The vision of one dynamic couple has brought an inspiring new meaty direction to a local butcher’s shop on the outskirts of Southampton.
Some people just know the path they want to take. From the age of 13, Simon Broadribb was confident that he was going to be a butcher, and an award-winning one at that. In 1994, he became the proud owner of Uptons of Bassett near Southampton and ever since its been knives to the block as he has grafted to make his dreams a reality.
Simon would be the first to admit his reality surpassed his dreams when he met Katarina, the founder of Lemon & Soul Cookery School. It was a passion for food which initially bonded them before love took over and marriage followed.
In 2013 an idea came to the pair, Simon explains: “At the shop we take pride in every stage of the process, from the sourcing, to the ageing to the cutting. It is all done with great care, attention and passion. We wanted to join forces to complete this chain and deliver the cooked product directly to the customer.”
And so came the vision of converting part of the shop into a steak bar and bistro and combining their talents and love of good food. Five years and plenty of hard work later, the Uptons Bistro is now open. One half of the shop remains a butcher’s counter but through a glass partition wooden tables, white metro tiles and - as Simon would describe it - “good, honest food done well” can be spied.
The menu reflects the collaboration of the butcher and the chef. Katarina’s Slovakian heritage can be tasted in her mouth-watering bagels, sandwiches, soups and pasta dishes. Quality ingredients are key, as she explains with a smile: “I am fortunate to have some of the very best meat on the premises to inspire the dishes. I recently won Pasta Chef of the Year as well as receiving awards for my bagels, these winning dishes have become firm favourites with our customers.”
Steak lovers can choose their ideal cut of meat from the butcher’s counter for it then to be cooked and served with delicious salads. Bacon is cured at the shop ready for the top selling sarnie. And on Saturdays customers queue outside to get a taste of their famous fry up. The local community certainly seems to be behind this inspired venture and it is easy to see why. The bistro has a relaxed atmosphere with quality food at its heart. Diners enjoy the comings and goings of the shop and the banter of the close-knit butchers.
The space has opened up more opportunities with lively cookery and butchery classes held in the evenings and popular sell out pop-up dinners. “The bistro has brought us even closer to our customers.” Simon reflects. "It is a chance for us to have more dialogue with them but also for us to see them eating our products. I am really pleased and proud of what we have achieved, the feedback has been brilliant. I really do feel like I am living the dream.”
Uptons of Bassett is open 7am-5.30pm, Monday - Saturday. The next pop-up evening is a Steak Night on 23rd February with plenty more planned including Ribs Night, Slovak Night and Chop Night. Masterclasses are usually on a Wednesday evening with Steak, Pork and Fish coming up in the next few weeks.