Image Credit – Samantha Eneli
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Who likes to queue for their food? Unsurprisingly not that many people. Yet more and more restaurant offer a no booking policy forcing you to allow an hour queue time into your dinner plans, or find somewhere else to eat. I credit Meat Liquor with the creation of this phenomenon and it pains me to say that I have queued for this restaurant more than twice.
The success of the Meat Liquor brand is one to inspire and motivate future food entrepreneurs. From humble food truck beginnings it now operates multiple London restaurants as well as a location in Brighton and Chicken Liquor in Brixton, it truly is something to admire. The original spot, underneath a multi-storey car park behind Oxford Street, is the antithesis of fine dining. Queue for the required amount of time to enter and you will find yourself wondering if you walked through the right door. The view in front of you resembles that of a dingy nightclub in the depths of Vauxhall or Brixton. Loud music blares, black walls are covered in graffiti and a domed ceiling encases a sea of diners shouting at each other. Waiting at the bar for your table gives you the opportunity to get a drink in and become accustomed to your surroundings, a necessary segue to acclimatize to the assault on your senses.
Before long you will be shown to your table, a full roll of kitchen towel visible out of one eye hints at what is to come. It is easy to order well from the menu, I would recommend the buffalo wings and the Dead Hippie Burger. The wings, unsurprisingly, bear a remarkable similarity to those available at Chicken Liquor. This is no bad thing as the tangy sauce provides an abundance of flavour with the right amount of heat building with each bite. The blue cheese sauce accompanying them is acceptable, though the consistency is a little smooth, a personal gripe, but I enjoy whole chunks of cheese in my blue cheese sauce. Delivered plateless on a tray be under no illusions, this is fast food with little finesse. Polish off your starter and your burgers will soon be unceremoniously plonked down before you signalling the start of the main event.
The Dead Hippie Burger is the Meat Liquor signature, made up of two thin patties with bacon, cheese, sweet pickles and dead hippie sauce. These are dirty burgers in every sense of the word. Although the ingredients are good, much better than any quintessential fast food restaurant, you do not get the refinement of Honest Burger or Byron here. Each delicious bite is greasy, cheesy and meaty. The thin patties lack the depth of flavour that may be desired but the toppings more than make up for it. The rich cheese and dead hippie sauce come together to provide an extremely satisfying savoury experience. The dead hippie sauce on its own contains a delightful mix of salt and sweet flavours complementing the decadent bacon and tangy cheese, without it this burger would, I am sure, fall short giving credence to the development that has gone into the sauce itself.
You are likely to leave Meat Liquor with your senses battered and bruised. A slight ringing in your ears, buffalo sauce in your nostrils and a mix of grease, meat and sauce coating your taste-buds. The immediate aftermath is satisfying, but soon can soon become uncomfortable as your body comes to realise the quantity it has eaten. Meat Liquor is an experience, indulgence and not for the faint hearted. It mixes fantastic flavours with an extreme atmosphere, a great shout for a unique night out.