If you know me, you know that I am a beef geek. Always in search of the next best Steak restaurant in London.
I have only just discovered Meat Co in the Westfield Mall in Shepherds Bush. I must have walked past this place a thousand times but have never been in but I am so thrilled to have been.
A steak lovers club
Meat Co is an enormous place, spread over 2 floors and seats over 200 hundred. The ground floor is dominated by the bar and some casual seating. The African themed decor is subtle but not unlike a steakhouse you would find in a hotel. There is a choice of table or banquet seating, all the tables are set quite far apart, so you don’t have to listen to other people’s conversation throughout the meal.
On the first floor, the reception area is dominated by a wall of steak knives. In itself, it’s quite an installation. Looking closer, each knife if engraved with the name of a customer. It seems regular customers who are members of their club gets their own knives. There is quite a fan club for their steaks.
A halal steak restaurant in London
Unusually, they have a halal section and a separate halal menu where the meat is sourced from British Halal butchers. On the night we were there, both sections were quite busy. The halal menu has definitely brought in a whole different clientele.
The open kitchen is behind a glass wall in the middle of the restaurant. If you enjoy watching chef’s do their thing, you can book the chef’s table which is on a raised dais facing the kitchen.
The restaurant has South African origins and has branches in the UAE and Australia. You can see evidence of their origins from some of the dishes on the menu. The selection we tried were Peri Peri Prawns, The Meat Co’s Caesar Salad with beef Biltong instead of bacon and African Boerewors sausage with a Chakalaka sauce served on a bed of pap. Pap is a type of cornmeal which is the staple carb in many parts of Africa, a bit like polenta.
On the mains’ menu, you get a choice of steak by origin, either US or British. Being a big grass-fed beef fan, the US steaks were out as they are all grain fed and wet aged. (Wet aging means that the meat is aged in a plastic bag or similar so there is no evaporation and the meat flavour is not as intense as a dry aged piece of beef. The result might be more moist but the flavour is vastly different.) So there was only the option of British Beef, although they are not that explicit about the origins or feed here.
The Meat Co offers a few different cuts, fillet, sirloin, rib eye in a couple of sizes. We both opted for the most flavourful cut, the Rib Eye, medium rare of course. The Steak Tasting platter was very tempting but we skipped that as it would have been too much steak, even for me.
All the steaks are grilled and basted in their secret sauce which is fabulous. We tried to get the recipe but it seems this is made by a family in South Africa for the whole chain and is a closely guarded secret.
Although there are a lot of sauces, like the bone marrow and red wine. that you can order with the main, you don’t really need as the meat is served with a lovely chargrilled flavour and the seasoning from the sauce is more than adequate.
We couldn’t resist adding some sides to the steak, a half lobster and some giant prawns which were even bigger than the steak. All this magnificence was served with crispy hand cut chips and a side of broccolini.
The wine list is quite long with many choices by the glass. Of course there are quite a few South African wines to choose from. We sampled a superb one, The Duckitt Merlot, Cloof, 2013. A rich red wine with plum and red berry flaovurs, a perfect match for the steaks.
Unusually, we declined dessert but our very helpful and chatty waiter, Sean, insisted that we try these, a very rich Peanut Butter Cheesecake and the Banana Bread Pudding with a luscious Butterscotch ice cream. (side note: Sean has been working there since they opened over 8 years ago and most of the staff here have been there for quite long too. Very unusual for a London restaurant. ) Both beautifully presented and delicious.
The Meat Co delivers as one of the better and more comfortable Steakhouses in London. They could improve the menu by providing a bit more information about where the British beef is sourced and if it is grass fed and properly dry aged. The meal can be a bit pricey if you order ala carte but they offer a very affordable lunch option too. I’d definitely go back there again, especially to try to decipher what’s in that secret basting sauce.
The Meat Co
Westfield London Shopping Centre,