I knew we were having dinner at a place called the Quality Chop House but I had no idea what to expect. I had heard it's one of London's oldest eateries, but surely wasn't planning to visit a butchery, a delicatessen and a cheese shop.
The Quality, or the Q, is a place occupying the corner of a street in a calm neighborhood. The Quality Chop House is a dining room, wine bar, butchers and shop on Farringdon Road, just around the corner from Exmouth Market. It was opened in 1869 and has been 'The Quality Chop House' ever since.
The butcher occupies the corner of the street and the restaurant is next door.
You are welcomed into a fresh space under a high ceiling painted in white where the first room sells jars and delicatessen products. Ortiz sardines, el Navarrico Garbanzos, pommery mustard, wine, Spanish crackers, special flour, mango chutney, honey and herbs are just some of the things on sale.
In the other room is the butchery where two fridges display the freshest of cuts. Pork one side and cow on the other, separated by a wooden board where the butcher prepares his cuts. A large white room shining from cleanliness and purity.
Along with a glass of champagne, we were offered some bites to nimble on.
- Pig skin puffs with anchovy dip: Waw! Screaming out loud was my first expression. I never imagined eating pig skin puffs - I never knew they even existed anyway. A crunchy chip with an airy feel offering a salty punch next to an intensely flavored creamy sauce; you have to love anchovies! Man that's a discovery! Again and again, a bite after the other, I couldn't stop savoring those innovative explosions of orgasmic food. My regards to the creator.
- Truffle potato croquette with aioli followed. Round balls of melted, smooth potato with truffle, aromatic like perfume, with a sauce that adds flavor and boost the ingredients turning an appetizer into a fine dining experience.
- Beef Tartare on a toast followed. A crunchy toast, thin like paper, topped with twelve year old aged meat. Nothing I say will describe the feeling and taste this piece offers. A raw meat that just melts, no chewing needed, with a mix of freshly cut vegetables and a unique coffee-based mayonnaise. Yum... The seasoning is exceptional. Damn that's good.
Now that we started drinking and enjoying some premium food as the butcher started preparing his cuts. He took a whole lamb and taught us how to prepare it for dinner.
And then, we moved next door for the evening...
A white ceiling imprinted with mosaic, white walls, a tiled floor and wooden benches around wooden tables, an old feel... That's the Quality chop restaurant.
I was so taken by the food that I skipped describing the place. Let's eat, after all that's what's important tonight.
Dinner was served:
- Wild mushrooms, chicken liver and foie gras parfait and summer truffle: A chunk of foie gras mousse mixed with chicken liver served on a round plate surrounded by quartered mushrooms. Two kinds of mushrooms bathing in a lemon sauce served on the table with shredded truffles on top. A fine dining plate for sure taking foie gras and mushrooms to another level.
- Longhorn mince, dripping toast, watercress: A mountain of fresh green watercress covering soaked toast on a bed of minced meat. Bizarre but good. A richly spicy meat mix with melted hidden fat with thick pieces of toast that crunch pleasantly while the watercress adds freshness and finesse. A bit like bolognese sauce or a Sloppy Joe sandwich, but in a finer way. A premiere for me and I liked it.
- Earlier tonight, at the butchery next door, the butcher prepared a lamb, cutting up and preparing it for cooking. Our lamb experienced continued when a rolled saddle of blackface lamb served with peas and bacon, confit potatoes and charred baby gem arrived on the table. Slices of thick meat grilled with their fat, keeping them juicy but not so light. The meat is fine but what's exceptional are the condiments. Potatoes cut in a cubical or cylindrical way, fried to perfection, crunchy like biscuits and having the consistency of mille feuille. Thin layers, a hundred of them, perfectly crispy potatoes. Next to that were the green peas mixed with grilled diced bacon bathing in their juice. Yum! That's the minimum that can be said.
- We were not done yet despite the fact that we were almost full. A selection, a generous choice of three cheeses landed on the table. One yellow cheese, an aged one and a goat cheese served with crackers and walnut jam. What a pleasant way to finish dinner.
- Albarino, Alberto Nanclares, Spain 2013, which I rated 4/5 on Vivino.
- Chateauneuf du Pape, Raymond Usseglio, France 2012, which I rated 5/5 on Vivino.
I was positively impressed by the quality of the wine served tonight. Premium wines rich in flavor, aromatic, full bodied and not dry. They didn't have a strong acidity. Excellent.
The place is nice, and the ambiance as well. The lights are warm, no music is played in the background and everyone seems to have a pleasant time. That's a dinner I'll remember...
Make no mistake, an incredible dinner served along amazing wine rated 4.5/5 on the Vivino app.
Recommended it is!