I love their sense of humour: London’s much lauded Meatwagon (subsequently reincarnated as #MEATEASY) found no better permanent location than at a car park, just behind Debenham’s, off Oxford Street. The collaborative brains behind MEATliquor Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins somehow kept the exterior of their famed burger shrine suspiciously banal. Inside it was a different perspective of a heavily graffiti-ed, Texas-Chainsaw-Massacre-like enclave. You know, webs of dangling ceiling lights, blood-stained PVC strip curtains, but this nightmarish vision was disrupted by the presence of a well-stacked bar and no rendition of knives to diners.
Hands on eating
Cutlery was kept to absolute minimum at MEATliquor. My first tray of adulterated meat arrived sans knives, sans forks and sans plates. Deep Fried Pickles (£3) boast a crispy batter and crunchy, juicy gherkin slivers. Baffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip (£5) had a good tang but not so domineering heat. This was quickly followed by a bigger procession of meat. Dead Hippie (£7.50) was this Big-Mac-like burger (doubled patties, cheese, pickle, lettuce and onions). I found joy in the soft (lightly steamed?) bun; the patties (very good but not best) had a greasy moisture that ignited guilt but at the same time made me cry for a root beer float (£4). Philly Cheesesteak (£8) was a little healthier (just). I liked the distinct flavour of sauteed peppers and onions that nicely enhanced the shaved steak. Chilli Dog (£8) and Chilli Cheese Fries (£5) were antitheses of detox. For the former, an intensely smoky beef sausage was well doused in stringy cheese and finished with a good handful of jalapenos. Likable but impossible to gulp down a whole one. For the latter, the hot dog was replaced by a tub of proper fries. After a few mouthfuls, I (and The Other Bib) felt calorifically devastated…..
This did not stop us from ordering a Key Lime Pie (£4), which was citrus-y, velvety and very moreish.
Gloriously and deliciously guilt-ridden food aside, I’d like to point out MEATliquor is not exactly my kind of food or restaurant.
re Food.. The food at MEATliquor is your expertly done “dirty” burgers and snacks. it is almost nostalgic food for those having grown up with burgers and a lot of cheese. I didn’t; I am in favour of a cleaner taste of burgers at Goodman’s or Hawksmoor.
re Restaurant.. MEATliquor runs not only a “No reservation” policy but also a “you have to queue even when your friends have a table inside” policy, both of which I think are reasonable. That said, due to its popularity, the restaurant is mostly packed and gathers long queues. This can, though not necessarily, result in inconsistency and very slow service.
But, for what it’s worth, I enjoyed my meal at ML during its quiet hours. And this is how much I ate…
GO FOR: Grease. Cheese. Meat. And cocktail.
74 Welbeck Street
Tel. 020 7224 4239