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Macellaio RC: Come Worship at the altar of master butcher, Roberto Costa

June 5, 2017

LifestyleRestaurants & Bars | by Baldwin Ho


If you are wondering what the word macellaio means in Italian, it stands for butcher and RC are the initials for Roberto Costa, who founded the Italian restaurant group Macellaio RC in Genoa, Italy. They have now expanded to three sites in London including South Kensington, Exmouth Market and the latest: Union Street in Southwark.

Their Union Street branch is by far their most theatrical restaurant; it comes with a ‘high altar’ where butchery demonstrations can take place with a post-modern ceiling-to-floor mural of a butcher holding two large slabs of beef and explaining the various cuts. There is also a ‘catwalk’ where waiters serve your food.

Whilst they do have vegetarian options on the menu, this isn’t a place for the prudish vegetarian. Macellaio RC proudly hang their famous cuts of fassona beef on display via a circular glass window. Roberto’s many years of experience in the industry has led him to master the art of dry aging beef from six to nine weeks in-house. They butcher by hand to avoid mechanically damaging the texture of the cut of beef ­– the special cows from Piedmonte have extreme tenderness along with buttery notes.

The other highlight of this branch is their Ligurian bakery on the second floor, which isn’t available in their other branches. They buy the best flour available and use their own sourdough yeast culture. The focaccia that we tried was easily digestible and stronger in flavour than in offerings from other bakeries. The bread matched perfectly with a platter selection of their finest charcuterie: the prosciutto crudo had a distinctively salty and gamey taste, having been aged for a minimum of thirty months. Normally it is just aged for ten to twelve months.

Macellaio RC’s steak tartare uses the leanest of Fassona beef, making the taste extremely soft and elegant. This variety also has extremely low levels of cholesterol, which is ideal for the diet-conscious.

The main act here is the steak and whilst it might be pricey, it doesn’t disappoint. T-bone is charged at £6.40 per 100g and you are recommended to have 300g per person – but you really do pay for the top-notch quality of the meat here. It is beautifully pink and manages to combine tenderness with bite at the same time. The meat is dressed simply with rock salt and Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.

If you have a sweet tooth and are a lover of fine Italian desserts, then you must save space for their classics treats like vanilla pannacotta and tiramisu. Made with traditional recipes, they are elegant yet not overly sweet and the ideal way to end a sumptuous feast.

Also, look out for their highly informative butchery classes where you can sharpen your knife skills or improve your dough-making skills with their bakery lessons. Macellaio RC is a great venue to visit whether you are looking for team-building experience or simply a romantic meat feast for two.