Forget steaks covered in gold and lashings of hype, the true meat connoisseur should head for Sagardi this month and try the ultimate cut – Txuleton.
Sagardi is no place for vegetarians. Going into this wonderfully cave-like restaurant that is lit as much by its massive charcoal grill as by electricity, you can’t miss the chilled cabinet displaying all kinds of marvellous, marbled, cuts of beef.
Beef is their business, beef in the Basque style – big, bold and beautiful. Cooked over charcoal, which is the only way to do it. Especially when it’s Argentinian quebracho charcoal.
This month is extra special, “Esentzia Sagardi” is a six course menu a collaboration between Gregorio Tolosa, Head Chef at one of Spain’s most gastronomic restaurants, Bidea2 in Pamplona (two Repsol Suns) and Mikel Lopez de Viñaspre, Head Chef of Sagardi Group.
They are using cuts of meat from Spain’s premiere meat suppliers and current Sagardi supplier, Discarlux Meat, a real star of the show.
It’s Galician Txuleton beef, over ten years old and carefully matured for 30 days in a Dry Ager chamber, a whole side is on view today and cut to order.
We eat the Tongue sandwich “mixto” first, tiny little toasties dobbed with just enough mustard to make the tongues sing, and then it’s on to Matured carpaccio with red prawn from Palamós
We roll the prawn up in the carpaccio like a body in a carpet, along with a rich sauce made from the shells and head of the prawn. It is like eating the sea; so evocative you can almost hear seagulls, and the carpaccio simply melts.
These are followed by Beef Tartar and heart of Almadraba tuna from Barbate. The most incredible Txuleton beef tartar has the tuna heart grated over it, with small melting nuggets of beef fat added.
It is one of the best things I have eaten all year, I doubt now at the fag-end of 2021 I’ll eat anything better.
Oh but hang on, Beef sweetbreads with wild Beltza mushrooms, is also remarkable. The sweetbreads expertly seared to a crisp exterior, the centres still molten. The mushrooms are magic, a superb jus bathes everything. Crunchy rustic bread mops out every bit.
And now the Txuleton, whole massive steaks expertly seared on the grill so the exterior is crisp and smokey and the interior very rare indeed.
Tuxuleton, or rib steak, usually comes from the Rubia Gallega cow. It’s a cow from North West Spain that can be as old as 18 years before being turned into steaks. In the Basque country old dairy cows are used. The reason is that the mature muscle and fat tastes better and the myoglobin in the muscles means a redder meat.
It’s served in thickish slices, along with its gorgeous creamy fat, and a traditional refreshing green salad of lettuce and onion dressed with oil, lemon juice and salt. It’s a perfect pairing.
I can’t really do the taste and texture of the meat justice, but if you’re not a fan of steak served rare, let me reassure you that this will convert you completely.
After that triumphant main course, it was a calm descent into dessert and Pineapple, Vanilla & fire – a Pierre Hermé recipe. The pineapple is of course roasted on the grill, which makes the pineapple into a whole new fruit.
This an unmissable event for all serious meat and grill lovers. You simply will not find a better steak meal in London.
The new Esentzia Sagardi Menu is priced at £85, available at lunch and dinner from today Tuesday 9th November until the end of the month for tables of two and upwards.
Photos taken by Sagardi at the lunch.