Most meat lovers would baulk at the thought of air-frying their steak, but not Trip, a self-confessed carnivore who runs speciality meat and cheese store Carv Artisanal Butchery with three other co-founders – Shin, Suzy and Melody – in Toa Payoh.
The 51-year-old – who has 16 years of experience in the wholesale foods industry and oversees procurement at the store – shares that there have been a fair share of customers enquiring if they could pop their steaks in the airfryer.
“[Suzy] scolded me, saying that I’m crazy, but trust me, it works,” she says. Such unconventional advice might raise some eyebrows, but making gourmet meats accessible for everyone is what keeps their customers coming back.
The four friends, who bonded over their shared love of meat, came together in 2020 to set up Carv Artisanal Butchery.
Shin, who manages the marketing and branding aspects of the business, had worked in Shanghai for a global advertising agency, and then as an entrepreneur for 11 years.
Suzy, a competitive chef who worked at restaurants and hotels for nearly a decade, specialises in the cooking and preparation of the meats. Melody, who was from the Singapore Air Force and fashion industry, is the sous chef.
Together, they dreamt up a cosy and intimate butchery where shopping for premium meats is simplified for their clientele, who comprise a mix of families, heartlanders and young professionals.
A curated selection of hams, sausages, and steaks – from grass-fed beef from Argentina and New Zealand, to grain, hay and wheat-fed bovine from Kagoshima and wagyu beef – are displayed alongside a range of cheeses.
The shop even has a mini hydroponics wall of herbs, which customers can bring home as complimentary cuttings to cook with their meats.
What catches the eye is the butter bar, comprising house-made butters in pastel marble patterns, and flavours like brandy, yuzu and raspberry, and black truffle.
“We try to differentiate ourselves from other butcheries, that’s why being a speciality shop, we came up with butters in different flavours that we can pair with meat, and also give away as samples,” says Shin.
Their passion for gourmet meats is evident in how they interact with their customers. According to Melody, many of their customers are women, and this is where the mother-of-three feels that they can help in a way that a typical butchery can’t.
“I share how I cook for my children in a fast and yummy way, as [our customers] want to go back and prepare a meal that their kids will enjoy. For us, we know what type of meat is too chewy for children,” she shares.
Above all, the women want their customers to feel right at home. “A lot of butcheries have limitations, but not every family can finish or afford a whole tenderloin. Every customer is important – if they stay alone, and they want a 50g pack of minced meat, we will do it, because we understand their needs and will accommodate their requests as much as we can. And customers appreciate that,” says Shin.
Carv Artisanal Butchery is at 206 Toa Payoh North #01-1221, Singapore 310226