Have you heard of Beast & Butterflies? Located at the lobby of the hip M Social hotel. This little hidden gem is nestled in the charming vicinity of Robertson Quay where the calm, lay-back vibe of the weekend is ever-present.
The flamboyant social space comes with an open kitchen, bar, and restaurant.
We paid a visit to try out the new menu from Chef Shahnaaz Russell Wong who took over as Executive Chef of Beast & Butterflies in June 2019. Interesting Fact:Chef Shahnaaz took a bold step to leave her job in real estate and went on to attain higher education at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy and later, at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute. Such an achievement and bold mid-career change.
We started dinner with the PUMPKIN PURÉE SOUP (14SGD) infused with lemongrass, drizzle with vibrant parsley and young onion oil. I am a big fan of pumpkin soup, but the combination of flavors here was really unorthodox(in a good way). Fat is flavor, and the different oils brought different layers of complex flavors while the lemongrass was used in balance form, making the soup aromatic. The soup got our taste buds opened up for what’s to come.
LAMB SHANK (SGD38) classic braised lamb shank in red wine served with sides of mashed potatoes and ratatouille. The generous portion of lamb was fall off the bone tender, the accompanying ratatouille tasted like summer with bright vegetables marinated with olive oil,garlic and herbs. No, this vegetable dish wasn’t just a side it held it’s own place against the lamb.
ROASTED BABY CHICKEN (SGD28) roasted butter herb-marinated cornish spring chicken served with sides of baby potatoes, and spring vegetables were well executed with tender chicken that was seasoned well. The browning of the skin was perfect, and the juices from the fresh chicken glistering.
We saw the classic french cooking techniques shine from the CASSOULET DUCK CONFIT (SGD35) sous-vide cassoulet duck leg with cannellini beans, tomato concasse, spicy sausage, and pork bacon. The well-seasoned meat was tender without the gamy flavor of the duck. The beans were soft, and the tomato concasse gave the beans a hearty stew constancy. The beans were prepared in a way that was slightly less salty to contrast the saltier meat of the duck.
My favorite dish of the night went to the STEAMED CLAM CHORIZO (SGD26) steamed little neck clams and Iberico chorizo in white wine served with a breadbasket. The fresh and plump clams paired well with the Chorizo and gave the dish a smoky pop of richness. The additional of the white wine mellowed out the dish resulting in a sauce that was very addictive. Yes, we had to mop up the sauce with the bread.
We would recommend the CHILLI CRAB (SGD36) if you ever get the craving during a date or business meeting. The stir-fried deshelled(Yay) crab in sweet, savoury and spicy tomato sauce is rich and had complex flavors that blended well together. The chilly really kicked in at the end of each mouth, so be warned!
IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER (SGD27) plant-based patty with brioche bun, sautéed baby spinach, white button mushroom, cheddar cheese, tomato and served with sides of potato fries and mesclun salad with sesame dressing. As a beef lover, I must say this was a very juicy medium rate(yes just look at the pink portion) IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER that tasted very close to the real thing! This was Darren’s favorite for the night, and you should have seen his face after the first bite(Bliss).
CAJUN CHICKEN BURGER (24SGD) whole chicken thigh marinated with cajun spices with brioche bun and served with sides of potato fries and mesclun salad with sesame dressing. The chicken burger was good, and we had no complains however, it paled in comparison with the IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER. Yes just order the IMPOSSIBLE™ BURGER.
Signatures of Beast & Butterflies
CRISPY PORK KNUCKLE (Half portion for SGD26) – oven-roasted pork knuckle served with sesame oil scented sauerkraut, spicy Thai nam jim sauce and sweet hoisin sauce. The skin was amazingly crispy and packed full of goodness on the pork knuckle and I would say better than many of the Germany places that we have tried. The meat was well seasoned but if you wanted a slight kick, add the Thai Nam Jim sauce. The sauce really evaluated the dish to another level. Skip the hoisin sauce and dive into the world of heat.
LOBSTER PORRIDGE (SGD38) Teochew-style lobster rice porridge in crab broth, baby abalone, crispy conpoy, bonito flakes, fried shredded ginger and scallion. The would be up-market comfort food of porridge lovers. The warming porridge was packed with rich seafood aroma and the condiments like bonito and ginger gave it more dimension. The lobster was mildly sweet, tender and cooked perfectly while the baby abalone had a good umami flavor. The perfect dish for a rainy day.
YAM BRÛLÉE (SGD12) ginkgo nuts, candied pumpkin served with coconut ice cream tasted like the Chinese “Orh nee” Taro desert. The yam was fragrant but the after a few spoons we felt a little surfeited.
We spent a few moments admiring this pretty work of art when the PURPLE SWEET POTATO MONT BLANC (SGD12) sweet potato, coconut gelato, crumbles arrived. Traditionally this would be made with chestnuts however the sweet potato was a good alternative. The dense coconut gelato was fragrant yet very light on the palate. The crumbles on the side were really yummy and provided a textural component to the desert.
One of the most interesting deserts that we had in ages was the ROJAK ICE CREAM TOAST (SGD12 for half) assam shrimp paste sauce, mango, red wax jambu, vanilla ice cream. The semi salty, slightly pungent pairing with the creamy ice cream made our taste buds really confused on first bite as it tasted more like a starter dish rather than a desert. As we dig our spoons further, the flavor grew on us and we started to enjoy this sweet and mild savory desert. The outer shell of bread holding the dish was a tad hard I was hoping for it to be a little softer or maybe replaced with a flaky pastry.
Rojak lovers will rejoice, haters of the Assam shrimp paste will run far away but we would recommend that you try this at least once even if you are not a local. The portion is quite huge and can be shared by 4, the full version is 1-2 inches taller so avoid over-ordering.
To end your meal with a coffee, you could send your favourite selfie or picture to the staff and Voila! your own cup of unique latte art.
Usually, restaurants have signature dishes resulting in meritocracy for the rest of the menu. Our honest view is that all of the dishes are carefully curated and the sincere commitment by the chefs to provide guests with their best, shines.
Beast & Butterflies excels under Chef Shahnaaz’s careful watch with exceptional quality dishes. The restaurant serves up dishes influences from East and West, showcasing Modern Asian Cuisine that brings diners on a discovery of palate-pleasing delights.
Prices are not the cheapest but you are paying for quality. Holders of Citibank credit card nets you a 15% till DEC 2019 or check out vouchers from Chope.
Beast & Butterflies
90 Robertson Quay, Level 1, 238259