Five best butchers in London
In a time where mislabeling and undesirable ingredients are being added to our food, the focus on animal husbandry and provenance has never been more pronounced. For the first time in an age, people are asking specifically where their meat is from, how it has been handled and how it came to be on the plate.
Butcheries, and the old-world charm of a gent in an apron, are no foreign concept to London. Yet in the past few years, local butcheries have sprouted up all over the city, helping people with their cut for Sunday roast or the stew for dinner. However, each of them varies in some way, with each farm yielding different cattle with different characteristics.
We tasted two 200-gram cuts of rib eye and sirloin from each of our top five favourites in London and we listed them in no particular order. One thing is certain about these shops, they offer the very best meat you can find in town and they are all worth the journey.
Provenance – Notting Hill
Provenance’s arrival on the already food-centric Notting Hill scene certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Sitting in quiet respite from the bustle of Portobello road, they offer a wide variety of beef, lamb, chicken and game cuts from their farm. Their grass-fed wagyu hails from New Zealand and you can taste the care with which these beasts have been treated.
The rib eye packs huge flavour, with delicate marbling and so wonderfully tender it barely needs to be coerced by a knife. The sirloin, in comparison, is firmer and much more mild in flavour with a generous side of fat adding depth. They offer butchery classes too, so that you too will be able to identify your short ribs from your shins.
Provenance, 33 Kensington Park Road London W112EU, for further information call 020 7229 8814 or visit here.
Allens of Mayfair – Mayfair
Having been on the same street since the mid 1800s, Allens is officially the oldest butcher in London, guaranteeing experience and knowledge cultivated over a hundred years. Their Angus beef originates from Scottish Highlands, the Cairngorm National Park specifically, and has a light colour to it.
The rib eye with its speckled marbling was tender, with a hearty flavour, while the sirloin, which was also tender, had a delicate and mild flavour. You can order your meat online but a stroll their Mount street store is highly recommended, as it is something of a historic food tour. Join them for a master class or simply pop by for some cooking inspiration.
Allens of Mayfair, 117 Mount Street London W1K 3LA, for further information call 0207 499 5831 or visit here.
Sheepdrove Organic Farm – Maida Vale
This Maida Vale establishment is sourced with quality Angus beef, all hailing from their Berkshire farm. The well stocked store is a treasure trove of meaty treats, with knowledgeable staff on hand to solve any queries.
The rib eye was hearty and full of flavour, with prominent marbling lending it a wonderful soft texture. The sirloin had a sizable strip of fat running alongside it, and the taste was simply delicious. The farm is really the star of the show, and the store highlights that. Trips can be made out to Berkshire to see the agriculture in action.
Sheepdrove Organic Farm, 5 Clifton Road London W9 1SZ, for further information call 0207 266 3838 or visit here.
Turner & George – Islington
In London’s newest capital of cool, Turner & George are offering up exquisite cuts of meat with knowledge and charm to go with it. Select UK farms, with a number of different breeds available, supply the East London natives.
We tested the Ale Dexter, which was significantly darker in colour than the others but had good marbling. Once cooked, the rib eye was juicy, and richly flavored whereas the sirloin was delicate and tender. While Turner & George offer online shopping, it’s certainly worth a look at the store and its array of meaty goods, along with other interesting additions to your meal. They have a smoky steak rub that will add a new dimension to your dinner.
Turner & George, 399 St John Street London EC1V 4LD, for further information call 020 7837 1781 or visit here.
The Hampstead Butcher and Providore – Hampstead
In the leafy Hampstead area, this butcher is something of a stalwart, and are responsible for supplying locals with their meat, as well as wines, chocolates and other delicious treats. All of their beef is sourced from local farm, and has a rather distinctive vibrant red colour.
When cooked, the rib eye’s prominent marbling shone through and added a wonderfully robust taste. Similarly, the sirloin had an intense palate with a wonderful tender texture. The Hampstead butcher also offers classes, as well as catering for picnics and other events.
The Hampstead Butcher and Providore, 56 Rosslyn Hill London NW3 1ND, for further information call 020 7794 9210 or visit here.