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Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
Cape Town’s real meat store
Cape Town’s real meat store
The scene that greets me as I turn into Metal Lane is a study of New York’s Meatpacking District; complete with red bricks, wooden crates and men drinking espresso.
Except, we’re not in New York, but in an alley off Kloof Street in Cape Town, the home of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. Andy, of the Fenner part, offers me a coffee while he wraps up his meeting.
Lauded barrister, Msizi is only too happy to oblige. This guy is hot property, originally from the vida e caffé chain, he went onto Brewers &Union—and now he’s been poached by FFMM.
Flat white, okay, an amazing flat white in hand, I browse the shop’s interior. Saucisson sec, and Parma ham hang down against a backdrop of black brick walls, and there are wooden counters supporting preserves and marinades. Msizi, clad in a leather apron, happily mans his coffee machine. The most outstanding design feature is the meat fridge; completely covered in warm toffee leather, it’s a thing of beauty.
I eat proper meat
The establishment has been erroneously referred to as a butchery. Andy, not one to mince words puts it matter-of-factly: “We’re ethical meat suppliers. All the beef is grass-fed, which is really important. Grain-fed commercial beef can't compare.” They also stock acorn-fed pork, 100% free-range lamb, and pasture-reared chicken as well as farm butter, eggs (duck and chicken), and an array of rillettes and pâtés. Andy tells me they also sell bacon and maple croissants in the mornings and sandwiches at lunch.
Okay, so we get the Fenner part, who is Frankie? Frankie, or Frances, is the baby daughter of business partners Shaun and Daniella Bond. “It’s a joining of our two families,” adds Andy, a phrase that wouldn’t have been out of place had he been stroking a cat.
Inspired by reading Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, byMichael Pollan, Andy began his own personal crusade ‘to eat proper meat’.
“I couldn’t believe I had been eating all this food,” he says earnestly. We’ve now moved on from coffee to homemade beer, swigging out of the bottle, natch. “It had a massive impact on my life; no more takeaway burgers, drunken pies... I had to be conscientious about what I ate; vegetables became more than an afterthought.”
Andy is perhaps most well known for his blogging persona, Jamie Who: a litany of cheeky views on food, and convincing passion for ethically sourced meat.
“This dream,” says Andy indicating FFMM, “could have been realised two years ago. But getting enough suppliers with a steady flow of product proved difficult.”
The perseverance paid off, now the store can count Angus McIntosh (otherwise known as Farmer Angus) a free range farmer with commendable animal rearing practices (all the great Capetonian chefs use him as a supplier), as well as Bill Riley Meat, a family butchery that’s been running for generations.
“Obviously how an animal’s been treated will have an effect on its taste,” says an emphatic Andy. “It's categorically better tasting. Also the term ‘free range’ often means a patch as big as an A4 piece of paper.”
So what’s in store? “The cuts change weekly, but generally we'll have brisket, burgers, rump, short ribs, and more. On the pork side we like to promote cuts like ribs, loin on-the-bone, smoked ham hocks and our chorizo burgers. We have lots of fun with the pork and are always playing around with sausages, like with our Bloody Mary chorizo.”
I spy wild boar advertised on their chalkboard, there are a multitude of cuts. I ask golden-haired Daniella to wrap up ribs and shanks for me to take home. And, with a present of duck eggs, I’m off with my brown paper package—no more polystyrene for me.
Text and photographs by Malu Lambert
8 Kloof St | Cape Town | +27 (0)83 303 9797
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