When you enter the first floor, a spectacular open kitchen area takes centre piece, surrounded by dashes of orange and yellow tones, paired with terracotta walls and red leather seating, emulating the colours of the South African sunset.
In true South African style, we were presented with Biltong. Since Biltong is essentially dried, cured meat, it had a rubbery like texture and a taste that only people who love marmite would truly enjoy. However, halal biltong is not something you come across on your everyday halal food journey, so it is definitely worth a try.
The first Entrée dish was the Rib Meat and Scallop Trio on a bed of herby mash potato. The beef rib meat was effortlessly tender and moist, tearing apart like butter, with a delightful umami moreish taste, truly exquisite. The scallops were cooked to perfection, supple and salaciously good, with the creamy mash potato and herbs providing further joy to the tastebuds.
The Braised Rib Meat Cigars was the showstopper of the platter. The gorgeous braised barbecue shreds of meat were truly addictive, each bite providing intense gastronomical pleasure and only two offering of the Cigars were by no means enough to satisfy our food lust.
The Salt and Pepper Calamari was deliciously crunchy on the outside and firm and supple on the inside, with the accompanying sweet chilli sauce lifting the subtle flavour of the calamari to provide a bold and beautiful taste.
The BBQ Chicken Wings were nice, but nothing memorable. The flavours needed to be bolder and stronger, as the barbecue piquancy failed to make the mouth salivate with satisfaction.
The Bruschetta could have benefited from more seasoning and a fresh herby dressing or drizzle of olive oil to lubricate the slightly stale and bland bread.
The Entrée Tasting Platter although visually alluring, some components delivered whilsts other components fared less better. A South African twist to the classic Bruschetta and Chicken Wings, drawing on The Meat Co.’s heritage would have provided for a better experience.
For main, we had the Wagyu beef steak with giant king prawns. There is a lot of hype around Wagyu beef, due to it being renowned for its marbling, which refers to the fat found within a cut of meat and between the muscle fibers themselves. A high-quality steak will have a lot of marbling, while a lean cut will have very little or no visible marbling. So the more marbling there is in a steak, the higher the grade it is and therefore the more expensive the cut of meat.
When the Wagyu steak arrived, it was presented with grill marks and was glazed with a sweet marinade coating. It was cooked to medium, which is the best way to prepare Wagyu, so to ensure it is marbled, and buttery and rich in flavour and texture. The steak took no effort to cut and was lovely and pink in the middle. I have tasted many a steak over the years, and without a shadow of a doubt, this was the best steak I had ever eaten. Every bite bought a tear to my eyes as I knew inevitably the steak would reach its demise. The tripled cooked chips were a surprise hit, as visually they looked bog standard, but the taste was wholesome and divine. The onion rings were more on the crunchy side and not so much to our liking.
The King Prawns were visually spectacular, and made me feel diminutive in comparison. The prawns had the same sweet marinade as the steak and was a great combination to the Wagyu.
The Flame Grilled Lamb Chop Skewer was marinated in Chef’s special spices and herbs and skewered with courgettes and shallots. The chops were tender, wholesome and succulent. A great option if you’re not a steak fan, but lets be honest, the superstars at The Meat Co. are their steaks.
The Chef’s Dessert Tasting Platter consisted of an array of desserts to satisfy our sweet tooth. The components of the dessert that stood out the most was the Nelson Mandela cake, with the caramel being sweet and sticky, and truly delicious and the Crème Brûlée which was also a surprise hit. The other desserts (Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Fondant, Lavender Mouse and Ice Cream) were pleasant, but did not stand out to us in comparison to the former two.
The Meat Co.’s attention to detail in offering a true halal dining experience is exceptional. From separate halal menus (the menus are colour coded), to halal seating areas away from alcohol, to separate fridges, cooking stations, cutlery and utensils. They even go as far as having separate days when their halal and non-halal meat is delivered, so to further avoid accidental cross-contamination.
The Meat Co.’s South African food experience is truly exceptional, but as with all good things in life, it does not come cheap. With their high quality premium cuts of meat and the overall halal dining experience, there really isn’t anywhere else in London to rival The Meat Co.
Is the cost of their food justifiable? That is a question only each individual person can answer. For halal food adventurers such as ourselves, their Wagyu steak was truly exquisite, delivering in taste, flavour and the overall gastronomical experience, whereas certain other dishes did not quite deliver to the same standard.
You will undeniably be captivated by The Meat Co., from the moment you enter to the moment you leave, either due to the stunning decor or the great food, or from the gaping hole the experience will leave in your wallet. Either way, it is somewhere you would want to visit for that special occasion. Follow their South African Halal Food Journey and see where it takes you.
*We were invited to review.