Tuesday, 22 November 2011

MEATliquor Dead Hippie

£7.50 Yianni's double-patty cheeseburger might not be the most handsome burger in town. But it is without doubt one of the best. Good times!

Despite the fact that I was one of the first to eat in Meat Liquor, London's new burger Mecca, I'm probably the last person to get round to blogging about it. I've been three times now, sampling almost all of the items on the impressive menu of (mostly) meaty Americana, and have established the fact (beyond doubt) that the Dead Hippie Burger is fucking outstanding...

For any readers who don't know (er, where have you been?) Meat Liquor is the latest venture from Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins of Meateasy fame. It's the pair's first bone fide restaurant - they've secured the lease for three years of a premises on the corner of Welbeck Street and Henrietta Place just behind Debenhams on Oxford Street. It's also just a five minute waddle from Burgerac's office. Needless to say I'm as happy as a pig in shit about this state of affairs.

The interior of Meat Liquor is probably worth a blog post on its own merit. I've heard it used to be a strip joint - but also that it used to be an Italian restaurant. Whatever its history, you walk in to one corner of a square-shaped galleried area with a rococco style domed ceiling. You can walk down a couple of steps to a big round table (designed to be danced on, Yianni tells me, with no small amount of pride) under the dome and marvel at the arched columns that support it thus forming the galleried area around it which is equipped on the two exterior walls with ox-blood red leather banquettes and wooden tables. 

The walls (detail above) and domed ceiling (below) have been adorned with a host of black, white and red illustrations, all created specially by London graphic studio, ilovedust, who were brought in by the interior designers, Shed. They've done a really great job of drawing on the history of Meatwagon to create the continuous mural that covers all the wall space. 

Lighting comes courtesy of red neon signs that spell out 'liquor' in each of the round windows along two sides of the corner venue. Industrial cage lamps hang on wires over wooden topped tables. The lights are on, but it's still quite dark. The combination of red neon, round windows, arches and illustrated wall murals lend the place a kind of sleazy yet hallowed vibe, a shrine dedicated to meat and liquor-fuelled late nights.

Drinks are served in jam jars from the excellent bar set up by Soulshakers. There are whiskies so fine I'd advise keeping them separate from mixers. Woodford Reserve is a favourite of mine so far. I've still got some work to do though to sample them all!

OK, I got a bit sidetracked. Let's get to the food. First things first: starters. The Buffalo wings are delicious, but the Deep Fried Pickles (£3) are really where it's at for me. Crisp, battered tempura-like slices of sweet pickled cucumbers are served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce with a blue cheese dip. The batter gives way to hot vinegary sweetness with every bite and the blue cheese dip pairing is the work of a genius.

Before I tell you about The Dead Hippie (above), I want you to know that while I've had three perfectly servicable and tasty burgers at Meat Liquor, the first two didn't make me jump in the air and shout FUCK YEAH, in the way The Dead Hippie did. I had to have another one (the very next day). Once again: FUCK YEAH. 

Essentially the Dead Hippie is Yianni's take on an In-N-Out Double Double Cheeseburger Animal Style and consists of two mustard-fried beef patties, American cheese and a special sauce that's got finely diced onion in it all sitting on a bed of ridge cut pickles and shredded iceberg lettuce. It's more manageable than you might think and incredibly tasty. Juices spill out onto the tray in front of me. I can't quite put my finger on what's going on - but the beef has an almost gravy-like reduced stock kind of beefiness that you just can't argue with. It's much tastier than the Bacon Cheeseburger I tried on my first visit to ML. Maybe double the beef means its flavour shines through more than a single patty ML burger allows.

The truth is, objectivity isn't easy when trying to describe something this good. And, tending as I do to wolf down a Dead Hippie in probably less than a minute I'm not at my most critical. However I know two things with absolute certainty: I wouldn't change anything about this burger. For what it is, it's perfect. The other thing I'm certain of? I want one of these at least once a week. Sorry, I meant at least once a day.

Oh and there's another burger on the menu I can't recommend highly enough - Meat Liquor's Buffalo Chicken Burger (£7.50) a deep fried, crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside breast of chicken in a bun that comes "slathered in hot sauce" and sprinkled with shredded lettuce and a dollop of mayo. It might just be the best chicken "burger" you'll ever have.


76 Welbeck Street
London W1G 0AY

Tel: 020) 7224 4239


MEATliquor on Urbanspoon


Also see my post on MEATliquor's sister burger joint: MEATmarket


hassainator said...

i can vouch for the dead hippie; the bubba burger and of course the buffalo chicken burger. the cocktails are a bit special too.

Craig said...

How busy has it been when you've been down there? It's not the hours and hours wait seen at #MEATEASY is it? Not that I mind queuing, it would just be nice not to!

That burger looks amazing too.

simone said...

awesome. just had a bubba, my pals had the hippie, which they loved, it drips it oozes it sweats the godliest meat. im there again tomorrow. damn fine.

FiFiona said...

