Next time I want a steak... I’ll cook it at home

Rib-eye steak with chips.

Rib-eye steak with chips.

Published Feb 17, 2024


Butcher Boys

Where: 170 Florida Road, Morningside

Open: Sunday to Tuesday 11am to 9pm, Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 10pm

Call: 031 312 8248

The problem with going out to dinner at a steakhouse is that I am often left wanting. After all a steak is so easy to cook well at home, and at a fraction of the price.

Just last weekend the Glass Guy and I put a couple of rib-eyes on the braai. It really is so simple. Season the meat with salt and pepper and a little oregano, rub with olive oil and allow it to stand for a bit, at least to bring it up to room temperature. Then put on hot coals for a couple of minutes a side, turning just once, and let it rest. We served it with a mushroom sauce ‒ well, more a ragu ‒ which itself was simple. Mushrooms cooked with what was available ‒ onions, garlic, parsley, butter and a squeeze of lemon. Nothing fancy, but a really magnificent meal.

Lamb riblets with chilli and mint sauce.

The week before, the Poet suggested we try Butcher Boys in Durban’s Florida Road, which had recently undergone a major renovation. The street was pumping on a Saturday night. There were so many cars going through the KFC drive-through they were actually clogging up the street itself. Amazing.

The restaurant didn’t actually look much different from when I was last here, although it has been opened a bit, and there is some odd art ‒ maybe murals would be a better description ‒ on the walls. We were welcomed and shown to a table and soon had a glass of red in hand.

Jalapeno poppers with lime and sour cream.

Starters include beef carpaccio and boerie bites. There are marrow bones, buffalo chicken wings and chourico chicken livers. For something less meaty there’s calamari, and snails in roquefort, cheesy prawns or mussels in creamy garlic and wine. You could order a sharing board which allows an option of three of a selection of starters (although if you do the maths, with many it would be cheaper to do them individually).

We shared a plate of lamb riblets (R120) which were meltingly tender and nice and sticky and came with a good mint and chilli sauce. We also enjoyed the jalapeno poppers (R80) which were way more refined than the usual offerings, cut in half and coming with a nice crisp crumb topping and good lime and sour cream dipping sauce.

So far so good.

200g fillet with mustard sauce and side salad.

We debated mains. All the various steaks are available. We’re presented with a board containing cuts of meat to show what we are eating. Speciality steaks include an avo dijon sirloin, jalapeno fillet, and avo and prawn fillet. There’s lamb chops, ribs (pork, beef and lamb), a lamb curry and oxtail potjie. There are also various combos and shisanyama plates. The lamb shank comes in at a staggering R350 (I don’t understand this), while the tomahawk is SQ.

The Poet opted for the 200g fillet (R230) with mustard sauce (R40), while Vivek and I both wanted the 300g rib-eye (R290) with pepper sauce (R40). Ours came with good chips, the Poet’s a decent side salad. The Poet’s steak was the pick, my rib-eye being cooked decidedly more medium than rare. But it was tasty. The pepper sauce was enjoyable without being memorable. Nothing terrible, but it didn’t blow my hair back. In fact, it was so ordinary I was left with that “so what?” feeling. Is this what R330 buys? Certainly not “legendary” as the menu states. The disappointment really set in after my own efforts a week later.

Avoid the crème brûlée.

Desserts are fairly basic. There’s chocolate volcano, malva pudding, cheesecake and good old ice-cream and chocolate sauce. I enjoyed my Dom Pedro with Irish whisky (R58), while the Poet opted for the crème brûlée (R60). This was horrible. The sugar had gone all granular and in the flaming it had “melted” half the “custard” below. The custard itself tasted like some sort of whip-up caramel pudding, and had been made with an artificial fat that coated the roof of your mouth. We pushed it aside.

Food: 2 ½

Service: 3

Ambience: 3

The Bill: R1 543.30 including an automatic 10% service charge.

Independent on Saturday