'You only work in a shop you know. You can drop the attitude." EDINA MONSOON

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


London, for all its wonders, vibrancy and variety is an annoyingly confusing place to eat. I hate sticking to the same old same old chains for a reliable palatable meal rather than taking that risk and trying something new. It seems HARD to find the good places, but EASY to find the bad, and there's nothing worse than a disappointing meal. Sometimes, finding the simplest thing can be the most difficult. Such as a hearty roast dinner (Bacchus on Hoxton Street) or a super staple of one's diet (if you're a chubber like me that is)... a decent burger. Yeah sure, there are your Gbks, your Byrons which give you something reliably OK. But what is really bloody hard is finding a big, fat, juicy, squidgy, seasoned, raw burger dripping with sauce, pickles, non-plastic cheese in a non-sugary bun.

Take for example, The Diner on Curtain Road- the faux 50s American eatery which plays inoffensive but entirely irritating dad rock is easily one of the most disappointing places for a burger and chips, or food full-stop. So much so that I have vowed (successfully I might add), to never go back for its bland, cardboard food and obnoxious service. When I first moved to London this place was always talked and hyped about. After half a dozen trips where each time I convinced myself I must be missing that 'something' that gave it it's hype worthy status, I finally realised, nah, this place is just crap. Like seriously crap, MacDonalds is better, and faaaaaar cheaper than this place. So, it was with some trepidation that I headed to Meat Liquor's opening evening for what promised to be a hypetastic hearty meat feast of traditional Americana.

The hype (and half hour queue) was well worth it. You know you're having a good feed when you are not even half-way through the meal and you're already planning your menu choices for your next visit. I went on Friday. Then four days later I went back... Ok, so I am a bit of a fattie, with a love of all things deep-fried, but seriously, the burger was melt-in-the-mouth-more-ishly deeee-lish. I had a wonderfully named, wonderfully sloppy 'Dead Hippy' which consisted of 2 perfectly raw and seasoned patties, lettuce, tangy sauce, salty pickles, onions, dripping cheese and should probably come with a health warning.

Over my two visits I've tried...
+ 3 cheese Mac 'n' cheese - basic but creamy and moist
+ Chilli cheese fries - Oh! toooo good. Laden with succulent and spicy chilli, almost a meal in itself
+ Fried pickles - so ridiculously awesome that I don't even care that they are blocking up my arteries. The cool, creamy, chunky and garlicky, blue cheese sauce which accompanies them is worth it alone
+ Onion rings - literally the size of my head. Well. Kinda.
+ Key lime pie - slightly disappointing, tasted a bit sloppy, a bit shop bought.
+ The full English martini - reassuringly incapacitating, complete with novel boiled egg rolled in bacon bits on a cocktail stick instead of the traditional olive, which weirdly worked well.

So you can guess it's not exactly gourmet fine dining, and the manner in which it's served suits this. Served off a tray with tacky paper liner with no cutlery, no plates, allowed everyone to get stuck in with certainly no airs or graces - and barely any table manners. The blood spattered decor (calm down, its just red paint) may not be particularly tasteful, the service a little abrupt and the music a little loud and self consciously stylish, but hell for food that is this good I couldn't care less. Literally, I'm salivating at the very thought of going back...

Chilli cheese fries
BBQ Chicken burger
Mac 'n' cheese
Dead Hippy

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