Blue Butcher is probably the most talked about restaurant in town right now. Ever since I heard about it opening its discreet doors between Press Room and Classified on Hollywood Road, I have been desperate to get there. However, the mixed reviews and accounts of terrible service and over-priced food did make me somewhat reluctant to go until its problems had been fixed. Without being able to wait any longer, I gave it a month and put it to the test.
When I took my seat at the head of the high marble table and opened my menu, the excitement grew and I was like a small child at Christmas; I hadn’t managed to get away for the long weekend, and yet I felt so far removed from Hong Kong, as if I were on a little culinary holiday for the night. The décor is reminiscent of somewhere in the Meatpacking District of New York, with high, dark ceilings, polished wooden floor, very grand leather furniture and a busy-looking open kitchen. All this sounds rather pretentious, yet there is also a rustic edge to it that made me absolutely love it.
We started the night with some cocktails from the Prohibition-inspired menu. Having seen the boys drinking beer from a jar, the girls decided we too wanted to drink from a jar, so we had a round of Maddy’s Apple Pie Moonshines, which were not only served in a jar, but also in a brown paper bag, true to the speakeasy theme. This moonshine is laced with apple and cinnamon to create a wonderfully refreshing cocktail that was dangerously easy to drink.
For starters, as everything on the menu looked incredible, we asked the waiter to help us select a variety to share. Starting with my least favourite, the Belgian Endive with orange, candied bacon, stilton cheese and sweet truffle dressing was fine, but nothing to write home about. I tried to scavenge all the little pieces of stilton, as those were what made it.
The special of the day was a mozzarella and tomato salad, lovingly drizzled with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with parsley in place of the standard basil, giving it something a little different.
The Organic smoked beetroot with feta, cucumber and pistachio vinaigrette was amazingly comforting: soft thin chunks of beetroot topped with crumbly feta and chopped nuts.
I loved the Norwegian salmon tartare, made with incredibly fresh chunks of salmon, infused with a subtle horseradish kick, and served on a bed of soft, buttery avocado.
My absolute favourite of the starters however, was the Pig’s head terrine accompanied by a caramelised onion salad and a rather measly dab of mustard that really brought out the rich flavours of the meat. I was sadly one of the last people to receive the dish, so I definitely feel the need to order it again and eat double my fair share.
Our very helpful waiter had informed us that the special of the day was a giant 32oz rib-eye steak from Australia’s Mann River Farm that would feed 8-10 people. As we were nine, including one pescatarian, this sounded like the perfect option. Before I go on to explain how incredible the steak was however, a note on Blue Butcher’s steaks: it is (so far) the only restaurant in Hong Kong to have a walk-in pink salt brick-lined dry ageing room, meaning the meat is hung to dry in-house to maintain all the juices and the natural flavour.
I’ll tell you what, this dry-ageing malarkey definitely works; the meat was so incredibly tender, juicy and simply packed full of flavour. The only complaint, from more than one person, was that there was no wholegrain mustard to accompany it.
The sides change daily, always including some greens and some form of potato. For our big group we ordered at least one (and in some cases three) of each of the five sides on offer. We were most excited about the roasted fingerling potatoes, but it was actually the bacon mac n’ cheese that had us all drooling. When considering whether I preferred the bacon or the mac, a very wise friend commented that the inability to compare them is in fact a good thing, as she would otherwise find it heartbreaking to have to choose between them. Well said.
The line-caught seabass was a beautiful sight, served in a cast-iron pan. The fish was perfectly flaky, bathed in a comforting broth with succulent prawns and little chunks of toasted bread. It’s good to know that Blue Butcher’s chef Danny Chaney can execute non-meat dishes just as well as he can the meat ones.
For dessert, we accidentally ordered three, regardless of the fact that we were bursting at the seams. The Granny Smith apple crumble with walnut and port ice cream was served in a cute little mug. The actual crumble part was just as crumbly (for want of a better word) as it should be, yet the apple was too thinly sliced for my liking; I like my apple crumble chunky.
The most amazing of the three desserts, however, was definitely the Chocolate bread and butter pudding, served with a scoop of rum banana ice cream. This is a dish we used to get about twice a year at school and I have never since seen it on any menu; can you imagine my excitement?! Thankfully it was just as good as I had hoped: smooth, creamy and comfortingly warm. I would never have thought to pair it with rum banana ice cream, yet it could not have matched more perfectly.
For more than our nightly quota of food, plus cocktails and wine, we each paid only $610, which I think is totally reasonable for such delicious food. Perhaps it was because it was a public holiday and the restaurant was far from full, but the service we received was outstanding. Those who have previously given it a bad review based on service, I beg you to give it another chance; after all, everyone deserves a second chance. I plan on giving Blue Butcher many, many more chances to wow me.
108 Hollywood Road
Tel: +852 2613 9286