It was September, it was a nice weekend and it was time for meat!  My 4th year at Meatopia, how would it be?…

Well, lets just say that it did not disappoint!  This year I was cutting down though, only going to 2 of the 3 days, the Late Shift on Friday and the Festival on the Saturday.  I am not sure how they do it but they dialled up another weekend with good weather, which always helps.

After a good walk from work I was ready to dive in to delicious food on the Friday night and have a good relaxing time, doing what I like best, eating good food!  The mission was achieved!

Firstly, apologies for the quality of some of the pictures, all taken on the phone and my focus was on eating the food not setting up nice pictures.  Right, now for that food!

After the traditional quick tour round it was time to hit the food and things kicked off with the gorgeous Presa Iberica from Nacho Del Campo of Camino.   I had a hit list of ‘must have dishes’ and this started it perfectly.

My style is always to go for things or chefs that I would not be able to try, so this started me on a global tour all without leaving Wapping!

Next up came the Txuleton basque style matured beef from Mikel Vinaspre of Sagardi.  There is no way I could resist having seen the 5 weeks matured cuts of beef waiting to be cooked.

This was quickly followed up with the Lamb Satay from Sebastian Myers & Freddie Janssen from Snackbar.  Soft, tender and full of flavour.

Then the dish I was not going to miss.  I had heard a radio programme a few weeks back about the founder Tommi’s Burger Joint and I just had to have it and boy was that a good move!  OK, it was just a burger, but burgers are so much more than they used to be and with 21 different cuts of beef, the cheese and the sauce it was one of the most complex and delicious bits of food you can get.  As for the black bun, that just added to the overall come and eat me appeal.

Room for one more?  Just!  I finished of the Late Shift with the Ox Cheek and beetroot on rye from Pip Lacey of Hicce.  What a great way to finish!

As well as the food there was the music and enterainment, as good as ever and Friday night was perfect and some great blues to help start 2 weeks off work!

So that was Friday, as good if not better than before.  Now time for a walk back to the hotel and to recover in time for the Festival!

As is now tradition Mother Smith came down to join for the Saturday afternoon, as well as some good family friends.  All had an excellent time and some amazing food!

I started my Saturday with a dish that I had wanted to have the night before but the queue had always been huge for the treacle Glazed Short Rib from Ash Heeger of Ash in Cape Town.  It was certainly worth the overnight wait and a perfect way to start day 2.

From Cape Town to Birmingham, not the most obvious jump but it was worth it.  The Oak Smoked Ox Cheek Chilli from Andy Stubbs of Low N Slow was certainly that, smoked and with a great chilli.  You would have to like smoke for this one, but hey this is Meatopia, if you don’t you should not be there!  The meat was so tender and one that everyone who tasted it said was amazing.

Next up was a dish that was going to set me up for the next weekend when I was visiting Finland and the Hidden Lamb with Kyro Napue gin jam from Matti Hurttia of Eatruka in Finland, was perfect, a lovely sweetness with tender meat and the flavour of the gin coming through.

The pace was slowing now, well it was until I walked past the Sugar Pit Bacon Racks from Andre Lima De Luca.  I just had to dive in and getting a piece on the bone was perfect.

Now for one that will challenge some people, but the sort of food I love and I was definitely not disappointed.  The Stigghiola (sweetbread, liver and kidney) from Francesco Mazzei of Radici was offally good!  Sorry about that!  Event a friend of mine who I did not think would try it had a dish of it and loved it!  Event if you do not think you would like something you have to try it!

Now for the curve ball, fish!  What, a fish dish at Meatopia?  Yes, but when it comes from a Michelin star chef and it is one of my favourite fish it had to be done.  The Mackerel and Pickled Vegetables from Nathan Outlaw were just perfect.  The only thing that could have made them better would have been having them served on a beach in Cornwall, that really would be heaven!

Surely no more room!  Well, no probably not but when the Smoke Lamb from Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn in New York has your name on it you have to do it!  A brilliant end to a great weekend!

Bring on Meatopia VI!!!


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