I used to live round the corner from this amazing butcher in Barons Court, West London, and mourned moving mostly because I knew I’d never find another butcher that combined everything we want when buying meat. Yes, Lidgates in Holland Park sells great meat and hard to find cuts (as do other butchers in various neighbourhoods), but it’s considerably more expensive than the unpretentious HG Walter, where you’ll also get much better service and advice. That’s what is so special about this Barons Court family business, a favourite of many chefs and restaurants including The River Cafe. Yes, you can find everything you could ever want in terms of the very best, ultra-carefully sourced free range and organic meat, poultry and game (plus cheese, condiments, veg, salamis, pâté and their award winning pies), but because this is a small shop, with a narrow counter and plenty of knowledgable staff on hand, you really can talk at length to the butchers about what they are selling and the best way to cook and carve it. Go in saying you fancy cooking an Asian dish using pork and you’ll come out with belly slices, for example.
I’ve already ordered my turkey from them, and after a long discussion about the merits of a white bird (more succulant; better for kids) compared to a bronze one (a gamier flavour with slightly denser meat), I’m plumping for the latter, which will be both organic and free range and from Springfield Farm in Wales’s Black Mountain. I usually cook a gammon on boxing day, but this year am tempted instead to buy one when I pick up the turkey. HG Walter have won awards for their cooked hams, made of course from the best free range pigs. If you prefer to cook a goose for Christmas, you can get traditionally reared ones here too. It’s not as pretty a shop as Lidgates, but it’s cheaper and for my money, just plain better. It’s open from 4am (yes, 4 in the morning) till 7pm on the 23rd December to help deal with the Christmas rush and turkey queues, and from 4am till 4pm on Christmas Eve. Otherwise, normal hours are 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am-5pm on Saturdays. It’s closed on Sundays. Happy cooking!