I live in West London and I can say with a degree of authority that a decade ago Shepherds Bush was, on a good day, seedy. But since it opened in 2008, Westfield shopping centre has transformed the area and the improvements continue, revitalising a whole neighbourhood. The Meat Co has a home here!
The centre offers more than 750 brands and has a retail floor area of 150,000 m², and at the time of its opening it was reported to be the second largest commercial centre in the UK. It has outstanding transport links with fleets of buses and the Underground stations of Wood Lane, White City, Shepherd’s Bush and Shepherd’s Bush Market …and it’s set to expand! Westfield is also a leisure destination, with a 17-screen cinema, and restaurants of every hue.
The Meat Co have a London outlet here in Westfield, although they have branches in South Africa, from where the company originates, as well as the Middle East. It’s a concept that travels well. With competition being so keen in the hospitality universe, restaurants have first to recognise their core audience, and then present something which will appeal long-term.
This was my first visit. The Meat Co is solid. The design features give a nod to Africa but the restaurant isn’t overly themed. The ground floor reception sports hide-covered seats and a sweeping spiral staircase to the first floor restaurant. They can seat a couple of hundred diners, although the 10 metre-high New World Wine wall divides the restaurant so it loses what would otherwise be a hangar-like perspective. Plenty of wood and earth tones here but also some rather impressive wall lamps. These are huge trumpet flowers which add colour and texture in dramatic fashion.
The menu is unsurprisingly meat-driven and there is also a dedicated halal menu reflecting the makeup of many of the diners who are either local or international tourists taking advantage of the retail opportunities at Westfield. There are vegetarian options, some seafood and salads too, but it’s meat which dominates.
Chocolate and Beetroot Bread is a small loaf disguised as a sweet potato. It’s the same pinkish-brown colour with the chocolate chips appearing as ‘eyes’. But the taste is not over-chocolatey so works well with a savoury meal. Try the excellent olives and the iconic South African biltong which is rustic and addictive. Order one of the unique cocktails at The Meat Co. I had a sweet Gingerbread Martini and it’s not even Christmas!
Peri-Peri Prawns were my guest’s starter. These were well-seasoned with plenty of Peri-Peri sauce and a mound of rice for mopping up. This was originally a Portuguese sauce made in Africa with small and fiery chillies although this version was mild. I chose Chicken Wings with a well-balanced blue cheese sauce which didn’t overpower the sweet glaze on the wings; they were meaty and moist. Real sticky-finger food and thoroughly delicious.
Dry-aged then wet-aged
Rib-Eye steak was my companion’s main course. This was from British animals and dry-aged up to 30 days then wet-aged for tenderness and added flavour. This cut oozed quality as well as juices. When meat is as good as this it doesn’t need to be fussed with. It was served simply with chunky chips and some vibrant broccoli with chilli flakes.
Flame-Grilled Butcher Skewer was my substantial and beautifully presented main dish. The meltingly tender chunks of beef were lacquered with the house glaze and separated on the hanging metalwork by pepper and onion slices. I highly recommend this for taste as well as theatre. It’s a winner. They offer chicken and lamb versions here as well.
Summer Berry Tiramisu was our shared dessert. A delightful presentation in a preserving pot and that’s an idea I will be shamelessly stealing. This was a perfect seasonal end to a meal which showed the restaurant, and indeed the company, in a very positive light. The staff were professional, knowledgeable about the menu, and charming. The food was excellent and the restaurant attractive and, importantly, it’s not far from me!
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 11.30pm
Sunday: 11am – 10.30pm
Phone: +44 (0)20 8749 5914
The Meat Co
Westfield London Shopping Centre
London W12 7GA
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018