Online butchers reviewed – Part 2

On April 10, 2013, in Butcher, shopping, by Milo

It’s been a month since I took my first look at online butchers and I’ve managed to make enough room in the two freezers – or should I say I’ve eaten my way through copious amounts of steak, sausages, venison, pork, fish …. – to be able to place a couple more orders and look at two new companies.

This week I’m looking at Macbeths Butchers and Andrew Gordon Butchery, both incidentally from Scotland. One of the things that stood out this time around was the impressive customer service, more on that later as I look at each company individually, but once again I look at the food, the service, the delivery costs and my overall impression comparing the results with the first three companies I reviewed in March.

Macbeths Butchers

Macbeths Order

Macbeths Order

Whenever I mention the name to colleagues, friends or people on social media, it brings about a small grin. There’s something about the name that shouts Scotland – I wonder why! Macbeths is another butcher I stumbled upon while researching over a month ago. The website is friendly, inviting, easy to navigate and packed with great looking produce, produce that includes regular sausage, steaks, quail eggs, Wild Rabbit and a game bird or two!

Customer service was impressive to say the least and together with prompt and informative replies via email and social media – another butcher embracing twitter – the standard is to be envied – certainly from my experience. More than happy to answer any questions you may have about their produce Macbeths are eager to help in any way they can.

This order was by far the biggest order I’ve received to date and when the cool box duly arrived I couldn’t quite believe the amount of food the package included. One of the things I absolutely love about ordering online compared to buying from the supermarkets is that everything you receive – more often than not at least – is individually packed and vacuum sealed to keep the freshness in. Another plus is that the produce is well labelled which makes it so much easier when it comes to storing in the freezers. Best before dates are given for both cool and freezer storage so you are never in any doubt if the meat is within the correct dates.

 

Lamb Noisette - A Favourite

Lamb Noisette – A Favourite

Produce – Burgers (Lamb & Mint, Steak and Venison), Sausages (Pork, Beef and Farmhouse), Steak (Rump, Sirloin and Feather), Rolled brisket, Lamb Noisettes, Pork Steaks and Gammon Steaks.

I haven’t had the opportunity to eat my way through all the produce of course but what I have tasted – Sausages, Pork Steaks, Gammon Steaks. Sirloin and Lamb Noisettes have been remarkably good with absolutely no wastage. I cooked the sausage for guests one weekend and they all raved at the quality. It’s amazing how a good sausage helps make even the simplest of meals – sausage sandwiches in ciabatta bread and crusty rolls – a gourmet feast!

The pork steaks were succulent and moreish, easy to cut and consume and are quite easily on par with the steaks I ordered from Donald Russell last month. The thing I do like about Macbeth’s steaks are their irregular shape and sizes! Having said all that, the one thing that has been a monumental success in this household has been the Lamb Noisettes. I’ve never had the opportunity to cook Noisette’s before but the taste, accompanied by some homemade mint sauce, was full of flavour and once again incredibly succulent. I could have eaten these all night, I just wish I’d ordered more now!

Delivery and packaging – Once again another Macbeth’s is a company that knows how to package its goods. The box arrived in great condition and the food chilled, thanks to the accompanying ice sheets that were still frozen on delivery. The order arrived, as most do, before 12pm which allowed me to sort the produce and get on with my day. Delivery costs are reasonable although you do have to spend a fair amount to balance it out. Delivery is free on order £125 and above, £4.95 for orders in excess of £85. There is no minimum order with Macbeths however if your order, and your order is less than £20 then you will be charged £12.50 for delivery, for orders £20 – £85 a delivery charge of £9.95 is applicable.

Andrew Gordon Butchery

As with Macbeths, Andrew Gordon Butchery excelled in customer service and satisfaction, I couldn’t fault the level of pre and after care. Always happy to help Andrew Gordon is only a phone call or an email away from answering all your questions ensuring you know exactly what you are going to get at all times. Albert Einstein once said The only stupid question is the one left unasked and this just about sums up this butcher – in fact both butchers reviewed here today – and given that you can continue asking questions long after the order has been dispatched is crucial to a magnificent level of customer satisfaction.

Andrew Gordon Butchery

Andrew Gordon Butchery

Andrew Gordon also has a very healthy twitter presence which helps potential and regular customers to get in touch at the drop of a hat.

Produce – a wonderful variety of gourmet burgers (including venison and steak), black pudding, numerous sausages (including beef, chive and pork).

I’m sure I sound like a stuck record now but yet again the produce was of a high standard and the flavours rich and wholesome. Up until this point I had never considered eating venison but when I received the package from Andrew it included four venison burgers and I couldn’t wait to try them out! They are an acquired taste with a deeper gamier and more powerful taste compared to your regular steak burger but they were incredible. Melt in the mouth doesn’t do the produce justice!

As I have already mentioned above I had a number of guests over for the long weekend and treated them to produce from Macbeths and Andrew Gordon and I have to say the Venison burgers (cut up into taste size portions!) and the apple, chive and pork sausage went down a treat. I love it when a plan comes together!

Counter Produce

Counter Produce

One of the things you will notice with this website is that you cannot order individual items like most other online butchers. Andrew Gordon currently has six trusted food packs that all include delivery however you can email, phone or use the contact form to enquire about individual bespoke packages for produce you do not see listed among the six packs. Andrew will then email you the prices and delivery costs – delivery included for orders over £80 – and you can then place an order.

There are plans afoot to completely overhaul the current website and move forward making everything more accessible and given the huge range of produce Andrew has at his disposal this will only increase his online presence.

Andrew Gordon is linked to a number of nutrition, fitness & body transformation experts such as Scott Baptie of FoodForFitness where they refer their clients for bespoke nutrition lean packs and sometimes the Trusted Food 6 Packs I mentioned earlier. This is another level of service that goes above and beyond a regular butcher and if you ever need help in planning suitable produce then Andrew is your first point of contact. Once the new website is up and running I will update this review with my thoughts on ease of use etc.

Delivery and packaging

The produce arrived on time, chilled and very well packaged as expected. The individual packaging made the option to freeze or chill in the fridge and effortless one. The portions weren’t too big and because of it there was no need to separate any of the produce to make it more manageable in the future. The labels were clear, informative and gave no doubt on the best use by date.

Summary

Macbeths and Andrew Gordon Butchery offer an amazing range of high quality produce – online and on the high street – both bespoke and tailor made, with the highest level of customer service and satisfaction one could wish for. The fact that both are easily contactable, ready to answer any question with an efficient and friendly manner certainly adds that little something extra to the service. I unreservedly recommend both butchers.

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