Sunday, 13 January 2013

Meat Liquor / West London

Thanks to Mr Hazeel for the photo!
Who are they?

Meat Liquor are one of the more notorious burger places in London that have a bit of a reputation for serving up good food and being so popular as to need a dedicated queuing system. Nestled on the corner of an office block behind the massive Debenhams department store on London's busy Oxford Street, this is a place famous not only for their restaurant and burgers but also their pop ups and burger stands.

Thoughts

In retrospect, going to Meat Liquor on a Friday night around half six and expecting to get in  instantly was chancing it a little bit, but the twenty-strong queue at this time of the night is a testament to how busy and popular it is (which to a new patron is a great thing to see). Despite it being a cold night, the restaurant has heaters stationed around the building for people queuing and even better, a waiter comes out roughly every half an hour or so with a platter of sides for people to enjoy while they are waiting. So during the twenty minute wait, I got to sample a deep fried pickle with blue cheese dipping sauce before I had even set foot through the door. It goes without saying that it's rare for a restaurant to show quite so much care to its patrons.

As for the venue, it's a place that wouldn't look out of place in Camden, let alone Mayfair: edgy graffiti on the walls and ceiling with red neon lights on the walls to make it dark and dingy. It also makes for a bugger to get a decent photo or perhaps this is intentional on the part of the designers. It's nice to find a place that encourages sharing and eating with your hands and a trip definitely benefits from bringing some friends along. Cutlery is optional here; most opt for the kitchen towel provided.

Thanks to Mr Hatti for the photo!
Meat Liquor offer quite a few different signature burgers, but we all opted for the Dead Hippie: a double beef burger with cheese, sliced pickles, onions, lettuce and the Dead Hippie sauce with a soft bun. As sides also looked worth sampling, we also went for more battered pickles, cheesy chips, onion rings, bingo (chicken) wings with a hot sauce and Philly steak cheese fries. It's quite so impressive when it arrived on a dinner tray that in this case, pictures speak louder than words. Yes, we did eat it all. It's arranged like a beautiful, edible plate of Tetris pieces...

Where to start then? Well, the burger is a safe bet and what a burger. It's not as large as you might think but it is literally dripping with taste and belies the nature of its crafting. With each bite, different elements of the ingredients came forward - slightly vinegary with the pickles, sometimes more meaty or even mustardy  Dead Hippie sauce with each bite. The only problem I would have had with it was that if I didn't have two patties, I would have felt a bit short changed, as these are quite thin despite the quality of the beef involved.

As for the sides, they are also well worth checking out. The onion rings are huge, well cooked and one of the better examples of the form that I have found in London as most of the time when I have had them they are either over battered, soggy or both. The wings are numerous and nicely cooked, remaining tender and juicy and are covered with a nice hot sauce that is neither too hot nor mild enough that it doesn't register. The chips come with plenty of toppings, although I'm not such a great fan of the Philly steak fries but are nice enough nonetheless. There's even a few token bits of sliced carrot and celery hiding in the corners if you want something else to finish up the dipping sauces provided.

Conclusion

Move over Byron, I've just found my new favourite burger place in London. A great burger and some lovely side dishes and for a sensible price makes this a top eatery, as long as you don't mind the wait. If you like this place, a similar place to eat is Almost Famous in Manchester; an independent burger place famous for sloppy, home-made style burgers and cocktails.

Score

9/10

Where can I find them?
Just round the corner from Debenhams on Oxford Circus,

Burgerac, as always, has a lovely review: