Once a year it’s Christmas and here at meat club we need to celebrate it, in the best way possible. Now with such expectation can come disappointment, you know, the way you used to think a party or gig would be the best ever, for it to never hit the heights.
So after some courting, and input from an inside source we managed to get our date with the Bistrotheque and their special private room. Such a treat for the festive season. If you haven’t been to Bistrotheque you have a missed a treat, you really have. It’s in East London, nestled in the factories, just off the Hackney Road in a New York style warehouse. Finding it can be a challenge and it’s very easy to drive past.
Back to the meat
To start we had their excellent Steak Tartare, it’s something Bistrotheque is proud of and rightly so. It was made from Long Horn Scottish rump. Very very tasty.
For our next set of courses, our chef Tom Collins and Shaun decided to go a off menu and serve up two Hoggets. Cue a brief explanation of what a Hogget actually is and how it relates to a lamb and a mutton:
- Lamb — a young sheep under 12 months of age which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in wear.
- Hogget — a young male sheep or maiden ewe having no more than two permanent incisors in wear.
- Mutton — a female (ewe) or castrated male (wether) sheep having more than two permanent incisors in wear.
Our hoggets were 18 month old Black Face hoggets from a farm called Fooks Bros in Dorset. They are known for their meat being tender and relatively mild even when the sheep are approaching mutton age. A key factor in choosing older meat.
The hoggets were served in a selection of cuts & dishes (see above). The pressed belly was incredible, in fact it was so good I’m sure it should be illegal. The confit shoulder was a thing to behold, and probably the best piece of lamb I have ever eaten – tender beyond belief. The leg was gargantuan and carnal, great for attacking with your teeth. And the kidney pie was fantastic, with its quality pastry be eulogized by many a member.
Then came the desert – a cheese called Beenleigh Blue. It’s a sheeps cheese made in Sharpham Barton in Devon and has a salty, full, rich and sweet flavor. It is often said to have a similarity in taste to a fino sherry.
As the evening drew on, our 33 members and guests became full of Christmas cheer and joyful noise. Only once where was asked to perhaps lower the volume which at that point was a fair call. For we had the passing of the Chef’s Knife – a beautiful piece of hand engineered metallurgy with 101 layers of folded forged nickel stainless steel. Yes its very sharp.
And so with that, came to the end of my Presidency of London’s greatest dining and meat appreciation club. Thank you Bistrotheque for hosting a great evening and thank you Meat Club for some amazing memories.