‘Great, not only am I the first and only one here, but Laura’s booked us into a shop,’ I thought as I pushed open the door to Battersea’s The Butcher and Grill at 6 p.m last Friday. Aisles of cheeses and meats lay out like a maze before me and a delicatessen complete with a man in a funny hat rested to my right.
Last Friday, you may recall was my 24th birthday. A party had been organised in the neighbouring Magic Garden pub and my sister suggested that we have a family supper beforehand to line our stomachs. So, I was rather concerned on entering the establishment as to whether we would be able to eat there.
This concern, however, was quickly alleviated as I meandered through the shop section to find a bar and restaurant area hiding at the back. Ordering a large glass of red wine, I propped up the bar by myself and sent a series of abusive text messages to my siblings. My brother was walking and my sisters were on a bus replacement service. I drained the glass and, after mentioning that it was my birthday, was given some complimentary olives.
It was during this period of solitude that I decided to have a proper look at my surroundings. This place was cool, really, really cool. The shop/restaurant thing really works, it’s sort of like a self-sufficient home. The produce they sell, they also use themselves. Even at 6 p.m there was a fantastic atmosphere and sitting by myself didn’t cause a stir – the waiters and waitresses didn’t ask me about where everyone was or usher me to our table.
I finished my olives and my brother arrived fresh in from setting up the Real Nice party in Brixton. He brought with him a present (which I really wasn’t expecting). ‘Ah, thanks Charles.’ I opened it to find a bumper pack of sports direct socks reduced to £3.99. He laughed.
Brother was soon followed by my sisters, who had ditched the bus in favour of a taxi, and we were shown to our table and handed menus. And what a menu it was! From poached pear and walnut salad, to barbary duck, to steak tartare to mussels, well I wanted everything.
Alas, this wasn’t going to be a possible and with time running out, we opted to go for just the one course. This course would be from the grill (it was in the name afterall). Claudia and Charles shared the 750g Chateaubriand (which takes half an hour to cook) and chose both the red wine sauce and the béarnaise sauce to accompany it.
Laura and I chose the fillet steak and also chose the béarnaise sauce. We also ordered sides of wilted spinach, green beans and roast field mushrooms. And a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, which was, quite simply, exceptional.
The food too, was absolutely superb. The Chateaubriand was presented so beautifully on a chopping board that it even got my brother reaching for his Iphone (oh eaters and tweeters). Ordered medium rare it did come rather on the rare side, but this didn’t affect its deliciousness and the pair readily attacked it.
The fillet steak too was scrumptious, with its juicy interior complemented fantastically by the creamy béarnaise sauce. Noteworthy also, were the field mushrooms, whose garlicky notes added an extra dimension to the dish. Yummy.
Though only a fleeting visit, the impression has been made and I shall definitely be returning to The Butcher and Grill. It was the perfect balance of casual-yet-fine-dining and set us up perfectly for the night to come.
The shop/restaurant floor