CALL it a butchery, or even a restaurant, and you’d be missing the mark, for there is nothing predictable or mundane about Meat on Stanley.
Even the fact it is situated in the old Stanley Street butchery premises is irrelevant, as Meat on Stanley’s owner, Jack Goodwin, has turned the concept on its head.
His enterprise in trendy Richmond Hill is best described as a premium meat pantry, with the added benefit that diners may call there two nights a week and sit down to what will unquestionably be a memorable, meaty, marvellous meal.
There is more about Meat on Stanley that makes it an unusual and special experience.
Don’t expect a menu, though there will be a chalkboard out or a listing on their Facebook page with the evening’s options.
Waiters, chefs and kitchen staff? Jack and his fiancee, Mari-Lize Snyman, a shareholder in the business, divvy up the duties – he cuts the orders and cooks the meat, she conceptualises and prepares the sides and together they plate the dishes. All this only on a Wednesday and Friday night, mind you, since these are the two nights the dining area is open with the exception of private functions.
During the day Jack runs the meat pantry from a Wednesday to a Saturday, and works as a goldsmith – his other area of expertise – for the remaining days. She, meanwhile, runs her quirky business next door to Meat on Stanley – a furniture “hospital” where vintage pieces are cleverly upcycled and you can find a magpie’s nest of treasures. Tipping? They seem almost embarrassed when you do, and, far from wanting to pack their dining area to the rafters, are usually more comfortable with no more than 10 or 12 patrons per night.
Baking is Mari-Lize’s other forte and on a Saturday morning locals like to swing by for a slice of sinful cheesecake or a cup of Nespresso.
But back to their dinner service, which starts at 7pm – not 6, or 6.30, or even 6.45 (we tried our luck, unsuccessfully), but 7pm. Bookings are preferred, but not essential if they do have a table for you.
And be prepared to wait. This is not fast food, but what it is, is refreshing, different and very, very good.
On the night my husband, Salvelio, and I visited, we had no idea we were about to be delighted and surprised; in fact, having been politely turned away earlier, at 6.30, we were not really “in the mood”. But forget all that because my T-bone and his prime rib (R135 and R125 respectively) were truly superlative steaks.
They’re a thicker cut than anywhere else, and Jack hangs and air-dries his meat, sourced from a small farm between Bedford and Adelaide, for up to four weeks, then personally cuts each order as it comes in. You can taste this is meat that was fed the best; and reared and slaughtered with great care.
Our orders were served with a refreshing apple and fennel slaw studded with caramelised nuts; an intelligent accompaniment even though the side was actually meant for that particular night’s other offer of slow-roasted pork belly. Dessert was old-fashioned comfort with a modern twist – banana pancakes flavoured with chai (R30) – while earlier we had snacked on a watermelon and proscuitto salad drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Meat on Stanley is at 3 Stanley Street. Bookings on 083-298-3970 are advised. Hours are Wednesdays 10am to 10pm; Thursdays 10am to 5pm; Fridays 10am to 10pm; and Saturdays 9am to 2pm. This review visit was unannounced and the meal paid for in full.