As readers and followers of Marylebone Mums, you may have picked up that I am an advocate of trying to use local businesses where possible. The needs of a family are such that supermarkets and large chain restaurants are of course part of life, but the much-talked-about "village feel" of Marylebone comes from the fact that we still have many independent local businesses catering to locals (both residents and those who work here) who can provide for our needs.
Stores like La Fromagerie and Ginger Pig draw people to the area from miles around but there is so much more than that. We have hardware stores where we can get advice and help - the Crawford St hardware store next to Titania's Garden is amazingly well stocked, and Redmount on Seymour Place had helped me out when I have had a flooded kitchen with washing machine leaks. We have the fruit and veg store on Blandford St who has a great variety of produce and the luxury of purchasing 1 or 2 pieces of fruit rather than pre-packaged, plastic wrapped multipacks (I'm on a household crusade to reduce single-use plastic consumption - more on this another time!). The wonderful organic/natural store As Nature Intended also adds to the variety in the area, and I have also previously written about La Petite Poissonnerie on New Quebec St who can source even the most obscure fish as well as advise and give you recipe inspiration.
Recently we have welcomed Boxcar to New Quebec St - a fab new butcher and grill where you can buy meat but also has a lovely menu for dining in or take away and is open all day from breakfast time. I had visited a few times for their delicious bacon rolls (which are sooooo goooood). Recently while picking up lunch and some meat from the butcher I met Nicola Gregson who is part of the Boxcar team and thought it might be an opportunity to learn and share more about the business and what they hope to bring to our Marylebone community.
The main director of Boxcar, a Marylebone local, is experienced in the hospitality business with several bars and restaurants to his name. He wanted to create a neighbourhood place with a focus on quality products. When that was mixed with the other director who is from a family of butchers, a dying tradition as we all know, Boxcar was created with the aim of primarily being a butcher and grill but with provisions and other complementary items mixed in. The store has been 18 months in the planning. Boxcar was chosen as a name as it is what drove the cowboys out of business - refrigerated railroad cars that enabled food to be transported more easily.
Boxcar focuses on UK produced products. Another of the directors is Nicola's brother who knows and has visited all the producers and suppliers personally. Fruit and veg come from within a 50 mile radius. Meat comes from areas such as North Yorkshire (I bought some delicious lamb from there), and Essex less than 100 miles from here! They have complete knowledge of the food chain for the products they are selling. Though the products are not necessarily organic, they focus on the integrity and quality of produce, food miles and the conditions that the animal is reared in.
There is an in house pastry chef who is baking most of the breads and pastries in house now - the soda bread uses Nicola's family recipe. The sausage rolls and pies they have for sale are just delicious. I was skeptical about the mushy pea pie but it was one of the most yummy things I have eaten for a long time and I will be having to ration my consumption of them or else I may end up having to go up a few dress sizes!
Even the eggs for sale have been thought about - they sell pullet eggs. These are eggs from chickens who are under 12 months old so basically just starting to lay eggs. They are smaller than most supermarket eggs by 25% and may be wonky shaped, but they have a high nutritional content. Supermarkets don't sell them so they tend to be destroyed - such a waste - but Boxcar will be selling them from a local farm.
Although some of the alcohol for sale is not UK produced, they do sell beers from Toast. Do try them and look them up as it is a great story - they use leftover bread to create the beer!
The team at Boxcar would love to hear about any interesting products you come across that you would like stocked too. They already have lots of interesting items in the store and more are coming soon.
The store itself is part restaurant and part butcher. The butchery team can of course provide you with whatever cuts you want and can advise on cooking etc. Downstairs the restaurant space doubles as an event space and there is a kitchen you can see into with an amazing grill for the meat. They can run butchery masterclass events and will also be running classes for the public in time. All around the store there are little details such as real branding irons used as decorations.
The restaurant menu uses the butcher's meat obviously but also small details like bread and butter pudding using leftover bread which is so great to see! The Sunday Roast sounds rather good, and they sell half portions for kids (and will happily provide plates for little ones who might want to share your dinner instead!).
I have visited the store a few times now. Full disclosure that I was given a free mushy pea pie and pork pie - both delicious, I would happily pay for and will be buying many more of! I have also bought the bacon roll a few times (yummmmm), steak salad, burger and beef sandwich. Firstly, they are all delicious! Secondly, they are priced very attractively especially considering the quality of the produce. I have also bought meat from the butcher - I recieved lots of advice, was introduced to some new alternative cuts, and the price was very attractive . The meat was delicious when I cooked it whicht is definitely a reflection of the quality of the produce.
This is such a great addition to the area and even better they are have a special offer for Marylebone Mums!
25% discount on all food when dining in - except the Sunday Roast dinner (sorry, they can't discount this) and is valid from now through to August 31st 2017. Just quote "Marylebone Mums Discount" when you ask for the bill.