If anything did what it says on the tin then it’s this sophisticated steakhouse. Hailing from South Africa, The Meat Co. is a sprawling venue with towers of wine over ten meters tall, no less. Not your average Joe as far as meaty eateries, there may be burgers and ribs here but none of the usual, casual American diner stuff. Instead you’ll be pouring a fine New World wine with your Wagyu and chips…
I know I’ve already mentioned the towers of wine, but these massive walls of liquor are impressive enough to give a little more attention to. They curve around the staircase and serve as room dividers that break up the large space, as well as being on show through large glass cellars. Our host tells us it’s a nightmare to dust them, not surprisingly.
The Meat Co’s decor elegantly channels the restaurant’s South African roots with tactile walls, touches of warm orange and plush carpets. Wood, beading, graphic elements and natural textures are everywhere but not in an overwhelming way. The restaurant feels more cocooning than theatrical and there’s definitely room for romance with all of these evocative features and comforting colours around.
Despite large numbers of South African expats making London their home, there’s not that much fine-dining from the southern most tip of the continent. Street food, yes, and vaguely South African meat dishes with only hints of anything authentic may also be available, but genuine traditional food like this – not so much.
For anyone wanting to experience the real deal, start with the Boerewors. This South African beef sausage is a staple feature of the country’s cuisine, whether it’s coiled over the barbecue or served for a weekday dinner. Placed over a bed of milled corn with tomato salsa and salad, this is an authentic way to taste the country. We also tried the Braised Rib meat cigars with Balsamic mayo and sweet Chocolate and Beetroot bread. Also great choices, with a European twist. In between courses nibble on a bowl of Biltong, seasoned beef jerky that’s been hung up to dry into tender strips.
When it comes to ordering your mains, remember you can have an aged rump steak anywhere, so push the boat out a little bit when you come to The Meat Co… I opted for the Bone Marrow fillet, 200g (or 300g if you like) of meat accompanied by a generous bone, sliced lengthways and filled with herb-crusted marrow and Bordelaise sauce. Rich much? Yes, but absolutely gorgeous-tasting and very Instagram-able. I added some scallops for some surf and turf action, with a side of Blue cheese and Vodka sauce. We also sampled the Wagyu, 400g of perfect medium-cooked beef.
Aside from knowing what to do with a prime cut of meat, The Meat Co. has a focus on provenance so if you’re fussy about where your meat comes from, as you should be, you’re in good hands. Unmissable side dishes are the Spinach in cream sauce, Sweet potato fries and Battered onion rings. Don’t forget to make a selection from their abundant wine offering, and keep on theme if you can – we ordered a bottle of South African Wolf Trap Syrah.
It’s always good when a restaurant with a specific theme doesn’t stray from their mission, and The Meat Co. is loyal to theirs all the way from the table snacks to the drinks and desserts. Finish with a super sweet Malva pudding, not unlike a Sticky Toffee pudding but with a grainier texture and a less cake-y feel.
The Meat Co’s rolled out everywhere from the UK and Africa to the Middle East, so clearly there’s something valuable in translating their homebred favourites for the rest of the world. The West London restaurant is also expecting a major makeover very soon, so pay it a visit for good food and a little glimpse into real South African cooking.
Unit 1026, Westfield Shopping Centre
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