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With all that's been going on in the world lately, one would think the controversy around gluten would have taken a back seat as Singaporeans emerge from a two-month nationwide lockdown, fresh off the boredom boat and eager to dine out. Throughout it all, one neighbourhood backstreet bistro has kept valiantly to its promise of 100 per cent gluten free meals.

They delivered them to coeliacs island wide during the circuit breaker just as diligently as they welcomed back the wider gluten-free community—from the allergic to the ambivalent—in spades once the restrictions were lifted, all while experiencing a modern day “renaissance” – one marked by a rediscovery of flavours, a revival of age old fermentation techniques and a revitalisation of interest from curious foodies and natural wine lovers all round.

Blue Pea Naan Sandwich

Blue Pea Naan Sandwich

This is no ordinary bistro, nor neighbourhood, nor reference to cultural movement of 16th century Europe. This is The Butcher’s Wife, Tiong Bahru’s very own gluten-free haven since June 2018. But with Paris-trained, Brazil born chef Mariana Campos D’Almeida—its very first female head chef who joined in early 2020—at the helm, it emerges from our 21st century re-enactment of the bubonic plague with the “rebirth” of gluten-free dining through two brand new menus for day and night, primed to help diners rediscover its wonders through straight up inventive, gut-friendly cooking that follows principles and techniques borne out of the slow food movement. Just like the Renaissance, but without gluten, and with a whole lot of Brazilian ingenuity.

Dadinhos de Sago

Dadinhos de Sago

Her secret sauce? Simply cooking tasty, well-balanced dishes without gluten and from scratch, stretching the potential of each ingredient with her wild fermentation know-how, while being guided by her culinary North Star that sits in the sweet spot between her hometown of Brazil and her new home in Asia.

“This may be my first rodeo at a fully gluten-free kitchen, but I love a good challenge, and it’s starting to seem that when gluten closes one door, fermentation opens up another,” explains chef Mariana, whom prior to joining The Butcher’s Wife had dabbled in all kinds of fermentation wizardry at The Slow Bakery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where global breads are famously built by natural fermentation and everything is made from scratch. “Fermentation and gluten-free diets are intrinsically linked – it’s the process that breaks up the gluten in sourdough, turns grape fructose into wine, and the lactose found in milk into cheese. But most importantly, they’re both great for the gut.”

Our Own Goat Cheese

Our Own Goat Cheese

That’s not to say the merits of Mariana’s cooking is solely determined by the amount of beneficial bacteria she can muster out of each dish. In fact, it’s the reason why Spa Esprit Group’s founder and chairman Cynthia Chua was quick to hand her the keys to The Butcher’s Wife. “Each dish Mariana has put together reads like a deeply personal love letter to Brazil, and a fresh perspective on Asia communicated through a Parisian flair that I am confident will excite any palate. I am all for supporting young creative talents—local or abroad—and being veterans in the field it’s important we cultivate a platform on our home ground that encourages creativity amongst the young. Each time I witness one with potential I am thrilled at the prospects – especially young female talent like Mariana.”

Tucupi Tiradito

Tucupi Tiradito

The Butcher's Wife is that rare thing: a cozy backstreet bistro where vibrant colours are matched by dynamic flavours in dishes that enchant the palate while challenging preconceptions. Here, diners can discover the joys of natural wines, the cleansing power of fermented ingredients and the exceptional talent of a chef committed to pushing the boundaries of balanced, gut-friendly, 100 per cent gluten free cuisine.

 

