MEATLiquor, 74 Welbeck Street, W1G 0BA
MEATLiquor, one of the most anticipated openings of the year, and it’s opened early! Owned by Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins of Capital Pubs. The infamous #Meateasy ended back in the summer and The Meatwagon headed to The Rye in Peckham, but now they have a proper, permanent home in the West End. Once above a rough old pub, now above a west end strip club, so they haven’t lost the that slightly seedy, gritty edge
Officially opening on 11/11/11, we heard via the power of Twitter that it was already open. So we got ourselves down there pronto! Much to my colleagues envious snarls and barbed comments the following morning when they realised we’d gone and not told them, next time guys!
Yianni said: ‘Just like #Meateasy, it’s not about what you see, it’s about the food, drinks and service. We’ve spent all our cash where it really counts – in the kitchen and behind the bar. We’ve definitely different though…think of us more of a family restaurant. A rather dysfunctional family.’
After a couple of tweets to see how busy it was, @tehbus & @TableforONE_PV said they were going also, they got a table for four so we ended up joining them. Not sure if we were meant to join them or not, it was one of those slightly awkward moments. But we’re glad we did.
It was like being in Fangtasia from True Blood, with its neon lighting and ‘blood’ splattered walls, all that’s missing are the vampires. The American style dive-bar and restaurant is bathed in a dark red light, reminiscent of #Meateasy. The interior, the masterstroke of Shed Designs, it is spot on, with red, black and white graphics and graffiti. Even a rather odd little section cordoned off by a ‘meat curtain’, you know the kind you get in a morgue (that almost made our eyes bleed when we snuck inside – kind of hoping it was the still wet varnish on the walls).
Don’t forget to look up at the painted domed ceiling, it’s amazing… The place is so bloody huge too so I can’t imagine anyone waiting too long for a table. Plus the website has a telephone number, but as far as we know at the moment they aren’t taking reservations.
Yianni Papoutsis has kept the #Meateasy menu including the legendary burgers, fried chicken and Philly cheese steaks. ‘The best burger of my life’ said Laurie at work, with a deadly serious face that you wouldn’t want to argue with. The menu at the moment is short but the man in the know told is it will grow and change. It had all we needed and more, so we’re happy. We tucked into Buffalo wings with blue cheese dip £5, Deep fried pickles £3, Fries £3 and Chilli cheese fries £3 before our burgers arrived. Couldn’t quite work out the flavour of the seasoning on the wings, kind of salty and vinegary, good though. Though as Pooja said, it’s the kind of food that makes you thirsty. The pickles were interesting, never eaten such a dish, again very vinegary but in a very ‘ok just one more’ kinda way!
All cocktails all hover at around the £7 mark, and Soulshakers are back providing them, in jam jars of course. The Donkey Punch £7 was good, Finlandia vodka, fresh lime juice and homemade ginger beer, built over rock ice with an Absinthe rinse. I ordered the Wagon Girl £7 later, purely on the name. Tanqueray gin shaken with fresh strawberry, lemon juice and honey, served straight up. Bit too strawberry-ish. There are also beers (in frozen glasses), wine and even champagne.
Tehbus was recovering from a stomach bug, somehow I don’t think MEATLiquor was the best remedy for that. But he persevered with his burger (using a knife and fork, don’t judge him).
I, however made a total mess of my Dead Hippie £7 (bit like a Big Mac apparently, but don’t know as I’ve never had one). When I ordered my cheeseless burger the waiter/burgerette suggested the Dead Hippie, maybe he thought the wetness would compensate for the lack of cheese. It was good, two fat patties, probably one of the biggest burgers I’ve had, apart from our Hawksmoor at Home one that we made at the weekend.
Kitchen rolls on the tables are another nod to #Meateasy, and just as well judging by the mess I made. Pooja seemed to eat hers so gracefully, I felt ashamed. Ade’s Bacon cheeseburger £7 was a real mouthful, although he couldn’t really taste the bacon. And he loved the chilli fries so much he even ate them cold when everyone else had given up on them – the grated pickle sprinkled on top worked brilliantly.
Although we barely know each other, we all shared a Coconut cream pie £4 for dessert, apart from Tehbus, so at least we won’t catch his lurgy. I fell in love with this pie and wish I’d had a whole one, and sharing between three is a tad tricky, who has the last bit? Turned out no one did, it was left on the plate but I didn’t have the courage to swipe it. What a dreadful waste.