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The 100 best dishes in London: Meat dishes

Carnivores can indulge in the capital with our selection of the best meat dishes

Charcuterie board at Bull & Last

A perfect platter for the charcuterie-lover, Bull & Last’s own-made offerings range from deliciously umami-packed duck ‘prosciutto’ to chicken liver parfait with a bit of body. There’s fantastic chunky ham hock terrine too, great with the tiny gherkins, and the celeriac remoulade is a good foil for the rich rillettes. Tiny pepper radishes, watercress, chutneys and toast complete the deal at this smart spot.

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Dartmouth Park

Steak tartare at Chiltern Firehouse

Don’t go to ‘the Firehouse’ for the slebs (they’re all hiding in the VIP bits of the hotel, anyways), go for Nuno Mendes’ cooking. Compared to the maverick dishes he made his name with, the offerings at this Marylebone hotspot can appear rather prosaic – until you consider how Mendes makes them. Take this steak tartare: a fillet of 48-day aged Irish beef, lightly seared, then bound with an alabaster pine nut emulsion. A single Burford Brown egg yolk is removed from an immersion of olive oil, then carefully balanced on top. For ‘mixing in’, there’s a blob of house-made chipotle paste, more of the pine nut emulsion, plus finely chopped or julienned accoutrements: shallots, cornichons, radishes and parsley. On the side, there are thyme-scattered ‘country bread’ crostini plus a bottle of Firehouse ‘hot sauce’ (made with fennel, apple, garlic, tomatoes, red chillies – all smoked, then cooked down with cider vinegar). The sauce is designed to ‘evolve’ the flavour of the tartare, so try it first without, then with. In short, every mouthful is unique, and you can have your tartare exactly how you want it. Hey, you’re worth it.

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Wiener Schnitzel at The Delaunay

Life is full of difficult dilemmas, such as: which is The Delaunay’s best dish? Torn between the excellent sachertorte and the perfect wiener schnitzel, we had to choose the latter. Wiener schnitzel is boneless veal beaten to a thin layer with a mallet, breadcrumbed and fried. It appeared in every mid-20th-century cookbook, then fell out of fashion. But it’s back, one of many Mitteleuropäisch dishes revived by the wonderful Delaunay - a dish that would put a smile on even Sigmund Freud’s stern face.

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Covent Garden

Ox cheek French dip at Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar

There are many reasons for visiting any of Hawksmoor’s three branches, but if you’re in for cocktails rather than a three-course, beef-based blowout and merely need some sustenance, then go French. This is sandwich perfection – braised ox cheek with Ogleshield Jersey cow’s milk cheese, layered in a slightly sweet finger roll, served with an order of mahogany marrow gravy, which is the delicious dip.

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Heaven and Earth at Hix

Given that Mark Hix’s name has become synonymous with British cooking, it may seem odd to highlight, of all things, his interpretation of a German dish (‘Himmel und Erde’). But this mainstay of Hix’s smart Soho restaurant showcases everything that is great about his cooking: ’heaven’ is a soft, gently spiced black pudding, while ‘earth’ combines mashed potato with faintly sweet apple and a hint of onion. It’s thoughtful, yet simple: Hix at his best.

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Persian fesenjân at Kateh

Kateh is comfortable without being overpriced, a good showcase for the rich, complex cooking of the Persians. If you’re looking for the essence of the cuisine, try the pheasant stew (fesenjân gharghavol). Walnuts were first cultivated in Persia, and when cooked with pomegranate paste (another Iranian signature flavour) give a characteristically rich and sour-sweet sauce. The pheasant meat is dark and strong enough not to be overpowered by the sauce, and the resulting dish is a masterpiece.

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Maida Vale

Bone marrow and parsley salad at St John

In ‘Nose To Tail Eating’, St John’s cookbook, chef-proprietor Fergus Henderson suggests you ask your butcher to hold back a calf’s leg for you if you’re in the mood for bone marrow. We think it’s better to let someone else do the legwork, and head for the dining room of St John instead. Here, against a cool, clinical backdrop, you’ll be served up the just-roasted marrow, still in the bone, and invited to scoop out the translucent contents, spread it on grilled toast and season it to taste. The relish-like parsley, capers and shallot salad cutting through the intensely meaty richness will refresh you enough to allow seconds. And thirds.

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The charcuterie at Terroirs

We’re not saying Terroirs makes the very best charcuterie in London; we reckon Bar Boulud would see off any competition in that regard. Nevertheless, if you eat at this delightful wine bar, do make sure you try the cooked meats. The pistachio and pork terrine in particular is first-class: unctuous and flavour-packed, with appealing textures. The tapas-style bar snacks (Marcona almonds, cheeses) and plats du jour are also appealing.

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Covent Garden

Raw beef, smoked beetroot, turnip, horseradish and sorrel at Typing Room

Once upon a time, the restaurant at Bethnal Green’s stylish Town Hall Hotel was called Viajante, its head chef Nuno Mendes, now chef-to-the-stars over at Chiltern Firehouse. In May 2014 it was reborn as the Typing Room, with A-list industry backers including superstar chef-and-restaurateur Jason Atherton, and a talented new chef in Lee Westcott, a protégé of Atherton’s. This ‘raw beef’ is a clever twist on a carpaccio: a wide, shallow patty of silky, claret-hued meat shavings, blanketed with a thin, crunchy layer of Japanese panko breadcrumbs, and studded with sweet morsels of smoked beetroot.

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Bethnal Green