Recently Kris and I dined at the Butlers Wharf Chop House, part of the D&D London group of restaurants. We were there to sample their Meat Up Experience, a four course meat feast for two. The menu started only a few weeks ago and is running for a limited time only.
This is very much an interactive dining experience where the Head Chef or Sous Chef comes to your table and either prepares the food in front of you or explains the story behind each course.
The menu has been designed with a view to encourage everyone to appreciate and eat meat and all the different cuts that come from it. Each course represents a different part of the cow. For example, the steak tartare uses sirloin, whilst the steak is a Chateaubriand (top end of the fillet). There are also offal-based delicacies, such as kidneys and bone marrow. Each course is accompanied by carefully curated red and white wines to match. To end, they have a very classical and traditional English pudding called the West Sussex Pond Pudding.
We started with Black Angus Steak Tartare | Pickled Shallots, Horseradish, Applewood Cheese. Traditional steak tartare comes with ketchup, capers, cornichons and raw shallots but here, they have slightly tweaked the ingredients whilst keeping the foundation flavour intact. The acidity not only comes from the use of capers, cornichons but they have improvised it further by incorporating some pickled shallots. The smokiness and sharpness is now derived from raw horseradish which replaces the mustard and the ketchup. Finally (and this is something quite unique), the mix gets a generous shaving of smoked applewood cheese, a drizzle of chilli oil to lubricate it and salt to draw out the moisture. It was quite unlike any other steak tartare we have tasted elsewhere. It was nicely seasoned, the meat was good quality, the flavours had amalgamated very well and the textures were great. It had a tiny bit of zing to it and you did get the flavour of the horseradish at the back. The cheese added a lovely creaminess to it, kind of like eating a deconstructed burger.
Moving on, we had the Roast Bone Marrow | Parsley, Shallot & Caper Salad, Grilled Sourdough. As a massive fan of bone marrow, this was undoubtedly my favourite course of the evening. It was ultra lush, creamy, substantial in portion and delicious, spooned over some chargrilled sourdough toast.
Perhaps not so enthusiastically received was the Devilled Kidneys | Fino Sherry, Mustard & Spring Onions on Bloomer. Don’t get me wrong, the cooking was flawless. The kidneys and the accompanying vegetables were nicely chargrilled with some lovely smoky flavours. But after a couple of mouthfuls, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to eat the kidneys, as the texture didn’t quite work for us. We were glad we tried it but probably not something we will order out of choice.
The main act was the Black Angus Chateaubriand | 42 Day Dry Aged Beef served with Pole Beans cooked with Confit Shallots, Buttered Spring Greens and Triple Cooked “Beef Fat” Chips. We were also offered a selection of sauces that included Bone Marrow Gravy (the wonderful Chef Alfie cooked this specially for me after seeing my enthusiasm for bone marrow), Peppercorn Sauce, Red Wine Gravy and Béarnaise Sauce. The steak was excellent; it was a really gorgeous slab of meat and the cooking was high quality, although parts of it were slightly underseasoned. Very impressed overall.
The finale of West Sussex Pond Pudding | Vanilla Custard was an intriguing affair.
This historically popular and classical dish is basically composed of a lemon baked whole inside a suet pastry. A lot of effort goes into the cooking. The lemons used are fresh and unwaxed, which are then slowly cooked for three hours and 45 minutes inside a pastry dome made of vegetable suet, self-raising flour and water. Everything is made in-house, with simple ingredients and done with precision. The pond expression comes from when you cut it open and all the trapped, steaming juices come pouring out. This dessert was not something one sees everyday. It was rustic, unfussy yet hearty and comforting. The whiff coming from that pastry was divine. It was insanely buttery, tasted deliciously lemony and contrasted well with the bitterness coming from the rind of the cooked lemon.
A big thumbs up to the service all evening: attentive, efficient and affable. The tables were cleared after each course and napkins folded promptly.
All the courses came with quality ingredients, carefully thought out portions so nothing goes wasted and was well-paced so you could enjoy the whole experience without feeling overstuffed. The whole experience costs £150 for two including wine-pairing (no other hidden charges) so definitely something for special occasions or corporate gatherings. Given the range and quality of meat served in all four courses, this experience is highly recommended for meat lovers. Come hungry!
Location : 36e Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE
More details here : https://www.chophouse-restaurant.co.uk/menus/restaurant/the-meat-up-experience/
N.B. We attended Butlers Wharf Chop House as part of a competition win but all photos and opinions are mine.