Hong Kong's thirst for meat continues with the opening of Blue Butcher, one of the latest ventures from the creators of PLAY along with the uber-hip Mexican street eats joint, Brickhouse.
Atmosphere: Hidden between Classified and The Press Room on Hollywood Road, Blue Butcher features a hip New York-style decor and ambience. The ground floor entrance welcomes us with a small bar area, while the staircase winds up to a dimly lit restaurant floor with a collection of decorative vases, old school typewriters and antique clocks on the window sill.
The setting is a little on the dark side with an occasional flicker of flame coming from the open kitchen where chef Danny Chaney and his team prepare the night's offerings.
Food and drink: As expected, the menu at Blue Butcher is largely meat-based and served in generous portions for sharing. For starters, we had the Norwegian salmon tartar (HK$120) drizzled with a burnt lemon vinaigrette and horseradish dressing and organic smoked beetroot with peppery pistachios (HK$85), both of which helped fire up our appetites.
The bone marrow (HK$115) served with a side of caper berries with parsley was beautifully creamy and fatty, but we only wish there was more pieces of toast to go with it. The Wagyu meatballs from the specials menu were a little dry in the centre, but the mushroom sauce that coated it was a nice change from the usual tomato sauces that we're used to.
For drinks, Blue Butcher has a selection of creative cocktails like the Apple Pie Moonshine (HK$110), wrapped neatly in a crumpled paper bag and the Blood and Sand (HK$110), a cherry-based malt drink named after Rudolph Valentino's 1922 bullfighter film.
Based on the first two cocktails we tried, we'll definitely be back to try Blue Butcher's signature Blue Absinthe Fairy (HK$695) for four, a towering concoction of London dry gin, blue caraçao and Lillet blanc.
Must-try: Don't miss the sweet and tender Kurobuta pig belly (HK$490) cushioned by a layer of flavour-soaked lentils and topped with Granny Smith apple slaw. We also loved the line caught sea bass (HK$240) served with clams, shrimp and crunchy dough pieces inside a shallow pot of broth, which kept the fish unbelievably moist and tender.
For dessert, skip the maple syrup tart (HK$80) and the chocolate bread and butter pudding (HK$80) for extra portions of the Granny Smith apple crumble (HK$90), a mug of warm apple and cinnamon gooey goodness topped with a large scoop of port and walnut ice cream.
Verdict: There's a lot going for Blue Butcher -- trendy ambience, friendly service, and delicious mains that will definitely have people coming back for more.
Although we felt a little stressed out from the fast-paced lounge music playing in the background, it's all meant to be part of the New York experience, making it a good choice for group dinners and family-style dining.
Blue Butcher, 108 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 2613 9286, www.facebook.com/BlueButcher
It's all about travel, photography and food in Andy Yeo's life and his monthly credit card bills lie testament to this. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Australia, Andy has returned to his hometown to capture the best that Asia has to offer. What good are weekends if not for short trips overseas to get your taste buds excited and memories well documented? His philosophy is to try everything at least once especially when it comes to food, after all, life's too short to say no! Read more at www.misteryeo.com.