Everyone has their 'go to steakhouse'. I'm here to tell you it's the wrong one – I know a better one. I went to Italian owned and run Macellaio recently in South Kensington and emerged wowed, soused and with more than a minute case of the meat sweats. Simply put, it's superb and I loved it.
The facade to the restaurant sets the tone. In a large window, hunks of purple, ageing beef hang, and for all appearances it could be a butchers. I imagine it's been picketed by vegans at some point. Roberto Costa (the RC in its name) is a big proponent of Piedmontese Fassone cattle and all the beef here is of that ilk. This breed is famous for its leanness and 'proven to lower cholesterol' which sounds like a total fib until you do some digging into it. Something about 'double muscling'. Anyway – it cooks like a dream, despite its leanness, and is priced to match.
The menu begins with Italian small plates and starters, before moving into meat by the weight. After choosing your steaks, the waiter comes out with them on a wooden board for inspection – almost like when selecting wine with a sommelier. It's a nice bit of theatre, a feature that soon becomes apparent is customary at Macellaio.
I kick things off with some of their cured meat and try one of rolled cow head. It's a lot nicer than it sounds and is served with delightful bitter leaves (dandelion I think) and a zesty dressing. Next is a trio of battuta, Italian tartare, one of which comes topped with gorgonzola and is flamed at the table with a blow torch. See what I mean about theatre? The contrast between chill beef and hot cheese is pleasing and even uncooked, you can taste what excellent quality this beef is.
We moved to the mains with the usual Macellaio drama when a waiter comes and stabs the table forcefully with a huge steak knife. This is quickly followed by one of the largest, most mouth watering steaks I've ever seen. Sure, it's shared between two but even so- it's a whopper of perfectly cooked, salty crusted, moist, beefy loveliness. We fall upon it like wolves.
I can't praise this steak more. I don't know how it could have been better and it's probably the best one I've ever had. It's cooked exquisitely, is perfectly seasoned with chunks of salt and tastes simply, deeply of beef. It's been aged for 6 weeks, 2 in Italy and then a further 4 here in the restaurant. Sides are unexceptional but nice. Wine is top notch.
Desserts end the meal on a high note – panna cotta with lemon thyme and shards of caramel for texture. It's excellent, has an epic wobble and is light enough to follow what has been a meaty ass meal.
I loved Macellaio RC. For meat, provenance wine and theatre, it hits all the high notes I look for. I'd go as far as saying that it's currently my favourite steak restaurant in London. Yeah – I went there. Here's a tip…you should too.
84 Old Brompton Rd, London SW7 3LQ