The Beefbar Butcher Shop
BY ANJA FAHS
(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2016)
No other foodstuff invokes our basic instincts like a juicy steak being grilled on the barbecue and we catch the spicy aroma of caramelising meat. Meat is pure pleasure, and it is also healthy, in view of the fact that it has been one of our most important sources of food since approximately 5000 before Christ due to its high protein content and its special nutrition-physiological significance.
Many consumers still believe that meat is an extremely low-fat and high-energy foodstuff. However, this only applies to a very few cuts among the broad offerings available today. And despite the fact that new vegetarian and vegan diets become popular virtually on a daily basis, the trend towards high-end meat from sustainably and species-appropriately reared animals is unmistakeable, something that is evident in the current renaissance of the steakhouse. To date, the conventional image of a typical steak restaurant stretched only to heavy red leather banquettes, dark wood panelling and subdued lighting – a mixture of gentlemen’s club ambience and tourist travel guide recommendation. Add to this hopefully good quality meat – although the steak is ultimately often merely average. But not at the “Beefbar” high altars of meat, a restaurant brand that undoubtedly fulfils the promise its name makes: serving meat aficionados the best cuts to be found anywhere in the world, which have been perfectly stored, prepared and cooked.
The “Beefbar” concept is the brainchild of Riccardo Giraudi, son of Erminio Giraudi of the Italian Giraudi family which started trading premium meat throughout Europe as far back as the 1960s. The first Beefbar opened in Monaco in 2005 and has meanwhile be joined by further venues in Hong Kong, Mexico, Luxembourg, Cannes and soon in Paris. During the summer, there is even a Beefbar on the beach in Mykonos. In light surroundings, diners sit at elegant tables that are sleek and modern in design. The spaces also feature leather seats that are, however, a million miles away from the heavy, bulky look of those in a gentlemen’s club. All Beefbar establishments are timelessly-modern and elegant in appearance although also staged with consciously masculine elements and colours.
The most recent project goes back to the brand’s beginnings in Monte Carlo where the first Beefbar “Butcher Shop” is now open – a luxurious ‘boutique’ for meat aficionados. Now, customers finally also have the possibility to take a piece of the Giraudi Group premium products home with them. Here, the Giraudi meat specialists will gladly dispense advice on how to correctly store, prepare and season their precious meat delicacies.
With the first Beefbar Butcher Shop, Riccardo Giraudi wanted to pay tribute to meat and create a completely new shopping experience in the process. For this, he commissioned Monegasque architects Humbert & Poyet who were also responsible for the elegant interior design of the restaurants in Monte Carlo, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Mexico. For their concept, they took inspiration from modern wine tasting bars and gourmet clubs, creating an exclusive after-hours atmosphere for the Butcher Shop that features shades of black and gold. “Normally, you do not go to a steakhouse to be in elegant and beautiful surroundings”, explains architect Emil Humbert. But this has changed with the Beefbar venues, allowing carnivores to indulge their passion in a sophisticated and trendy ambience.
The pieces of meat are displayed in elegant glass cabinets immediately catching the eye. The cuts are showcased against the rear walls of the cold store rooms made from black marble like works of art. Waist-high blocks of white marble form the columns for the heavy round wooden boards that are illuminated from above by spotlights. These are used to expertly prepare the meat. The design is coherently sleek, featuring straight lines and a reserved, futuristic elegance. Modern chandeliers made from Murano glass discreetly illuminate the spaces. And it goes without saying that the Butcher Shop also has a private dining room with seating for ten people where the finest fillets, entrecôtes, steaks, ribs and tenderloins from Europe, America, Australia and Asia can be feasted upon.
This is the perfect setting for the very best quality products available on the international meat market. Black Angus is an absolute must-have for all genuine steak lovers. The taste, the tenderness and the quality of US beef are superlative. Add to this the typically American steak and barbecue culture. Like no other, the experienced cattle breeders are able to consistently supply the Giraudi Group with meat of the very highest quality. As a result, the Giraudi Group has meanwhile become the largest importer of hormone-free Black Angus beef from the US. Excellent quality cattle are reared on the endless pastures of the Argentinian Pampa whose meat is also sold at the Butcher Shop. Argentinian Angus Beef delivers consistent, high-quality meat characteristics. It has a firm consistency and is juicy and aromatic in flavour.
However, for the true gourmets among meat lovers, there is beef from the wagyu breed of cattle, reared in the Kobe region of Japan – the best meat the world has to offer. This so-called Kobe beef has a unique fat marbling distributed throughout the meat. It offers a mildly-nutty flavour and – with its delicate consistency – is a highly-coveted luxury product throughout the world. Only castrated bulls, heifers and oxen are suitable for producing Kobe beef. Their long and stress-free rearing on natural pastures contributes towards the superlative quality of the meat. In general, black Kobe cattle have a very powerful build. They are the world’s most expensive cattle. Genuine Kobe meat can only come from thoroughbred Kobe cattle born, reared and slaughtered in the region around the city of Kobe. Giraudi became the first importer of certified Japanese Kobe beef in Europe back in 2014.
Among other things, Beefbar Butcher Shop customers can choose from Black Angus US Prime, Black Angus ‘Premium Marble Reserve’ from Australia, Angus from Argentina and certified Japanese wagyu beef. Furthermore, milk-fed veal from Holland can be purchased. Prices vary depending on age, cut or the origin of the meat, starting at around 54 euros for a kilo of Black Angus flank steak from the US. As the crowning glory of its service, the Butcher Shop also provides a ‘Room Service’, home delivering the very finest steaks on order.
The Giraudis began to import Dutch veal to Italy as far back as the 1960s. Giraudi International SAM continued to develop the businesses and expanded its operations on various levels with the support of traders and agents that supplied the Giraudi importers.
Each year, the Giraudi Group sells more than 90,000 tons of premium meat to gourmet partners and high-end food companies, making the Giraudi Group one of Europe’s largest meat importers. The company also sells burgers that are, however, very different to conventional burgers. Only pure US Black Angus or Kobe beef, Black Angus combined with Kobe or grass-fed beef with black truffles, for instance, are used for the ‘Gourmet Boutique Burger’ products. Each burger meat comes with its own special sauce.
So, it is hardly surprising that the dishes at the Beefbar establishments are just as excellent as the quality of their ingredients. Here, the chefs can justifiably claim that they only select and prepare the very best pieces. This can only be guaranteed if the meat is purchased directly from the producer. Regardless of whether its beef comes from Argentina, Nebraska, the Netherlands or Ireland, the Beefbar knows precisely where the animal was bred and what it is serving its demanding clientele. But it is not just meat lovers that experience nirvana here – the menu also includes such classics as the Caesar salad and tagliolini with spicy mushrooms. And if culinary rumours are to be believed, the buttery, creamy mashed potato at the Beefbar is the best that the South of France has to offer.
Picture credits © Beefbar/MRG