BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

Butcher Block, Hillcrest

Don’t you enjoy a good burger?  I most definitely do, and have tried burgers at so many different restaurants.  Last week we visited Butcher Block in Hillcrest where both Hubs and I indulged in some of their delectable burgers.

The weather was cold, rainy and miserable, but we jumped into our car and drove the short 10 minute journey into Hillcrest to the restaurant, where we were greeted by the friendly manager Serge, who seated us with a big smile.

I loved the varied wine list and we definitely made a mental note to share a bottle of the Southern Right Pinotage on our next visit, as we tasted it at my sister-in-law’s wedding last month and loved it.  Hubs wasn’t in the mood for wine on this particular occasion though, so I grabbed a glass of the Franschhoek Cellar Shiraz, while he opted for his usual double Jack Daniels on the rocks.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST
Cold weather = delicious red wine, and this Franschhoek Cellar Shiraz was indeed delicious.
BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST
Hubby’s usual go-to drink is a double Jack Daniels on the rocks.

Our waitron was the wonderful Kevin, a jolly chap who seemed to have tables on both sides of the restaurant, and looked a little stressed – however, not once did he act like he didn’t have time to chat to us about menu choices, or offer suggestions.  We were, however, a little confused that there were no specials for the evening, though we weren’t sure if this is the norm.  Kevin did, however, recommend one of the starters we ended up choosing – the Trio of Carpaccio (R105), as he insisted that the crocodile carpaccio wasn’t scary and actually just tasted like smoked chicken!  I also really wanted to try the Marrow Bones (R65) too, so Hubs and I opted to get both and share the two of them.

Hubs and I also tried a new approach to our dining out – rather than ordering starters and mains together, we decided to order the two starters, finish them and then see what we felt like for mains.  There was the luxury of time, with no rush to get anywhere else immediately after dinner.  Turns out, this strategy worked well, and it’s one we’ll definitely use again!

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST
The different options of meat available.

We really liked seeing the fridge with a selection of the meat that is available.  I know it seems weird, but I really like seeing the ingredients used, and it all looked like exceptionally good quality.

The decor at Butcher Block Hillcrest follows the same trend as the other stores, with a kind of industrial, rugged chicness to it.  There were definitely elements that were so appealing to us, that we took notes for our upcoming house build.  This booth-partition for example is simple, yet so stunning:

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST
I love the rawness of this wood stacked up in between the booths.

But enough admiring the decor – let me get down to the REAL reason we were there.  The real reason we go anywhere really – the FOOD.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

Trio of Carpaccio (R105)

According to the menu, this was meant to be a trio of slightly smoked ostrich, crocodile and then either kudu or springbok carpaccio.  We knew which one was the crocodile thanks to Kevin, but the rest just looked and tasted the same, so it could have been any of those three other options.

I actually got Hubs to video me trying the crocodile on my Instagram Stories (it’s now saved under my Food highlight for anyone interested in seeing it), and surprisingly it doesn’t taste bad at all!  Definitely liked smoked chicken.  The texture was a bit stringy though, which wasn’t my favourite part.

Overall, this was a super interesting and tasty starter, and one I’m glad I can say I’ve tried.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

Marrow Bones (R65)

These were definitely my favourite of the two starters – huge marrow bones seasoned and roasted, with a red wine and herb jus and crunchy toasted bread.

I only recently discovered the joy that is bone marrow, and since then I’ve been on a mission to catch up for all the time I’ve missed enjoying it.  This was beautifully cooked, perfectly seasoned and just enough to leave me wanting more.  The red wine and herb jus that comes with it too – wow!

We took our time enjoying our starters, and waited for a short while before we moved onto mains.  Butcher Block has such a varied menu, so there are endless options.  Yet somehow we were both reeled in by the burgers.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

Jalapeño & Biltong Burger (R105)

This was clearly always going to be Hubby’s choice of burger, as he’s an absolute jalapeño fiend.  Emmenthal cheese,  jalapeño and biltong sauce and slices of  jalapeño topping make this 200g beef patty burger a must have for anyone who likes their food on the spicy side.

Hubs requested his burger medium rare and it was perfectly cooked and juicy.  His main comment was how much he liked that they’d toasted the bun too – that little extra touch made the meal for him.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

Mushroom Burger (R95) 

I had some weird craving for mushrooms, so I opted for the mushroom burger, a 200g beef patty topped with cheddar cheese and mushroom sauce.

I was pleasantly surprised to see big chunks of mushrooms adorning my burger when it arrived – more often than not, when you order a mushroom sauce, only the small dark flecks show you that there were ever any mushrooms in there.  This one was packed with chunks of mushroom and absolutely divine.  My burger patty was also cooked to a gloriously-juicy medium rare, and was perfect.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

We both went with chips on the side (golden and crunchy perfection), but also opted for an extra portion of battered onion rings (R25), which is something we can seldom turn down.  They were freshly cooked, so a little oily still, but the taste and crunch were amazing.

BUTCHER BLOCK HILLCREST

It seems to be something of a tradition that every time we eat at a Butcher Block we never have space for dessert.  I am so miffed that we didn’t, as I’ve had my eye on the Deep Fried Oreos (R55) for some time.  Even the Apple Tart (R55) called my name, with it’s description of ‘homemade, poached apples baked in a sponge cake batter served hot or cold with fresh cream or vanilla ice-cream‘ – and I’m not usually a lover of apple desserts.  Next time I guess!

Overall

Overall we had a wonderful evening at Butcher Block Hillcrest.  If I were to make one comparison to the Butcher Block in Florida Road it would be this – the food is ever so slightly better at the Florida Road branch, but the staff at Butcher Block Hillcrest more than make up for it.  They were warm, friendly and happy to chat to every customer.  We saw the manager Serge stopping by at each table, and doing more than the obligatory check in.  He seemed to be actually interested in what customers had to say, and actually made proper conversation with each one.  Really lovely to witness someone who clearly enjoys his job.  Our waitron Kevin too was so eager to please, and a real delight.

We’ll definitely be back!

P.S. I’d just like to mention that I left one of my possessions on our table by accident.  The following morning, when I noticed it missing, I called the restaurant and Serge answered.  Not only did he have the object, he remembered who we were and said he had put it aside for safe keeping for me.  Thank you so much Serge!

 


You can find some of my other restaurant reviews here:

Butcher Block, Florida Road

The Grill Room at The Oyster Box

Hudsons the Burger Joint, Umhlanga

La Lampara, Midlands Meander

 

**DISCLAIMER – while I was gifted a voucher on behalf of Butcher Block Hillcrest, all opinions are honest and my own.**

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