Imagine a butchery without the bloodshed? Quite the rarity. But Love Handle is here to change all that with its meats. Walking in to Asia’s first plant-based butcher, we’re greeted by a glass counter filled with different cuts of meats: from smoked slivers of brisket to raw meatballs, calamari rings to unagi fillets, and even beef wellingtons. There was a strange sense of familiarity in the air – as though we’re shopping with any other butcher.
Split into three sections, the butchery showcases raw meats, marinated and prepared meats, condiments and dairy. It also offers painstakingly researched in-house creations alongside leading industry brands such as Impossible, Tindle, Growthwell and many others. Meat lovers, we know what you’re thinking, and before we start being dismissive, Love Handle isn't here to preach the virtues of a lean and green diet or try to convert you into veganism. Instead, it's backed by a bunch of meat lovers with a bold vision to prove that meat alternatives can be just as exciting and flavourful as the real McCoy.
Pretty brave and ambitious if you ask us. We recommend paying them a visit and heading up to the cosy 40 seater dining space, where you’ll get to try out a fully plant-based menu curated by chef-owner Addis Tan and his team. Tuck into a range of exciting munchies such as the lightly battered Enoki Tempura ($8), luscious Cream Spinach Loaded Fries ($12) or our favourite, Mom’s Luncheon Meat ($10) that sees addictive cubes of Omni Pork stir-fried with dark soy sauce alongside caramelised onions and pickled cucumbers to add a little refreshing twist to the mix.
With their former roots as a burger joint, you can expect to feast on juicy burgers such as the Philly Cheesesteak ($21), an elevated take of the typically grimey grub. For bolder flavours, opt for the full-bodied Pulled Rendang Burger ($16) where each bite bursts with flavourful spice and subtle hints of coconut. The next main is inspired by a particular Swedish favourite – Love Handle’s take on their meatballs ($18) sees herb spice marinated Impossible meat and silky dairy-free mash topped with an earthy wild mushroom jus. Whether it’s better than the Swedish brand, we’ll leave it to you and your tastebuds to judge.
But our absolute favourite was the Celeriac Alfredo ($20) as the delicate celeriac pasta tasted crisp, clean and vegetal. Topped with an in-house Hao Gan Ma infused chilli oil, earthy grilled oyster mushrooms, and an alfredo sauce that’s made with soy milk in replacement of eggs, the creamy umami parade sits well with our palates.
Like it or not, Love Handle deserves applause for its resolve in spearheading an industry full of differing opinions and controversies. While you’re here, chat up the friendly crew behind the counter and maybe, just maybe, they’ll share with you about their mad scientist experiments in the name of innovation.