In the contemporary era where supermarkets dominate the meat market, a few exceptional entities persist in upholding the rich traditions of the past. One such remarkable institution is the Worshipful Company of Butchers, a venerable trading organization with roots dating back to the year AD 975. Serving as the very heart of London’s community for countless centuries, this establishment thrived during a time when every borough boasted its own dedicated butcher. Echoes of this history resonate through the ages, from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when apprentice butchers melodiously celebrated weddings by rhythmically clashing marrow bones against meat cleavers, to the present where the legacy of independent butchers faces a steady decline.
Yet, amid the tide of change, there are stalwarts who refuse to surrender the heritage they embody. One such bastion of tradition is Turner & George, an esteemed butcher’s shop ensconced within the confines of an age-old Victorian establishment at 399 St John Street in Clerkenwell. The year 2013 marked the inception of this culinary haven, forged by the collaboration of two distinct talents: Richard Turner, a celebrated chef renowned as London’s foremost ‘meat man’, and James George, a skilled butcher who previously supplied his meat to a pub under his patronage.
Culinary Excellence and the Pursuit of Premium Meat
The heart and soul of Turner & George is their fervent commitment to quality. With an unrelenting passion for ethically-raised, hormone and antibiotic-free British beef, Turner and George meticulously source their meats from a network of small, independent farms scattered across the length and breadth of Britain. A hallmark of their dedication is the practice of aging much of their meat – especially the beef – for an impressive span of five to seven weeks. This takes place within the confines of a subterranean cellar located beneath their hallowed establishment.
A Bold Venture Amidst Fierce Competition
The audacious decision to establish a butcher’s shop within the fiercely competitive culinary landscape of London might appear nothing short of audacious. Yet, against all odds, Turner & George have masterfully cultivated an unparalleled shopping experience for their discerning clientele. Far from merely being a commercial enterprise, this establishment has metamorphosed into a true culinary mecca, where tradition converges seamlessly with modernity.
A Glimpse into Yesteryears: The Butcher’s Story Unfolded
Stepping through the threshold of Turner & George, one is instantaneously transported to a bygone era, where the art of butchery was a revered craft. The very essence of this historical continuum is palpable within the hallowed walls. Original cream and brown tiles intermingle with glistening meat hooks, creating an immersive environment that harkens back to a time when the rhythmic clang of cleavers accompanied the symphony of skilled craftsmanship. Central to the ambiance is a counter teeming with succulent rib-eye steaks and tantalizing slabs of house-cured bacon. More than just a physical space, this is a testament to their deep-rooted love and passion for their craft.
Celebrating the Entire Animal: A Nose-to-Tail Culinary Ethos
A defining characteristic of Turner & George is their reverence for the entire animal, embracing a nose-to-tail culinary philosophy. From lamb’s kidneys to pig’s heads and oxtails, they present a cornucopia of possibilities for the adventurous gastronome. Yet, it’s the prime cuts that most clientele gravitate towards – the allure of a perfectly grilled steak or a succulent lamb chop is undeniable. James George favours the indulgence of a “nice thick rib-eye,” often sourced from the rare breed cattle such as Red Poll or Belted Galloway. Richard Turner, on the other hand, holds a particular fondness for Highland cattle, those enigmatic creatures adorned with majestic horns and flowing coats.
A Gourmet Odyssey Awaits
In a world where culinary experiences are increasingly fleeting and homogenized, Turner & George stand as a beacon of authenticity. They champion the legacy of butchery and elevate it to an art form, meticulously curating an array of offerings that transcend mere sustenance, transforming a simple transaction into an exquisite gastronomic voyage.