So why is nobody using that here? We import food from all over the world so why have I never seen Basque and Galician beef sold as a luxury food stuff in British restaurants? The answer of course is that they are, now. I was coincidentally reading a review of Kitty Fisher's in The Times. Giles Coren talks at length about how good the steak is using 'old Galician milkers'. A bit of internet research came up with the source; Nemanja Borjanovic, also known as MrTxuleta. Not only is he supplying some of London's best restaurants but they're soon to open up their own place; Lurra.
This is all well and good but why does London always have to get the best of everything? Why can't we have it up here for a change?
I talked to Luke at Volta and he seemed very keen on the idea. Like us, Spanish restaurants are a big inspiration for them. The likes of Cal Pep in Barcelona for example was his road to Damscus moment.
In the meantime we went over to Spain, to Asador Etxebarri to taste the famous Chuleta de vaca, their signature Basque steak. I can confirm it is the best we've eaten. (Also we had similar at Ibai in San Sebastián and I believe you can get the same at Bar Nestor in the old town).
Why is it so good?
One of the differences is down to the age of the animal. In the UK, the slaughter takes place at around 1-2 years old (when it's financially most viable) whereas in the north of Spain, the cows and oxen are around 8 years old even going up to the grand old age of 17. The older meat is much fattier. The retired dairy cows naturally grow fat (it happens to us all) and more fat equals more flavour. Simple.
The beef has landed.
Just smelling the raw meat is beautiful, like a mature cheese it gives off a distinct aroma. Look at that beautiful marbling too.
Nemanja Borjanovic is a very busy man but he finds time to zip up to Manchester yesterday morning to bring up some samples which we tasted last night. We have three different cuts. The Txuletón rib eyes (or chuleton) are traditionally served in cider houses (sidrerías or Sagardotegi in Basque) on a sharing platter. There is also a Galician rack and sirloin all served rare of course.
The beef will be served as a Special at Volta, price TBC.
Next time. I source some Carabinero Prawns, the most prized in Spain.
See photos of the new Volta dishes here.