The hype: Spa Esprit Group’s pioneering gluten- and dairy-free dinner spot Open Door Policy is no more, and in its place now stands a completely new concept. Still under Spa’s management, The Butcher’s Wife (no longer dairy-free) offers an eclectic menu that tries to defy what gluten-free cuisine can be.
The vibe: Vibrant pastels and floral motifs abound. The bright color palette is a stark contrast from the dim and modern setting that was ODP. Interiors are rustic and warm in an attempt to replicate European neighborhood bistro vibes.
The food: This place is a godsend for the gluten intolerant. Their mission to establish a restaurant that offers a completely gluten-free menu without sacrificing any of the deliciousness is largely a successful one, thanks in large part to Chef Diego Jacquet’s style of comfort cooking and excellent choices in using gluten substitutes. The food’s palatable even if you’re not into the diet.
Everything on the menu is free of gluten, even the pastas, breads and desserts. You’ll want to start with the Baked Focaccia ($9), an appetite-opening snack topped with onions, tomatoes and thyme. Then be sure to get the Kale & Gorgonzola “Bunuelos” ($14) that comes with a saffron aioli dip, or the Our Green Peas “Hummus” ($19) with grilled lamb sausages for starters. The quotations on the menu here are purposeful, signalling you that the dishes are not as they seem. The hummus for instance contains no chickpeas and is made from green pea mash instead.
Pasta lovers won’t have to give up their cravings here. The Chestnuts Pappardelle ($29) is a satisfying plateful of braised ossobuco ragu, walnuts and parmesan mixed with pasta made using chestnut flour. The pasta doesn’t deviate too much from the texture you’d expect from normal flour, but is noticeably sweeter and less plump. For seafood, the Grilled Octopus ($28) with celeriac foam, capers, tuna mayo and salsa verde is a popular choice, while carnivores should undoubtedly get the 300g Grilled Sirloin Steak ($55) that comes with potato wedges and bearnaise sauce.
The drinks: Wines and natural wines dominate the drinks list, with both whites and reds having a good selection available by glass, carafe and bottle. The only two beers on the menu are gluten-free too, so feel free to indulge. The Vegabond Pale Ale ($18) is hop-forward, citrusy and lightly malty, while the Estrella Galicia Lager ($16) is a crisp and refreshing beer that pairs well with the food.
Why you’ll be back: Fans of ODP will still love The Butcher’s Wife. And if you’ve somehow not been to the old haunt, the new concept is a more casual, accessible sit-down dinner place you can go to if you’re in the Tiong Bahru neighborhood.