A Butcher's Trade


I met Leigh only eight weeks ago and already I know more about meat than I ever have before.

My learnings so far from the Master Butcher:

  1. A scrag-middle is more formally known as a Windsor Chop
  2. A T-bone steak is one side sirloin one side fillet with the big bone in the middle
  3. Entrecôte is the first cut of Rib-Eye
  4. When jointing lamb you take the legs off first to make it lighter.
  5. A chop is called a chop (lamb or pork) because you ‘chop’ (not cut) through the loins
  6. A lamb chop should be shiny on both sides
  7. To cut a lamb chop properly you slice through the ‘join-a-farthing’ or ‘white eye’ of the chop quite often you will find chops without this where they've been cut too thin 

I consider myself fairly well versed in steak, or so I thought, so I was rapturous to see the list on offer at Stoneleighs, including the trendy Porterhouse and Striploin - the latter having only enjoyed stateside. So far I have tested the Striploin, Porterhouse, T-bone and Cote de Boeuf…well one must try ones wares if one is to write informatively about these things eh. My personal favourite was the Porterhouse cooked for a few minutes each side on a searingly high heat, no oil - simply stunning.

Another trendy cut is ‘Skirt’ the skirt comes from the plate section of the cow and used to be considered a cheaper cut, prized for flavour over tenderness you need to know how to cook this bit of meat but it’s very tasty if you get it right. (Ask Leigh for instructions) And you will find it on many a gastro menu these days.

As for the lamb… I can honestly say I am not ordinarily a fan of lamb as a meat but the chops I had recently were phenomenal. 

But this piece isn’t a review rather a mixture of musings about Stoneleighs, the cobham local family butchers.

I am a huge fan of independent traders but quite often this comes at a price and I don’t blithely mean just monetary. I have found some independents a little bit ‘up their own behind’ to make polite the phrase. What draws you to Stoneleighs is the warmth, humour, passion and genuineness of the team. Well, nobody laughed at me when I openly admitted that I didn’t know that a T-bone was made up of a sirloin and fillet! 

The phrase ‘the eye is in the detail’ also comes to mind when you glance around the shop and notice the little lamb in its basket in a tucked away corner, the bronze chicken on the counter, the selection of recipes books handpicked for choice, the lighthearted sticker in the window of the chicken piled on top of the pig and the cow, the unlabelled paper that wraps the meat, and even down to the mosaic black and white flooring, a subtle cross between classic victorian and modernity design styles which is just a pure feast for the eyes. This in its essence sums up the heart of Stoneleighs; a cosmopolitan collision of old traditions and new trends coupled with an earnest approach to serving the very best meat and cooking experience a consumer can buy.

Bring it on… Butchery in all its finery.