Roberto Costa is an Italian with a passion for respectful food, so just his Macellaio restaurant in Exmouth Market was the perfect location for a birthday treat!
Having walked past recently and finding myself captivated by their glorious Italian aged beef and firm Sicilian silvery tuna in the windows I was excited to return for dinner soon. Birthdays are an exciting excuse to head across town to try out good things and this was no exception.
As explained in his heartfelt video Macellaio Roberto's place of honesty, and a deep understanding of the story behind food means they only serve what they know to be great produce.
Greeting passers by is a selection of very well hung meat, being proper butchers they really care about their cuts, and the ageing too. Next window along has a whole tuna in it too!
Started off with a bottle of house white, something by which I place a great deal of attention as a house wine should be a win not whine, and this one was perfect for the warm day.
The Piedmont region of north west Italy yields some of the finest fresh air, mountain flora and just the kind of place I'd like to grow up if I were a cow. Moovelous! This meaty rib eye though came out presented so proudly by our waitress, it's a worthwhile touch; they didn't have to but it really shows they are trying to make a point.
My wife and I decided to share various dishes and the tuna flourished with mustard and olive oil delicately atop shredded white chicory. Tuna can be a fairly strong flavour so it balanced well with the chicory, which some can also find strong but here it remained dainty. The Bollito croquettes are a heritage idea turned into restaurant chic, and while looking beautiful they were very dry, only helped by the red pepper drizzle - a certain sadness when you're expecting a mind burst of sensual crispy/soft as previously experienced at The Frog. Thankfully we were quickly distracted by tartare!
Macellaio has various tartares on the menu, for the theatrical fans one even gets topped with spizy Gorgonzola flame-melted at the table. Ours came super lean, with a firework of flavours courtesy of capers, anchovies, gherkins, onion, Worcester sauce, Tabasco, tomato ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper and brandy! It's a lengthy ingredient list but its a mouthful well worth the journey.
The main event steak arrived and after your eyes adjust to the sense of occasion it brings, the smell takes over and makes you pleased they age the beef. There's a deep richness that only comes with aged fat, although the meat itself was pleasingly lean, excited with grassy olive oil and a pique of salt. I do wish the metal serving dish had been hotter as the steak could have been warmer but as a birthday treat it ticked all the boxes for me - provenance, flavour, excitement and passion. Ever since my time in Argentina it's been super hard to find a really good steak and I realised even Gaucho won't win me over till they care as much as Macellaio and it's ever proud Roberto Costa.
This post is dedicated to my wife who took me on a great birthday day out! ...And the idea of dedicating posts I dedicate to the gorgeously romantic chaps at Symmetry Breakfast who have a new book out (which you should totally buy).
Macellaio RC Exmouth Market
38 - 40 Exmouth Market, London
020 3696 8220