Published on May 14th, 2014 | by Gavin0
Meat The Butcher @ Gillray’s Steakhouse
If I was put on death row, my last request would be for a chateaubriand steak with a generous serving of sweet potato mash and peppercorn sauce. As I type this, the mere thought is forcing me to take a big gulp of saliva; such is the intensity of my desire. But what I’m not so keen on is the preparation. As far as I’m concerned, the meat magically appears on my plate cooked to perfection and all the juicy goodness that comes with it. However, Gillray’s steak restaurant invited me to a unique steak night called Meat The Butcher, an evening dedicated to learning all about the different cuts of beef. Despite a mild fear of butcher’s shops (don’t ask), I agreed to take part.
Gillray’s Steakhouse is located in the 5 Star Marriott County Hall Hotel, looking right out onto the Thames. The restaurant opened over two years ago and is renowned for its extensive Aberdeen Angus steak range that’s all locally sourced from O’Shea’s Butchers in Bermondsey.
There are about 30 fellow steak lovers waiting in the bar with G&Ts before being whisked through the Ye Olde England themed restaurant that’s in keeping with the rest of the 1920s County Hall buildings. We are greeted by Executive Chef Gareth Bowen who has been part of Gillray’s from the beginning- and being a passionate steak fan with nearly 20 years’ experience in the industry; he is the perfect man to talk us through the large slabs of meat that lay in front of us. Along with Gareth, we are introduced to the special guest for the evening, Darragh O’Shea, the owner of O’Shea’s Butchers.
Darragh is an 8th generation Irish butcher and the family’s first shop opened in Tipperary in 1789. He introduces us to the four cuts of beef he’s brought along; rib, loin, skirt, and rump and then informs us that he only uses Angus beef. The reason for this is that they are grass fed for their entire lives to create beautiful marbling on the meat, whereas USDA is 95% grain fed and, in Darragh’s opinion, is poorer quality.
He then drops a huge 35 day aged rump on the table and begins carving the chateaubriand. The sound of meat being ripped from bone is unmistakeable, and I’m slightly regretting sitting in the front row in a white shirt, as there’s every chance that blood could fly my way. It’s evident that Gareth and Darragh have a fantastic chemistry and their knowledge is second to none as they answer quick fire questions from the crown and give out tips for selecting the best cut for different dishes.
Now after all that, they couldn’t let us go away without trying some; and we are treated to a feast of Ribeye and Skirt. It was certainly well worth the wait as both cuts were supreme; especially the Ribeye which was right up there with the Hawksmoor’s and Gaucho’s of this world.
Meat The Butcher is a great culinary concept and a fabulous showcase of British beef. Although this was a one off event, if you were to book a table, the educated staff at Gillray’s would be happy to talk you through the menu; and besides, although learning about the steak was interesting, it paled in comparison to the eating.
Gillray’s Steakhouse, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB