Whimsical design and creative East-meets-West dishes come together in this cosy, unpretentious Robertson Quay resto
Admittedly, this restaurant’s name does inspire a sense of whimsy, and when I visited this establishment at M Social Singapore, my expectations weren’t unfounded. Upon entering its space, I was greeted by Philippe Starck’s signature design elements – mismatched furniture and chandeliers, bold colours, and a even few ‘techy’ elements like interactive tablet displays and countertops with embedded screens. These accoutrements made it plain to see that Beast & Butterflies is eager to keep up with the times.
But, Beast & Butterflies is more than just pizzazz. Settle yourself down on its plush couches and low tables, and you’ll find menu offerings that boldly blend Eastern and Western influences to create what it describes as “borderless comfort food”. We put this philosophy to the test.
Our first taste of Beast & Butterflies was a light starter, the Crab & Leaves ($22): a simple salad with Alaskan crab, baby spinach, a crispy sesame lavosh and wasabi citrus dressing for a spicy Asian kick. Outshining that was the second starter, the Simply Scallop ($24). This dish was topped with crispy dried shallots, giving it it an unmistakably Asian flavour. Visually, the dish bears some resemblance to Teochew porridge, amped up with fresh raw scallops.
But the larger plates are where Beast & Butterflies really shines. I opted for the Mee Tai Mak Laksa – a hefty hot stone bowl filled with a satisfying spicy, savoury broth. But this isn’t your standard hawker laksa; the dish is chock-full of seafood like fresh, plump cherry stone clams, prawns and fishcake. And instead of the usual soggy ‘tau pok’ (fried bean curd), the dish is topped with crispy, brittle fried beancurd. This dish has a fantastic value at just $16.
Communal dining is all the rage these days, and Beast & Butterflies has hopped on the bandwagon with their Asian-inspired ham hock ($28 for half, $38 for whole). Purists might turn their nose up, but trust us, German restos aren’t the only place that do fantastic pork knuckles. The massive portion of pork knuckle was tender and juicy on the inside, with a solid, crispy crust. The Asian twist comes in the form of a mildly spiced kimchi-esque sauerkraut and green nam jin sauce.It’s a noisy dish to eat, so expect glances from nearby tables – but with food this devlish, who cares?
Picking out a dessert to try wasn’t tough at all. I decided to be adventurous and sprang for the oddity that was the Yam Brûlée ($10). I expected something light and custardy, but what I got was a full-flavoured, rich, creamy yam paste. The twist here was the crust of burnt caramel, and the accompanying coconut ice cream; the contrast in temperatures ringing in a playful, punchy finale.
While Beast & Butterflies is part of M Social Singapore, the restaurant positions itself as a separate entity. It’s an interesting move, considering that hotel restaurants have a tendency to be a little on the pricey side. But Beast & Butterflies’ unpretentious atmosphere and price point is an invitation to let your hair down and kick back, one we’re sure will be hard to resist.
Beast & Butterflies, 90 Robertson Quay, Level 1, Singapore 238259. p. 6206 1888.