October 27 2011
Mark C O’Flaherty
When the signage for Meat N16 first appeared on Stoke Newington Church Street, locals became rather excited. This self-styled village on the borders of trendy east London has had a plethora of indie foodie resources, boutiques and coffee shops for years, but no decent butcher to speak of. The slick typography alone suggested that this was going to be a modern, self-aware kind of operation. And it hasn’t disappointed.
It’s run by a team that includes Paul Grout, who set up Harvey Nichols’ Meat Market, and Marc Wise, who started the wine sellers Planet of the Grapes, so as you’d expect there are fantastic, perfectly aged beefs and all-free-range top cuts along with a thoughtfully put together wine selection, categorised on the shelves under what the varietals and blends go well with: beef, lamb, pork, chicken and game. There’s a little wine tasting room at the back, with plans to expand into the back yard. They’ll even sharpen your knives for you.
I’ve been buying from them since they opened this summer, and while I love being able to get great steak and sausages locally without having to go to Allens in Mayfair, it’s their burgers (second picture, £1.75 each) that I’m particularly taken with. I took a batch to my last family barbecue of the season, during London’s short but sweet Indian summer, and they were the hit of the afternoon – an excellent taste, and a size and shape that held up extremely well when cooked. A terrific blend of minced smoked bacon and coarse beef, seasoned with celery salt, white pepper, salt and friend onion flakes, they have now become a firm midweek at-home favourite, served with melted cheese and a side salad of red onion and tomato.