Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Re-invented Blue

What previously known as the Blue Butcher has evolved and became just Blue with the byline "Butcher and Meat Specialist", and I was there last weekend to check out their new weekend brunch menu. Other than the name change, there were some other noticeable modifications of the restaurant located on Hollywood Road, including a new, more refined industrial-chic décor, minor adjustments to the menu, and a new butchery room downstairs. And not so noticeable were their moving away from the use of plastic including straws and takeaway containers, and their effort to ensure all food served was of sustainable species.

It has been a long while since I last set foot here, so I honestly didn’t remember what the interior was like before the renovation, but I like what it is now, with rustic, industrial-style furniture, a vast dining room with window on one side and the open kitchen/bar on another side at the far end, and during the day, ample light beaming in from the window providing a warm, well-lit overall ambiance.

Brunch was offered semi-buffet style, with appetizers "up for grabs" by the counter in front of the open kitchen, and desserts at a small enclave right next to the bar. There was a good selection of cold appetizers with a few different salads and vegetables – I especially liked the refreshing tomato slices and compressed watermelon and the grilled beetroots with crumbled feta cheese and pistachios. Near to where we sat was the seafood station with a couple choices of fresh oysters and lemon-poached shrimps, plus the charcuterie platter with cold cuts, and three kinds of cheeses – I felt like I could just munch on those delicious parmesan cubes all afternoon long. Plus I probably had more than a fair share of seared foie gras brought to us from the live cooking counter, served with apple and raspberry jams and sliced baguette crisps.

For main course options, there were a wide choices from beef burger to chicken to seafood. It was hard having to make a choice, but at least at our table we had the luxury of choosing a few and shared among us. My favorite was the Butcher’s burger – these days every casual restaurants around town offered some kind of gourmet burgers on their menu, but this one was made with the premium Rubia Gallega beef - which some said was the best in the world – with the meat dry-aged for 45 days in-house right downstairs. The burger was perfectly cooked, with the beef patty super tender, juicy and bombed with flavor.

The half chicken - another of my favorite - was served in generous portion – how they think an average person can finish that on their own is beyond me – and I loved the tender meat cooked sous-vide before getting roasted and served with a spread of barbecue-style glaze, with the grilled bell peppers underneath.

My eyes were fixated on the chocolate tart at the dessert station the moment I walked in, and I had to keep reminding myself to save room for desserts. The chocolate ganache filling was soft and rich and decadent and the pastry shell was crunchy and buttery – that with a generous dollop of whipped vanilla cream on top is my kind of perfect dessert. Three different flavors of icecream were available, and the charred corn was the most interesting one, and I loved its subtle smokiness.

With the great food and drink and the laid-back vibe with live band playing all afternoon long, this is one perfect place to spend the weekend afternoon. Oh, that burger... and the chocolate tart...

When? October 1 2016
Where? Blue – Butcher and Meat Specialist, 108 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? 45-Day Dry-aged Butcher's Burger

(The meal was by invitation courtesy of Maximal Concepts)

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