Back in the day, long before burgers and South London became big, I very nearly considered a trip to New Cross to visit the underground #meateasy #meatwagon – a bog standard takeaway van serving burgers so good that people would embark on a patty-pilgrimage, queue for hours and eat in the rain just to get a taste. A stolen van, a city-wide twitter hunt, and a pop up residency at a mid-refurbishment-pub later, Meat Liquor was born. Unbelievably, the brand turned over £5m last year, and now has offspring – MeatMarket and Meat Mission, and even a new out-posting in Brighton.
The first half of the menu, the “meat” is neatly split into “birds” “bulls” and “rabbit food” but it’s basically burgers. Both the cheeseburger and the notorious “dead hippie” (two patties and dead hippie sauce – a bit like a big mac) looked really really good. I also had rave reviews from a vegetarian companion about the halloumi and mushroom burger. Unfortunately I had the green chilli cheeseburger – which had far too much sauce on and was really so pink that I didn’t want to eat it, I actually gave up after a few bites as it was bit unpleasant. (I acknowledge that I should have said something at the time, in fairness to the restaurant.) The fries were really good, and the onion rings were absolutely incredible – huge and delicious.
The other half of the menu “liquor” was just as fun as the burgers with a wide range of exciting sounding cocktails for about £7 (although sadly not for me, in the middle of a working day). Instead I opted for the “Brown Cow” root beer float (technically a dessert…ahem) which was amazing (although filling!). There’s also a black cow (coke float) if you’re feeling nostaligic.
It’s pitched somewhere between speakeasy and railway underpass in terms of décor – it’s incredibly dark with graffiti all over the walls – so it’s quite hard to see. I think this would make for a great vibe on a Friday night, but felt a bit strange on a sunny july afternoon. It’s also incredibly noisy, so a little bit hard to hear – at risk of sounding 40 years older than I am, it was quite hard to have a “proper conversation” so we stuck to shouting “REALLY YUMMY” at each other between bites. There’s no plates or cutlery, and they give you an entire kitchen roll to mop off the juice so don’t wear white.
I’m pretty sure I had a bad experience with my burger, as the rest of the food was really good – so I’d definitely go back again to check, but unfortunately can’t rank it up there with my burger favourites (Honest, Lucky Chip, etc) just yet. The queues have massively reduced these days (it’s no reservation, aren’t they all?), and it’s a big, proper restaurant, which makes quite a change from most of the current London burger options so is worth taking into consideration.
The Patty & Bun queue round the corner is too long and you still fancy one of London’s best burgers.
DON’T GO THERE IF…
You’re with your grandma.
IF YOU’RE PRETENDING TO HAVE BEEN THERE DON’T FORGET TO MENTION
The whole room echoes like being inside a giant tin well – you’ll hear snippets of other people’s conversations bouncing into your ears in quite a sinister way.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
(please note: this review was revised in the spirit of fairness following a reasonable challenge from the restaurant)