Overall score: 7.4/10 Review date: October 5, 2014
Blue Butcher occupies the cavernous space formerly held by Mint, the mid 2000’s club which infamously featured baby black-tip sharks in tanks and questionable membership deals. It remains an impressive room, even on a very quiet Sunday evening while most eyes are fixed on #occupy developments at Admiralty.
Once you’ve climbed the famous caged stairwell, scene of many an inebriated fall, the décor is as butch as the menu with much wood and slate, steel and marble. It’s also pretty dark.
Steak restaurants don’t rely on pretty plating or finesse. Nor should they. Here the meat is the star, shamelessly center stage, uninterrupted by foams or garnish. As such, one starter brings a wooden platter with two hefty bone marrow, some Maldon salt flakes, three toasted chunks of bread, a small tangle of parsley and a couple of caper berries. It’s absolutely all it needs. Whilst it doesn’t quite reach the heights of London’s legendary St John, it’s still really good eating, two fingers flicked towards the cholesterol police as the gelatinous gold is smeared, seasoned and dispatched. (7.5/10)
On the vegetarian side of the fence, smoked beetroot with feta and cucumber shows the merits of good sourcing, if not huge amounts of culinary skill. (7/10)
The main event is a carnivorous show-stopper, 24-hour roasted lamb shoulder from Quercy in the Midi-Pyrenées. This is serious meat porn, ‘label rouge’ milk-fed baby lamb, apparently raised on limestone hills. Served in an enormous copper tray above no-nonsense roast potatoes and untopped carrots, it’s as impressive visually as it is in the mouth, comically tender, scented with rosemary like a walk in Le Lot on a warm summer evening. (8.5/10)
It’s rare that a Wagyu sirloin plays second fiddle, especially a 600 day grain-fed one from Mayura Farm in New South Wales. It’s a beautiful cut, but can’t hold a candle to the Lamb of God. (7.5/10)
Playing supporting roles are decent if not standout fries and mushrooms, while a ‘pig neck mac and cheese’ is disappointing, the pork noticeable only by its absence (6/10). The ecologically-sound diner’s compressed organic tomato with burrata, white balsamic and basil again showed that you often don’t need more than really well-sourced produce. In this case the green tomato was a revelation, vibrant and sweet and sour all at once, sleeping under tears of burrata. (8/10)
Following such a meatwave, the otherwise-intriguing desserts were out of the question. Service was friendly and attentive-enough, although we occasionally struggled to catch menu descriptions. For ‘experience’, taking into account the restaurant’s look, atmosphere, service and value for money, 7.5/10.
Blue Butcher, 108 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong. Tel:+852 2613 9285 www.bluebutcher.com