Meatopia has become somewhat of an annual pilgrimage for my family. It’s an event we look forward to enormously, and a growing number of friends seem to agree. The clue is in the name, it’s for carnivores. Don’t even bother if you’re the slightest bit veggie, and certainly not if you’re vegan! It’s a festival celebrating ethically sourced meats, cooked over fire by a clutch of chefs at the top of their game in the fabulous setting of Tobacco Docks in London. The atmosphere is buzzy, smoky, noisy and the smells are to die for. Here you will find amongst the many differing stalls offering an infinite variety of meats prepared in a myriad number of delicious ways, some exceptional chefs fronting their amazing stalls, show casing food from their restaurants across the UK.
First up was Paschalis Loucaides who gave up a career in engineering and finance to set up his burger business called Cut + Grind. In his first year of trading his Juicy Burger won the National Burger Award. What drew us to his stall was the amazing beef hearts hanging by the stall, huge and meaty, and the fact the burger he was selling was a heart and bone burger with beef dripping mayo. Epic was Laura’s verdict!
Next up was Mikel de Vinaspré, a Basque chef whose restaurant Sagardi Basque Country Chefs in London serves up the most exquisite, aged Txuleton beef with oodles of delicious fat served with piquillo peppers on sourdough bread. Quite the best beef experience I’ve had in a long time.
Samantha Evans and her girls from Barry in Wales (I have a soft spot for Barry ever since Gavin & Stacey!) who were fronting Hang Fire had made the most delectable Cochon du Creole, a Louisiana-style pork belly filled with Cajan andouille sausage and fresh herbs. Amusingly they were powering their open rotisserie with a bicycle! The pork was delicious served on puffy sliders with smoked pork butter – divine.
Another mention must go to Tim Byres from Dallas whose coffee & chilli cured beef flank looked amazing on huge skewers.
An absolute showstopper was the superb hogget ribs in black garlic sauce served with beetroot kvass, red onions and dukkah from Neil Campbell at the Rovi stall. Rovi in London is part of the incredible Ottolenghi empire. The beetroot kvass is a fermented drink which you’re meant to knock back at the same time, however once Neale had spotted the whisky the very obliging and fun staff kept us topped up with that as well!
Did I also mention the live music and DJ’s? We had to be dragged away feeling replete and very merry but so impressed by the wonderful food and wealth of talent. Here’s looking forward to 2020.