First day of relaxing the safety measures, all places of fine dining were fully booked. Had to pull some strings for a favour to get a table at Butcher’s Block to entertain some overseas guests.
I went to Butcher’s Block with Princess when The Raffles Hotel reopened after an extensive renovation in Jan 2020. The Chef de Cuisine then was Chef Rémy Lefebvre and he ran a very good and solid steakhouse which I thoroughly enjoyed. Fast forward to 2022, they have changed their direction and a new Chef de Cuisine.
Helmed by new Chef de Cuisine Jordan Keao, the vibrant Butcher’s Block offers an avant-garde wood-fire dining experience, expressing the elemental affinity and finesse of cooking with wood-fire. Chef Jordan ran his critically acclaimed restaurant Aina in San Francisco for six years before coming to Singapore in 2019 where he found a place in the open kitchen of Michelin-starred Burnt Ends. He joined Butcher’s Block in 2021.
When you walked into the stylishly adorned restaurant, the first thing you see is the specially curated produce proudly showcased in The Vault before watching our chefs transform these ingredients on custom-built ovens and grills in an Open Kitchen setting.
In the skilful hands of the chefs, each dish is ingeniously transformed by wood-fire through embracing the variety of nuances that fire offers, adding exceptional dimensions of appeal and thoroughly enticing the senses.
Complement the dining experience with over 200 premium labels of wines, including a meticulous selection of natural wines, from The Library. Tonight, we got a special treatment with a booking at The High Table.
Tour de Force
The Signature Tour de Force Experience was the perfect way to discover Butcher’s Block’s new concept. The new menu draws on Chef Jordan’s Hawaiian heritage and deep passion for wood-fire cooking, featuring the finest selections of meats, seafood and vegetables from around the world.
Besides the degustation on the regular items in the menu, Chef Jordan will surprise you with exciting off-the-menu specials showcasing seasonal produce and special allotments.
Sourdough | Hokkaido Milk Bread | Seaweed butter
I was not so keen about sourdough but I had to say it was good sourdough. Sesame crusted and over baked in the Josper, it has the smoky flavour not present from the normal baker’s oven. The Hokkaido milk bread was soft and fluffy, with a little sweet aftertaste. It went very well with the salty hand churned seaweed butter with shichimi. The bread was free flow, and we had repeat servings of the milk bread, we could not resist or we were too hungry.
Two were regular appetisers from the a la carte menu, while the Uni Bao replaced the Lobster Bao.
Wagyu Tartare | Caviar | Beef Tendon Chicharrón
“Chicharrones” is Spanish for crisped pork skins. The same technique is used to make beef tendon chicharrón. This “keropok”-like (Indonesian crackers) wafers act as a dish for holding the hand chopped Australian wagyu tartare. Topped with caviar and dressed with capers and mustard dressing like the traditional steak tartare, this one bite appetiser was a really good eat.
Uni Bao | Yuzu Kosho
The Uni Bao was presented like a uni gunkan. Sweet creamy uni (sea urchin) was served on top a charcoal bread that had been toasted to a crispy texture, sprinkled with a little yuzu kosho (grapefruit salt) to round it off. The umami from the uni blew my mind, but the toast was a bit too oily for me as a starter.
Baby Corn | Preserved Black Bean
A cob of baby corn is coated in a house-made preserved black bean aioli flecked with puffed quinoa and simply grilled so that the innately sweet and crunchy cob is imbued with a layer of salty-umami flavour and slightly sticky texture. Unusual? Yes. But it offers Chef Jordan’s unique approach with uniquely local ingredients never before seen in fine-dining.
Smoked Sashimi | Seaweed | Caviar | Herb Dashi
The presentation of the first main course was very ceremonious. Hamachi sashimi, together with seaweed salad and caviar, was smoked with a fume from smothering fresh thyme and curry leaves in a glass bell.
Then a creamy sauce made from herb dashi and verbena oil was drizzled on the hamachi. The lemony oil worked well with the hamachi. The smoke was like cigar smoke, and it was very subjective if it paired well with the sashimi. Interesting eat that set the tone of the dinner for the rest of the evening.
Wagyu Sukiyaki | Smoked Egg Yolk
Not your typical sukiyaki, Chef Jordan used thickly sliced Blackmore MBS9+ beef and instead of cooking in sauce, he infused the raw beef with beef jus and beef fat to give it added depth and intensity of flavour.
