Posted on Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
MAC AND WILD
Mac and Wild is all about meat – Scottish meat in fact. At the heart of its operation is wild deer which comes from co-owner Andy Waugh’s father’s estate, with the rest of the produce being sourced from other trusted highland properties.
The origins of Mac and Wild dates back to when Waugh first set up at Borough Market in 2010, selling raw deer meat. Before long, his next venture came about as ‘The Wild Game Co’ which saw him dishing out venison-based street food. A pop-up was next, which was so well received that Mac and Wild, the permanent location, came into being in 2015.
The finished product, Mac & Wild on Great Titchfield exudes a minimalist touch with wood tables and bare brick walls. Yet it manages to maintain a sense of a stylishness to it with its soft dim lighting and charming ambience. The menu is predominantly about the meat, but there are also a number of fish and veggie choice to ensure that every palate is catered for.
The highlight of the evening was without question the venison chateaubriand (£11 per 100gm – we ordered 310gm). Packed with flavour and mesmerisingly tender, this was staggeringly good. Perfectly cooked and well seasoned, this was truly a triumphant piece of meat and well worth the price.
In contrast, the partridge wellington (£17.50) proved to a huge disappointment. Where the chateaubriand was a 5/5, the partridge barely scored a 2.5/5 from me. Two pieces of partridge breast wrapped in pastry was bland, and the limpness of the pastry didn’t help matters much. Worst yet, each piece was topped with a partridge drumstick which was hard as a rock and as dry as a bone. In short, the drumstick was inedible. The restaurant took 20% off the price of this dish from our bill. But it was such a disappointment that I felt that they shouldn’t have charged us at all.
The sides were good and satisfying, but not amazing. The chips (£3) were homely and rustic (although I prefer crunchier chips). As for the mac and cheese, this was creamy if a little runny, and the pasta a little too soft.
We finished the meat with a dessert of sticky toffee pudding (£6) which was really delightful. The pudding was delicious and expertly made. Some sticky puddings can be a little dense in texture, whereas here, the pudding resembled a fluffy light cloud. The toffee sauce was also fabulous – decadent, rich and with no tinge of bitterness in it. Very well done indeed.
Without a doubt, the venison chateaubriand was a knockout. As for the partridge, I’d like to believe that this was a one off mistake which they have since fixed. So despite the disappointment of the partridge dish, I would go back to Mac and Wild again just to have a taste of that venison. Oh, and a taste of that sticky toffee too. We liked the service as it was pleasant and efficient.
1) The venison chateaubriand was sublime.
2) The sticky toffee pudding was fabulous.
1) The partridge wellington was a disaster.
Food rating: 3.5/5 (but the venison chateaubriand was a 5/5)
Overall hotel rating: 3.5/5
Prices: About £30 t0 £50 a head.