Short of farming livestock themselves, restaurants are able to retain utmost control over the meat they use with their own butchery. Nose-to-tail – probably the most sustainable way to cook meat in restaurants – becomes that much more efficient, while menus suggest an entire universe beyond the world of steak and chips. Here are nine London restaurants that butcher in-house.
Each iteration of Temper is built around a fire pit, where rare breed beef, pork and goat finishes its journey. Temper’s meat is sourced from high-welfare UK farms, butchered in-house, then seasoned, smoked or cooked over open flame. Don’t miss their house-made beef sausage or the smoked goat tacos.
The Quality Chop House
Putting ‘quality’ in the name might seem far too daring to most businesses, but it’s worth every syllable here on this corner of Farringdon Road. The restaurant serves the best of what it can find in the UK – meat-based or otherwise – and the same applies to its own working butcher and shop next door.
Flat Iron, named after the cut from the cow’s shoulder, remains one London’s best stops for a budget-friendly steak. Its hero cut, and others criminally underappreciated cuts like featherblade, bavette, onglet, and Denver, come from the small chain’s seasoned in-house butchers, who are able to break a carcass down to 20 different variations of steak.
Boxcar Butcher & Grill
Part butcher part restaurant, Boxcar champions high welfare meat from farms with traceable names. Beef, for example, is grass-fed on the Yorkshire moors at Mount Grace Farm – it’s up to you whether it’s for cooking at home or served hot from Boxcar’s charcoal grill with Charlotte potatoes and charred onion ketchup.
The Pig & Butcher
Reminiscent of elevated pub grub or hearty British suppers for wet winter days, The Pig & Butcher’s speciality is meat and two veg done well. (Sunday lunches are where it really shines). With the butcher’s room downstairs working closely with farms around the country, the whole operation’s mission is to show off the quality meat that Britain is famous for, and a very good job it does too.
Honest are good chums with some of the best butchers in town, but for the past couple of years they’ve been taking meat processing into their own hands. Their very own butchery minces chuck, rib cap, and all the fat required to make their burgers the juicy, buttery pucks of gratification they’re known to be.
Smokehouse are proud of who they source from in their smoke-stained and charcoal-grilled dedication to good meat. So proud that their names are at the forefront of what they do, like the dry-aged Lincoln Russet beef from Amy Jobe’s farm that’s currently on the menu. Other highlights include lamb scrumpets, smoked poussin, and beef tacos.
This Italian butchery-restaurant group claims to be the first of its kind to open in London. Their Fassona beef is sourced from farmers in the mountain valleys north of Genoa and then transported to the UK to be butchered and dry-aged in-house. Try their Fiorentina – an impressive T-bone steak aged for 7-9 weeks for maximum flavour.
Hill & Szrok
First a butcher, second a restaurant, and third a cookshop: Hill & Szrok have swapped the traditional butcher’s model of ordering many carcasses and selling or cooking select cuts, for the more sustainable method of ordering in small batch and using the whole animal. It’s a philosophy that manifests itself in the menu, with things like fried pig’s head, lamb rack, and pork collar on offer.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.