INFORMATION

A.19 Yong Siak Street 168650 

T. +65 6221 9307 

E. [email protected]

Comments

Rated
7.5
Sylvia Fernandes
CONNOISSEUR
98 comments
17 August 2020
Nestled amidst great eateries on Yong Siak Street in Tiong Baru, lies the Butcher’s Wife, a bistro that serves gluten-free food and organic wines. Helmed by Head Chef Mariana Campos who hails from Brazil, this earthy-designed restaurant had a welcoming feel from the minute I stepped out of the cab. Diners sitting outside in alfresco style, sipping wine while they people watched. This reminded me so much of Newtown in Sydney, a funky suburb that boasted an eclectic mix of restaurants. I love open concept kitchens where patrons have the option of dining at the bar while the Chef is doing her thing. The kitchen was buzzing as it was full house tonight and preparations were in full swing. This gut-friendly restaurant got me going with a Roselle and Orange kombucha that packed a punch of assertive sourness. Wow! Homemade kombucha made from scratch. I asked for another glass. The Butcher’s Wife offers an amazing array of snacks too. If you felt like a tapas-like experience with some good wines without the full-on meal, that would be a great option for a night out too. Casual, light and delicious. Chef Mariana who is from the tropics of Brazil, l said she felt so comfortable in Singapore and loved using local produce in her concoctions. My first try of this was having sago (balls of tapioca) cubes pulled together with Brazilian cheese and fried. Dipped in a chutney made out of local red dragon fruit, you can imagine the vibrant colour and delicious taste! In Asia, sago was typically used in desserts but in Brazil it is cooked in more savoury ways. All bars in Brazil though would cook Dadinhos de Sago differently. I loved the next snack of mini corn, grilled and topped with garlic mayo, grated Pecorino & paprika on top. The charred flavor of corn gave this dish a smoked touch. Tucking into the Goat’s cheese, which is a signature dish at The Butcher’s Wife, we were told that the milk used was goat’s rather than the usual cow’s milk. This was sourced from Hay Dairy in Singapore. Served with honey, this too was purchased locally from 13 Honey, a honey company that sources from their own bee farms. And bread from Oh My Goodness! – a gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free bakery. Isn’t this just exemplary? That The Butcher’s Wife uses local ingredients. Not only does it help local farmers but is also so easily accessible. I would highly recommend pairing the Mauzac Rose with these snacks. Light like a pinot, it complemented the dishes served, amazingly well. Eduardo was on hand to explain that this French Rose was sourced from a winery not far from Toulouse. Moving on. You are either a ceviche fan or not. This one was unusual as the carpaccio-thin slices of raw fish were dressed in a Brazilian cuisine staple of fermented acidic juice, extracted from wild cassava root called Tucupi. The remaining root was used to make fried tapioca chips that topped this dish. I totally loved the crunch with tart tones of Tucupi dressing. Not only a mix of tastes but textures too. At the Butcher’s Wife, the theme of gluten-free and fermentation are the highlight. You may wonder why these two components? Because these are intrinsically linked. It is this process that breaks up gluten, turns grape into wine and lactose into cheese. They are both also fantastic for the gut. Hence the tag line that The Butcher’s Wife is a gut-friendly restaurant with everything made from scratch with health and taste in mind. I was happy if my gut was happy. I could eat with gusto knowing Chef Mariana had done the thinking for me. Being a foodie I am always game to try new things. However this next dish of crispy pig’s ears filled me with slight trepidation. Served on a large wild pepper leaf much like a soft taco, I folded the leaf to envelope the chards of pig’s ears which were topped with a delicious red date sauce and pickled ginger flower. Oh my god! It was heavenly! If I didn’t know it was pig’s ears I might have guessed they were a crunchy root of sorts. I would highly recommend you try this when you are next at The Butcher’s Wife. I know most people are creatures of habit but why not try something different for a change? There were so many vegetarian dishes on the menu. One of the reasons I felt The Butcher’s Wife had been well thought out and planned, for the way of the future. So many people were going vegetarian. Quite unusual though for a Brazilian to be at the helm of such a restaurant, when the South American Region is associated with meat staples. If you are a gnocchi lover this one is definitely for you. Made with purple sweet potato (which is full of antioxidants) and accompanied with fresh locally grown mushrooms, the rosemary butter sauce pulled it all together. I was served the Cabernet Franc with these starters which made for a good complement to the palate. Nothing like a wine-paired dinner especially when a sommelier is at hand to answer questions. The Butcher’s Wife has a brunch menu which boasts a blue pea flower naan sandwich. If you are ever there for brunch you have to try this. Made with a falafel of fermented black beans, green mango chilli sauce and lentils hummus, fresh mint and coriander just added the last touch of freshness to this. Divine! A must-do! By the time I got to mains I was curious about Chef Mariana’s twist on her meat dishes. Wagyu was served with burnt cauliflower puree and green papaya salsa with a sprinkle of banana powder. Served medium rare I would suggest asking for your preference if this is too raw for you. My favourite main was the grilled octopus. Presented with white kimchi, manioc (tapioca) puree and grilled broccolini, I