Scottish food is renowned for its high quality and so when I heard about new restaurant Mac and Wild, focusing on the finest Highland cuisine, I couldn’t wait to try it. Co-founder Andy Waugh has good form having previously established Wild Game Co, which scooped “Street Food of the Year’” in the 2012 Young British Foodies Awards. In fact, Mac and Wild’s Venimoo burger has just won Number 1 Burger in the UK at the National Burger Awards. Andy’s parents have a successful business supplying game in Ardgay, an hour from Inverness and the tables are made from trees felled from their estate. Located in foodie Fitzrovia on Great Titchfield Street, Mac and Wild is a really cosy space with intimate candlelight. When we visited on a Monday evening, there wasn’t a spare table in the house, so it’s wise to reserve as we did.
The walls are adorned with Mac and Wild’s very own range of whisky cocktails, which are beautifully packaged and certainly looked tempting. They hold monthly whisky tasting sessions with a specialist speaker.
However we opted for a red wine to complement our meal – a robust Montevanno Crianza 2009 from Spain with notes of dark berries, coffee and a pleasing long finish.
One of the things I liked about Mac and Wild is the simplicity of the menu. You choose from less than 10 mains and although they are specialized in meat, there are some vegetarian and fish options. However the main attraction here is undoubtedly the wild game. All the game and venison is wild and originates from the estate in Ardgay. Mr Luxe chose the venison tartare with turnips and fresh egg yolk. It had a great consistency and tenderness. I don’t normally eat steak tartare but even I liked the little piece that I tried.
It was a cold evening and I decided to start with a warming bone broth. Served in attractive earthware bowls decorated with thistles, the broth is available either as a “wee plate” or a larger bowl to which you can add chili, featherblade steak, barley or cep tea. I went for the latter and really enjoyed the hearty taste of both the ceps and the bone broth itself.
Next up were the mains and the award winning Veni-Moo. There’s a beef patty and a venison patty, served in a tasty brioche bun with béarnaise sauce, caramelized onions, and cheese. I can certainly see why it is so popular, it has oodles of flavour and doesn’t feel at all heavy. The hand-cut chips were very moreish too.
We chose a healthy leafy salad with beetroot and heritage tomatoes to go with our mains, which was nice and fresh.
My main, the venison chateaubriand was a triumph – easily the best venison that I have tasted – super soft and yet with a satisfying salty crust. You can choose béarnaise sauce, bone marrow gravy or red jon sauce to accompany it. I chose the latter as it’s the name of an infamous character in TV show The Mentalist, sadly no longer on our screens.
After the main course, I took a peek at the atmospheric downstairs bar and restaurant which was just as full as upstairs…
before we tackled the selection of Scottish cheeses, crackers, homemade chutney and celery.
We just left enough room for the grand finale, a wonderful sticky toffee pudding with fresh cream. It wasn’t overpoweringly sweet as some of these can be, just light and airy and a lovely way to end our meal. The evening brought back fond memories of our last trip to the Highlands. Run, don’t walk to this outpost of Scotland in London, just remember to book first!
Mac and Wild, 65 Great Titchfield Street, London, United Kingdom, W1W 7PS