Proper meat is worth paying for and a good butcher is a world away from mystery meat. You'll get top-quality produce, knowledgeable service and a guarantee that the meat has been ethically sourced. These London butchers are a cut above the rest. Do you agree with our choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
The best butchers in London
Given that the ‘barbecue steakhouse’ above it is a venture from savvy restaurateurs Jamie Oliver and US ‘barbecue king’ Adam Perry Lang, it’s no surprise that the adjoining butcher’s shop is smart, slick and serious about its meat. Cuts come handpicked from across the UK’s finest farms, before being aged on site.
Balham butcher Chadwicks takes the concept of ‘family-run’ to the next level, with nearly every member of the team some relative or other. They’re a cheery bunch too. You’ll find them serving excellent own-made sausages and pies, cuts of organic meat, and the likes of rolled haunch of venison (with advice on how to cook it).
Now in the hands of third-generation butcher Bob Dove, this good-looking corner site has been a Northcote Road landmark since opening in 1889. Service could be friendlier, but there’s no questioning the quality of the meat, including premium cuts of steak, in this high-end (and high-priced) shop.
How many times have you been in a smart London restaurant and seen the words ‘From the Ginger Pig’ on the menu? Well you can recreate the meaty magic at home, with pies, pickles and sausages straight from their maker. There are five branches across town, but we love the Hackney outpost, which brings quality cuts to east London, along with excellent sausage rolls.
Arguably the most popular butcher in north London, Godfreys has built a reputation on its vast and high-quality selection. Alongside the usual suspects (meat, sausages, pies), you’ll also find cheaper cuts (onglet, ox cheeks, rabbit), own-made stocks and more exotic options via advance order, such as a three-bird roast of goose, capon and pheasant.
West London is awash with great meaty options. This fancy Barons Court butcher is also fairly modern, supplying to burger champions Patty & Bun, among others. Staff will advise on the best cuts for slow-cooking and supply offal and even Ibérico pata negra for the true meat fiends. Or just stop in to pick up first-rate steaks, chops and sausages. Take the time to browse the deli, too – HG’s homemade scotch quail eggs are worth the trip alone.
It’s not often that carcasses are given prominence in London restaurants, but that’s exactly what happens in the refrigerated window display of this ‘master butcher & cookshop’. Butchers by day and intimate dining room by night, Hill & Szrok has given new meaning to the phrase ‘open kitchen’ and made such a success of it that they had to open a pub/restaurant to deal with the demand.
Much like many of the Stokey locals, the crew behind this independent Hackney butcher are bang on trend. Butchery classes and courses on matching wines to meat are the order of the day, as are a fine selection of cuts for taking home and eating – with beef hung for 20 days before carving up. Pity the butchers aren’t more welcoming, though.
The chaps at Moen have come a long way from their South Norwood roots. These days, they occupy a grand Victorian-tiled space moments from Clapham Common tube, where they cure their own bacon, source premium organic and free-range meat, and can supply you with pretty much everything you’d need for a smart dinner, from sparklingly fresh herbs to in-season veg.
In a meaty mood? Try the capital's best burgers
Bea's of Bloomsbury
Bea’s of Bloomsbury is a mini-chain of cafés, with branches in Watling Street near St Paul's and Cowcross Street in Farringdon. But this original in Bloomsbury is the best, not least because it’s the source of all those spectacular gateaux and special occasion cakes – the busy, and sometimes noisy, kitchen and bakery occupies the rear half of the long and narrow space. Choose your seat in the long corridor facing the counter carefully, as the tables nearest the front bear the brunt of the constant bustle of takeaway customers; further back the room’s only slightly cosier. But people don’t come to Bea’s for the ambience (the tables are wipe-clean bare, though not always spotless) or for the service (frosty on our most recent visit) – they come here for the cakes. Our ‘sweet tea’ comprised a double-decker of plates; the lower deck a too-crumbly scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam, the upper deck a more impressive display of confections. Among them were a moist cupcake the colour of dried blood; a tiny square of peanut and jam brittle; tiny, jewel-bright meringues; a dice-sized brownie, and some wobbly, caramel-coloured marshmallow. All of these were impeccably made with top- quality ingredients. The Jing tea selection also does the trick. Note: if you place a booking you must order the full afternoon tea (£19), which includes mini-baguettes as well as scones and sweet things. There is also a gluten-free version, available with 48 hours' notice.