170 Florida Road, Morningside
Noon to 9pm daily
031 312 8248
Judging by the activity on Florida Road on Saturday night, we were on level zero.
The fancy cars were parked two deep, with others roaring past in show-off laps. The neighbouring pubs were spilling out on to the pavements. The music was blaring. There was no distancing and not a mask in sight.
One wondered if the teeming mass had heard of Covid-19.
Even our waitress expressed an opinion. “I wish they would be more responsible. All they’re going to do is shut us all down again.” She too has bills to pay and mouths to feed.
Butcher Boys was an island of sanity amid the careless abandon. Staff were properly masked, and tables definitely distanced.
We relaxed and perused the menu, basically steaks of all cuts in varying sizes. With the pandemic causing slower volumes, the full range of beers on tap were not available. But we settled for the bottled variety.
We skipped starters – boerie bites, calamari, chicken wings, snails, chicken livers etc – in favour of a meaty main.
Fillet, rump, sirloin and ribeye are available in 200g, 300g, 400g and 500g, either dry or wet-aged. I could not imagine eating the latter. The thought of half a kaygee slab of meat would put me off my dinner.
And then there’s prime rib and T-bones at 600g and 1kg. We’re obviously a red meat-loving country. And naturally there’s ribs and lamb chops and ostrich steaks and even an oxtail potjie.
Steaks come with a choice of sauces, butters or toppings. Apart from the obvious cheese or mushroom, there’s honey mustard Dijon, red wine, chakalaka and chimichurri – the fabulous Argentinian green sauce with chillies. Think of it as a sort of parsley and chilli pesto. And for those who can’t leave the ’70s behind, monkey gland is still on the menu.
Alternatively, one can order any number of meat platters for the table – a modern shisanyama if you will – with everything from boerewors to chicken wings included. Sides can be chips, rice, baked potato, mustard mash or pap.
I enjoyed my 200g rump (R150) which was cooked exactly as ordered with a good and spicy Madagascan pepper sauce (R32). I like it when a pepper sauce has a proper kick, and the chips were good too. Only complaint was probably the bluntest steak knife I’d ever used.
My friend had one of their gourmet burgers – The Grand (R150) with avo and a honey mustard sauce. He enjoyed it. On previous visits I had always enjoyed their burgers, which are also cooked to order, the chimichurri variety being a favourite. But I must admit prices have ratcheted up somewhat since my last visit, with all your signature mains substantially over R200. But then, that is happening everywhere.
We felt like dessert – basically crème brûlée, apple malva, New York cheesecake, lava pudding or ice cream and chocolate sauce. Very little to challenge anyone here. My friend enjoyed the cheesecake (R65) but asked for it without the berry coulis, while I relished a Dom Pedro (R50), oddly served with a straw that was too short to reach the bottom of the glass.
Leaving, we negotiated our way cautiously between the hugging and kissing throngs. A metro police car drove past as people were hastily moving all the double-parked vehicles and grabbing for masks.
The Independent on Saturday