Why would you go to Syon Park to buy meat?

Wyndham House butcher’s

It seems an odd thing to do, to go to a stately home with landscaped gardens and a much-filmed Great Conservatory, to buy meat. But people do, says Lee Mullet, owner of Wyndham House butchers, and they are hoping more will do so in the future.

The estate, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, has been very canny over the past 30 years at bringing in businesses which will attract footfall, and profit. People still ask about the Butterfly House where huge tropical butterflies used to flitter about in a hot and humid glass house. That went many years ago, as did the Koi carp pond next to it.

In came a Hilton hotel, Buttercups nursery and Snakes & Ladders indoor soft play area, fishing in the Duke’s stream and hiring various parts of the premises for private functions – corporate events and wedding celebrations.

There is a huge garden centre run by Hillier, who took it over two years ago after Wyevale closed its operation in September 2019. The latest iteration of the garden centre also boasts a cafe, a large Lakeland shop selling kitchenware, and a food hall selling upmarket produce. Hence Wyndham House butchers.

Customers come to fill up with meat

“We get two types of customer” Lee told The Chiswick Calendar: “Some people come for a day out; they come for the gardens and leave with something for dinner. But there are others who come specifically to fill up with meat. They like our produce, they have realised you can park here for free, and they come back.”

They have also seen the first trickle of customers coming on foot from the new flats that are part of the Brentford Project. Syon Park is giving residents access so they can walk along the river and through the grounds of the house. As those flats are sold Lee and his daughter Holly hope they will see a lot more people come in that way.

Lee started in the meat business in the poultry sector. His work took him all over the world and he has seen the intensive farming of the American mid west, with huge areas fenced in, a square kilometre in size, overcrowded with cattle fed on a ‘zero graze’ diet of soya and cereals, classed as ‘concentrated animal feeding operations’.

Having seen it, he decided to go the opposite way, setting up a free-range poultry business in Nofolk. He moved into selling chicken at farmers markets at the very beginning of the movement, catching the new vogue for public interest in food and where it came from. ‘Wyndham House’ was the name of their farmhouse in Norfolk.

Images above: Wyndham House produce; Holly Mullet

Wyndham House one of the founder members of Borough Market

Lee was one of the founding members of Borough Market, where he still has a stall.

“It just got busier and busier and suddenly we found there was a film crew there every week.”

He learned his butchery on the job when he found customers did not always want to buy whole chickens.

“I bought myself a set of knives and got on with it.”

He and his wife then decided to diversify and open a butchers shop in Chelsea 17 years ago and their second shop, in Chiswick High Rd, 13 years ago. They sell grass fed beef and dry cured bacon. Holly is quite scathing about bacon injected with water, which looks juicy in the packet but shrivels to nothing in the pan.

She joined the business eight or nine years ago and is part of a young staff which includes three women. She has picked up butchery skills from her father, not so much hefting whole carcasses about but more nifty de-boning and butterflying, that sort of thing.

“I learned at Borough Market and Rod, the manager at Wyndham House in Chiswick High Rd has taught me a lot.”

Images above: Cuts of meat at Wyndham House counter 

Plans for the future

Holly studied Management with Innovation at Bristol University and is busy innovating ways in which their business can grow and move with the times. One is the cheery welcome you get when you go into the shop – not that you would not have got that from Lee – but she is adamant customer service, and the staff’s attitude to customers, is a top priority, so people might feel like coming into the shop again.

It is noticeable that you are immediately welcomed with a smile, the staff look as if they are enjoying their job, if the banter is anything to go by, and they will offer practical help in what and how much they need to buy for whatever it is they are trying to cook. (Clearly I am not the only one to be mildly embarrassed not to know my Brisket from my Shank).

Holly has the advantage of all her father’s experience and contacts to build on. Lee has been working with farmers for decades. They buy 70% their meat direct from the producer, including free range pork from Suffolk, from Blythburgh Pigs.

They have plans for the future too which go beyond just selling meat.

“I love food. Cooking is my passion” says Holly.

Wyndham House butcher’s shop at Syon Park is a member of The Chiswick Calendar Club Card scheme. They offer customers a 10% discount. Just show your Club Card, and if you have not got one and would like to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can do so here: Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find out more about Wyndham House from their website: wyndhamhouse.com