As you’d expect, I need to have a pretty open palette to be a restaurant reviewer and unless I am in a very specific mood, I always ask the waiter for their recommendation. Unfortunately, I’ve come to find that too many waiters have absolutely no knowledge of the food they are serving, making their recommendation worth about as much as the Zimbabwean dollar. I recently ate at a reasonably respectable restaurant where, upon asking for a recommendation my waitress looked blankly at the menu, pointed at a random dish and said “Well…err…that sounds nice”. Not exactly confidence inspiring.
However, during my impressive visit to The Meat & Wine Co, Tiago, our waiter, encouragingly informed me that they have regular tasting sessions of the food and wine to allow them to make reliable recommendations to the customer. The result? We ordered six dishes and a couple of glasses of wine and the only thing we didn’t like was the dish we chose ourselves!
Following successful outlets in numerous other countries, this restaurant brings its South African inspired cuisine to London. As you’d expect, the menu is a carnivore’s paradise, with everything from prime steaks to springbok, whilst the all encompassing 10.5 metre display of wine holds nearly 4000 New World bottles and shows serious intent! The split level venue is a spectacular, if somewhat garish, mix of burnt orange and light woods and also features some of the biggest tables of any restaurant I’ve come across. Ms Pancake and I sat next too each other so that we could converse without resorting to our mobile phones!
So the food. We started with some seriously delicious Bruschetta and not so good Peri-peri prawns (the only dish which we picked out all by ourselves); it was too salty, creamy and lacked any real peri-peri punch. No matter, for our mains more than made up for it. Ms Pancake ordered an immense half-rack of Pork ribs which was full of soft, tasty meat and topped with deliciously sweet and sticky barbeque sauce. My Marinated ribeye was just as good. I don’t know what it was marinated in, but I would have eaten my arm if it was coated in it; however, I suspect the meat could have done with more ageing as it became a little chewy as I neared the bone. We also ordered a portion of totally delicious Onion rings which were coated in the lightest batter and maintained their sweet flavour. As per our recommendation, the accompanying Merlot and Pinot Noir were perfect partners. Our desserts were a wonderfully stodgy Bread & butter pudding and a Warm chocolate & pistachio fondant which was perfectly gooey but a too sweet for our taste buds.
So the verdict? The meal was fantastic, prices were reasonable for the quality (expect £17-£25 for mains, including the chips) and the venue was unique. As our waiter would say “I would recommend this one.”
Cuisine type: Meat
Meal for 2 (excluding drinks): £35
The Meat & Wine Co
Westfield London Shopping Centre
London W12 7GA
0208 749 5914