Unit 1026, Westfield London Shopping Centre
This place wins on location, with its prime spot slap bang opposite Westfield's quite simply huge shopping complex. And it's not the kind of restaurant you'd walk past either, just down to the fact that there's so much of it. With over 300 covers, including a roomy bar space downstairs, and a sizeable chefs table upstairs, The Meat & Wine Co knows how to cater to large numbers.
With such a large space, my midweek visit without the weekend surge of clientele, made for less atmospheric dining. You get the impression though, that on a busy night, the atmosphere has the potential to get seriously buzzy. Nursing a sore throat, I asked after a pot of honey & lemon tea before tackling the rest of the menu and was shortly presented with a hot steaming pot of liquid comfort.
The staff at Meat & Wine seemed a knowledgeable bunch and weren't shy when it came to recommending dishes from the menu. We ended up sharing a starter of grilled halloumi with Mediterranean vegetables and lemon oil, which was moreishly salty and light enough not to dent our appetite for the rest of our meal.
As you might have guessed, The Meat & Wine Co isn't the kind of place that directly caters to the vegetarian, but with one of us steering clear of meat, the specials that day came to the rescue. For my carnivorous self, the Springbok made its way onto my plate, and for my veggie dining partner a very, very good veggie option in the form of a pepper-stuffed pancake made its way onto hers. The pancake was light and big on flavour, offering up a very tasty vegetarian alternative which has to be applauded. The Springbok meanwhile arrived in a huge meaty hunk on my plate, and tasted suitably gamey as I tucked into it with my similarly huge steak knife.
Just as the restaurant is huge, the portions are by no means modest which during those credit crunch moments, is a welcome thing. It did mean that we had no room for pudding, but with shopping at neighbouring Westfield on the agenda, that was no bad thing. In keeping with the 'huge' theme, the restaurant's wine list extends to some 4000 bins - quite a staggering number to choose from. Bizarrely there was no sommelier on hand to direct diners though the lengthy wine list, which did seem odd – perhaps he got lost in the cellar.
On the up side, this would be a great place for work do's, and a definite choice for carnivorous fans, keen on getting their mouths around rib-eye, t-bone, racks of pork, kangaroo and flame grilled chicken. The staff were also charming on our visit, and knew the menu back to front, which left us safe in the knowledge that their recommendations would make the grade.
A meal for two without wine, will set you back by around £35.00.
**The Meat & Wine Co:** Unit 1026, Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, London, Westfield London Shopping Centre. Tel: 0208 749 5914.
**Reviewer:** Helenka Bednar