2012 was a hot summer in London. The Olympics were in town, and above a pub down a backstreet in Shoreditch, I was slicing the first steak, for the first Flat Iron guest ever. I had spent nine months working through a list of 38 different suppliers trying to find the right beef.
Traditionally, eating steak at a restaurant was always for exclusive, special occasions, if at all, and was often hit and miss. My mission was to make remarkable steak available to everyone.
During my nine months of beef research I taught myself how to butcher and discovered that little known secondary cuts from the very best beef could be exceptionally tasty but reasonably affordable…the democratisation of great steak.
I didn’t know if my idea of great steak for everyone would get people excited. To my amazement, by the second week, the queue went down the stairs.
There have been many twists and turns since then, with a huge community of committed individuals working together to try and achieve a common goal.
Remarkable steak, accessible to all, passionate people and love. It’s where we started, where we are and where we firmly hope to stay.
Charlie Carroll, Founder
Good beef is the sum of its parts, its breed and genetics, rearing, what it ate when, what climate it lived in, how healthy it was, whether it was male/female, how old it was, how it was handled, how it was slaughtered, aged, butchered and cooked.
Our approach is to principally serve beef grown in extensive or regenerative systems, typically raised on small family run farms in the UK and Ireland.
We favour traditional breeds and longer, slower rearing that yields marbling in the meat and juiciness and flavour in the steak.
We primarily judge beef from an eating perspective on flavour, juiciness and tenderness. There are lots of different styles of amazing beef, as there are with wine. We are wary of those who say wine can’t be good if it’s not matured in oak / of a certain age / made with a particular grape. We love lots of different styles of beef; tender and juicy with a subtle flavour, rich and buttery or intense and almost overpowering.
THE FLAT IRON HERD
We have always been passionate not just about serving great beef, but also about learning how to breed and raise the best possible cattle. In the same year Flat Iron was set up we travelled to Thirsk, Yorkshire, to meet third-generation beef farmer Charles Ashbridge. Talking about what breed, feed and husbandry could make the best beef anyone had ever tried, sparked the thought that if we had our own herd of cattle, together with Charles’ experience, we could experiment and learn everything about how to breed and raise the best cattle.
Today the Flat Iron herd numbers about 40 head, give or take. Using rare and traditional breeds leading a longer stress-free life, we strive to produce the best beef we possibly can. Over the past couple of years, we have focused on rearing Wagyu, one of our favourite breeds, and are proud to be able to now share with our guests beef from our suckler herd.
We believe Flat Iron can be a force for good and have a positive impact – on our guests, our teams and the planet. The challenges facing the world today can seem vast and worrying; we’re not claiming to have all the answers, but we do have a responsibility to make progress day by day, month by month, and year by year. Through continuous learning we are committed to identifying new opportunities which can make a difference.
Currently, we are focusing on making improvements in three core areas:
As a beef business, we are conscious of the impact we make and the need to tread lightly wherever possible. We are committed to improving our knowledge of our existing suppliers and to influence the decisions made at farm level.
We are proud to own our own herd in Yorkshire. Together with Charles Ashbridge, we are currently undertaking a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) to understand the carbon footprint of the herd and identify ways to reduce on-farm emissions.
Once complete, we will share our learnings and make recommendations to other farms and suppliers so we can encourage the wider industry to bring about positive change.
CONSIDERED USE AND RE-USE OF RESOURCES
We are committed to reducing food waste and have a pilot scheme in place to establish reduction targets for all our restaurants. All our food waste is recycled.
Since 2020, we have also partnered with the Felix Project, a charity which is committed to fighting hunger and reducing food waste.
In our existing restaurants we have operational targets in place to control energy and water use, as well as broader recycling targets. All our power is renewable. When we open new restaurants, we are committed to retaining original features, and using vintage and reclaimed materials wherever possible.
We have an amazing team of great people from all walks of life and backgrounds, who love what they do and love working at Flat Iron.
We’re committed to constantly improving the way we recruit and develop our people, so they can progress their careers in hospitality. Additionally, we’re committed to fostering a culture that places high value on diversity, prioritises employee well-being, and champions equity. These efforts collectively contribute to making Flat Iron a great working environment.
It goes without saying that we are committed to ensuring that everyone who works at Flat Iron is involved in our sustainability journey and has the training and tools needed to be part of the solution.
We welcome any feedback which can help Flat Iron to improve – please feel free to email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org