Horse Served on Scottish Menu


By Andrea McCallum

AN EDINBURGH restaurant has become the first in Scotland to serve horse steak on their menu.

The Scottish capital’s French eaterie L’Escargot Bleu is now offering diners a choice of pan-fried horse rump steak or horse meat steak tartare.

An 8.5kg entire horse rump was delivered to the restaurant direct from Rungis market in Paris – the biggest food market in the world.

Although the meat is new to Scotland, about 70,000 horses are eaten in France every year.

The pan-fried horse rump steak will be dished up with peppercorn sauce and the horse meat steak tartare will be prepared in the traditional way with raw duck egg yolk.

Fred Berkmiller, who runs the Broughton Street restaurant, said: “I’m not pushing people to eat horse but I eat it regularly.

“It is tender, sweet and less fatty than beef and contains higher levels of iron and Omega-3.

“Each time I go home to Tours, my father makes me horse steak tartare. It’s so delicious I want my Scottish customers to taste it too.”

Mr Berkmiller thinks British tastes are changing and horse will be ranked among snails and frogs’ legs in the future,

The restaurant already serves horse-based dishes imported ready-made from Paris.

Head chef Damien Rolain – who has worked in Edinburgh’s Abstract and Atrium before joining L’Escargot Bleu when it opened last year – described the horse meat as “so tender it’s like butter”.

Stevie Walker, director of Campbell’s Prime Meats, said he was startled by the eatrie’s request.

He said: “I’ve been asked to source some unusual items in my time but this is the first time I’ve ever been asked for horse meat.

“We had to find a supplier of French-bred horse meat and he dropped it off for us at Rungis market. It was a challenge.”

Latest figures show that in 2005 about 4.7 million horses were consumed worldwide including France, Canada and Spain.

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  1. The owner is wrong to say that pet horses and donkeys do not end up on the plate – we have have rescued a number from the French fattening farms – where they are very badly treated – most recently Tin Tin joined us in February 2010. Tin Tin is a very large brown donkey, who is the kindest sweetest donkey in the world and has clearly been someone’s pet. He is not a farmed animal in any way.

    Many New Forest ponies are also being fattened in France at these farms – recently a 15 year old shetland pony, a child’s riding pony who has spent her life doing pony club games and giving pleasure to her owners, was also sent to one of these farms.

    It is now so cheap to buy horses in the UK and Ireland that profits can be made by buying them at UK auctions and shipping them to France for fattening and slaughter. The horses ponies and donkeys that we have rescued have been covered in lice, feet overgrown, and often very emaciated as they only feed them right at the end when they are due to go for slaughter.

    If you want to meet two French donkeys, Vodka and Tin Tin, and personally interview them about how they feel about a local restaurant selling their friends, please contact me.

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