I am on my way to London this weekend and from there I will travel into the English countryside for a few days to braai with my brother in law. Now that Klipdrift brandy is freely available in London the only thing one really needs to know is where to find quality meat. For the answer to this question, I turned to my premier source of information, Twitter. A list places to buy quality meat for a braai in London follows below:
Jack O’Shea: This butchery has been voted as one the top butchers in the UK by their press and is the place where Heston Blumenthal buys his meat. The family business spans eight generations and Jack went solo 12 years ago opening his first store in Brussels. Jack extended his knowledge and skills by traveling to South America and South Africa, the meat powerhouses of the world. The free range Angus Beef comes from cattle fed on a diet of grass and local grains, including whisky and brewers grain, barley and oats. The results is a heavily marbled beef which according to Jack is “so rich in fat that it’s self-basting”. Selfridges Food Halls, 400 Oxford Street
The fresh food market in Portobello Road, Notting Hill Gate: As the name says, is located in Portobello Road, in Notting Hill. It started out exclusively selling fresh produce in the 19th century, but over time also began selling clothes and antiques. On a Saturday morning tourists go there before heading off to Buckingham palace to view the changing of the guards. If you can mange to avoid: all the tourists, all the antique dealers, all the second hand clothes, all the celebrities trying to be normal people, and all the normal people trying to be celebrities, then you can give yourself a pat on the back. Then you can also seek out the butcher selling really good fresh meat. Get there via the Ladbroke Grove Tube Station. Take enough cash.
Whole Foods Market, Kengsinton North: A really fantastic place, and only a matter of time until South Africa gets something similar. Although the name says it’s a market, its actually a food store and restaurant. It’s like a South African Woolworth’s, but on a lot of steroids. Something they claim their meat does not contain. In addition, their beef is grass-fed. There is a certified master butcher behind the meat counter who went through a training program, so he can answer your questions, and prepare whatever cut you ask for. What I will be asking for is their 35 day aged sirloin.
Smithfield market, Farringdon, London: The purpose of this market is to supply inner city butchers, shops and restaurants with meat on a daily basis, so the trading hours are from 4:00 a.m. midday every weekday. Meat has been traded here for over 800 years but the slaughtering of animals on site ended in the mid-1800s. It is one of the largest meat markets in Europe. In the old days, Smithfield was not only used to kill animals, but was also a place of execution, particularly for religious martyrs. Amongst others, William Wallace was executed here and there is a commemorative plaque on the wall of nearby St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. You can find good quality meat, poultry, cheese, pies etc for a good price. Go there early if you don’t want to be surrounded by carcasses, in summer the smell of the carcasses is quite strong. Get there via the Farringdon Tube Station.
Moore and Sons: This is a traditional butcher offering quality Scotch Beef, including Orkney Island Gold and Prime Angus. Their speciality is hand linked gourmet sausages using natural casings. Of lesser importance is that they have spices like Wild Boar with Apple, Spicy Lamb, and Venison in Red Wine. The reason why they are included in this list of butcheries is the fact that they sell real Boerewors. Go to New Barnet Rail Station (not tube). Walk north on Station Approach Road toward Station Road and turn left into Sation Road. Walk to the A1000, turn left, and the butchery sits on your left.
- I have personally been to some of these establishments on previous visits to London, and others not. After next weekend’s visit this post will be updated.
- Follow me on Twitter @janbraai for live reporting of visits to these butcheries.
- Thanks @GlendaN, @BusinessCoachSA, @skaapkopinuk, @chrisgouws for your info on butcheries.