Top Parisan restauranteur, Otis Lebert has declared that ‘horse meat is a taste everyone likes’! Well given that it appears most of us meat eaters have been consuming horsemeat happily (albeit unknowingly) for many years he could well be right!
Now English restaurant impresario, Oliver Peyton, previous owner of the infamous Atlantic Bar and Grill, is prepared to put his money where is mouth is by hosting a ‘Nosebag’ supper club at his National Cafe in central London where he will be dishing up (legitimately) British horsemeat from a farm in Nottinghamshire.
The gourmand equine supper is being offered at £25 a head and will feature tartare, sirloin and carrot cake. My Peyton, a self-confessed ‘agitator’ explains the menu;
“We’re going to do tartare,” he says of the starter, “with a mixture of two cuts and soda bread breadcrumbs so it’ll have a crunch to it.” The chopped meat will be topped with a hay-smoked duck yolk. And to follow? Horse sirloin baked in salt lick, served with charred King oysters, celeriac and crispy shallots. The “photo finish” pudding is caramelised carrot cake, oats and cream, and apple granita. My Peyton believes that people have forgotten that horse meat is a high quality meat to eat. ” I can see it in high quality restaurants, no doubt in my mind.” He does however agree that it will be a hard proposition to sell in a country that lost its taste for meat more than 50 years ago – and particularly now ‘Horse’ is associated with cheap ready meals of dubious origin.
In France of course, butchers sell horsemeat alongside beef and pork and therefore it is not an unusual sight in restaurants. Lebert, owner and chef of Le Taxi Jaune, a bistro in Paris has been serving the meat for the past 12 years. He declares that “horsemeat will definitely become part of haute gastronomie sooner or later”. He buys carcasses whole from a supplier in Belgium and has learnt to use many different cuts:it takes about three weeks to get through a single horse.
My Peyton meanwhile is puzzling as to where he can get horse jerky from to offer it as a ‘snack’ at his Nosebag Supper…
Vegatarian menu anyone?!