The Story of The Herd
From Farm to Fork
We are passionate about steak and have left no stone unturned in our quest to deliver the ultimate steak experience at the Herd. Thousands of steaks have been tasted and many farms visited throughout world in order to create the Herd….a tough job but it needed to be done!
Flavour and tenderness are of premier importance to us and everything we do is designed to provide you with the ultimate steak experience, second to none. This starts with the breed and feed and goes all the way to the cut and cook.
Cattle fit for a king. We prefer to keep our meat as local as we can and we don’t compromise on finding the best. That is why we have chosen the Red Sussex from the Royal Windsor farms as our House Herd.
The Red Sussex is one of the original breeds of England, originating in the thick forests of Kent many thousands of years ago. It is not a ‘manufactured breed’, bred for the supermarkets; it has evolved naturally. It is also believed to be the origin of the Hereford, Welsh, Devon and Highland breeds. It produces a wonderful marbled beef whilst having a very relaxed temperament, ideal for a tender steak.
Of course there are several other great breeds out there and we wouldn’t want you to miss out on comparing them, which is why we have the guest cut. Some of our favourites include Highland (from our own Estate in Wester Ross), Angus and various Wagyu breeds. The guest breeds will typically be from rugged regions and are an incredible cut. We will only have them on the menu if they have just arrived and have been fed, aged and butchered to the highest standard possible and are available at a sensible price.
A word on Wagyu. There are many myths and much exploitation of this. Wagyu means ‘cattle’ in Japanese. There are five main breeds of Japanese cattle, so it is really the breed you need to look at. Recently the success of Wagyu has been exploited by America and Australia where they have started to breed Wagyu, often crossed with Angus to increase the bulk. American and Australian Wagyu, whilst still a great steak, is not for the purist. The Japanese are probably the most obsessive about their cattle with Kobe being the most famous area.
The cattle drink a special beer mix for three months to enhance marbling. Some also have a Sake cocktail applied to soften their coat and are also massaged. This is all done in a quest to produce the most relaxed cattle that enhances the tenderness of the meat. Clearly a beer-fed massaged cow flown from a rugged remote part of Japan is going to be expensive; however, it is one of life’s experiences that should be tried.
You are what you eat – the same is true for cattle. There has been great debate about the merits of grain versus grass. We are all about the quest to find the best steak so are on the side of grass with a little grain. Grain requires less land and fattens cattle faster, hence why it is more prevalently used. We look for the best nutrients and fats in a steak, much of which comes from Omega 3 and CLA. This is much higher in grass-fed cattle and is almost absent from cattle that have been pure grain fed for 80 days or more. However, a little bit of grain can boost the marbling whilst not losing the nutrients – just what we like.
Butchering makes a real difference. We have partnered with Vicars who were founded in 1886 only seven miles from here. Over generations they have built relationships with the best farms and estates giving them access to some of the best meat in the country. Butchery is in their DNA. The trained eye can hand cut a steak to perfection, unlike a machine, ensuring only the best 3% of meat comes to us which we then serve to you.
Ageing is crucial. There has been much debate about ageing and in truth it depends on what the specific meat is that you are ageing, how long you age it for and how you go about ageing. Ageing is done for both tenderness and taste; only dry ageing does both. Beyond 30 days will do nothing for tenderness but can further intensify (or deteriorate) taste. We have, therefore, gone for 30 day dry ageing as this is the best balance of tenderness and taste for the cuts and marbling in our steak.
Everyone loves a good BBQ and this combined with a great steak and a great chef makes for the ultimate steak experience. And this is exactly what we provide for you.
All of our chefs are expertly trained in preparing and cooking steak so we don’t hide them in the kitchen; they are at the fire next to you in the restaurant!
A natural fire makes for great cooking. We mainly use ash wood to give an intense heat with minimal smoke. We will occasionally add other woods such as apple to add some smoky flavour, although we are always careful to smoke the steak not the restaurant!
We have custom-designed the grill to deliver the perfect steak. The grill is angled so that any excess fats run off as the best steak keeps its juices sealed inside and cooks both from the inside and outside with a naked flame adding a lovely char.