When rumour spread that the boys behind ‘PLAY' are opening a restaurant focusing on steaks and chops, it quickly became "They are opening a Steakhouse". That couldn't be more wrong. Blue Butcher is not a steakhouse, at least it doesn't feel like one. Located on Hollywood Road near the Sheung Wan end, Blue Butcher is sandwiched between The Press Room and Classified. Its narrow entrance leads you up to a long flight of stairs, where at the top unveils an open dining space with extra high ceiling and a long bar leading up to an open kitchen. Seating is spacious at Blue Butcher, which can hold close to 100, with a private dining room and a killer walk-in dry age meat room lined with Himalayan pink salt bricks. Blue Butcher exudes an nostalgic style, modernized with new twists. Running on the 1920s American theme, one can see the good use of antiques and old dark wooden tables, as well as custom made stools and installations of train tracks along the middle of the dining space.
The menu is modest in size -- plenty of meat dishes that makes Blue Butcher a carnivore heaven, with dishes featuring different meats from salmon, quail, mussels to sea bass and French chicken, yet only one steak and a few vegetable sides. Diners who come and be greeted at the entrance with "Pleased to Meat You" should know what they're getting at. We have sampled a few dishes.
The "Bone Marrow/Toast/Caper Berry/Parsley/Salt Flakes" features two blocks of bone marrow, bone in. The bone itself is sprinkled with salt and grilled until the marrow turns into a meltingly tender mass. Creamy as soft butter, the bone marrow is best on the sourdough toasts served on the side and a simple parsley salad. The tiny parsley sprigs lend freshness to the rich small plate.
The "Ham & Egg/ Asparagus/Mushroom/Thyme" takes on the simple combination of ham and egg, only that Spanish ham is paired with a Sous-vide egg, served with grilled asparagus spears and sautéed brown mushrooms. The best way to consume it is to poke the asparagus into the egg yolks, coating the tip with custardy yolk and consume with ham and mushrooms.
The "US Kurobota Pig Belly & Cheek/Lentils/Granny Smith Apple Slaw" features a generous helping of sous-vide pork belly resting on top of a pork cheek and lentil ragout while the top is scattered with tangling juliennes cold green apple slaw. The lentil ragout was flavorful and mealy, while the pork belly's fat was meltingly tender. The astringent apple slaw brings the richness of this dish down a few notches, lightening up the palate for the next dish to come.
Served in the pan it's been cooked in, the "Dutch Veal Cheek & Sweetbreads/ Truffled Orzo and Herb Salad" dish has a creamy truffled orzo at the base, with braised veal cheeks and slow-cooked medallions of sweetbreads lined across the top. The orzo resembles risotto, only with a softer and chewier bite. The veal cheeks are tender, and the sweetbread was surprisingly firm in texture but gooey within, resembling the closest to a melting piece of mozzarella with a slightly molten centre.
There are only a few desserts available. Starting from the basic "Apple Crumble with Port Walnut Ice cream" - typical American style using green apples sliced thin and topped with a fine streusel made with both white and brown sugar. The crown jewel of this dish is the Port and Walnut ice cream at the top. Combining the icy cold ice cream with the warm crumbs and apple filling yields a fulfilling sensation, and more so, in terms of the ice cream. The balance between ground walnuts and reduced port builds the ice cream up into a resemblance to Peanut-Butter-Jelly-Sandwich with a stronger nuttier finish
For those who fancy drinking their desserts we have resorted to Blue Butcher's Cocktails. With a Mint Julep on the menu, there's an off the menu signature drink called "Prescription Julep", which combines Sweet Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Cognac and a brown sugar syrup served over hand-crushed ice. Yes, ice chunks and muddled and pounded by the staff with a large rolling pin until the ice becomes finely shaved crystals that can mount firmly on each drink. The mint flavor is particularly strong in the Prescription Julep, and even better is letting the flavours melt together for a while before taking another sip for a full experience of the booze and mint and brown sugar all in one sip.
Another cocktail we sampled is the "Apple Pie Moonshine", made with apple juice, cider, spices, and rum. Served in an enlarged glass jar and wrapped inside a paper bag, this drinks is all about the apple, and it tastes sweet and fruity but without the overpowering pungency of cinnamon in most apple pies. The honeyed taste works well with the apple and rum.
Overall Blue Butcher offers dishes that are aimed to be simple using plenty of contemporary techniques such as sous-vide for most of the meat dishes during its preparation. We find the cocktails rather creative with one involving infusing bourbon with rendered fat from Spam, resulting in a smoky cocktail combining the essence of meat in drinks form. There are a lot more a la carte dishes including some larger pieces of meat s available for 2 days advanced reservation.