Tucked away in the gentrified Tiong Bahru, The Butcher’s Wife takes over the space of Open Door Policy (ODP) and serves contemporary European cuisine, catering to a gluten-free crowd. It also offers natural wines and cocktails. TBW is helmed by Diego Quispe who has worked at different Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain and France. Together with Diego Jacquet (ZOILO and boCHINche) as the consultant chef, the duo aims to recapture the spirit of lost European neighbourhood bistros.
For appetizers, we were served baked focaccia ($9) topped with caramelized onions, semi dried tomatoes and fresh thyme. Instead of using traditional gluten flour, it is substituted with gluten-free nut flour. The focaccia is pillowy and at the same time it has a nice bite; the umami and deliciousness of this starter raised our expectation for what was to come.
The Kale & Gorgonzola “Buñuelos” ($14) is robust, funky, and creamy. Bunuelo is a fried dough snack in Argentina where the chef is from. Quispe replaces dough with kale and gorgonzola, a veined Italian blue cheese, and pairs it with saffron aioli. The crispy and brittle crust is a delight to munch through the earthy kale bits and creamy gorgonzola.
Chilled almond soup ($17) served with crunchy chipa bread (a popular breakfast food and snack in Paraguay and Argentina), fresh live mud crabm and green apple slices, is light and refreshing albeit a tad bland.
Green peas “hummus” ($19) is a clever play on the classic lambchops with mint. This dish consists of grilled lamb sausage, yogurt, mint and caramelized pistachios. The smooth hummus and mint provide a good balance to the lamb. It is a smart and innovative combination that works well.
Our first main was the grilled octopus ($28) with celeriac foam, capers, tuna mayo and seeds’ (pumpkin and pine nuts) salsa verde. Marinated with bay leaf and garlic, the tender octopus tentacles are paired with different layers of textures. Taste-wise, the capers add an earthly flavour to the dish but it could use more seasoning.
Tossed with eight-hour braised osso buco ragu, the chestnuts papardelle ($25) sprinkled with walnuts and parmesan is one of our favourites of the night. The homemade pasta absorbs the rich sauce and together with the tender veal meat, the dish is delicious.
Roasted chicken for two ($55) is served with a rich and tasty cannelloni stuffed with green peas and chicken trimmings that burst with the essence of chicken. But the roast chicken is rather dry and bland.
The grilled Argentinian sirloin steak ($57, 330g) is less than stellar even though it is supposed to be one of their highlights. We find it a little tough and bland. On the side, the triple-cooked potato chips (steamed, confit and fried) with béarnaise sauce are addictive and outshine the steak: I am not sure if it is a saving grace or an unfortunate situation.
For desserts, pineapple carpaccio ($14): Fresh pineapple, marinated with ginger syrup and served with coconut sorbet and lime jelly, is sweet, refreshing and tantalising. With curry crumbles served on the side, the gentle spiciness gives it a wickedness. The chocolate pave ($15) with chocolate mousse cake, rhubarb compote, sorbet and saffron syrup alternates between rich and refreshing flavours with each mouthful. The deconstructed strawberries pavlova ($14) with meringue crumble, passion fruit curd and basil sorbet marks a good end to a meal by cleansing the palate with its refreshing and citrusy notes.
While the carefully curated ingredients elevate the gluten-free dishes at TBW, we find that some of the dishes could use with deeper seasoning. Most mains are lacklustre but some outstanding small plates offset them.
The Butcher’s Wife
19 Yong Siak Street Singapore 168650
tel: +65 6221 9307
Tue-F 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-11pm; Weekends 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm
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Written by William Leong. He was raised with the notion that food wastage is abominable. Please don’t be alarmed if you see him gorging until plates are sparkling clean; it is just his reflex action.