It’s perfectly understandable to think you wouldn’t find a top London restaurant in a shopping centre – understandable, but not entirely accurate.
Despite the setting, (the corner of Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush), The Meat Co. packs as much of a punch as the some of the best in Kensington or Mayfair.
The Meat Co. is an upmarket steakhouse which clings tightly to its international roots.
Head chef Andrzej Owczarek describes the menu as ‘combining elements of traditional African heritage with the best of contemporary international cuisine’.
The location could be a result of applying a Dubai imperative (where the only other The Meat Co. restaurant in the world is located) to the UK.
Upmarket restaurants in air-conditioned shopping centres are common in the Middle East due to the stifling heat.
But don’t be fooled by the commercial setting – The Meat Co. has character in abundance.
The restaurant has both large dining and drinks areas and the bar is the perfect place to kick off the evening with one of the signature cocktails – I went for the Gingerbread Martini.
It didn’t disappoint – admittedly, I chose it for its novelty factor but the taste was surprisingly authentic and a sweet way to start the evening.
My companion and I went for the sharing platter to start. This was certainly the best way of getting to try a wide selection of appetisers the menu has to offer.
The calamari in particular was of a very high standard, similar to what you might find on the Mediterranean coast.
We were also encouraged to try some of the beetroot and chocolate bread. Yes, I was sceptical as well.
But I was quickly proved wrong as the flavours worked surprisingly well. I discovered the ingredients are put together in Dubai, before it is flown over to be baked here, in order to keep the recipe top secret.
If I didn’t feel like James Bond with my gingerbread martini, my ‘top secret’ bread certainly did have me thinking I would look the part in an Aston Martin.
Although the menu boasts a wide selection of entrees including burgers, ribs, hanging skewers and – of course – kangaroo, their forte is the selection of ‘super-aged meat’.
With five different cuts across two different continents the selection is a mouth-watering yet time consuming one.
I went for a 300g Fillet steak which I ordered rare, the result was cooked to perfection.
To accompany the steak we were recommended a bottle of Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied South African red, which again went perfectly with the course. Most wines on the menu are available by the glass or the bottle.
If after all that you are able to summon the strength for desert you won’t be disappointed.
We again opted for the platter as the selection was too vast to choose any one dish. The most eye catching of the snack-size dishes was Nelson Mendela’s eponymous desert.
Said to be Madiba’s favourite, the sticky apricot pudding was not only the tastiest of the selection but a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund – a nice touch.
Despite its unusual location The Meat Co. is a sophisticated restaurant offering an excellent standard of food.
The most expensive steaks cost just under £50 but the menu does have some cheaper options such as stacked burgers for around £10.
The restaurant has some unique touches – including a luxurious unisex bathroom – and was very popular despite being the middle of the week.
The atmosphere is both classy yet relaxed so the venue serves as suitable location to take clients for a business lunch or to treat a date after a hard days’ shopping.
I was once told that you can tell a lot about a restaurant by its bread. The Meat Co.’s beetroot and chocolate offering from Dubai was tasteful, unique – if a little out of place – and overall a nice little impulse buy.