Meat Liquor is the genious creation of Meatwagon owners, chef Yiannis Papoutsis and Scott Collins, whose burgers have risen from a burger van to a pop up in New Cross (MeatEasy), to a restaurant in Marylebone. Set in the backstreets of Oxford St, dodgy place to be during the sales with bargain-crazed women stomping the pavements, but Meat Liquor is a world away and well worth a butcher’s.
I got a message from a friend one evening saying ‘We have to go to Meat Licker for dinner” which disgusted me slightly, an image of people sitting, literally licking pieces of meat at the forefront of my mind, until she corrected herself. I surprisingly hadn’t heard of it but by the time we arrived it was pretty obvious that everyone else had. We stood in the queue with great anticipation, smelling the wafts of cooking meat and deep-fried delights. I’m not queuer, if that’s even a word, I hate it, so the 25 minute wait was not to my liking but by the time we got to the door I enjoyed being the smug one who was next in line to get a table.
The site previously belonged to a quiet Italian Restaurant, I can imagine their faithful customers would have been disgruntled to find that their quiet Friday night table in the corner with their usual vongole and glass of Chianti had been replaced by paint-splattered walls, rock music and a plethora of meat-based dishes.
We were seated by a lovely waitress who catered to our every need, persuading us to buy the cocktails by pointing out that we were “on a gals’ night out, go oooooooon”, I felt brainwashed into buying one but I’m happy I did. They arrived in jam jars, topped with fruit and tasted amazing, on a par with Bourne and Hollingsworth. They were accompanied by deep-fried pickles with a blue cheese sauce which she’d also somehow bamboozled us into to buying, they were actually really good. The vinegary pickles dipped in a rich blue cheese sauce was a brilliant combination, they put Byron’s soggy deep fried courgettes to shame.
The menu was a delight in itself. The red wine described as “A cracking wine for just necking and giving you red teeth” no frills here…The food: crispy onion rings, deep fried pickles, mountains of fries (the thin kind, which in my opinion is the best kind). Then there’s the burgers. 100% juicy chuck steak, chargrilled on the outside and pink on the inside piled high with tomatoes, onions, pickles and melting cheese all encased in a sweet bap. Just talking about them is making me hungry which has driven me to impatiently shell pistachios which happen to be the only thing to hand as I write.
All I can say is don’t go if you’re afraid to get your hands dirty, there aren’t even plates here, the food is served on a tray wrapped in paper. The only thing to protect you from the meat juices trickling down your face and arms is the rolls of kitchen paper placed on the tables. I looked up from my burger to sip on my Meantime larger to see a group of suited men with their sleeves rolled up gleefully laughing at our attempts to eat like ladies. In the end I gave up, I was past the point of manners and just enjoyed every mouthful, smiling at them through mouthfuls of meat. That showed them, or probably just put them off their own food. I wasn’t going to opt for the aptly named ‘Rabbit Food’ salad just through sheer vanity.
The bill came to just under £20 a head which was fine by me. I’m already planning my next trip and if you’re looking for more burger revelations have a look at http://www.burgerac.com/ the self named burger detective on the hunt for the best burger in town.
74 Welbeck Street, W1G 0BA