Helen Darroze’s Michelin-starred Espelette restaurant at The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair has been blasted by animal welfare activists for serving Dutch veal when waiters claimed it was British.
An undercover video filmed by Compassion in World Farming showed a waiter claiming the restaurant’s Carpaccio of slow-cooked milk fed veal with a tuna and caper sauce, was from British cows, but butchers at Allens of Mayfair, who supply the restaurant with all its meat, claimed the veal was from the Netherlands.
“It’s Dutch veal,” a butcher was filmed saying. “Milk fed. A lot of people don’t like it though because of the way they keep it. They make them drink milk all day.”
Dutch veal calves are considered taboo in the UK as they are reared to minimum EU standards, which can mean force-feeding, cramped spaces and a barren living environment. British-reared calves however are given double the amount of space stipulated by EU law, natural light, bedding to increase their comfort, and a more fibrous diet that results in a pinker meat.
Undercover footage highlights training issues
A spokesperson for The Connaught Hotel, said that veal has now been removed from the menu.
“There were some training issues within the team that meant that the provenance of the veal had not been properly explained to them,” she said. “They all know and are very proud that our meat comes from the legendary British butchers Allens of Mayfair and wrongly assumed the veal was British too.
“As soon as we heard of the mistake it was clearly explained to the whole team and we have rectified and improved all training on provenance of sources of all our ingredients.”
A spokesperson for the Restaurant Association said that restaurants that serve British veal should be proud of its provenance and state it on their menus.
Allens of Mayfair, who also supply many high-end London restaurants including Le Gavroche, The Ivy, Scotts and Le Café Anglais, said their Dutch veal is sourced from farms with the Foundation for Quality Guarantee of the Veal Calf Sector, which is the only fully inspected veal system in Europe, but can supply British rose veal upon request.
Watch the undercover video filmed by Compassion in World Farming: