Media Tasting at The Butcher’s Wife
One would not have expected this little gluten-free haven nestled in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, amidst all the hipster cafes. But this wine-serving bistro is helmed by Mariana Campos D’Almeida, a chef who joined early this year and who has worked in both Brazil and Paris, with a focus on sustainability and catering to people with specific diets.
After seating us, we were served with Homemade Kombucha (flavour of the day: roselle & orange/elderflower & green tea). Arguably the newest trend in town with many fermenting and making kombucha from scratch, Mariana’s take at Kombucha was slightly towards the sour side but helps to whet our appetites for the upcoming food.
The first snack that we tried was the Dadinhos de Sago (S$11) which translates to dragon fruit chutney. A popular Brazillian street food, these dicey looking things are made of tapioca and cheese, then deep-fried. The chutney is made using red dragonfruit and assorted spices such as cardamom and garam masala. It was something unique and we love how this paired well with the accompanying wine – Laurent Cazottes | Adèle 2018; a fragrant white wine with slightly more intense and acidic notes.
We love the Mini Corn on Fire (S$10) – this unassuming dish packs a punch with excellent seasonings of smoked paprika and black garlic sauce, topped with grated pecorino.
A signature starter – Our Own Goat Cheese (S$17) is served with bread from gluten-free walnut and buckwheat bread from Oh My Goodness!. Fresh goats’ milk is turned into a creamy cheese (through a process that takes about two weeks!) that is sourer than usual cheeses. However, this is tempered with a generous drizzle of honey from 13 Honey. The bread was also served warm and a good complement to the cheese.
Another starter that we tried was the Tucupi Tiradito (S$22), a Brazilian style of ceviche topped with thinly sliced tapioca chips for extra texture. We were told that the fish was locally sourced barramundi. Although interesting ingredients such as Sichuan pepper, pickled wing beans and laksa leaves oil were used, this dish could still be slightly fishy for some.
Saving the best starter for the last, and also one of the most impressive dishes of the meal, Crispy Pig’s Ears (S$21). Sliced pig’s ear is marinated in soya sauce and herbs such as paprika then deep-fried. The accompanying sauce (red dates for sweetness combined with pickled ginger flower for a touch of tartness) promises an umami explosion in your mouth. The raw wild pepper leaf wraps everything up nicely with notes of lingering spiciness. Eat it like you would a taco – don’t be put off by how exotic it sounds, this is a dish we highly recommend!
Moving on to the mains, the Sweet Potato Gnocchi (S$22) is a comforting dish, made with purple sweet potatoes and buckwheat flour and a medley of mushrooms – shiitake, king oyster and enoki and a light dose of white wine to boost the flavour. This paired well with Domaine Les Tètes | Tète Red 2018 – a lighter, more acidic red wine.
Cue the two dishes that we were looking forward to all night – Grilled Octopus (S$27) and Wagyu Picanha (S$38). Both were well-executed with a mix of Asian and European influences. The former features glorious meaty tentacles that have been tossed on the barbecue, served with house-made white kimchi atop a bed of sweet manioc puree and slightly charred broccolini stalks. Our only gripe was that the kimchi could be slightly spiced to help cut through the sourness.
The latter features the round cap of an Australian wagyu – tender meat with sufficient fat to lend flavour to the entire dish. Mariana then mixed salsa from Thai green papaya and burnt cauliflower puree for a smooth smoky base) before dusting dehydrated banana powder on the side, having drawn inspiration from her favourite side dish back in Brazil – fried plantains coated in manioc flour.
We finished off the meal with two desserts – Warm Chocolate Cake (S$14) and Lemongrass Panna Cotta (S$13). The former encases molten lava made of 72% Ecuadorian chocolate from Lemuel Chocolate and promises of a decadent and intense experience. Paired with caramel miso ice-cream that is churned in-house, the salty notes from the miso is Mariana’s take on salted caramel that we are all familiar with. The buttery pili nuts on the side also gave it an additional (welcome) crunch.
The desserts also went well with Camin Larredya | Costat Darrer ‘les Grains Des Copains’ – a sweet white wine with fruity notes, great for pairing with the rich chocolate cake.
The latter is panna cotta infused with ginger and lime kaffir leaves, served with pineapples and creamy calamansi curd and a butternut tuile crunch.
Overall, The Butcher’s Wife is a place to consider for those looking for interesting fusion food. The Crispy Pig Ears are a must-try!
*Service charge(10%) and GST(7%) applicable.
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