Words by Josh Ong
There are a number of contributing factors that have led to the reduction of the old fashioned carnocentric menu. Where veganism has grown exponentially over the last half-decade, many restaurant goers have questioned whether or not both the decline of meat-centred menus and the former are directly correlated. Fortunately, in the current climate, they are not mutually exclusive. There are some undoubted truths and issues raised by the growth of veganism, specifically around sustainability and animal welfare. This article will touch upon some of the restaurants around Cardiff producing the more carnivorous menus, all whilst attaining high levels of welfare and sustainability in response to the legitimate criticisms raised in recent years.
Not your average Steak and Chips.
This location was the latest addition to the Bar 44 group; where the other location serve the more locally familiar tapas, Asador 44 seeks to bring the full-sized delicacies of northern Spain into Cardiff’s city centre.
In terms of the menu, it’s evident that owners Tom and Owen Morgan care about their produce. With an onsite dry-aging cabinet and a menu comprised of various proteins from across the whole of Northern Spain, it’s quite the treat. However, it’s within their speciality of Galician Dairy Cow steaks where the restaurant really comes into its own. By using dairy cows which have lived up to 18 years, they are killing two birds with one stone; not only does it solve the quick turnaround and separation of industrially farmed-for-meat and dairy cows, but it also brings an entirely unique taste to beef that the majority of the U.K’s population most likely haven’t experienced yet. Furthermore, for a two-course lunch for £15, you can’t really go wrong.
The Sunday Roast of dreams.
Having opened within the last year, the Heathcock stormed into Cardiff’s food sphere with a point to prove. As a sister site to the Hare & Hounds, one of only two locations to receive a Bib Gourmand in the 2018 Michelin Guide, the Heathcock similarly hammers home the essence of excellence within a gastro-pub setting.
With the menus changing twice on a daily basis depending on seasonality and availability of produce, the Heathcock succeeds in ensuring that it is not supporting unseasonal and unsustainable farming practices. Simultaneously, by using entirely on-season produce, it only ensures that the dishes that are being created are using the ingredients when they are at their best. Some of the highlights from the menu include roasted Torgelly farm Lamb and roasted Squab pigeon. However, if you’re giving it a try, I can’t recommend their Sunday Lunch menu enough. I’d argue you can’t get a better roast across the whole city.
Not actually a restaurant, but arguably the meatiest of all.
To address the elephant in the room, Oriel Jones is first and foremost, a butcher. Having prided themselves on providing four generations of ‘sustainable field to fork’ experience, it’s clear that good farming practice is of the utmost importance to them. Therefore, I, like many others, were certainly delighted at the news that they had opened up a Café within their current butcher shop in Pontcanna.
Serving the ‘O.J 1.0’ burger from beef ground in house alongside triple-cooked chips fried in beef tallow, the menu is a pure delight for meat-eaters. Moreover, the tangible and traceable connection to the origins of the meat and subsequent guarantee of freshness of ingredients helps the new Café cement itself as an instant hit.
In Barry, not Cardiff; easily worth the trip out of the capital.
Could I really have written a list about meaty menus without including the barbecuing prowess of Sam and Shauna? The cult heroes of South Wales have earned their places among the nations’ culinary best through their mischievous smoke-based wizardry.
Upon my previous visit to Hang Fire, I described a certain ‘rib-based valhalla’ that the meal took me to. I still firmly stand by my opinion that it should remain the highest priority for true carnivores to visit. Where the formula for successful barbecue remains simple, (Smoke + Meat + Time = Pure Bliss), Sam and Shauna succeed in perfecting the simplicity of the process throughout. By using solely free-range meat sourced from Welsh herds within the local area, it only adds to the alluring aura emanating from Barry.
Where the adoption of veganism has exponentially grown alongside feared repercussions of lack of action regarding climate change, in which unsustainable farming practices are included, it’s easy to assume that this is the beginning of the end for meat eaters. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the provided locations above demonstrating how carnivorous menus can equally lend a careful eye to environmental and societal impact without sacrificing on quality or breadth of choice, it provides a promising alternative future for those who cannot see themselves happy in a totally meatless world.