In a stunning return to form, I’ve not only managed to write a post only 3 weeks after the last one, but I’ve managed to review a brand-new hot trendy restaurant that’s only been open for 2 days. Unfortunately, this is another review of another burger restaurant, like all the reviews these days. I am fully aware of how bored some people are of reading about burgers, hearing about burgers, arguing about burgers and in some cases a few people are even bored of eating burgers. Oh well, tough luck. Check back in a few weeks and there will be a review of the latest hot new trend (probably a converted hearse serving prawn cocktails with a selection of Special Brew-based cocktails).
The reason this particular establishment is worth writing about is the simple fact that the MEATliquor team have done more to get Londoners eating decent burgers that pretty much anyone else. It scarcely seems like it but in just over a year MEATliquor has attracted widespread praise, a few detractors and scores of imitators. It’s fair to say they are doing something right.
I knew they had a Hoxton restaurant in the pipeline but knew nothing about it apart from the fact they were going to take bookings (which they will, but not until the new year). All of a sudden, it was open! As I’m based in London’s fashionable East End at the moment (I’m paid to stand outside the Griffin with rolled-up trouser legs and a Where’s Wally hat) it was easy to pop down.
It’s located on Hoxton Market, which is probably one of the most picturesque streets in the area, not that there’s much competition. That’s one of the many reasons this whole Silicon Roundabout thing is so utterly ridiculous. Imagine the first impressions of a powerful investor from the USA going to meet up with some exciting new start-up in London’s fabled Silicon Roundabout. He exits the tube at Old Street (after dodging all the crackheads in the tunnels), goes up the steps and is greeted by chicken shops, rotting buildings and whatever the hell that thing is in the middle of Old St roundabout. California this ain’t. The whole area so desperately wants to be something it’s not, New York, San Francisco, whatever. It’s good that Hoxton Market has retained the original character of the area amongst all the street art and digital agencies.
A quick peek through the window confirmed I was in the right place as I spotted the trademark kitchen rolls on the tables. The interior is genuinely striking, with great attention to detail. They’ve made a proper effort: it’s a high quality finish and it should be appreciated. Gone is the industrial feel of MEATLiquor, this is something with a lot more elegance. The building was previously Hoxton Market Christian Mission and they’ve retained plenty of original features like carved plaques on the walls, the flooring and ceiling dome. You could call it sympathetic if it wasn’t for the amazing Gilbert and George-esque ceiling panels depicting a kind of pagan take on the Last Supper. Not sure the missionaries would approve.
It’s a large space with two separate rooms (one of which will be bookable) so hopefully they should be able to keep the inevitable queues to a minimum.
The menu has lots of new stuff alongside the MEATliquor classics - They do currywurst, monkey fingers, a Peckham dip (french dip to you and I) and several new burgers including a red chill burger and a green chill burger.
I went for some monkey fingers, which are chicken strips in a substantial (but light) batter, served with buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing on the side. Theses were superb, juicy chicken sealed in a batter which was slighty chewy, but not greasy at all . Very addictive. They’re 7 quid for a starter portion but I shared them with my mate Mike and there was more than enough for us both.
As I was in the new outpost of London’s premier burger restaurant I was obliged to have the, er, burger. It was a red chill burger, and it was classic MEATliqour style, cooked rare, well seasoned with a nice bit of kick from the chill. The bun didn’t seem quite as moist as the usual MEATliqour style (maybe it hadn’t been steamed for long) but it was still a cracking burger.
There’s a decent cocktail list by SoulShakers and a good selection of beers (I was drinking Budvar Dark on tap which was lovely. Only thing I’m not sure about is their practice of serving beer in US-style 2/3rd ‘pints’. I’m willing to buy in to the whole US junk food experience but think that might be a step too far. plus, 4 quid for 2/3s of a pint seems a little steep. However, the bill came in at 45 quid for 2 of us with quite a few beers so overall, it’s still great value.
To conclude - I love it. It’s the best thing they’ve done yet. I could quite happily spend an afternoon, evening or both hanging out in there eating meat and drinking beer. It feels a touch more ‘grown up’ than the Titty Twister vibes of MEATLiquor (the distinguished surroundings of Hoxton Market Christian Mission adding a rather refined air to the carnivorous proceedings). That they are going to take bookings is welcome news too. I think I’m going to spend a lot of time in MEATmission. To end I should probably do a joke about worshipping at the altar of meat or something, and I should have used the term ‘dude food’ at least twice, but I’ll leave that sort of thing to the professionals.
This review is from My Bloody Food Blog, Yah?
MEATmission, 14-15 Hoxton Market, London, N1 6HG. You can follow them on twitter @MEATmission.