Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the Meat Paradise - Butchers Club Deli

I finally managed to venture out to the new Butchers Club Deli in Aberdeen to check out the place and their menu.

This is the third outlet of the hugely successful Butchers Club "empire" famous for their dry-aged steak prepared in-house - the others being the original Butchers Club in Tin Wan, and the Butchers Club Burger in Wanchai. While the former focused mainly for catering and private dinners, and the latter a more casual place for a quick bite, Butchers Club Deli is kind of both - offering deli-style menu during day time, and in the evening, the venue's available for private functions or more elaborate steak dinners. 

Location is actually one big factor that turned me off from coming here earlier or more often. Housed on the top floor of an industrial building in the middle of nowhere, with no MTR nor even parking spaces nearby, that leaves bus and taxi being the only sensible transportation options. But once I got there (by bus this time), I was impressed by the fancy decor inside the building, assembling a typical New York-style deli with spacious dining space and old-schooled furniture and a rooftop upstairs that could accomodate 100+ people and a 180-degree view of the marina area.

The menu we tasted that evening was based mostly on the regular menu which is normally available for lunch only. We started with The Butchers Board - said to be for 2 persons but I reckon it's good for up to 4. It was sumptuous and filled with house-made corned beef, ham hock terrines, grilled sausages, gherkins and chucks of aged cheddar. I also liked the horseradish mustard served on the side.

We then tried the two poutines. They were similar with duck-fat fries, gravy and melted cheddar, but one was with pastrami (called Deli Poutine here) and the other bacon and sausages (Piggy Poutine). I personally prefer it with more gravy and cheese on my fries but I trust Chef Aarik, who's a Canadian, would know more than a thing or two about poutine so it's probably as authentic as one would get in town. We ended up "wiping" the plates clean even knowing there were much more food to come. Both were nice.

I am usually not a fan of salad but both we had that evening were delicious, especially the Caesar Salad, and especially the bacon on top of it. The second one, the mixed greens with pickled onions, crumbled goat cheese, hazelnuts, cherry tomatoes and shallot vinaigrette (with quinoa added on top), is the only vegetarian item on the menu, and I like the complexity of the flavor. I doubt if any vegetarian would make such a detour to come eat at this place, but if they do, they would find out that there's still something good for them here.

To be honest, at first I was a little shocked at the price they normally charge for the sandwiches we had - the grilled jumbo pork sausage on a bun with sauerkraut ($110) and the reuben sandwich with corned beef, cheddar, sauerkraut on rye bread ($135). But it's delicious with generous portion and good quality meat, and came with a little bag of chips if that helps, so guess people probably got their money worth.

We came on a Tuesday - or what they called the Pie Day, and I don't think you could find a place elsewhere in town that did their Steak Pie using dry-aged steak. And here they also filled the pie with mushroom, completed that with intensely flavorful gravy with reduced ale, then creamy mash and mushy green peas. It is satisfying and hmm hmm good.

Since we were here we may as well try their famous dry-aged steak. The one we had is a thick piece of Australian ribeye, dry-aged for 60 days, grilled medium rare with the bone on, then sliced and shared among the six of us. It's served with a number of different condiments available - my favorite were the chimichurri and the veal jus. I reckon this is the holy grail of all steaks - burnt crust from the fiercesome grill, pinkish meat with rich flavored and tender texture with fat evenly spread throughout the steak.

We weren't quite done yet even though we had our fair portion of food by then. Both the key lime pie and chocolate fudge cheesecake were superb - particularly their crusts. I ended up eating more than I should be.

With a straight-forward menu, great quality ingredients, no-nonsense cooking in a trendy, comfortable setting - this is one place that I think is well worth the detour.

Note: Meal courtesy of Butchers Club Deli.

When? July 15 2014
Where? The Butchers Club Deli, 16/F, Shui Ki Industrial Building 18 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Menu Highlights? The Butchers Board, Dry-aged Bone-in Ribeye
Web: http://www.butchersclub.com.hk/deli/story.shtml

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