I am having an Italian gastronomic moment. A few weeks ago, it was the fabulous Bombetta, this week it is the turn of Italian steak experts Macellaio RC. The newly opened fourth establishment in Clapham (other branches include South Kensington, Southwark, Union Street) is a meat lovers’ idea of dolce vita.
Macellaio is located at one end of a speedily mumsifying high street of Northcote Road. The entrance is marked by a dark grey facade and a striking red awning, that hangs over a proud display of different cuts and carcasses of meat. There is some outside seating available for warmer days and alfresco dining.
Inside the restaurant: vintage furniture, designer pendant lighting and sparkly chandeliers spruce up a narrow and intimate space.
A swish and solid marble top bar is a good place to perch and chat with the bartender whilst sampling the comprehensive and bespoke Italian wine selection, superbly hand-picked by founder Roberto Costa himself.
As soon as you enter, you see the deli counter of Italian meats and cheeses on display and a butchers block table, where every five minutes you can hear the loud ‘thud’ of the butcher’s cleaver!
All the meat in the restaurant is lovingly sourced from Piedmont in Italy. They serve the renowned Fassone Beef – a type of meat known for its naturally lean and low fat characteristics. The meat used for the steaks come from the female cows, as the testosterone in the males make the steak bitter and flavourless. I am really enjoying the pun here!
We were warmly welcomed by Roberto and Jesus. Jesus quickly concocted some Aperol Spritz and Campari Spritz, which was refreshing on a particularly warm Saturday evening. (Top tip: they have happy hours everyday between 5 pm and 8pm, where you can get these aperitifs for £4.50 each). I definitely recommend starting your meal with a couple of these; at that quality and price they are spritz-tastic!
Being a first timer, we had no clue where to start. This is where the effervescent Roberto came to our rescue. He was patient with us and recommended what to order in terms of starters and mains.
The small bites and starters are dominated by cold cuts: Italian meats, cheeses and salads. There is an Offals section as well with some interesting sounding dishes like Heart, Liver, Testicles and Tripe. I believe these dishes are one of the best things to try on their menu. However, not feeling brave enough, we decided to skip this section on this occasion.
Before the food arrived, the staff offered us some complimentary Bresaolo and homemade focaccia which was delicious and a nice touch!
Kris started with the Carpaccio served with Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper (9.5) from the Tartare section. It was a meaty triumph – artfully sliced thin slivers of superior quality meat drizzled with that fragrant, rustic oil.
Upon recommendation, we also shared the Prosciutto Crudo (£16) – beautifully hand carved and served alongside a perfect sphere of burrata. The burrata was cool, creamy and stringy; like the texture of gooey scrambled eggs and the taste of silken cheese, matching perfectly with the salty prosciutto. I had to fight off Kris for a bigger share of this one!
The choice for the mains was unanimous! It had to be the Costata (£37.20 for two people sharing) – a premium kind of rib which is flavoursome and less fatty. It is sold by weight and starts at 500g (£6.2 for 100g). Between two people, 500 – 600 grams is a good amount, although you can order more if you are feeling particularly hungry. Our steak came to be just over 600 grams which was perfectly portioned for the both of us.
Other mains that stood out for me were the Whole Pigeon (with poached pear and red wine sauce) and Grilled Rabbit (with white wine and garlic). I think a second visit is definitely in order!
Before cooking, they brought the freshly butchered meat to our table to show us what we were getting.
Before the mains arrived, they stuck our steak knives onto the wooden surface of our tables for dramatic effect. The meat arrived under a stainless steel cloche dome and flamboyantly revealed in front of us. There was a real sense of theatre to everything.
The meat was resplendent; lean, luxurious, pink, oozing a hint of dark meat juices and slicing like butter.
We ordered a bunch of sides (priced at £4.9 each); all of them were ace. The purple sprouting broccoli was beautifully blistered and thoughtfully seasoned, studded with fresh chillies; the sautéed spinach – verdant and garlicky; the mash so obscenely creamy I could swim in it.
At the end of our meal, we were undoubtedly in food coma. All that delicious food was washed down by a lovely bottle of the Pietrafitta Primitivo (recommended by Jesus) – a medium bodied red wine that complimented our medium rare steak.
The dessert options were slightly unexciting compared to the rest of the menu. It felt that by the time it had come to designing the desserts, they had run out of ideas and stuck to the classics! We shared a light cheesecake to polish off a decadent meal on a sweet note.
Throughout the evening, service was faultless. The warm and welcoming staff clearly have passion and a real sense of pride in the food they serve. We genuinely felt well looked after, especially by Roberto. All around us, tables were full and the atmosphere buzzing!
At the end of our meal, we were offered a complimentary glass each of limoncello or grappa. It wrapped up the evening on a delightfully intoxicating note!
This is very much a flesh focussed restaurant. So if you are a meat lover like me, give Macellaio RC a try for some killer steaks and game! You won’t regret it, I promise!
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine and my partner’s. I review anonymously and pay for my meals. The total cost of the meal was discounted as it was part of the restaurant’s soft launch period. This is not a sponsored post.