Here at Domus Nova, to say that we're excited that a delicious looking butchers (both in appearance and produce) has opened a couple of doors down from our Kensington Park Road office is an understatement. Provenance is Notting Hill's newest butcher, proudly serving only the best seasonal produce, all personally sourced by award winning family farms. If a Wagyu burger doesnt get your tast buds rocking, Midshires Rose Veal Rump Escalopes are sure to get your mouth watering! With four great people behing the company, Guy, Erin, Tom and Struan, it is easy to see how once a small idea, some might say dream, has turned in to such a beautiful reality...
Where did the idea behind Provenance come from?
The Provenance concept was originally inspired by owners (Erin & Guy) and their growing discontent with the traceability of supermarket meat, combined with their heritage of having grown up on farms back in grassy New Zealand and love of great steak. All of this was further fuelled by the genuine need for a butcher in Notting Hill: in 2000 there were 16,000 local butchers in the UK while in 2012 there are just 6,000 officially listed
Aside from being a local butcher, what else does Provenance offer?
Though Provenance is primarily a village butcher, we're definitely having a lot of fun creating a range of ‘value-added’ products. We began this several months ago with Erin’s friend and chef Julia leading a number of ‘sample’ tasting evenings at home. Friends and family have all participated and left with full bellies of delicious pies, spare ribs, marinades, scotch eggs and sausage rolls. Julia works for both Peter Gordon, Yotam Ottolenghi and teaches at Leiths and so brings a talent of combining interesting flavour combinations. Our particular favourite include the lamb, harrissa and almond sausage rolls; chicken, ham and leek pies and a plethora of delicious marinades. We also have a wonderful range of chutney’s and charcuterie. Befitting our brand ethos all of our suppliers have their own wonderful story, for example Rubies in the Rubble make edible products such as chutney, from surplus fruit and veg while aiming to provide work to those who need help. CNWD based in Wales use fresh, local ingredients, such as organic chicken livers, pedigree welsh pork and wild Dinefwr estate venison, to create delicious dishes such as their classic farmhouse terrine with pork.
You all worked in different industries before embarking on a career in butchery, what made you finally make the move?We've each been on our own journey, but at the heart of each of our stories is a very real passion for delicious meat from healthy happy animals. Guy’s personal interest stems from a genuine love of a great steak, Erin has been in the world of marketing and new product development at Diageo and therefore now leads the design side of things. Struan was once in advertising but was inspired to retrain as a butcher before being introduced to Guy and Erin through a mutual friend. Tom has had a successful career in sales but wanted a bigger challenge and has now taken opening a butchery in his stride.
We love the interior of Provenance, did you enlist a particular architect or interior designer for the site?
We were all passionate about wanting to create an un-intimidating, modern environment for our shoppers and to encourage interaction with both the butchers and the meat. Specifically Erin wanted the butchery to feel like you are in someones kitchen, to be able to imagine the recipe on your dining room table and to be inspired by the farmers stories. The interior design is quite simply an extension of Erin’s own portfolio and she hopes to have created a space where everyone feels at home.
Tom and Guy as brothers, how has working together been so far?
It's great working with my brother Tom. It brings back fond memories of me working him around the back yard cricket pitch in New Zealand many years ago. In all seriousness, it’s great to be doing something together. We've always been very close and so to be able to tie in our day-to-day lives with something we are both very passionate about is pretty special. Working with both my wife & my brother doing something we really care about and want to influence in our own individual ways is wonderful.
What has been the most exciting part in establishing Provenance?
Everything about launching your own shop is exciting, nervous but exciting, but the best part about Provenance is the feedback we've received and the excitement we have had from our customers about who we are and what we stand for. We have walked on the land and the farms of all our suppliers, in some case worked for them on their farms, and from this experience have selected only a handful of what we see as the best, truly free-range sustainable farmers from around the UK and the world. We believe our customers deserve the best product and the best service when it’s delivered to them, and so far people seem to be finding this very refreshing and are hugely excited about having us in their neighborhood.
What made you choose Notting Hill as the location for Provenance?
Guy and Erin have lived in Notting Hill for over fifteen years. It is their home, made moreso through now having three young children who are going to school and nursery here. Plus we felt that the village needed a butchery, to accompany all of the gorgeous fruit and vegetable stalls on Portobello Road.
What do you hope to have achieved in the next year?
We hope to be a firm part of Notting Hill where every customer truly understands and supports our ethos - grass-fed, well-bred and sustainably farmed produce.
Where can you envisage the next Provenance to be?
Ask us in a year’s time!
You are originally from New Zealand, do you think that inspired you to open Provenance and work with food?
Definitely, we are all very passionate about our meat! Our range of produce boasts New Zealand's finest grass-fed Wagyu beef, Merino Lamb from the Southern Alps, through to more traditional British cuts, homemade sausages, pies and seasonal game. While we are hugely passionate about home, our research over the last eighteen months has also enabled us to develop a real passion and belief in British produce and realize the strengths it has. Our Head Butcher Struan Robertson has helped us develop relationships with some of the best free range farmers across the UK and his knowledge has been invaluable.
What meat or dish (that you sell) can you not get enough of?
Where to start! With this amazing summer the Wagyu burgers are a great barbeque option, especially when paired with the rosemary, olive oil and lemon marinated leg of lamb and some chicken chermoula kebabs. We are generally very aware of seasonal produce and are doing our best to educate our customers around this and give them the best opportunity to try new products and develop their repertoires. Ask the boys what’s ‘in season’ next time you are in the butcher, you may be surprised.
Where do you all live?
We all live within a stone's throw of the butchery - we love Notting Hill!
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Erin and Guy have three small children so spare time is usually spent as a family in the country or further afield to the beach. Tom is an accomplished cricketer with several ‘centuries’ under his bat already this season, while Struan still plays competitive rugby in the winter season and enjoys cooking whenever he is able to. However, from an operational perspective spare time is currently limited so we are more likely to spend spare time relaxing at home with friends.
If you were to host a dinner party, what would you cook? (Assuming meat!)
At this time of year, it’s hard to beat lamb, it’s at its most tender and sweetest in the summer months. A leg of lamb quickly roasted with a fresh Greek salad and some flatbread would make for an excellent dinner party.
And the big question…what meat do you always opt for for a Sunday roast?
It has to be pork, slow cooked ideally, so either belly or a rolled shoulder which allows for maximum crackling. Slow cooking allows the meat to become incredibly tender and juicy, and the contrast of the crackling and sweet, sharp apple sauce is perfect.
Provenance, 33 Kensington Park Road W11; provenancebutcher.com
MmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmMmIt has to be pork, and ideally slow cooked, so either belly or a rolled shoulder, especially as the shoulder allows for maximum crackling. The slow cooking allows the meat to become incredibly tender and juicy and the contrast of the snap from the crackling and the sweet sharp apple sauce makes for the perfect Sunday roast. If you are a busy Mum then butterflied chicken is a super quick and easy alternative.