The way to eat it, we were told to you coat the slice of wagyu richly in the smoked olive oil-poached egg yolk encircled by a pool of lemon verbena oil and aged garlic soy sauce as you would in traditional sukiyaki. The julienned shallots and deep fried basil leaves were supposed to provide som reprieve from the strong taste of the beef and yolk.
Grilled l’Antilope Normandy Oysters | Caviar Nage
I usually have my oysters freshly shucked so that I can taste the freshness of the ocean. Grilled oysters are usually reserved for large and questionable oysters. With its long beaches and steep chalk cliffs, Normandy is home to superb oyster grounds so I was quite sceptical why waste good oysters.
Nage is a sauce made from whisking butter into a little wine-enriched cooking stock. This was further enhanced with caviar and verbena oil. The oyster had shrunk from the grilling, but still packed a very flavourful taste. The broth added an unnecessary dimension to the fresh oysters. A simple fresh taste made complex.
Dry-Aged Duck | Plum BBQ
Chef Jordan’s Dry-aged Duck with BBQ plum sauce is one to challenge the Cantonese shifu in their crafts. The Malaysian-sourced ducks were dry-aged for 30 to 40 days in The Vault. Then hours before dinner service, they were seasoned and hung on a rack so that billows of smoke from the grill further dried the poultry, a technique common with Cantonese BBQ to produce a really crispy skin and suffusing it with smokiness in the process. Then the duck slowly grilled over smouldering coals..
The breast meat was julienned and served. It was tender and juicy, but I didn’t like the smokiness. The duck skin, however, dazzled with crispiness not often seen in ducks prepared in the Western kitchens. And a reminder of the French technique, a confit of thigh meat was served. A quenelle of BBQ plum sauce was provided to balance the saltiness of the duck. Served with au jus from the roast.
Mediterranean Seabass | Miso Bran Butter Sabayon
The sea bass was grilled perfectly on the skin side, with the char and crisp and smokiness from the wood fire. The fish meat was flaky, soft and moist. But we were stunned by the rich taste of the duck course before, the fish turned out to be underwhelming.
Australian Wagyu Striploin | Demi-glace | Whipped Bone Marrow Potato
There is wagyu and there is wagyu. Of course I am referring to the difference between the Japanese original and Australian variant. Today, we are having the Australian wagyu striploin M6/7 that has been dry aged in The Vault for 45 days. There’s no equivalent on the Japanese wagyu scale, as both beef varietal are as different as day and night. The steak was expertly cooked over wood-fire. The meat was juicy and tender, and packed such a meaty flavour that the demi-glace was redundant for me. I was glad to ask for the sauce to be placed in a sauce pan separately.
Each of us had 100g of the steak, which I thought would not be enough at first. But by the time this course was served, we were so stuffed that this portion was just right for tasting. The bone marrow flavoured mashed potato was fabulously delicious and rich, but too much at this juncture. What this course needed was a refreshing green salad or some charred endives which Chef Jordan was so famous for.
Baked Mochi | Citrus Anglaise
Wagashi 和菓子 are customary Japanese sweets that are regularly presented with tea. Chef Jordan has used the same concept for the first dessert using a monaka 最中 wafer casing and filled with a matcha mochi (green tea rice cake). This was rounded with a citrusy custard sauce with fresh berries. Monaka sweets are commonly associated with special memories, and tonight dinner was a good memory.
And finally, the petite four for the coffee. The first was a meringue sandwich with alternating flavours. The first punch of the lime meringue was really sour but was soon followed by the sweetness of the regular meringue. I skipped the eclairs as I had enough to eat for the night.
There’s so few traditional steakhouses left in Singapore, and I was quite sad that Butcher’s Block has departed from their original concept. However, I was quite happy to find another place that serves cuisine that has been influenced by Burnt Ends. Here, you can find deep flavours, distinct aromas, and enhanced textures that only pure wood-fire can create.
The service in Raffles Hotel has always been consistently good. I was surprised by how pricey the place has become, and only if the portion can be adjusted for the degustation menu or have alternatives, this would be perfect. Great place to entertain, delighting always.
#02-02 to #02-07, Raffles Arcade,
328 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188719
Tel : 6337 1886
Visited in Mar 2022