was sold. The octopus was tender and well-seasoned. Not easy to find octopus so well grilled. Gaining perspective of the delights I had just devoured, I felt The Butcher’s Wife was set apart from many restaurants I had frequented in the past. The expertise of fermentation and creation of a 100% gluten-free menu, was something many people with gut issues would embrace wholeheartedly. And for those who feel they don’t fall into this category, the food is so delicious and healthy too! In the past there would be frowns if someone said healthy food as it was associated with dull, insipid offerings. Quite the opposite I can assure you, is the fare at The Butcher’s Wife. On to the last part of my meal and that was the warm chocolate cake with caramel miso ice cream. Yum! Lemongrass panna cotta with calamansi curd and pineapple to lift and cleanse the palate paired with a Petit Manseng sticky to round up the night. I was in awe of Chef Mariana and what she had achieved at The Butcher’s Wife. It is only a specialist who could have churned out a menu so stunning and food quality to match. SAUDE (cheers in Portuguese)!
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Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
1349 comments
4 August 2020
This is The Butcher’s Wife, Tiong Bahru’s very own gluten-free. The gluten-free dining through two brand new menus for day and night, primed to help diners rediscover its wonders through straight up inventive, gut-friendly cooking that follows principles and techniques borne out of the slow food movement
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Rated
8
Choice Updates
INFLUENCER
56 comments
3 August 2020
As experts continue to debate over how the world will be changed by the pandemic with their predictions for the new normal, chef Mariana throws her hat into the ring with a brazen new proposition - weekday lunch at The Butcher’s Wife is now replaced by brunch, all week long. Brunch classics come in some of chef Mariana’s favourite flavours – from a coconut and lime sambal that adds an unexpected tropical touch of spice to the Beetroot and Spices Cured Salmon (S$24) served with crushed avocado toast; to brunch mainstay Full Breakfast from the Butcher (S$29) gone full Brazilian with sides like manioc rosti and white bean salsa. Others draw on a hodgepodge of her favourite culinary influences around the world. Our Brioche French Toast (S$17) features gluten-free brioche from the in-house bakery sweetened with dates puree bringing a Middle Eastern touch; jam made out of jambu (otherwise known as rose apples) reminiscent of a traditional fruit from her hometown and, along with cinnamon whipped cream and roasted almonds, flavours of a classic French apple tart; and goji berries, a medicinal fruit originating from Asia that’s reputed as one of the hottest superfoods across the Brazilian Amazon. Blue Pea Flower Naan Sandwich (S$20) was created during the circuit breaker as a fun, unique midday treat for coeliacs and vegetarians who didn’t have a lot of options. Melding Middle Eastern influences with native staples from her hometown and beyond, she uses fermented black beans to create a lighter, fluffier falafel patty and blends hummus out of red lentils, together with roasted carrots for sweetness and coriander seeds and cumin for spice. House-made yoghurt and green mango chilli sauce bring a kick of sourness, while fresh mint and coriander keep things fresh and crisp. All wrapped in a gluten-free naan—a rarity in itself—that is turned a vibrant shade of blue with dye extracted from blue pea flower.
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Rated
8
Choice Updates
INFLUENCER
56 comments
3 August 2020
Get used to flavour bombs right from the get go, with snacks like Mini Corn on Fire (S$10), a twist to Brazilian style corn on the cob that blackens and turns locally grown baby corn into a moreish treat with grated pecorino, smoked paprika and an antioxidant-rich aioli made using fermented black garlic. Dadinhos de Sago (S$11), meaning “little dices” in Portuguese, are deep-fried dices of tapioca granules jammed with salted cheese in between. Chef Mariana makes this everyday Brazilian snack relatable and instagrammable all at once with a sweet, striking red dragon fruit chutney dip. Starters are a deep dive into the cultural mosaic of chef Mariana’s culinary DNA, which stretches back from the South American and African tapestry drawn on growing up and being largely based in Rio de Janeiro—Brazil's spiritual centre—to her time spent studying and working in Paris, where she paid her dues in the gastronomy circles after graduating from Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, to Singapore, where trips to the wet markets are a constant source of inspiration for the 28 year-old chef. While Our Own Goat Cheese (S$17) appears to be a classic French pairing of goat cheese with honey, chef Mariana designed every aspect of the dish to be farmed, fermented and made entirely from scratch on Singapore soil. Raw goat milk from Hay’s Farm is transformed into a creamy cheese using Kefir grains—a type of mesophilic symbiotic culture that gives the milk a thicker consistency and a sour taste—and strained for several days to take shape. The two-week long process reveals real, freshly made goat cheese that’s 100 per cent local, rich in texture and taste, and packed with significant amounts of gut-cleansing beneficial bacteria. Keeping the trimmings trim but unabashedly in theme, only local raw honey sourced from 13 Honey’s own bee farm and freshly baked walnut and buckwheat bread from “Oh My Goodness!”, a local e-bakery specialising in gluten-free bakes, are presented with the all-local, no-gluten dish.
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