zucchini fritters and chopped pork enlivened with a twist of charred lime and torn up pieces of basil ($20).
Somewhat strangely, the menu starts off with desserts – though the milk chocolate rosemary pot ($12) was perhaps the highlight of the meal, which comes complete with a thick and decadent fluff of whipped white chocolate. Dining at Buttero was unexceptional and not particularly memorable, but with such reasonable prices and a hip ambience, you can’t complain. Tiong Li Cheng
|Venue name:||Buttero (CLOSED)||Contact:|
54 Tras St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 6-10.30pm|