Sometime last year, with all the chatter that followed the opening of Hawksmoor, I happened to note that one of the foodies I follow on Twitter mentioned that the steaks were sourced from The East London Steak Company, which is part owned by Richard Turner, the Hawksmoor’s executive chef. It would make sense really, make more money by selling yourself the stuff you cook and sell. My information however was wrong, the Hawksmoor source all their beef from The Ginger Pig who also sell pork and lamb.
The East London Steak Company, as the name suggests, sell steaks. They also sell other choice cuts of beef and some rather delicious burgers including a limited edition range but there’s one thing of which you can be certain (for the moment) The East London Steak Company sells beef and only beef! There’s no lamb, no pork, no chicken and no fish just damn good beef.
Being somewhat lazy I’ve never actually sought out a local butcher. I’m sure one exists but it would involve a weekend trip and weekends are when other people are out shopping and generally meandering around which makes it difficult to make a return trip from A to B quickly as you have to allow for the random acts of behaviour from fellow commuters.
So I started ordering steak from Ocado’s Service Counter. Somewhere in their Hatfield outpost lurks a butcher who reads your order from a screen and then sets to slicing up your choice of dead animal before packaging it up with a label with your name on it. Despite it being 21 day aged I have to say that the quality was, on occasion, quite poor. I alternated from the sirloin to the rib-eye and then, as I say, I saw the link to The East London Steak Company on Twitter…
I ordered some sirloins and burgers and haven’t looked back, more so because they turned out to be cheaper than Ocado and the quality was worlds apart. I can still remember the first mouthful, the sirloin had such a wonderful meaty taste, nothing at all like the insipid steaks you find on most supermarket shelves. Suddenly I had developed a weekly steak fix…
When I started the Dukan diet it was even better news as the first week involved eating nothing but proteins and just then The East London Steak Company announced they were selling a BBQ steak pack, ten 170g sirloins and a jar of seasoning for £40. That was my first week taken care of! Because of the diet I had to forsake the rib-eyes I’d become accustomed to and switched back to sirloins and you know, I’d forgotten what a tasty cut of meat it is, especially when it is a proper cut of meat of around 5-6cm rather than the 2-3cm versions available from supermarkets.
If it weren’t enough that the meat is of the highest quality it should come as no surprise to discover the customer service is second to none. As an online shopper I am often taken by impulse and often find myself thinking at 10pm mid-week, I really fancy a nice steak tomorrow. Within 15 minutes of thinking the thought I can have an order placed with the East London Steak Co for delivery the next day and then sit back thinking about that succulent juicy steak I’ll be having less than 24hours later. I really don’t know how they manage it, I’ve placed orders at midnight and delivery has been made sometimes within 9 hours. What’s more Tony Beef sends you a text message containing a joke worthy of a Christmas cracker 20 minutes before delivery.
Because of the super speedy delivery I actually sent friends a roast dinner box once as a different way of saying thanks after they had helped me out. A box containing a roasting joint, some marrowbones, potatoes and a bottle of red wine with a serving of beef dripping on the side for the roasts. My friends were very impressed, it shattered their impression of food from the internet I didn’t tell them it was originally billed as a Mother’s Day Box!
Earlier this week The East London Steak Company sent out their monthly newsletter announcing they had some 40 day aged cuts in stock. When it comes to aged meat I have to admit my first encounter with it raw was to want to throw up, that rank smell can certainly offend the nose but when it’s cooked? Oh lord it’s delicious, once you taste meat like that it makes returning to the pink meat that passes as steak in Tesco very difficult. I ordered a couple of sirloins (amazingly there was no premium for these tasty beasts!) and my mouth was watering from the moment I peeled back the brown paper wrapper and inhaled.
I rubbed the steak down with some of the steak seasoning rub that the East London Steak Co sell, it’s a blend of smoked sea salt, sugar and gravy (probably something else too) and then let the griddle do it’s magic. Once it was cooked, I let it rest on a warm plate for 15 minutes before settling down to eat! I like mine more rare than medium and it was crammed full of flavour, that 40 days ageing had really given the meat a strong gamey flavour that was lip smackingly tasty.
I really wish I could find one fault with the East London Steak Company. Every order I have placed has gone like clockwork and the quality of meat has never dipped below perfect. Your meat if wrapped in brown paper, like the high street butcher used to do it. Included in each pack is a card telling you not only which farm your meat came from but also the day it died and the butcher who carved it up.
The range of cattle changes on a regular basis so you get to taste the subtle differences between breeds, something you would never really get the opportunity to experience from a high street supermarket, or their on-line equivalents. I’d just like to make it clear that the East London Steak Company have not paid me or supplied me with discounted or free meat. If however they are reading and wish to throw a couple of sirloins my way they will certainly be going to a good home.