I like meat. That is basically the fundamental point of all my reviews here, and my life philosophy. I will eat meat that is closely related to processed garbage and call it a culinary marvel – and believe that.
MeatLiquor (in Welbeck Street, London) and exists under the premise that all a menu needs is meat and liquor to thrive. It is correct, and its several variants are testament to that – MeatMarket in Soho, MeatMission in Hoxton, ChickenLiquor in Brixton, and other MeatLiquors around the country. I’m just going to be honest here and throw my cards on the table: this is my favourite restaurant. I went for the first time last year after having it hyped to me for years and it lived up to all that and more. I could spend a fortune there. I probably would, if I had one.
Before anyone who has been to MeatLiquor tells you anything about the actual meat or liquor, they’ll tell you things that might put you off: the length of the queue to get in, how it’s dark in the restaurant, how the music is loud. This is not untrue. I have seen people amass by the bar, and queue round the outside of the building, but here’s the rub: if you get there at the right time, you don’t have to. On both times I’ve been there recently – weekday evenings, after work – I was able to sit right down, and get served right away. But I’d say it’s worth the wait, anyway.
It is also dark, and loud. It’s going for an underground dive bar with raucous guitar music and dim, hazy lighting vibe, and it nails it. I’ve not had trouble reading the menu or seeing my food, but my eyesight is fine, so it’s quite possible my experience isn’t representative. I wouldn’t let it put you off, though; it’s something you get into, rather than repulsed by. Maybe.
There’s a long list of a variety of cocktails, which really pack a punch, alongside beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks and, crucially, magnificent, creamy milkshakes that can be both hard and soft. The food, meanwhile, is essentially what would be on my bucket list, if I ever wrote one. I am nowhere near to having tried everything on there, but I hope before I die that I do. Even the simple bacon cheeseburger is a juicy, messy sight to behold, but the Dead Hippie is to – well, die for. The onion rings are huge and crispy, the chilli cheese fries are eye-wateringly spicy, the Bingo Wings are hot and flavoursome, and the Rib Licker is, I’m reliably informed, like the McRib but meatier, and just as messy. As previously stated, I respect any restaurant that provides a roll of kitchen towel over flimsy napkins, and I’m increasingly starting a love affair with any restaurant that serves its food just flat out on a tray. That’s a restaurant that says: we don’t expect you to make a mess, we want you to.
And you will, so it’s a good job it’s dark. Long live MeatLiquor.