The team behind the infamous Meatwagon/easy/liquor have returned to its roots with its newest venture, MeatMarket. It’s all about fastfood burgers done quickly, greasily and awesomely. Carrying on MeatLiquor’s tradition of being hidden a stone’s throw from a tourist hotspot you’ll find MeatMarket in that crappy tourist-focussed market in Covent Garden you’ve often walked past but never gone inside. Thankfully you still won’t have to go inside it, just scoot round to Tavistock Street and follow the re-stamped signs for the thankfully-now absent Bistro Express.
What you’ll find tucked up in the balcony overlooking the stalls selling I <3 London hoodies is a single strip of benches, tables and seats next to a long chunky counter with a metallic open kitchen directly behind it. It’s a little like how you remember McDonalds looking when you were a kid, full of bright colours and dangling signage and happy people selling, cooking, and yelling about tasty fried American food. There’s even a milkshake machine but I’ll get onto that later.
The burgers are still very good. The Black Palace was amazing. In fact it tasted exactly how it looks, which depending on your own sensibilities is either a huge compliment or a serious warning.
Feeling greedy I also ordered a ripper hotdog, after few bites in I wish I hadn’t, it’s good, it’s tasty and the crispy onions and bacon wrapping were a nice touch, but it’s nothing compared to those burgers.
On the side I had the jalapeño poppers and corn-dog bites, the poppers were stunningly good, tiny packages of real heat and cheese and fried crispy deliciousness, the corn-dogs were moorish sweet bites of pancake coated mini-hotdogs. Both came with different and complimentary sauces that almost made me feel like they were worth the £4 for 4 that they were priced at.
To top it all off I picked up the cashier’s recommended milkshake cocktail which was unfairly given the dull title of “The Beige”. It was the best milkshake I’ve ever had. Thick creamy vanilla swirled with maple syrup and Woodford Reserve Bourbon, if you like whisky, milkshakes, food or life you have to go get one.
All this praise though comes with one giant caveat, and that’s whilst MeatMarket is great, high quality, fun, inventive and genuinely fast fastfood (at 7pm on a Friday there was no queue and orders came out in about 7 minutes), it’s priced at sit-down restaurant prices. I don’t care how tasty my Black Palace was, paying £7.50 for a take-away burger wrapped in paper is just too much and the inability to order a burger and fries for less then a tenner is pretty inexcusable. But hey, that’s the price for getting London’s trendiest burger so we’ll all have to get over that.
Price aside the real point of MeatMarket is that you can, if your bank balance and arteries can hack it, now eat a Dead Hippie or the arguably as good Black Palace for lunch and dinner whenever you want without having to hang around outside the car park behind Debenhams for an hour and a half.