No, I haven’t got this article confused with the opener to some gritty Scandi noir fiction; this is all part of the interactive experience of dining at Butcher’s Garden in Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong. (Admittedly, the stainless steel interiors of the dry-age room are much less imposing and Executive Chef Morten a great deal friendlier.)
You see, while the hotel restaurant’s menu boasts a range of Thai and Western dishes – crafted burgers, Phuket specialities, freshly-caught seafood from the Andaman and superhero-themed meals for kids – off-menu is where the fun really happens.
Guests can enter the dry-age room and have Chef Morten walk them through his range of artisan-aged, hand-cut steaks. This is Butcher’s Garden after all. Best of all, guests choose the size of the cut and pay accordingly, at great value. Once chosen, the fat is trimmed down, the meat is scored and the steak makes its way to the open kitchen’s charcoal grill.
To share between two, Chef Morten recommends the 60-day dry-aged rib-eye, 330 grams, cooked medium rare, and the 45-day dry-aged picanha, 220 grams, cooked medium. And who are we to argue? He has 18 years’ culinary experience overseeing some of the highest-rated eateries, including steakhouses, in Denmark, Thailand and, interestingly, the US territory of Guam.
The steaks that arrive at our table – on wooden boards and with a choice of specialised, patterned knives – certainly challenge the baffling notion that Thai beef is of low quality and taste. At the risk of sounding like a Marks & Spencer advert, this is no tough, worn-out water buffalo; this is tender Charolais beef sourced from Thai- French cattle in the north of Thailand.
While the béarnaise and peppercorn sauces are a welcome addition, the meat is flavoursome enough to be enjoyed alone, particularly the rib-eye which is slightly smoked from the grill and carries intense, developed flavours from the extensive dry-aging process.
Picanha – or top sirloin – has become a Danish garden party favourite and it’s easy to see why. During the cooking process, the fat on this prized cut of beef reduces down into the flesh of the sirloin, making it incredibly succulent.
Butcher’s Garden serves up some inventive sides too. Forget the familiar sweet potato, mash and chips; make way for Brussels sprouts Montgomery and aubergine in sesame. The former a light affair of shredded Brussels sprouts, walnuts, sheets of parmesan and spring onion; the latter a rich dish of baked aubergine in a sweet miso and tahini dressing with sprinklings of mint and a generous daub of yogurt.
Bookending the steak main are the delectable starters and desserts. The tartares are particularly popular. The raw tuna tartare sees the fish cubed and served over fanned avocado and semi-dried tomatoes with ginger, sesame and green onion and a zesty lemon and soy dressing, while the dry-aged raw beef tartare – a different way to experience the meat – is marinated in onion, pickle and mustard, rained upon with shredded cured egg yolk and served in a kilner-style jar.
Desserts are light and manageable versions of classics such as tiramisu and chocolate fudge, orange and ginger cake from the frozen cake bar and delicate apple crumble with lemongrass ice cream, light relief after the indulgence of the main.
Attentive staff walk guests through Butcher’s Garden, helping them to select their prime cuts, breads and pairings of the red and white variety. A truly interactive and personalised experience. This extends to the interiors too. The restaurant and wider hotel have been carefully designed to reflect the local culture, character and history of Patong. Both actively celebrate the locality and give back to it at the same time by sourcing local produce and supporting independent markets.
The interiors are a nod to Patong’s fishing village, rainforest and nightlife. Accordingly, trawler nets and repurposed oil lamps hang overhead in the lobby, lights drape from knotted fishing ropes in the restaurant, tattoo designs are imprinted on the steak knives and vibrant neon lights adorn the en suites.
If there’s this much thought in a single lobby light bulb, imagine the care that goes into the food.
Butcher’s Garden is located on the ground floor of Hotel Indigo Phuket Patong at Rat U Thit 200 Pee Rd, Patong, Kathu, 83150. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day from 6:30am to 10:30pm.
Telephone – 076 609 999