This has been quite a process to manage in terms of buying meat for home but when considering restaurants it has been even more difficult. I am at the stage now where I actually e-mail the place before I go. If the meat is from a reputable farm I'm happy but if they give me a bit of a blurred answer I'll go vegetarian. If you had told me three weeks ago that I would go to The Wijhnhuis and have a mushroom linguini with pesto sauce instead of the beef tagliata I would have laughed in your face but I'm afraid that's where I'm at.
Anyway, last week I went to Carne. It was on the back of some fairly serious accusations made on another blog which brought the restaurant's meat supply source into question. (you can read all about it here). Now...I'm not looking to spark some hectic foodie debate here and get all controversial but what I feel I need to say is that Giorgio Nava (the owner) personally came to my table and explained his side of the story. He was open to the fact that I am now paying close attention to where the meat I'm eating comes from and he sat and politey talked me through the entire process. In a nutshell, he gets beef from his own farm in the Karoo. He gets a lot of it. He uses other butchers to hang and mature the meat. He never wants to use the entire animal so he then buys what he needs from said butchers. He goes through the same process with lamb and game but uses another butcher. Regarding his buying of meat from other suppliers Giorgio was open about the fact that he does this to "compare flavours". He assured me that what I was to be eating was not from any of these suppliers. I do agree with the point that he should remove the word "organic" from his website though. I am speculating but I find it hard to believe all his meat is 100% certified.
As I said, there was a bit of doubt before I went. I asked the manager, Jamie, about the meat and he gave me a thorough explanation. I asked the chef and he too gave me a satisfactory answer. I know some people may not accept this but I was there to enjoy dinner not deliberately try and expose some meat conspiracy and bring the industry to its knees. I asked a question and got an answer which I believed. Maybe I'm being a bit naiive but that was good enough for me. There has to be room for a bit of trust in the world.
P.S. When I reviewed this place I had the hanger steak and chocolate souffle. Guess what I had this time? Yip, I'm afraid so. It's that good.