Macellaio RC serves up one of the best steaks in London

When one thinks of Italy’s abundance of exceptional produce, beef is rarely considered. But while Italian restaurants continue to focus primarily on pasta dishes, Macellaio RC presents exemplary Italian steak.

With “macellaio” literally meaning “butcher” in Italian, Macellaio RC is billed as “the Italian butcher shop with tables,” specifically celebrating Italian Fassona beef. London is currently home to six outposts, including one in Milan. Founded by restaurateur Roberto Costa, the original concept was born 13 years ago in Genoa and has since evolved through several projects.

On Macellaio RC, founder Roberto Costa said: “After many years I realized that the best way to work with food is to never compromise on quality. I consider myself lucky to be Italian, to have been born among the finest ingredients available in the world, and only now do I realize how badly we have mistreated them and I truly want to embrace the phrase “Made In Italy. “.

“The decision to pursue my entrepreneurial adventure in London was not taken by chance. Here, I met real people, frank and sincere, who gave me, and continue to do so, the opportunity to learn new things; an effervescent market and a demanding clientele, both passionate and knowledgeable, which give me the best incentives to succeed”.

While the Macellaio RC concept revolves around Fassona beef, each of the brand’s restaurants has an additional focus, playing a supporting role. At the Southwark restaurant, a Ligurian bakery highlights Pissa; the Fitzrovia restaurant offers artisan pizzas and premium red meats from the Italian mountains; and the Exmouth Market site offers a “Battle Royale” between Fassona beef and Sicilian bluefin tuna.

With dedicated authority controls and a growing bluefin tuna population similar to that of the 1970s, Macellaio RC sources tuna directly from an Italian tonnara, ensuring its fish is caught sustainably. As the only warm-blooded fish in the world, Macellaio RC’s menu describes it as the “steak of the sea”, cut into four wedges (like beef) and dry-aged in-house for 10 days. At a recent lunch at the Exmouth Market restaurant, a tuna tataki featured quick-seared slices of fish simply seasoned with rock salt and served with small dollops of tame horseradish with yogurt and a whisper of honey, to avoid dominate the fish, ultimately allowing its exceptional quality to shine.

Naturally, the Fassona beef was also in the spotlight. A world famous Piedmontese breed, the provenance of Fassona dates back to the Paleolithic era (about 2500-3000 years ago). Used for centuries for dairy production and labor, female cows are typically used for beef, as testosterone in males can make steaks too tough and heavily flavored. These white cows are grass-fed and roam uphill during the summer when there isn’t enough grass in the foothills, resulting in huge, exercised muscles. The end product is tougher than Wagyu beef or corn-fed USDA beef, but the taste is arguably superior. Traditionally, cattle also have a particularly good life and are raised on small farms, which is reflected in the taste. At Macellaio RC, cows are purchased at four years of age and older, then dry-aged and slaughtered on site.

A Fassona steak tartare with finely carved beef and lightly spiced gorgonzola was highly recommended, arriving at the table topped with a puck of cheese, melted at the table with a blowtorch. The gorgonzola brought a lot of flavor to the dish, but little textural balance; also slightly overwhelming the delicate flavor of the beef. Much better was the Fiorentina Del Macellaio – a Fassona T-Bone steak to share, aged for 7-9 weeks. Although it seems quite expensive at £8.20 for 100 grams, a kilo of steak is enough for two and offers relatively good value for money compared to other sharing cuts served elsewhere: including the T-bone from Hawksmoor at £8.50 for 100g, nearby Quality Chop House’s bone-in ribeye for £10 for 100g, or CUT’s cheapest steak at 45 Park Lane by Wolfgang Puck, which costs more than £12 for 100g.

Presented at the table, passing from the butcher’s shop to the kitchen, the rib steak was cooked quickly; heavily charred on the outside, but sparse in the middle. Simply seasoned with flaked rock salt, the beef tasted clean with a slight sweetness and long aftertaste, while the perfectly melted fat tasted deliciously unhealthy and eggy with a buttery texture. Simply, it’s exceptional: one of the best steaks in London, rivaling even the most prestigious Wagyu, Galician or even outstanding British alternatives.

Macellaio RC is located at 38-40 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE.

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Dino S. Williams