Monday, 22 November 2010

Barbecoa the Butchers

Barbecoa - the Butchers

Located on Watling Street, a stone’s throw from St Paul’s, the new Barbecoa Butchers is an arresting sight.  With huge, glass-fronted cold-rooms displaying whole and part carcasses, this is in-your-face carnivore theatre.  Jamie Oliver and American barbecue expert Adam Perry Lang’s Barbecoa restaurant close by may be getting some mixed reviews whilst they get their formula right, but they’ve clearly chosen wisely with the butchery staff in the shop.  Recognising a number of the butchers from quality London shops I had no hesitation in taking a closer look at what was on offer.    
The provenance of the meats is not specified beyond, according to the official website, “Animals from carefully selected British farms and co-operatives are typically delivered whole, then butchered on site”.  At least the ageing, storing and skills of the butchers are more transparent.  Normally I would want to know more about the origins of my food before handing over hard-earned cash, but on this occasion I trusted the butcher and bought some rib-eye steaks.  Two minutes either side on a fierce smoking griddle,and five minutes rest to let the flesh relax, rendered them tender and juicy with a good mature flavour.  Bearing in mind the marketing blurb about animals being typically delivered whole, and the professional look of the place, I tried to buy some fresh suet for a Christmas Pudding I had planned.  No success.  The explanation - the suet layer surrounding an animal’s kidneys is these days stripped out at the abattoir.  Presumably our loss is Atora's gain!
Prices are comparable with other good London butchers, though significantly less than Lidgate’s in Notting Hill (considered by many to be the best butchers in London). 
Barbecoa the restaurant describes itself as “A celebration of the relationship between fire and food” and has committed to cooking the food without gas or electricity - “fire, smoke, wood and charcoal” are used instead.  Those who have been detect Perry Lang’s influence in the distinct New York feel.  Barbecoa’s location at One New Change, in the heart of the City of London with close-up views of St Pauls, will probably ensure its success.  It will need to pull in the punters to pay for the reported £3m spent on it.  The fact the website has a section headed “Interior & Branding” says a lot about the intentions for rolling this concept out elsewhere.   For the moment, Jamie Oliver has stated his intention to work at the Pass but given all his other commitments …….

UPDATE: Butcher, Nathan Mills, now has his own business "The Butchery" - currently open for retail Saturdays in Bermondsey SE1,
Barbecoa The Butchers
82 Watling Street
London EC4M 9BX
Mon-Fri 07.00-19.00
Sat 09.00-17.00