Peckham isn’t short of butchers. Rye Lane is lined with them and the chop-chop-chop of the cleavers and the ringing of metal going through bone fills the ears and makes me cringe.
Most of these double up as grocers, big piles of yams and plantain partially blocking the doorway. Boiler chickens hang upside down above the counters, and the meat behind the glass is often luridly red at the ones I’ve visited. Most are halal and don’t sell pork. They’re always busy, but I’m a bit sceptical at the quality of the meat they sell; call me snobbish but I like to know the provenance of my meat.
I met Charlie a couple of years ago, when he was working as a butcher at The Ginger Pig; he made light work of a pig’s head at Ben Greeno’s supper club (now defunct; Ben’s head chef at Momofuku’s Sydney outpost, Seibo). I heard that Charlie was branching out to open Flock & Herd on Bellenden (stop it) Road so I knew it was going to be somewhere worth shopping at. His background at The Ginger Pig is a dead giveaway that the meat would be carefully sourced and well treated.
Last Saturday was a bit of a launch day for Flock & Herd and Burger Bear Tom was out the front of the shop squishing meat patties onto a hot grill to be sandwiched by shiny brioche buns. Peppery and juicy, the burger meat came from Flock & Herd and delicious they were too. A small queue snaked out of the butcher’s shop, but it moved quickly and I managed to bag myself some tasty-looking pork chops. My eye was immediately drawn to the strip of creamy white fat that lined them and they cost around £5.70 for three. Had I been less blinded by a stinking hangover that left me feeble and unable to make decisions, I’d have picked up a lot more.
Cooked simply in a hot pan to be served on a bed of puy lentils, with a green sauce for garnish they were beautifully flavoured, lovely and porky – obviously a good piece of meat. The fat was plentiful and flavoursome and it crisped up well in the pan. I’m sure I’ll be a regular at their shop.
Flock & Herd, 155 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH . Tel: 0207 635 7733.
Website with opening hours HERE