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Friday, 10 August 2018

Beef & Brew Haggerston - Where Galician Txuleta & Craft Beers Will Not Break the Bank!


Name: Beef & Brew Haggerston at The Duke of York

Where: The Duke of York, 33 Downham Road, N1 5AA, http://www.beef-and-brew.co.uk

Cost: A 3-course meal will cost around £35 per person not including drinks and service. Starters are priced from £3.50 to £6.75, steaks from £10 to £19.50. There is a Friday lunch and every day early bird (5.30-7.00pm) menu at £10 for hanger steak and chips or burger and chips. Desserts are ice-creams and sorbet or priced at up to £5.50 for 3 scoops, or sundaes at £6.50.  

About: Beef & Brew has been operating from a small venue in Kentish Town, offering in their own words 'quality steak without the price tag' from grass-fed cattle. Owned by ex-Murano chef Jessica Simmons and former City worker Daniel Nathan, Beef & Brew's signature sirloin comes from 14 year old retired dairy cows, known as Txuleta from Galicia, while fillet cuts come from Swaldale Foods' native-breed cattle in North Yorkshire, and onglet from grass-fed Herefords.  All their steaks are dipped in beef dripping before being quickly chargrilled.


Beef & Brew opened a second and larger branch at the former Duke of York pub (dating from 1822) in Haggerston in July 2018, with a more extensive menu than the sister branch.


It is a true pub-restaurant, with a bar and stools for those who just want a pint, but most of the area is given over to dining tables. With solid wood floors, the walls a harmonious blend of metro tiles, bare brick and exposed industrial ducting, its a relaxed and informal place to wine and dine. And most commendably - it is a dog friendly pub-restaurant!


What We Ate: Brisket jam nuggets (£5.50) were little cubes of well-seasoned pulled brisket, wrapped in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Delicious.


Devilled sardines (£6.75), freshly grilled in a spicy chilli rub, were bracing, served with a cooling cucumber, herb and yoghurt quenelle.


Best of the starters though was the grilled squid served with ultra-thin slices of sweet pickled fennel, and a lightly spiced Romesco sauce (£6.50).  Made from garlic, old bread, almonds, vinegar and paprika, the Romesco was spicy, nutty and was the perfect accompaniment for the grilled seafood.


Having been lucky enough to sample some wonderful Txuleta mature beef on a recent trip to Galicia, we just had to try the Galician sirloin (£19.50), one with Bearnaise sauce, the other with truffled hollandaise (both £1.50). Naturally firmer than your average 2-year old sirloin (the usual culling age for beef cattle), this cut was richly flavoursome, slightly gamey, served medium-rare with golden yellow fat, and a real steal at this price for 250g of prime Txuleta.


As side dishes, the chips, gravy and beer cheese (£5.50) - similar to a Canadian poutine except with beer cheese not cheese curd - were rich, tangy and flavourful.


Smoked aubergine with honey and miso (£5.50) - an adaptation of Japanese nasu dengaku - was meltingly tender, with deliciously smoky notes from the char-grilled flesh. The lightly pickled, sweet daikon ribbon was a great garnish, adding freshness and texture.


Although the gnocchi'n cheese with jalapeños (£5.50) looked a tad dry, the interior was anything but. We loved this.


For dessert, we shared a sundae of pistachio, chocolate sorbet, poached cherries and chocolate sauce (£6.50). I enjoyed the combination of flavours here - nutty, chocolatey yet light and with aromatic cherries.


What We Drank: There is an excellent range of craft beers on draft and in bottle. The entry level wines, both priced at £19, are a Spanish Pinot Bianco - Garganega blend, while the red is a French Merlot - Grenache blend.  We opted to share a bottle of Papa Figos Douro wine from Portugal (£30). With red berry fruit, fresh acidity and light tannins, this went down a treat with the Galician sirloin.


Likes: Highlights included the grilled squid with Romesco sauce and the Galician Txuleta sirloin.  Beef & Brew has helpful and knowledgeable staff, a casual vibe despite the obvious focus on top-quality food, and best of all, it is dog-friendly too. So bring your pooches!

Dislikes: None 

Verdict: Beef & Brew is the local steakhouse any foodie would love to have on their doorstep, and so I'm lucky to live just a few blocks away.  I can't wait to return with my doggies, and next up will be one of their burgers with steak salad and a craft beer! Or perhaps I will just have the magnificent Galician Txuleta again. Highly recommended.

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