With such an increase in both meat-free lifestyles and a general increase of consumer mindfulness, Britain’s independent butcheries have been forced to up their game. Butchers occupying the luxury market are therefore thriving: making their own pies, sausages, or scotch eggs; championing en vogue offcuts and, ultimately, sourcing better produce. As a result, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a growing number of London restaurants are buying entire carcasses and butchering them onsite — acting as their own suppliers — with some even going one step further and opening standalone shops each worth a butcher’s.Read More
9 Brilliant London Restaurants Butchering for Themselves
Whole animal, nose-to-tail, native breeds — London’s restaurants take their meat seriously
1. The Pig and Butcher
Having become an Islington institution over the past seven years, The Pig and Butcher is particularly renowned for its Sunday roasts. Operating from a mid 19th century pub, the restaurant’s main focus is on provenance, with meat sourced from the best farms in the U.K., prepared downstairs in a specially-built butchery. As a result, The Pig and Butcher is able to serve rare breeds such as White Park cattle, Iron Age pigs and Hebridean lamb, all available at cut prices. Consequently, the menu changes daily and champions homely, country cooking seldom available in London.
2. Hill & Szrok Master Butcher & Cookshop
Hill & Szrok has just one hour to prepare for service once the butcher’s shop closes at six o’clock, turning into a cosy neighbourhood restaurant on east London’s Broadway Market each evening. Run by chef Matthew Scott, the restaurant is inspired by 15th century ‘cookshops’ — the first restaurants for the working man. A relatively concise menu changes daily, with simple dishes like pig’s head stew with barley, or guinea fowl terrine, showcasing free-range and grass-fed meats from small family-run farms, aged in industrial fridges below the shop.
3. Macellaio RC Clerkenwell
Macellaio RC now operates five restaurants across London, with one in Milan. Championing Italian Fassona beef and Sicilian tuna, the restaurant on the bustle of Exmouth Market is fronted by a butcher’s shop where the Piedmontese beef is prepared. Bred in the Italian alps, Fassona beef is remarkably tender, due to the hypertrophic muscle growth unique to the cows thanks to a quirk of genetics. Dry-aged on-site for between five and seven weeks, the beef is showcased either raw in a tartares or carpaccios; or with steaks such as the Fiorentina — cut to size in the dining room, generously seasoned and grilled.
4. The Quality Chop House
One of London’s oldest restaurants, The Quality Chop House’s butcher and food shop is generally considered one of London’s best. Recently updated, with a new adjoining café, the shop features an in-house butcher’s specialising in rare breed meat, game and poultry; with entire carcasses sourced from small British farms, butchered and aged on-site. A selection of the restaurant’s dishes is also served to take away, including a range of pies — the pork pie is a must-try — and chicken liver parfait.
5. St. JOHN
Few London restaurants are as highly genuflected as Fergus Henderson’s temple of nose-to-tail cooking - and with good reason. St. John’s ‘modern British’ but also extremely French menu revolves around carcasses brought in whole and butchered on-site, leaving plenty of offal to experiment with, which is always a feature of the daily changing menu. Expect the likes of mallard duck with chicory and anchovy; grilled ox heart; and the world-famous roasted bone marrow with parsley salad and toast.
6. Mac and Wild Fitzrovia
With two restaurants in London — Fitzrovia and Devonshire Square, near Liverpool St Station — Mac & Wild showcases the best of Scottish produce, particularly specialising in wild venison. Most of the meat served between the two restaurants is sourced from co-founder Andy Waugh’s family game-butchery business, Ardgay Game, located in the Scottish Highlands: expect venison chateaubriand, haggis pops, and changing game bird according to the season.
London W1F 9TL, UK
Ben Chapman’s northern Thai barbecue institution in Soho mixes in Burmese and Yunanese influences in dishes cooked over fire in the tiny restaurant’s open kitchen. Menu highlights include lamb and cumin skewers or Burmese beef neck curry, with whole Tamworth pigs, Warrens cow carcasses, and Cornish hens butchered on site then divided between Kiln and sister restaurant Smoking Goat in Shoreditch, according to each restaurant’s menu and cooking style. The lardo fried rice at Smoking Goat, for example, is in dialogue with whatever prime cut of pork Kiln might be barbecuing that day.
8. Flat Iron
Following the success of two tiny restaurants in Soho, Flat Iron opened a third, larger, site near Covent Garden at the end of 2015. Four additional sites have since opened. As well as promising better chances of snagging a table, the Covent Garden restaurant is also capacious enough to house an on-site butchery, preparing the brand’s eponymous steaks, cut from the feather blade and costing just £10, as well as a selection of daily-changing larger cuts scrawled onto a blackboard.
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9. Coal Rooms
From the Peckham-based company behind the Old Spike coffee roastery, Coal Rooms occupies the Grade II listed former ticket office at Peckham Rye station. Alongside the 30-cover restaurant, a 24-seater café focuses on bacon, serving three cuts during the morning, each cured on-site. Elsewhere, meat for the restaurant butchered on-site, with a nose-to-tail approach permeating the menu. Think bone marrow bread and butter pudding or smoked pig’s head blood pudding, leading into chops and steaks from the likes of Cabrito goat, Lincoln Red beef, Dingley Dell pork and Welsh lamb from Daphne’s.