Of all the things in London worth queuing for, a great cut of meat from your local butchers has got to be one of them. We can’t help you beat the queues, but we can help you sniff out the best cuts in town, whether you’re based in North, South, East or West London. Cleavers at the ready…
Turner & George
This Clerkenwell butcher is headed up by a butcher and chef team – James George and Hawksmoor’s Richard Turner, who dedicated their own taste buds to ensuring the high standard of the shop’s naturally-reared meat, sourced from native British breeds. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, get there first thing for first dibs of their best cuts. Failing that, you can always order online.
Ask for: A ticket to their Meatopia event in September. It’s the Glastonbury festival of the foodie world.
MEAT N16 was founded by two Stokey locals who wanted to give their neighbourhood a good local butchers shop – and that’s exactly what MEAT N16 is. You might go in there for a few sausages and a joint of beef, but you’re probably also going to leave with a bottle of wine, some top-notch cured ham and an irresistible cheese from the deli at the back of the shop.
Ask for: A place on their Meat the Steak butchery course.
The Ginger Pig
If the name’s familiar, you’ve probably seen it flaunted on any number of menus in London’s restaurants – The Ginger Pig is famous for good reason. There’s (almost) nothing you can’t get hold of from their Borough Market stall, or if you don’t fancy heading into the city, they have seven other shops dotted around the capital.
Ask for: A 100-day-old duck from The Botterills’ family farm in Lincolnshire.
Now based in East Dulwich, William Rose’s original Vauxhall site was founded in 1862, making it one of London’s oldest butchers. The East Dulwich community guards its independent institutions fiercely, and this shop is no exception. If you want to avoid a queue bigger than a herd of cattle, go on a weekday.
Ask for: A selection of their handmade pork sausages.
Hill & Szrok
Dating back to the 15th Century, Hill & Szrok is fronted by wooden cabinets displaying the day’s offerings. At night, the butchers – or ‘cookshop’, as they call it – transforms into a dining room, with slabs of meat cleared from the huge marble butcher’s block to make way for napkins and chinaware.
Ask for: The evening’s supper menu.
Brazilian Centre Hackney
Its unsuspecting shop front isn’t much to look at, but this casa de carnes has earned a cult reputation as a local gem in Hackney. Expect to leave laden with authenticly-spiced Brazilian meat – and a lot more change left over than you might have expected after a visit to the butchers.
Ask for: As many of their infamous spicy sausages as you can carry.
Apparently described as ‘fantastic’ by Nigella herself, HG Walter is known for feeding West London’s resident celebs. The traditional, family-run butcher puts an emphasis on doing things properly, and has a fiercely loyal clientele to vouch for its methods. Pop along to um-and-ah over a whole range of British breeds, all hand-selected by their in-house experts.
Ask for: One of their ‘boxes’ – complete sets of butchered cuts.
The five-generations-old butcher prides itself on its recipes as well as fabulous cuts of meat, so you can pick up ready-made dishes cooked in-house for a quick mid-week supper as well as a dinner party-worthy rack of lamb. They consider themselves to be a trailblazer in ethically and sustainably sourced meat, choosing to work with only the very best suppliers – including The Prince of Wales’ own Highgrove Estate.
Ask for: Their daily 50% off offer.