The Meat Co, found curving along the Shepherds Bush shopping mall, reminded me metaphorically of a good bottle of South African wine - cool, classic and almost unassuming on the outside; but once opened packed full of spice, heady wood notes and and explosion of colourful flavour. Alas, both are rather hard to photograph without really good light...
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of The Meat Co, but my (very many) opinions are only ever my own, and I would never recommend anywhere that I wouldn't happily revisit - I just wished that I had photographed the blissful face of my husband...
Bedecked in a multitudinous array of tribal furnishings and gleaming streams of beads, we knew once we passed into the upstairs dining sanctum, only to be greeted with a wall of gleaming knives that The Meat Co meant business.
After sinking into our seats in a quiet corner, we snaffled a few chillied biltong, sipped a glass of sparkling rose and supped a cold glass of beer whilst we perused the frankly enormous menu. Having decided on an array of South African specialities aided by our waiter - a string of boerewors draped over mashed potatoes and unique braised rib meat cigars (pastry wrapping sauteed beef and onions verdict: delicious) & balsamic mayo - be warned that this is no menu for the delicate blossom.
There are of course options, but like eating an omelet in a curry restaurant or those tables with their burgers, we thought our only safe course of action would be to really enjoy the rich feast on offer. We did snack a little on the beetroot and chocolate bread whilst our appetisers cooked - the bread was rich, almost cake-like with the crust of a good french loaf, and came with heavenly salted butter.
We both agonized over our main courses - there was no question it would be steak - but how to choose? Wagyu, British, American, with or without topping? Again we leaned on the experience and recommendations of our waiter; eventually opting for the leaner 30 day dry aged British Isle Fillet for my Englishman, and a more marbled, grain fed 35+ day wet aged bone in rib eye steak for my own Kiwi appetite.
Even as I write these words my mouth has started to water again. The steaks were simply divine - melt in your mouth texture perfectly cooked, bursting with flavour and to quote Mr Kiwi "the best bit of meat I've ever eaten."
As mentioned earlier, the light wasn't ideal for photos and we were too busy enjoying our meals to really slow down and take proper good photos, so you'll have to take my word for some of it. Perfectly cut golden chips, seasoned vegetables, bernaise sauce and creamy mash adorned our plates but the piece de resistance of the accompaniments was the heavenly creamed spinach.
Their wine list is extensive to say the least (in fact the bottles cleverly double as walled decoration) and I thoroughly enjoyed a glass of New Zealand Cable Bay Pinot Noir (adulting at it's best) with my slab of cow.
After a good length of time to let our stomachs rest, we were offered the dessert menu. Hand on heart I said no for the record (actually, hand on groaning tummy) but was convinced by Mr Kiwi's 'we have to do it for the blog' and our waiters insistence that the chef's platter was only a few bites of confection.
He lied people, he lied. As soon as the platter arrived from the kitchen, we knew that we had been hoodwinked. Featuring a slice of “Madiba Charity Malva Pudding" (one of the best sticky toffee puds we've ever tried), tiramisu, glorious passion fruit sorbet, brownie sundae, the refreshing toasted coconut and raspberry vacharin and the hush inducing centrepiece dark chocolate fondant. In fact the meal descended into a charade of pointing with spoons as we discovered each new item.
My Dad would adore it - it's worth a 26+ hour flight for...