For the last week, Exmouth Market pedestrians have been stopping in the middle, whipping out their phones and taking a picture. They’ve spotted something extraordinary: a three-meter long fish hanging from the ceiling in a brightly illuminated display window. It is a grey glimmering 200 kg Tuna from Sicily – from time to time a guy in a chequered apron appears behind it, cutting off a fillet.
Islington has indeed, just gained a new culinary hotspot: Macellaio. The concept is unique: only tuna and beef. Some meat-lovers might know the first branch in South Kensington. At Macellaio diners can watch butchers cutting and preparing the meat that shortly afterwards ends up on their plates as mouthwatering, award-winning steaks.
By adding tuna to the menu, owner Roberto Costa has taken the concept to a new level on Exmouth Market. A weird combination? Well, tuna and beef actually have a lot in common. Eugenio, his Islington branch manager explains that tuna is the only fish that has hot blood running through his veins: “It is cut in exactly four parts like the beef.”
Therefore, the menu is splitted. The dishes are the same on both sides: filmy cut Carpaccios or raw Tartars for appetisers and steaks as main courses. Spiced only with rock salt, pepper, olive oil and a pinch of vinegar. The pure taste should not be disturbed by additional spices, Eugenio says. And it’s true: fish and meat are so delicious that every bite is a delightful sensation that would only be destroyed by fancy dressings and marinades.
Who likes both meat and fish is stuck in a difficult dilemma at Macelliao. The tuna steak is exceptional, crusty on the surface, raw inside. Their speciality the dry aged beef sirloin is just beyond words: tender and flavourful at the same time – perfect. Side dishes are kept simple, in Mediterranean style: The Sicilian Caponata (roasted vegetables with vinegar sauce) and the hand cut chips are the best addition to the main courses. The guest can choose from a selection of 56 wines, all imported from Italy.The extremely friendly and knowledgeable waiters are happy to help you with your selection.
The best about Macellaio? The food is healthy, fair-priced and from organic animal husbandry. The meat comes from Piemont, Northern Italy, all hand-picked small farmers. It is dry aged for 50 days and has one of the lowest amounts of cholesterol available. The fish is bought directly from personally known fishermen in Sicily and Sardinia. No guilt? Well, you have to try the chocolate cake for dessert…
[FEATURE IMAGE: Kirby Welcker]