Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Beef Cartel - Maltby Street SE1

Quite simply my favourite pop up of the year so far; Niall Davidson’s Beef Cartel is to meat eaters what crack is to junkies. From start to finish the evening was an absolute joy and I left stinking of meat and smoke.

What was it all about? Well Niall basically wanted to showcase how good proper beef can be and has spent the last few months tracking down the perfect cow for the evening. He finally found one on the Isle of Mull.

A three and a half year old pure highland heifer, that’d spent its life wintered in the hills and summered on the low grass lands on the stretch of soil next to the beach. A stress free and idyllic existence before she got the chop in a local abattoir.

We started with a Tartare of Bavette (that could be wrong, it was tartare of something other than fillet) with amazing little cubes of potato cake cooked in beef dripping. The meat, simply treated, was delicious next to the crisp potato.

Meat course two was the fore quarter and short rib slow cooked over charcoal smoke on the barbecue. It came with a sauce made from the oxtail helping to make sure nothing was wasted.

Next was a rather safe Offal course in my books but very special all the same. Beef heart cooked for 50 hours in a water bath, seared in a hot pan and served with heritage tomatoes.

The meat was like butter, rich and smacked of iron but if there is a next time I think I’d want to see some braver choices on the offal front.

Onto the steaks and by this point the bar was full of smoke and the chatter of people eager for more meat. The platters placed before us held slices of possibly the best Rib Eye and Porterhouse I’ve ever had and this leads me to my only complaint of the evening.

There could have been more… Each course kept us wanting and the portions were small enough to allow us to eat the next but I felt like I’d just got in to my stride.

It was pure greed but with steak this good I couldn’t help wanting more MEAT. That said if Niall ever opens a restaurant of his own I’ll definitely be booking a table on opening night.

A nod must go to Raef of Gergovie wines, the matched wines worked extremely well with the menu and certainly helped the evening speed by in a slightly drunken fug!


  1. Ah, such happy memories... OF BEEF! Nice work, sir

  2. This does look pretty epic on the beef front (even if it wasn't on the portion side of things)... I really like the sound of the steak, the tartare, and the heart (it may be safe, but it's something i haven't eaten much of in the past). The steak-on-=grill pic you have gives a good impression of the quality here. Am quite gutted not to got to this.