Butcher’s Block harmoniously blends butchery and contemporary wood-fire cooking, embodying a journey rooted in Chef Jordan Keao’s Hawaiian heritage. Each creation is infused with an array of flavours, aromas, and textures, only achieved through the use of pure wood-fire.
The newly presented ‘Imua’ tasting menu (“Moving forward with strength and spirit” in Hawaiian) highlights these intricacies with exceptional signatures and seasonal dishes. For a midday treat, the three-course set lunch offers great choices, while the A La Carte options are ideal for communal sharing.
Upon entering Butcher’s Block, guests are immediately greeted by The Larder and the open kitchen, which engages the senses with captivating sights, smells, and sounds. Floor-to-ceiling glass unveils premium cuts of meats and artisanal pickles create a visual feast. Adjacent to The Larder, the open kitchen showcases the preparation of meat, seafood, and herbs above a lively fire. The kitchen team’s choreography is on display as they skilfully manoeuvre custom-built grills and ovens. The brass-accented marble-top counter acts as both a visual centrepiece and a functional butcher’s block amid the whirl of prep and plating activities.
Embarking on our gastronomic adventure, we were presented with a dazzling array of appetisers that included Scallops delicately perched atop a parsnip blini and adorned with Kumquat kosho. This was followed by a decadent Wagyu tartare crowned with caviar, concluding with a delightful Roasted Beetroot Tartlet complemented by Taleggio cheese and macadamia nuts.
In a nod to Chef Jordan’s hometown of Hilo, a smoked Sashimi Poke graced our palate, featuring belly cuts carved from a whole Hamachi and Tuna. The cold-smoked delicacy was infused with inamona, a traditional Hawaiian relish of roasted Kukui nut, Ogo seaweed, and a visually stunning herb dashi. To intensify the flavours, the dish incorporated house-aged garlic shoyu and ponzu, crafted from fish bones and dried over an open fire.
Zero waste philosophy
Next was the Malaysian Dry-Aged Duck accompanied by black garlic and grilled dumpling, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to a zero-waste philosophy. This offering applies various culinary techniques to highlight the distinct taste and texture of each duck part. The duck breast, dry-aged for up to 21 days, is delicately cooked above an open fire, ensuring a crisp skin and delectable tenderness. Complementing this, another component features minced duck leg and kaffir lime leaf encased in a hand-made dumpling skin, seared and grilled for a smoky touch. It’s elegantly completed with a black garlic puree and a jus crafted from a 1990 Madeira.
Following the duck, the mackerel course unfolded, accompanied by starfruit curd and Hokkaido Yumepirika sushi rice, reminiscent of the widely enjoyed ‘aku’ or Skipjack tuna in Hawaii. The grilled mackerel is gently laid on sushi rice and accompanied by house-fermented Swiss chard achar and star fruit puree. To enhance the experience, a rich broth is served on the side, inviting sips between bites or as a comforting end to this elegant offering. Concluding our savoury courses was a buttery Saga beef accompanied by a mouthwatering squash puree elevated to new heights with the addition of bone marrow.
The meal culminated in a sublime dessert featuring pumpkin pie, burnt marshmallow ice cream, hazelnut chocolate bonbon, Lilikoi Pate de fruit, and a charcoal macaroon. At this point, guests are encouraged to select from the Digestif Trolley, which is artfully presented tableside. Postprandial options include madeira, sherry, whiskey, Armagnac, rum, mezcal, calvados, and more, ensuring a smooth and satisfying conclusion to the dining experience.
There is a lunch menu ($168++ for five courses) and dinner menu ($218++ for six courses) with tailored wine pairings ($118++ for five glasses and $138++ for six glasses respectively). In addition, the Sommelier Flight ($148++) is a wine experience that focuses on a single varietal each time, offering a horizontal tasting of three pours from different vineyards.
VERDICT: The ‘Imua’ menu at Butcher’s Block is highly recommended. For those wanting flexibility, the A La Carte menu is an unparalleled experience, complemented by a captivating wine selection. While your wallet may feel lighter, the post-meal conversation will revolve around the remarkable food. A dining experience here is totally deserving of a special occasion.