Friday, November 25, 2011

Is Meat Liquor as good as it’s cracked up to be?

Maybe I expected too much. I’d been gagging to go to Meat Liquor or Meatwagon as it then was since last summer when a chef friend seemingly went down there every night to get his burger fix. And now there was a restaurant. Just off Oxford Street. With amazing cocktails. In jam jars! And deep fried pickles. Heaven!

The menu certainly reads well. I’m up for any burger called Dead Hippie (2 patties, sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions) apparently their take on the Big Mac. I loved the fact they put a whole roll of kitchen towel on the table. Yes, it’s THAT messy.

But the burger was a real disappointment. Overcooked, it tasted more like mince then chopped meat. The chips were pallid, bland and frankly McDonalds-ish. The homage had gone too far. My daughter’s chicken burger looked - and tasted - a bit like KFC. What on earth had gone wrong?

Maybe lunch is the wrong time to go (I suspect it is). Maybe you need a couple of serves of House Grog “a dangerous blend of light and dark rums with a splash of overproof rum” before you get stuck in. Maybe you should ask the ‘burgerette’ for some Pure Death Sauce. There must be some reason why everyone is raving about it except me.

Frankly if you’d come across this restaurant in say, Luton or Leicester and they’d served a burger like that you’d have thought ‘that’s not a bad burger’ but from a joint touted as serving some best trash food in London it felt like a massive let down.

Two other quibbles - the wine list while fun isn’t exactly cheap. £9.50 for a glass of Washington State riesling, even if it’s called Kung Fu Girl is going it a bit. And while the service was fine the message “‘Cheers mate’ is not an acceptable tip” on your bill is just plain cheeky. (For the record we tipped. In cash. But I didn't need to be instructed to.)

If you want a great burger, Honest Burger in Brixton Village which I checked out the other day is streets better. But what about you? Is Meat Liquor as good as the original? Meatwagon fans tell me I had an off day . . .


  1. Thank you, at last! A cool rep and a big Internet presence does not maketh a great thing stay cool pony boy! Xx

  2. I've not been to Meat Liquor so can't comment there, but I did have a burger from the Meatwagon... it was indeed a very good burger, but not the life-altering experience I'd come to expect from the gushing blogosphere. It's just a nice burger - not *actually* that hard to do well, especially if it's all you do.

    There's a touch of The Emperor's New Clothes about it all - but sadly as, you're a qualified food writer not a "cool kid" so the cry won't be taken up from here ;-)

    That message on the bill? Awful - I'd rather they put the prices up and paid the staff a decent wage.

  3. That burger looks revolting. Definitely the sort of thing that should be eaten at night time.

  4. I've almost got to the point where I couldn't read another review of meat liquor as every blogger seems to have been down there but its refreshing to see a review which maybe cuts through some of the hype.

    You are completely right about if it were in another place it would be judged by another standard, Im currently trying to find a decent burger in Newcastle and every attempt seems so poor compared with anything I read about in the thriving London burger scene.

    So of course I am still definitely going to meat liquor on my next trip down to see what all the fuss is about. I imagine compared with anything up here, it will seem like the best trashy burger i'll ever have.

  5. It tries so desperately to be cool. Which of course makes it not in the least bit cool.

    Still, I think the food is pretty good.

  6. Your burger looks awful! Thanks for saving me a trip to Meat Liquor. Will be hot-footing it to Honest Burger

  7. I should in fairness point out that was a half-eaten burger. I shot it to illustrate the point about kitchen towel being necessary! Not that I have a problem with messy food per se.

  8. I had a similar experience - I ate more Dead Hippies than is probably healthy at their little burger stall at Glastonbury, but was really disappointed when I went to MeatLiquor before Christmas as my burger was really overcooked. The others' in my group thought their burgers were fine, so maybe I got a bad one. I'll go back and give it a second chance but for the price, I'd rather spend more and have a Hawksmoor burger'n'chips for £15. Did love the deep fried pickles and the grog though!