Surf and Turf at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Today my search for great steak would take me across London to Exmouth market, a trendy pedestrianised area in Clerkenwell, central London. There was one major difference this time, a fishy difference; I wanted to try the tuna steak at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market. 

Fishy business at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market

I had read that the Macellaio RC Exmouth Market branch specialised in Tuna steak during my visit to Macellaio RC’s Union St branch and was determined to try it. Now Tuna steak is quite an exceptional meat and a Steak Society endorsed alternative to the beef kind. If you want to know more about the joys of Tuna steak you can check out my feature on it here.

An image of the butcher counter at the entrance to Macellaio Clerkenwell
The butcher’s counter at the entrance to the restaurant

I had previously visited Macellaio RC’s Union St branch and was surprised to find a very different atmosphere. Whereas the Union St branch was spacious and more formal, the Exmouth branch was smaller, buzzier and louder. The crowd was also younger than at the Union St restaurant.

The Order

We were seated and promptly served by a young, but confident waiter who knew the menu through and through. He was a maestro in service, who perhaps did a disservice to his colleagues by making the other waiters (particularly the waitress on her first day) look very average. Our waiter explained the menu and recommended the Neprica 2015, a medium body wine.

We ordered the Battle Royale to kick things off with half a kilo of tuna to follow. While I may have come for the Tuna I wasn’t going to leave one of my favourite steakhouses without indulging in beef. So we ordered 1kg of the delicious Costata (rib steak).

Shortly after ordering, the butcher came over to our table and presented the 1kg Costata (rib steak) that we ordered. It was a nice touch and it looked impressive. He jokingly threatened not to cook it, but hey I could’ve called his bluff.

Battle Royale at Macellaio Clerkenwell
Battle Royale

The battle royale arrived and consisted of smoked tuna, lard with honey and walnuts as well as beef and tuna bresaola (the beef bresaola was aged for 6 months and the tuna is cured for 2-3 months). We combined this with the house bread. The taste was strong and the Tuna bresaola in particular carried a fishy taste.

Surf & Turf

The waiter came to our table and started stabbing the knives into the wood. This is one of Macellaio RC’s signature touches, it’s raw, it’s dramatic it’s in your face and I love it. The mains arrived. The steak was served on a large cast iron tray, while the Tuna came out on two smaller dishes.

An image of tuna steak
The Tuna steak at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market Branch

Macellaio RC’s tuna is a little different from the Tuna you’ll get at other restaurants. The tuna is dry aged for a week in house at the restaurant. It is then coated in breadcrumbs and spices. The result is a tuna steak that is so tender that it will dissolve on your tongue if it hasn’t already disintegrated on the way there. It carries a meaty taste with a beefy taste with the subtlest hint that you’re eating fish.

An image of Costata beef at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market
Costata beef at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market

The Costata beef steak was tasty, and the taste would hold even after 3 or 4 bites. It was also reasonably tender. However the steak wasn’t quite as good as the one we had at the Union St branch, this is despite the steak being from the same breed of cow, aged the same way and from the same restaurant group.

The difference could be down to the individual cow or perhaps variation in cooking technique between the restaurants. Either way the steak was very good but just didn’t hit the benchmark that the Union St branch had previously set.

The verdict

While beef steak holds centre stage in my heart, the Tuna at Macellaio RC Exmouth Market is an excellent opportunity to try an excellent alternative to beef. Alternatively, you can do as I did and have a double serving of excellent beef and tuna steak.

Leave a Reply