Steak and chips could be labelled boring fare by some foodies, although I am sure many a Parisian would disagree, but done properly it can be a delight. So if one of the main selling points of your menu is that very dish it needs to be exciting rather than lacklustre to the tastebuds to pull in the punters.
The Meat Co is a cavernous eating den set on two levels, based in the heart of Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd's Bush, which can cater for 260 hungry dinners at any one time. It is the group's first restaurant in the UK, having previously made its mark in South Africa and the Middle East after being launched by one of South Africa's most successful restaurateurs Costa Tomazos.
But the smart top level restaurant is no cattle shed rather a sophisticated and relaxed space that bears little resemblance to the traditional feel of a steakhouse. The décor is rich and warm with a mixture of comfortable long burgundy banquettes and cute two seater brown ones, while a striking glass tower of new world wines provides a stunning feature for diners to sit and admire while they also eye the chefs busy in the open kitchen area.
As you would expect the menu is top heavy on meat – although there are plenty of other options – but I was keen to discover whether The Meat Co lived up to its proud claim of only serving the finest steak with the quality beef sourced from around the globe.
However, first there was the sideshow of starters to whet our appetite before we tucked into the main event. Fiona was suitably happy with her well cooked and seasoned salt and pepper calamari (£8) which came with a tasty Nam Jim sauce.
I went for herb roasted roasted bone marrow (£10) which was of the 'interesting' variety rather than memorable and lacked a bit of punch, although when added to toast and a decent marinated cucumber dressing it more than came into its own.
My main event, simple steak and chips, did not disappoint. The 30-day aged 200g fillet steak (£38) from the British Isles was a beautiful piece of mouthwatering meat, cooked perfectly medium rare with bags of juicy flavour and well seasoned. The chips were crunchy and splendid and an accompanying green pepper sauce (£2.75) and well cooked grilled asparagus (£4.25) made for a jolly good plate of food, which was in no way boring to the taste buds.
Meanwhile Fiona, whom I have never known to eat ribs, took the advice of our waitress and ordered a half rack of beef ribs (£23). She was very pleased she did and marvelled at the lovely smoky flavour as the succulent meat literally fell away from the bone. Some full of flavour chips was all that was needed for this feast on a plate to be great hit.
I still found room to pay homage to the great man himself Nelson Mandela in the form of his favourite desert – malva pudding (£7). The traditional South African dish was rich, sweet and deliciously sticky, but not heavy, and well balanced by some creamy ice cream. A £1 donation to Nelson Mandela's children foundation for the dish was a nice touch.
Fiona wrapped up with the ice cream/sorbet platter (£5.25 with scoops of fresh tasting and refreshing passion fruit and vanilla sorbets.
With excellent service from the friendly and professional staff there was nothing to dislike about The Meat Co and it is well worth a visit if you are looking for a quality meat feast. And if you want to really splash the cash I would recommend a bottle of the Chocolate Block Boekenhoustskloof Franschhoek, a classic South African red which with its rich aroma and depth sits perfectly with many of the meat dishes on the menu.
TREAT YOUR FRIENDS TO A MEAL AT THE MEAT CO!
getwestlondon is offering readers a chance to win £200 to spend at The Meat Co. Go here to enter the competition by the closing date of Friday August 1.