Butcher & Bee, Charleston

Sunday, 25 February 2018
I've just gotten back from a trip to Charleston and Savannah with Jess. It was a fantastic break: good weather, good food and good company. Both cities have very relaxed vibes. Usually, I'm cramming everything into a city break so it was nice to take a slower and more relaxed approach to travelling. I've got some travel diaries coming up but be warned - they're long. So in the mean time, I'm writing a review of my favourite meal from the trip. 

When looking up places to eat in Charleston, Butcher & Bee came up time and time again. A fun, fresh mezze based menu with some bigger dishes too. All served up in a very light and open restaurant. It's a little farther out of the city centre but has great parking. We rocked up at 5pm on Sunday night with a reservation but to be honest, we didn't really need one. However, it was much busier by the time we left so I'd recommend making one anyway.

It took us a while to decide from the menu because there was such a large and interesting selection. In the end, Jess ordered the bacon wrapped dates from the mezze menu and the squid ink tagliatelle with shrimp. I picked a selection of dishes ordering the bacon wrapped dates, cheese fondue and crispy smoked sweet potatoes with lemon aioli, chimichurri and pork rinds. 

So lets start things off with the star of the show: the bacon wrapped dates. Jess and I both ordered these because, well, they were extremely tempting. It's a pretty simple concept. Dates wrapped in crispy bacon served on skewers and sprinkled lightly with parmesan for that extra special hit. I'm not sure exactly how they were cooked but the dates were cooked too so I'm assuming they're assembled and then fried/baked. Sweet, salty and so indulgent. Three was the perfect serving as they were very rich. Both us are determined to try making our own at home so we'll see how that goes. 

I was a little skeptical of Jess's squid ink pasta as I'd never tried squid ink before. Neither had Jess for that matter, but she's far more adventurous than I am. It was actually really nice. The squid ink gives a rich taste to the pasta (I had a little bite) and is salty without being overpowering. The pasta came with a spicy garlicy sauce and shrimp (or prawns my vocab is so Americana now). A lovely, filling dinner. 

The menu said that the cheese fondue came served inside a squash with toasted seeds and sourdough bread. I was a little confused when it came with no bread on the side until the waiter informed with that the bread was actually already inside the fondue. Personally, I would have preferred it on the side to dip but it was still very nice. Jess is lactose intolerant so I was maybe a little ambitious thinking I could take this all on by myself but I gave it my best shot. And it was delicious. I especially loved the texture the crunchy seeds added to the dish and the sweetness imparted by the squash. 

And lastly, the smoked sweet potatoes. Which, by the way, made a fantastic addition to the cheese fondue. Crispy smoked sweet potatoes would make a fantastic side dish alone. But Butcher & Bee has totally pimped these out. Served with tangy lemon aioli (my favourite), flavoursome chimichurrri and crunchy pork rinds turn them into a world of their own. Deliciously and undeinably morish. 

We didn't order drinks or desserts but we left feeling full and with that 'happy tummy' feeling. I was really impressed by not only our food but also the attentitiveness of the staff and beautiful layout of the restaurant. I wish I had a Butcher & Bee near me. There is also a branch in Nashville. So maybe if I make it there I'll try out that one too! 

Butcher & Bee is located at 1085 Morrison Drive and you can read their current menu here

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