High end beef with a warm African vibe - The Meat Co, Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

I recently visited The Meat Co, the high-end steakhouse at the Souk at Qaryat Al Beri next to Shangri-la, as part of my steakhouse roundup in Abu Dhabi. The location itself, with views of the canal and Sheikh Zayed Mosque, removed from the stiffness of a hotel, alone makes it an attractive option for some steaks. 

My daughter and I arrive just before sunset, allowing us views the aforementioned sights. These tables are premium spots in the cooler months. However, after getting a few pics this evening, we head inside for the air conditioner and are seated. 

It is a warm restaurant with a lot of dark wood and lighting creating it. It is casual, but don't expect cheap prices. The restaurant is competitive with any steakhouse in the city, as is reflected on the menu. 

My daughter starts with Biltong, a South African version of beef jerky, but much better. It is a fun way for her to start her evening and it takes her back to her last visit in Johannesburg. 

On the other hand, I order the Burrata. It sits on top of peppery, chopped tomato, balanced by jam drizzled around the plate. An interesting take on this beautiful cheese. 

There is a superb ambience at Meat Co. Tonight we are lucky that a young girl is celebrating her birthday. I said this before and it bears repeating - if you are celebrating being a  year older, this is the place for you. Forget those corny happy birthday tunes so ubiquitous around the city - staff here break out into a traditional South African song and they fill that restaurant with truly African warmth. 

Soon after this incredible moment, I order a glass of wine for my main course. Meat Co offers 34 by the glass wines, varying in quality, but offer good value. The cheapest glass starts at 49AED. I opt for a  2012 Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon. It proves to be nice and full and served by the glass, it does not add to much expense to a person's evening. 

For my main course, I have a USDA 150 day grain fed Sirloin. It is grilled in a signature Meat Co sauce. I like that the sauce does not over power the meat. In fact, there are other sauces that you can order on the side. It has all the firmness I expect in a sirloin and considering the price of 280AED, it is a good piece of beef. 

My daughter, meanwhile, my daughter loves it here. They serve her favourite traditional South African dish, which she promptly orders. Boerewors is a spiced South Africa sausage and it is served with pap, or polenta in English and topped with tomato gravy. If you are curious about a typical or even quintessential South African dish, this is it. Try it. 

As we wind up our early evening, dessert is a  simple choice -  Malva pudding, a South African dessert of Cape Dutch origin. A spongy cake with a caramelised texture is topped with vanilla ice cream. However, I miss a bit of creamy moisture, so I reckon custard poured over would be very true to the way South Africans enjoy this. Nonetheless, if you like a sticky toffee pudding, you will enjoy this. 

Overall, Meat Co has some exceptional cuts of beef. The menu is extensive and offers everything from South African beef to fine Japanese beef - incidentally, the only steakhouse to have Japanese Miyazaki beef as a regular item. They are in the process of revamping the menu and adding some changes which will put them in a  better position. There are some rough edges and by refining a few of these things, for example, things like wine pouring service,  and you have yourself much more than a casual steakhouse. A stunning view, warm staff and a wide variety of meat and although it can be expensive, it does not have to be - a good option. 

The Meat Co.
The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri between the bridges,
Abu Dhabi

The Meat Co
+971 2 558 1713

Starters 35-85 Dhs
Mains 140-850 Dhs
Dessert 45-50

Brandon Stoltenkamp
Disclaimer: I was invited to Meat Co as a guest of the restaurant.