[dropcap size=small]S[/dropcap]ince leaving Esquina, Andrew Walsh has made a comfortable – and successful – position for himself at Cure. Though his cuisine is often described as Modern European, Walsh has a penchant for introducing subtle Asian elements into his dishes.
With his latest restaurant, Butcher Boy, Walsh is able to realise more creative takes on these flavours. The bistro adopts a more casual setting compared to its sister restaurant just a few doors down along Keong Saik Road. The dim interiors is a cheeky play on Singapore’s ‘concrete jungle’ with textured concrete walls and lightbox fixtures of nature photography in Singapore. The back of the restaurant also doubles as a DJ booth for an up-coming bi-weekly routine of music curated by local DJs.
As anticipated from its name, Butcher Boy offers a selection of meats alongside small plates, buns and sides featuring Southeast Asian and Japanese elements. Conceptualised together with Nicole Phillipson, the restaurant’s opening chef, the menu showcases the 25-year-old’s potential though her own culinary background is in Mexican cuisine (she was previously from Restaurant Cosme in New York).
With Walsh’s eye for detail, the food here presents delicious and reliable iterations of Asian flavours. Though food is not spicy to the point of inducing rivers of sweat, Butcher Boy doesn’t shy away from introducing heat either. From its starters, the restaurant does an interpretation of satay with grilled aubergine, accompanied with a fresh mango salad and a spicy peanut sauce. Those with less reservations for spice will find the salmon tartare easier on the stomach, with dollops of wasabi, ikura and chips made with deep-fried wonton skin.
Buns at the restaurant are safe choices for starters and are good for sharing before getting in on the meats. There’s bao with fried chicken and yuzu kewpie and homemade chilli crab sauce with fried mantou buns. Walsh’s penchant for authentic flavours showcases itself in the duck banh mi, dressed with sriracha and doesn’t skimp out on the essential filling of liver pate.
While there’s a modest range of meats offered on the menu, the provenance of the proteins change frequently so it’s something to look forward to on the next trip back to the restaurant. The house special of Japanese rib eye goes through a 48-hours sous vide preparation before beng charred in the Josper grill. Other dishes of note are the bacon and cheese burger with a patty of brisket and chopped wagyu, and the salt-baked pork belly that is reminiscent of Chinese siew yoke. The choice of homemade sauces that come with the meats are noteworthy too, such as sambal, black pepper and XO sauce. While the meats are good on its own, there’s no harm experimenting with the sauces as well (we hear the burger and sambal are a must-try match).
Bar manager Knut Randhem, formerly of Ce La Vi, offers a slew of Asian-inspired cocktails to take the diner through every stage of the meal. The Lychee and Fennel Punch with gin or a Sake Cooler with rosemary and cucumber is a refreshing start. Opt for more potent cocktails, such as the Smoking Carriage with Dictador 20 rum or the deceptive-looking Street Side Milk Punch of Thai milk tea and cachaca to ease the night off.