The renaissance of the local butcher has brought with it a stampede of protein-focused cookbooks and myriad debates about how to blend and season the perfect burger. Butchery courses are à la mode in the way wine tastings were a decade ago, and discerning carnivores care more about the provenance of the meat they are cooking than perhaps ever before.
John Gilmour is an online butcher with form. When his father William Gilmour returned from active world war two combat service with the RAF in the mid-1940s, he worked with his brother John in the butcher’s shop on his high street in Prestonpans, near Edinburgh – a business that had previously been owned and run by Bob Greig, a master butcher with his own abattoir down the lane. Seventy years of trading later, the family business is still going strong and based a few miles away, in East Lothian.
All the beef at John Gilmour is from grass-fed cattle, sourced from British (predominantly Scottish) farms. The team can identify the source of every cut they sell, and everything is from heifers and bullocks that are under 30 months old, with superior fat covering and marbling. The meat is dry-hung in state-of-the-art humidifiers and can be delivered next day within the UK.
The range of beef cuts is exhaustive: ribeye roast (£27.95 per kg); topside (£12.95 per kg); salmon-cut silverside (£25.50 per 2kg); and centre-cut barrel fillet (£65 per kg, pictured). There’s also an impressive selection of lamb, pork and poultry. And since John Gilmour is a truly Scottish butcher, there’s squared-off lorne sausage (93p each) among the sausage selection, a superb Stornoway black pudding (66p per slice) and a 1.6-1.8kg Chieftain haggis (£21.40).