Butcher and the Farmer – Tramsheds, Forest Lodge NSW
Nestled on the corner of Glebe Tramsheds, is a simple eatery called Butcher and the Farmer, a restaurant built on the concept of sharing and celebrating ingredients sourced locally from community farmers and providores. This ingredient-centric approach to good food is thematic throughout all of the historic Tramshed eateries, and Butcher and Farmer deliver on this ethos.
We dined on a Wednesday night, and although we expected a middling turnout, deterred by the early winter cold, we were instead greeted by a warm, candescent lit, restaurant, filled with expective casual diners. At a glance, Butcher and the Farmer offered a minimalistic, wood-focus decor, the layout of which appeared to be a simple, contemporary rendition of a butchery, more visual than functional. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that, although the restaurant was full and the tables were in an open plan setting; the acoustics, and focused lighting made for an intimate and personalised evening.
The dinner and weekend menu presented an inviting layout for share plates and moreish options. The selection offered an array of proteins and vegetables that borrows a lot from old classics like braised and roasted meats, seared steaks, and tarts. We ended up ordering a mix of staple classics, and share offerings recommended by our waiter.
We started our entree with the Pea Croquette, which became a surprising, yet humble stand out of the evening. The small fritters were a pocket full of flavour, crispy in texture, and perfectly flavour balanced; between the parmesan, truffle aioli and croquettes themselves. The truffle was also utilised as an essential element that tied the dish together, rather than just a garnish or after-thought that you find a lot of other restaurants tend to make the mistake of doing. The secondary shared entree was the Burrata; which came paired with a toasted sourdough, seared tomato, and light pesto. The bread had a nice crumb and great texture, the grilled tomato tasted incredibly fresh and the pesto made sure the dish was very well balanced. Next up were the mains, which had begun coming out at the perfect intersection of just finishing the savouring of the entrees, and getting hungry again.
We shared three mains, the Pork Belly, the Chorizo and the Bone-in-Ribeye Steak. The Pork Belly was well-seasoned with a chewy yet crispy rind and was paired with a fruity and earthy apple and fennel salad. The flavours worked harmoniously together, but we found ourselves perhaps wanting more portion wise. The Chorizo had an excellent texture, the grind of the meat was fine but the fat was added back into the sausage as larger pieces, which really mellowed out the spice of the sausage and the powerful spice of the accompanying cassoulet. The last main we shared was the premium grass-fed Bone-in-Ribeye Steak which was the special of the night. We opted to have it medium-rare and paired with a creamy buttered mash, as well as, a mushroom sauce and chimichurri. The steak was generously portioned, cooked exactly as ordered, and sported incredibly appealing darkened grill marks in the classic criss-cross pattern. Even though we experienced a few hiccups with the sauce, we were saved by the attentive and sincere wait staff. All in all, the mains presented us with tight, well-presented, and well-balanced offerings that harken back to a Julia Child or Jacques Pepin viewing on a Saturday afternoon.
After having filled ourselves to the brim, we decided to share only one dessert; the Apple Rumble. This dessert sported a cinnamon poached apple tart with ginger and oat crumble. Paired with raisin ice cream and a warm Dulce De Leche. The flavour was strong with aniseed and ginger. The sharp flavours were well rounded by the slightly rum-licked ice cream, and the creamy Dulce De Leche.
So what does local taste like? It tastes like perfect imperfection. Butcher & Farmer is great for a casual and approachable dining experience that showcases its vulnerability on a plate. The location in Forest Lodge offers the advantage of being accessible but not too close to the city. And the atmosphere is the perfect spot for catch-ups, a novelty brunch experience for Instagram, Friday work lunch with your colleagues or if you’re after a restaurant that reimagines the classics through locally-sourced ingredients.