“Our meats and produce tell the history of people and their passions; of countrymen working in olive groves, farmers breeding quality livestock, fishermen sailing the high seas, butchers doing justice to the finest cuts of meat. Only in our restaurants can you experience this amazing story – on a plate.” – Roberto Costa.
The ‘RC’ in the name of the restaurant refers to the principal – Roberto Costa.
Macellaio RC Kensington [CLICK] Butcher and Trattoria
84 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3LQ
The nearest Tube station is South Kensington from whence the restaurant is a gentle 8 minutes stroll up the Old Brompton Road. For those sightseeing at the Victoria & Albert or other museums, the location is convenient for a meal before heading back to your hotel. Alternatively, if you stayed at the Doubletree Kensington hotel, Macellaio RC Kensington is only about 60 meters away.
Mon – Thu:
Lunch 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Dinner 6.00pm – 11.00pm
Fri: 12.00pm – 11.00pm
Sat: 12.00pm – 11.00pm
Sun: 12.00pm – 10.30pm
Regular readers will know that I’m not an overt carnivore. I like beef but not to the extent that some of my foodie friends who worship at the altar of Bos taurus taurus do.
Historically, the term “cattle” was derived from Anglo-Norman “catel”, itself from Latin “capitale” meaning ‘principal sum of money, capital’, itself sourced from Ancient Latin “caput” for head. Cattle originally meant ‘movable personal property’ or ‘chattel’, especially large livestock, as opposed to real property such as land that also included wild or small free-roaming animals like chickens as part of the land.
Fassona beef from Piedmonte, north of Genoa, has only 10% the fat of other breeds. ‘Macellaio’ means butcher so immediately, they are in the best position to source the best quality meat. This involves a check on the whithers, legs, muscles and fat growth on the farm before selection. They choose only animals that are at least four years old and then dry-age the beef, in-house, over 6 – 9 weeks for natural enzymes to work their magic and deepen the colour, relax the texture and intensify flavours.
At three other branches of Macellaio RC in London, they hang tuna steak up to 10 days and pizza dough is allowed to rise for 90 hours to give great flavour and incredible texture.
In an incredible “Coals to Newcastle” fashion, they even opened a Macellaio RC trattoria in Milan recently!
It is a relaxed trattoria ambience of bare wooden tables pockmarked with knife wounds. With bent spoons as coat hooks and wine bottles as chandelieres, it is an eclectic décor.
Lone diners can amuse themselves by watching other diners, at least half of which, are Italians. That is an accolade in itself.
Steak Tartare (£14)
Served with capers, anchovies, gherkins, onions, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, Salsa Rubra, mustard, salt, pepper and brandy.
How else to judge the quality of the steak but to order a tartare?
Chopped to the perfect size and consistency, these delicate morsels of tender filet mignon had the right amount of fat and texture for an ‘umami’ mouth feel enhanced by the piquant condiments and flakes of salt.
Previously on AlphaLuxe, I’ve reviewed steak tartare before:
Together with the bread slathered with excellent Extra Virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this was the best steak tartare I’ve tasted to date!
Costata del Macellaio (£6.80/100g)
Rib of Beef
There are three ‘star’ cuts at Macellaio: Fiorentina T-Bone, Costata Rib and Fillet but as a lone diner, only the 600g minimum order for Costata was feasible. I avoided Fillet as the flavour-to-cost ratio is not as good as the boned cuts. The minimum order weight for T-Bone was too much for me. On the menu were also fix-sized cuts of rump, skirt and hanger steak but I wanted the star cuts. Diners wanting grilled rabbit, “baby” chicken or beef schnitzel can be accommodated.
As a lone diner, my choice of beef cut was limited to Beef Rib because some of them had minimum weight orders exceeding my capacity. However, the 600g rib cut weight included the bone so the edible portion was manageable.
The cloche was an nice touch of fanfare and showmanship. It was certanly worth the wait as it revealed gloriously grilled grub.
Done medium rare, there were so many taste profiles available across the dish; from the charred fatty surfaces to the tender, rare, intercostals oozing with unctuous meaty flavours.
Here is where the slow dry-aging for 6 – 9 weeks really pays off. If you ever asked: “Does it make a difference?”, the answer is emphatically: “YES!”
I did not have to use any condiments as the simple seasoning with sea salt flakes by the expert chef was all that was needed to complement the inherent “umami-ness”.
I was totally engaged in savouring every mouthful and pairing it with the 500ml carafe of Vie Cave IGT Fattoria Aldobrandesca 2013 made from 100% Malbec grape in Toscana.
Vie Cave IGT Fattoria Aldobrandesca 2013 Malbec
The wine is a deep and intense ruby red colour with bouquet of blackcurrant or blueberry and hints of spice or vanilla. It is a full red wine with a good length and aftertaste of blueberries overlaid by hints of dark chocolate. It becomes sweeter with the passage of time.
I parsed out my tasting with morsels of grilled costata meaty goodness.
Bianco al Basilico (£5)
I seldom order dessert but as I had forgone any vegetables or carbohydrates with my main course, a light bianco del basilico creamy concoction was suggested by my waiter who was busy prepping the tables already.
I was one of the last customers having started my dinner 10:23pm and nearly midnight when I left.
For superb selection of ingredients, masterly preparation and top-grade taste, it is easy to bestow this trattoria with the AlphaLuxe Four-Tongues Award.
Postively, the best carnivorous meal that I have had in many a year!
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).