Vegetarians, it would be best if you shuffle off somewhere else at this point. There’s nothing here for you to see. Carnivores, you may wish to read this in a safe place, where your drool won’t be judged. I am about to share a look at what is considered one of the best steaks in the world, the Txuleton steak, from Sagardi Basque Country Chefs in London.
Now, it’s imperative that I start this whole essay with the fact that I have never been to the Basque country. Of course I know of the food, as any good foodie naturally would, but I have never eaten locally. In all honesty, I can’t really say I’ve ever had a meal experience taken from the region itself either. So, visiting Sagardi in Shoreditch was a first on many levels. And it seems my introductory visit couldn’t have come at a better time as the restaurant was serving their annual celebration feast in honour of the Txuleton Gastronomic Season. You see our steaks were from old cows. The Txuleton cows are “happy, mature and fat,”cared for and fed by local people in the region and allowed to graze naturally. For anyone that knows steak, you will know that a happy old cow makes for one big happy, hearty and absolutely delicious steak dinner. And yes, Sagardi did deliver. But, there was a lot to get through before our Txuleton steak arrived on the table.
For the special gastronomic celebration menu, we started with a big bowl of beans. Not what you were expecting was it? Tolosa Beans, grown on the sloped mountainsides of Spain, were served with sides of cabbage, black pudding, pickled peppers and more. This could have been a meal in itself. The beans, on their own, were outstanding. It’s such a simple dish, but it packs a powerful punch to the tastebuds. We did attempt to leave a few beans behind in an attempt to appear ladylike before our massive steak offering appeared on the table. It wasn’t easy. We wanted to lick the plates clean of their thick brown juices. Not really something a seasoned restaurant reviewer does though, is it?
However, we found ourselves feeling quite grateful that we didn’t finish our first dish of beans when the slab of beef was presented to our table. The steak was set down with a thud and a challenge, oh and some grilled piquillo peppers. Our waiter made eye contact as if to say, “each and every morsel must be cleared.” The first bite melted on my tongue. The meat was served rare, with a perfect salty crust flavouring. It needed absolutely no sauce, no seasoning, no sides. Straight from the plate, to my mouth, this is what steak lovers’ dreams look and taste like. Let’s just say our stomachs might have been trying to tell us to stop eating but we found room somewhere and barely left the bone with any meat on it by the time the waiter came to collect the plate.
But wait, there’s more.
Our last course involved a run in with illegal cheese. Ok, it’s not really illegal, but this mountain cheese should be. It has to be the most incredible slab of cheese I’ve ever run a knife through. Made with raw milk from Laxta sheep and aged for one year, it’s sourced for Sagardi from two Basque shepherds that herd their sheep in the Aralar Mountains. Served with fresh apple jelly, bread and nuts, you will have to access a special part of your stomach to fit all of this in. But you will find it. It’s impossible to leave even a slither of this cheese behind.
I went to Sagardi expecting incredible steak. They delivered. What I wasn’t expecting was everything else – the incredible wine introduction, the beans, the cheese, the helpful service with a smile. Every steak lover in London should have this address in their permanent little black book. It is a true gem and one that I’m delivering to you from one steak lover to another. Book this in immediately!
020 3802 0478
95 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London