Earlier this year, we visited department store Selfridges in London to try 3D meat from Israeli company Redefine Meat. Now, the company aims to raise further awareness of its products among Londoners through a collaboration with a chain of restaurants ran by former 3-star Michelin chef Marco Pierre White – and we’ve tried it.
Known traditionally for his high-end meat offering, Mr White has increasingly incorporated plant-based offerings into menus across his restaurant portfolio. In line with this, visitors to 30+ restaurants across the UK can now try steak, burgers and sausages based on Redefine Meat’s products. The products are lab-made from a mixture of vegetable proteins (wheat, potato and soy) and then 3D-printed.
“The world needs to eat less meat, but the reality is that until now plant-based meat products have fallen way short in terms of the quality and versatility required for our menus. Redefine Meat’s products expands the plant-based industry beyond minced meat products to whole muscle cuts while giving you all the sustainability and health benefits of plant-based without the compromise on taste and texture,” Mr White said about the initiative.
Curious as we are, we decided to visit Mr White’s in London’s Leicester Square. Our colleague Miranda went along with her family and tried three different Redefine Meat dishes:
- Redefine Steak with Garlic Butter, buttered English leaf spinach and woodland mushrooms. Price: £34.50 ($38.90/€39.60), which is the same as the restaurant’s meat-based steaks.
- Redefine Steak with vintage balsamico, buttered English leaf spinach, woodland mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, vintage balsamico. Price: £34.50 ($38.90/€39.60), which is the same as the restaurant’s meat-based steaks.
- Pizza with Redefine Salsiccia, fresh tomato sauce, chargrilled red pepper, mozzarella, chilli. Price: £16.50 ($18.60/€18.90), which is the same as the restaurant’s regular meat pizzas.
“Upon ordering the steaks, the waitress was careful to point out that they weren’t actually real meat steaks, before proceeding to change our regular knives for steak knives. Interestingly, we were not asked how we would like our steaks cooked (rare, medium, etc.), which they’d normally ask when you order steak,” Miranda said.
When the food arrived, everyone around the table agreed that it both looked and smelled delicious. Unfortunately, that did not carry through in the flavour and texture.
“It was chewy like steak and had a dry hard crust, like a very well-done steak. The texture initially felt like a steak but after chewing, it soon became very dry and felt more like a crumbly dry mince. While the flavour of the accompanying ingredients was great, the flavour of the steak itself was unpleasant and not what I had hoped or expected. I really wanted to like it, but it tasted like mutton in a quite unpleasant and overpowering way. The aftertaste lingered for a few hours after eating,” said Miranda.
Miranda’s husband Will, who had the other steak, concurred that the presentation was indeed nice and that it looked like a steak in the terms of the strands and the stringiness.
“The flavour, however, was that of a a third-rate steak. If McDonalds served steak it would be called McSteak, and this is what it tasted like,” Will said and gave it a 3 out of 10 overall.
More positive was 12-year-old Oliver’s experience of the pizza with Redefine salsiccia on. Whilst initially disappointed that the burger – which had been his first choice – was sold out, Oliver quickly got excited about the pizza instead.
“The presentation was really good. Taste-wise, I give it a 7 out of 10 although it was a bit plain. It tasted a bit like turkey mince, but the texture was more like minced lamb,” Oliver said.
According to the waitress, the Redefine Meat dishes were initially popular as many customers came in for the novelty of it. The restaurant is popular with tourists, who often try it as a side dish purely out of curiosity. The waitress agreed that the taste was more like that of mutton and said it might be wise to present the product in lamb-alternative dishes rather than beef dishes to make it better meet expectations in terms of flavour.
Watch our video to see what the steaks looked like and how they behaved when being cut: