I was gutted to hear that Rex & Mariano was closing. Bestie and I had a fantastic meal there last year, but London is a fickle mistress and seafood is just not what the lady wants right now. The owners, who also own the Goodman and Burger & Lobster group of restaurants, realising this decided to go back to what they know and do extremely well. Meat. With a total refurb of the old site, Zelman Meats was born.
A friend of ours had visited the restaurant a couple of times before and totally raved about it. So when The Better Half (TBH) and I found ourselves in the area last Saturday, we walked in on a whim for a late lunch. Not overly busy, but still with a nice buzzy atmosphere, we were promptly seated at a booth by the window and left with a couple of menus.
We decided to share the baked ‘holy fuck’ Jersey rock oysters (£8.50) . The sauce is an extremely hot chilli sauce from The Ribman, who sells the best rib rolls in London! We’ve had the original sauce on a few occasions and have to say that this lacked the Holy to the fuck! They could’ve done with a teeny drizzle more of the spicy sauce. The oysters themselves were plump and juicy and had a generous coating of crisp breadcrumbs, so were still really enjoyable.
For the main event there are three meats to choose from, all sold per 100g. Picanha (£6 per 100g), chateaubriand (£9 per 100g) and short rib (sold by weight). Our waitress recommended we try all three, which we did. We also ordered some truffle and Parmesan chips (£4.50), mashed potato with roast onion and garlic (£6.00), chopped salad (£5.50) and chimmichuri sauce (£1.00).
Cooked to a perfectly juicy medium, the picanha with its thin layer of fat was packed full of flavour. The chateaubriand as tender as tender could be and that short rib just sublime. We didn’t even need a knife to pull the meat from the bone. The sides were just as good. Smooth, buttery mash with sweet roasted onion spooned over the top, crispy yet fluffy soft on the inside chips topped with truffle and Parmesan. It’s fast becoming a favourite way of eating chips for me! The chopped salad was way more than just an ordinary green salad with radishes, chickpeas, cucumber and feta. It brought a much needed freshness to what was quite a heavy meal. The chimmichuri sauce was light and herby, but I don’t think we needed it. Such great meat is perfectly happy on its own.
We noted that there was only one dessert on the menu – Will’s nan’s apple pie. It would’ve been great to try this, but by this point neither of us had any room left.
Service was warm and engaging. It was a real pleasure chatting to the operations manager Daniela – who’s father is Mariano from the former Rex & Mariano. She’s fabulous and a real asset to the team! Our total bill came to £101.80 which included drinks and service. We walked out of there completely stuffed and suffering a little with the #meatsweats, but it was totally worth it.
I’m already planning a return visit with a friend for her birthday. It can’t come soon enough!
Until we eat again!