For our weekly treat, princess suggested we have steak. A rare suggestion because she didn’t like the chewy texture. So, I brought her to a proper steakhouse that just opened in the newly renovated Grand Lady of the Far East.
The Raffles Hotel
There can only be one Grand Lady fo the Far East – The Raffles Hotel (yes, “The” is part of the name, there’s no other worthy to be called the same) closed for two years for renovations, and when they reopened, it boasts of a brand new hotel mall with really high end and classy shops. Not the LMVH types, just arty farty types (if there’s such a word).
They have also refreshed the dining options. First, the “Feed at Raffles” does not apply to most of them anymore. Alain Ducasse took over Bar and Billiard Room for fine dining experience. Celebrity Chef Jeremy Leung returned to Singapore after a short hiatus and opened the latest craze in Singapore – Jeremy Lin and Jay Chou both instagrammed their presence there. The Grill is taken over by La Dame de Pic, the fine dining outlet by Singapore debutant Anne-Sophie Pic.
And then there’s the Butcher’s Block.
The butcher in the house
The 44-seater Butcher’s Block presents a stylish and lively dining experience showcasing some of the world’s finest cuts of meats cooked with wood fire. Feast your eyes on premium meats hanging in the Meat Vault and on over 200 exciting wine labels, including a good selection of natural wines, in the Wine Library.
They offer an exclusive and communal dining journey, featuring off-the-menu specials that change daily and are only revealed on the very evening itself. Chef Rémy Lefebvre and his culinary team work hard to make sure the meat presented is the best you would get with side dishes that would wow you in their boldness in flavour profiles. The service team will regale you with insights of the dishes presented.
The sommelier can customise the experience with a curated selection of exquisite wines by the glass or by the bottle.
Did I mention the coveted 3-metre long OAK (One of A Kind) Table right in front of the open kitchen.
The dinner started with artisan butter and daily made baguette. I am disappointed that only one choice of bread was available, and I wasn’t a fan of the mini baguette. Neither was princess. It was hard, it was crusty with very little soft inside, so I gave up.
Oxtail Tortellini, Bone Marrow, Vegetables, Jus Bourguignon
Tortellini are ring-shaped pasta, sometimes also described as “navel shaped”, hence their alternative name of “belly button”. Originally from the Italian region of Emilia, BB have stuffed it with braised oxtail.
If it was just tortellini, then the whole starter would not be of any interest. And then there’s the bits of bone marrow. Fatty, caramelised, crisp on the sides – the rendering just made the starter so flavourful and robust.
Of course, the tortellini was yummy. It was not the usual tortellini, more like a Cantonese wanton. The jus bourguignon (Burgundy sauce) lifted the whole dish, giving it that subtle richness and full-body.
Carpaccio, Brown Mushroom, Sauce Vierge, Comté Cheese
Sauce vierge is a French sauce made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomato and chopped basil- and finely chopped red onion. Comté is a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk in the Franche-Comté traditional province of eastern France.
BB dry-aged their own angus beef in house. In the Meat Vault, you can see glorious slabs of meat hanging in temperature and humidity controlled environment for the bacteria to work their way while the meat lose up to 30% of their moisture, intensifying the flavours along the way, and tenderising in the same period. The result is a more flavourful cut, no matter which cut it was. But I have to choose the odd one out from the menu.
John Stone Grass-fed Dry Aged 28D Ribeye Boneless 300G
For over five decades John Stone has built an unrivalled reputation around the world as a supplier of the finest Dry Aged Beef. Their artisan butchers expertly select the very best Irish Beef from totally traceable herds, reared only on the freshest, greenest grass. Their purely Grass Fed Rib Eye Steak has won ‘Gold Medal Status’ at the World Steak Challenge 2017, 2018 & 2019.
Perfectly grilled to medium rare, the tender piece of ribeye was beefy yet tender at each mouthful. I liked the char on the surface, the result of an open fire grill in the steakhouse. Paired with the peppercorn sauce and the red wine sauce (similar to the jus bourguignon), you get a tasty piece of meat with the right amount of chew and marbling.
Gratinated Macaroni, Comté Fruité, Black Truffle
And to make the steak less boring (you can definitely eat it on its own), we ordered two “meat partners” or sides if you will. However, they were in the midst of changing their menu, so we were left with one choice of gratinated macaroni, more commonly known as Mac and Cheese. Strangely, the black truffle was lack of the usual truffle fragrance and did nothing to enhance the flavour. But the comté was perfectly for mac and cheese, making it far superior to American cousins.
Cheese Trolley, Frères Marchard, Fresh and Matured Cheese
We were too full to eat any more things after the starters and mains, we skipped the dessert. But I could not help but took a photo of the cheese trolley. They have stocked a quartet of cheese from the Fromager Les Frères Marchand in France, which boasts of stocking over 730 varieties of cheeses around France.
There are teething problems from the newly opened place no doubt. But the service staff was trying their very best to please, and they are very knowledgeable of the food they were serving. If only they knew better about the portions and availability. Three of the items on the Meat Partners list were not available. And when I cancelled the second side that was not available, they brought two macaronis. Of course, they rectified that without any further question.
Steakhouses are very hard business in Singapore. Beef is not a staple meat of choice among the mainly Chinese population, and a meal consisting of only bovine selections would not be considered fine dining for the populace. So we had seen many steakhouses come and go. I do wish BB would be a permanent fixture on the culinary map in Singapore. They have so much potential to be a really good steakhouse.
#02-02 to #02-07, Raffles Arcade, 328 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188719
Tel : 6337 1886
Date Visited : Jan 2020
Pingback: Butcher’s Block @ Raffles Hotel (2022) – live2makan