By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Their delicious Burgers and colossal portion sizes have most probably taken over your Instagram feed over the past three years, so if you still haven’t visited MEATliquor, you’re most certainly missing out.
Situated just behind London’s busy Oxford Street, it’s no surprise that the London branch of the Restaurant has become hugely popular in recent years. So busy, in fact, that you’re likely to have to queue around the block for 90 minutes, just to get a seat for dinner. Fortunately, on our recent trip we managed to beat the majority of the evening crowds with an early dinner, having to wait just 20 minutes to be seated, providing the chance to study the venue’s vast drinks menu at the bar. And as expected from a restaurant with the word “liquor” in its name, there’s an impressive cocktail list, boasting some interesting takes on classics, including the Full Breakfast Martini (served with Egg and Bacon), Lagerita (a traditional Margarita that’s topped with Budvar), and MEATjito that’s a play on the classic Rum-based Mojito.
Upon having been seated, we found ourselves sharing a table for four with another couple of strangers. For general social occasions this isn’t a problem, but it’s perhaps best to avoid MEATliquor when it comes to date night. Then again, brutally loud music and hellish darkness don’t exactly scream “romance”. In fact, it’s the sort of place that you’d imagine a Terminator to stroll into on a violent quest for some new leathers and a stolen Motorcycle, although the shimmering exterior of Debenhams’ Oxford Street branch reminds us that we’re actually in present-day London.
As for the food, the menu features no real starters or desserts (although some of the latter are available upon request), allowing for a quick turnaround, and – to be frank – the main portions are so gargantuan that the chances are that you’ll still be full days after your visit, so any substantial accompaniments are remarkably unnecessary. The Burgers, served upon a metal canteen tray are the real reason to visit MEATliquor, the classic Bacon Cheeseburger (£8.50) features a couple of delicious patties cooked slightly pink, molten cheese, and a beautifully moist (albeit un-soggy) bun, with the addition of crispy Bacon, pickles, lettuce, French’s mustard, and Ketchup. Meanwhile, the “Rib Licker” (£9) is a whole different beast. Unbelievably tender boneless Pork Ribs served in a roll with Onions and sweet Pickles, yet the overzealous lashings of smoky BBQ sauce do manage to completely overpower the whole Sandwich. On to the sides, the Chilli Cheese Fries (£6.50) are also delicious, the portion is easily big enough for two, the Fries are perfectly cooked as is the Chilli that adds a kick which is muted just enough by the Cheddar Cheese topping. However, the generous helping of Jalapeños is disguised by the general darkness of the club-like venue so beware. The Onion Rings (£3.50), on the other hand, are perhaps London’s best. Each portion does contain just four, yet having been made using colossal Onions, the cloud-like inside contrasts astoundingly with the crunchy batter.
With just one course on offer, the dining experience lasts for about an hour or so, which is perfect for a quick Meat fix, however there’s a strong chance that you’ll have to wait quite some time for a table to become available. Why not opt for an early dinner or late lunch? Trust us, the Burgers alone at MEATliquor are well worth an inconvenient mealtime spent in one of London’s most unpretentious über-trendy restaurants.
MEATliquor London can be found at 74 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 0BA.