Box clever this Valentine’s Day with The Butcher’s Quarter
Emma Chadwick | 7th February 2022
Music may be the food of love, but for VIVA nothing gets our heart pumping faster than a wonderful feast, which is why we’re head over heels with The Butcher’s Quarter Valentine’s Day box.
For those of you who don’t know, The Butcher’s Quarter is the artisan butcher,deli & tasting rooms, with outlets in the Northern Quarter and Deansgate, that has been wooing discerning foodies since it opened its doors in 2015.
They also do special boxes for special occasions and VIVA had a preview of their Valentine’s Day box, which is full of treats that are sure to put romance on the table.
It comes complete with three courses, sides and two bottles of wine and starts from £100 for two. It can be tailored to your tastes with a few options and even has instructions on how to cook it. But don’t stress, it’s been designed to be cooked with ease, for example with ready peeled spuds, so even the most junior chef can impress their date.
And it doesn’t need much doing to it, well because the hallmark of The Butcher’s Quarter is quality and more quality. They choose their suppliers carefully and locally with one for each food group. Meat comes from farms, with beef, lamb, poultry and pork all are free range and given the best in animal husbandry.
Cheese is from IJ Mellis of Edinburgh – one of the best Cheesemongers in the UK – and if you didn’t know farmhouse cheese differs from mass-produced factory cheese because the milk comes from a single herd rather than several different sources.
Such is the attention to detail, you can taste all this care and love of food on your plate, which is the philosophy of The Butcher’s Quarter. Our box had starters of Loch Fyne oysters, mains of Chateaubriand with potatoes and Taleggio cheese side, peppercorns for an optional sauce and dessert of Gorgonzola, truffle honey and Cranberry & Raison toast. Plus of course, a beautiful bottle of Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
Taste of the sea
The oysters aren’t shucked as they have to be closed to be fresh (you can pop into The Butcher’s Quarter and have them at the tasting tables by the way) and to do this, you need a sharp knife and tea towel.
What you need to find is the lip where you can slide the knife in then chisel until the top comes off. It is easy and also fun if you’re cooking together. Well assembling. Serve them on a bed of ice which looks sexy too. There’s also an option of Loch Fyne Gravadlax smoked salmon if you’re wary or don’t like oysters.
Full of protein and an aphrodisiac these oysters are some of the best we’ve ever had. If you’ve not had them before then to eat them you need to run a knife around the meat to ensure it’s unattached, keep in some of the sea water (I like quite a lot), use the narrow end of the shell to funnel into your mouth and simple swallow whole. You know how to swallow right?
You can add toppings such as chopped onion or sauces like tabasco or even just a squirt of lemon. Or have them au natural which is what I love. These were wonderful, plump, creamy and a beautiful start to you Valentine’s Day feast.
Get your juices flowing
Onto mains and our Chateaubriand was a thing of beauty. Brilliantly jointed by The Butcher’s Quarter star butcher Will Henderson, he also gave us top tips on how to get the best out of this wonderful meat.
We browned it in a skillet (this takes just a few minutes) in just a smattering of oil then popped it in the oven to finish for about 10 minutes.
Our Pomme de Terre Taleggio had been assembled earlier, the spuds come ready peeled, this is fuss free as we sliced them then layered with the Taleggio cheese and then cooked in the oven for about 30 minutes. So, prep these first and add the browned steak hallway through.
A peppercorn sauce was whipped up by frying the peppercorns in oil then adding cream. The results you can see for yourself, with a juicy joint that ranged from medium rare to rare, VIVA’s preferred style of steak and was simply stunning. The potatoes (and we added a side of Tenderstem® broccoli), were a gorgeous gooey delight with a stunning sauce from Chef Chrissie.
If this doesn’t get you in the mood, well not much will.
A happy ending
We washed our meal down with The Butcher’s Quarter recommended white (you can choose your preferred form of vino) the Iona Sav, which was a crispy, pert vintage and a perfect companion to the meal. And you also get a bottle of gorgeous fizz, Palazza Vino Spumante Brut to go with the fish course, which went wonderfully with our oysters.
The Butcher’s Quarter also gave a final cheese course of indulgent gorgonzola just dreamy with the truffle honey and toast.
VIVA also liked the look of this easy but so pretty culinary twist on a traditional bouquet of roses, Pink Lady® apple roses in puff pastry that are almost too good looking to eat, if you want a sweet treat too.
VIVA verdict: A perfect meal for Valentine’s Day and so plentiful we were able to feed a couple of gooseberries who crashed our date. The quality is outstanding, the prep easy and it is of course way better than anything you get from supermarkets, and the price for what you get is a bargain.