Courier takes a trip to north London to visit the Hampstead Butcher & Providore’s workspace.
5 Jan 2017
Unusually for a high street butcher, The Hampstead Butcher & Providore has a large downstairs preparation area. Here, away from the shop front, head butcher Antonio Loi has plenty of space to chop up whole lambs and pigs, make sausages and burgers, and marinade meats. ‘You can’t really do this in other butcher shops,’ says Loi, who has been in the meat business for 30 years. ‘This is the biggest, and best, prep space I’ve seen in a butcher’s.’
The butcher’s, which opened in 2010, has another uncommon feature; an industrial kitchen for cooking food to order. ‘For Christmas, we do a lot of turkeys,’ Loi explains. ‘We can do ducks, pasta, anything. Then we sneak it to the customer’s back door, so they can open it up, serve it at the table and look like they’ve made it.’
Upstairs is where the smaller jobs are done; cutting up chickens or legs of lamb on the small block. While some of the cheeses, charcuterie and larder goods stocked in the delicatessen are imported, all of The Hampstead Butcher’s meat is picked up fresh from New Spitalfields Market daily.
‘Nobody’s too polite over there,’ laughs Loi, who arrives at the market at three o’clock every morning to collect the meat he ordered the night before, load up his van and deliver it to both the Hampstead shop, and the business’ second site in West Hampstead. ‘It’s a physical and mental kind of job. It keeps you busy!’