MEATmarket is the second venture of Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins. They opened MEATmarket pretty soon after all the buzz that was created when Meat Liquor opened in Mayfair in November 2011. My friend and I headed down on Friday night to see whether it is living up to Meat Liquor standards.
MEATmarket is a stones throw away from the lovely Covent Garden. It is based above the Jubilee Market which you can walk through to get to MEATmissions inconspicuous entrance or alternatively through a set of double doors off Tavistock Street. There is a sign outside displaying the types of food on offer but there is no apparent restaurant because it is based upstairs. I can imagine that they don’t get many tourists walking in off the street. This is the type of place that people go to when they know what they are looking for.
We traipsed up the original building stairs and entered through a door to the right at the top. Both of us were pretty cold and wet so it was a relief to see that they had big red heaters at either end of the seating areas. This is not the type of place that is designed to look ‘pretty’, more get the job done. The kitchen area and till is to the right hand side when you walk in and takes up that side of the restaurant until you get as far as the toilets.
There is a long thin walkway and big wooden tables with bar stalls on the left hand side. You can see out over the Jubilee Market as there is only a waist high wall and the rest is industrial thick see-through plastic that hangs from ceiling to floor. Not as cold as one might think, but still cold enough which meant we didn’t take our coats off for the entire duration!
Neither of us were really in the mood for a burger or a hot dog so we both settled for chicken wings with blue cheese dip and fries. Plain fries for Lucy and I decided to see what the chilli cheese ones were like. We queued for the till, gave our order and names, paid our bill and then found a table. The place wasn’t jam packed, it was about 19:30 so we quickly grabbed stools next to one of the heaters. Good job.
It was about 5 minutes before our names were called over some very crackly sound system. It sounded like some old school speaker that was once used in supermarkets. The type where the music stops and there is some crackly voice over which you could never make out.
The food came in silver takeaway trays, the ones that you normally get your Chinese or Indian in! These were on a red tray that you then carried back to the table. The portion sizes were out of control. I felt like I was on Man v Food. I momentarily sat there expecting someone to shout at me that I could start my challenge!
I have had the chicken wings with blue cheese dip at Meat Liquor and remember the sauce being so hot that it actually made my eyes sting when they were first placed in front of me. Now, I am not someone who likes really hot food but, despite my eyes watering I actually managed to gobble them all up, they were so bloody good. The chicken wings at MEATmarket were definitely not in the same league. I liked this hotness and it was lacking here. They were still pretty good however, nice and moist I just felt that the flavour could have been a bit more.
The fries were colossal. They were completely and utterly covered with cheese, mince, jalapenos and onion. Some peoples dream but I decided this was a bad choice on my part. I like my fries crisp and fluffy. I should have gone for plain fries as the topping made mine wet and soggy. I swiped a couple of Lucy’s but found that they were pretty plain and not that crispy. Overall a slight disappointment.
As this place is mainly about the hot dogs and burgers it’s a little bit unfair to judge it based on neither of these items. However, there is still something to be said for all the trimmings! MEATmarket have clearly tried to iron out some of the problems that occurred at Meat Liquor, huge queues, long waits, a couple of extra items on the menu, no fuss with waitresses, it’s literally get them in and get them out, so no hanging around people! This is NOT the place to go if you are planning to have a leisurely meal and a few drinks.
Star rating 3/10