One thing I miss about living in London is the prevalence of really great butchers. Any butcher really. In Australia, you can buy meat at the supermarket of course, but why would you, when there is usually a butcher’s shop right next door. Where I live they seem to be few and far between, and I don’t enjoy buying meat from the supermarket. It just doesn’t ever feel right.
I was pretty pleased when I discovered Hill and Szrok. It’s not conveniently close enough for me to get there that often, but they really are a genuinely fantastic butcher. They specialize in organic and free range meat and they buy direct from the farm, cutting out the middle-man so that the pricing still ends up reasonable. This also means that what they supply is great quality, with a clear provenance which is always a good thing.
When a friend suggested we go check out the ‘butchers restaurant’ I was perturbed. Is it a butcher or a restaurant? I wondered. Turns out, it’s both! And how is that possible you may wonder? Well, by day they are a traditional butcher, and at six o’clock they close and transform themselves into a lively twenty-five seat restaurant. Cool huh!?
The table that they use to work the cuts in the daytime becomes the center table for the restaurant with a communal seating vibe. It’s not super fancy, paper place mats, cutlery in a glass and diner style napkin dispensers adorn the table. For what it is though, this seems just right. Any further pretense would feel misplaced.
The menu is written up on a black board, and because I wasn’t wearing my glasses I missed ordering a fried egg to go with my steak, (then I had fried egg envy) so next time I will have to have a closer look. The ones I had were delicious, I guess I just wanted to try the ones I missed. As expected though, the hero of the meal was the steak. If a butchery doesn’t know how to cook up a good piece of meat, then there isn’t much hope for the rest of us, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was delicious, truly delicious, perfectly cooked and obviously great quality. I wanted to try the T-bone which was unfortunately sold out, but I can put it on the wish list.
Dinner for me isn’t usually complete without dessert. And the berry tart and cream I had was the perfect choice to round things off. Look at it, it’s really pretty don’t you think?
There was a slightly frustrating general confusion at the table, as a result of my friends thinking that half of what I was saying was a euphemism (yes, the mountain I am talking about is actually a mountain! And the ponies are ponies! Geez!!), but that’s not the restaurants fault, and all in all, it was a delightful evening. Even in the absence of that lovely looking fried egg.
Hill & Szrok
60 Broadway Market
London E8 4Qj
0207 254 8805