2 of us had a short wait (we grabbed some cocktails to pass the time - recommend the Cyder Car) last Friday. We arrived at about 9pm so maybe that may have helped although it was still packed with both eaters and drinkers. We then had another little wait to order (which was a bit frustrating) but the food came quite quickly, and BY HECK it was worth the wait!!

right_writes said...

I went there yesterday…

Didn't have a burger though…

The sound system was unbearable, it was far too crowded, and I just couldn't be bothered… I don't like drinking out of f***ing jam jars either!

As soon as my fellow diner turned up, we went across the road to Ed's Easy Diner, and it was marvellous.

calpehh said...

Went there last Wednesday. Never in my life did I have a burger that tasted like thos at MEAT-Liquor! Prices are very good for the location, drinks well portioned and the staff very nice. Even though the interior comes across as very busy, the staff gives you the perfect balance. Don't forget to TIP. Service Charge is NOT included ,-)

thepld said...

I went last nite for the first time and completely agree with burgerac about the dead hippie. Pretty outstanding burger. Fried pickles are excellent too and being a yank, i quite miss them as you can't really find them here at all. Can't really find a decent pickle to tell you the truth. The q was quite large when I went, about 645, but I was in the door before 7. The bartender nailed a Perfect Rittenhouse 100 Manhattan, made me quite a happy camper. Don't skip the chili cheese fries either.

Big_Fat_Dan said...

Liking this review, very much looking forward to giving this a try next time i'm in the big smoke.

Edward said...

We thought it was amazing, check out the newly formed imagination burger club review http://j.mp/AhWeL5

Chadzy said...

Queued in the snow for 1.5 hours last night to try this place...

Starters were disappointing! Pickles were average - they lose a lot of their flavour from the batter. The blue cheese dip wasn't quite strong enough to lift them.
Chicken wings weren't amazing - I prefer hot wings from KFC!

The chilli cheese fries were sensational - the chilli is full of flavour and the dish packs a punch. Probably one of the best on the menu. Don't miss it.

IMO the burgers are ok but not brilliant. The main issue is an absence of decent sauces. Not a single drop of BBQ sauce in the whole place!
Dead Hippie burger was disappointing to be be honest! You couldn't taste the mustard and the special sauce was just not powerful enough to be noticed over the cheese. Overall, there is not enough flavour and a bit small to be honest, even with the double patty!

Philly cheese steak was good and was probably the best main dish we ordered.

Onion rings were big and thick and the batter stays on the onion which is always good.

This place is missing milkshakes and sauces. Until this is sorted out, I'm sticking to GBK.

Anonymous said...

Burgers are great but the queuing policy 1 1/2 hours for us followed by 40 minute wait for our food and having to put up with incredibly rude staff means that as much as i would like to go back to try the other items on the menu, the experience has put me off, and i will stick to Byron or Honest Burgers in future, P.S great site by the way

dancindandanson said...

Thank you! This blog propelled my hungry gob to this rock 'n' roll no frills burger h(e)aven. Have now been there twice and will go back next week. First visit brought the Dead Hippie, last night the Buffalo Chicken burger. Both exceptional. Juicy, fresh, perfectly sized in that you'll have room for starters and (mercifully) dessert.

Then there's the buffalo wings, battered pickles, chilli fries, onion rings... I love everything about the place. Decor, rockin' tunes (hearing The Stooges & The MC5 et al in a restaurant is a new and pleasing experience) and, despite what I've read above, lively and friendly staff. Food came out quickly both times.

Yes, you will queue, but the anticipation works when you know how good it is. One of the most downright joyous dining experiences I've had in London. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

Anonymous said...

Went there yesterday for lunch. I had the Dead Hippie, friend had the Philly Cheese Steak and we shared the Chilli fries, Onion rings and Fried pickles.

Service was slick and friendly, food was great. I really liked the pickles and the chilli fries were impressive. The Dead Hippie was easily the best of the lot though - very juicy, fantastically tasty.

Beer selection was good - had a meantime larger which went down nicely. I agree with one of the above posters that a well made shake would have gone down nicely.

Overall I was really impressed with the lunchtime experience. Music wasn't too loud, and there was space to be seated immediately. I'm not into queuing, so I doubt I'd return at a busy time - but I'm definitely going to be calling in next time I'm in the area during the day.

A Mummy a Wife a Glamorous Life said...

Great pics of the decor!


Maki role said...

Ended up going 3 times in 3 days! Most recent time I went for the Buffalo chicken, the Dead Hippie and a Mushroom Swiss, yes that's 3 burgers in one sitting. Must say the buffalo chicken burger was just the best fried chicken I have ever had in my life (and I've had some good chicken), the dead hippie was amazing as usual, but I actually preferred the mushroom swiss? Still I can't wait to go again, maybe go for four burgers instead. How anybody like a few above could choose Ed's diner or GBK over MEATLoquor is just a mystery to me

Lois E. McCray said...

The double patty burger with the cheese melt is very tempting. I know I shouldn't but this is one of life's guilty pleasures. I need some fries and a smoothie with this one.

Dan Gamble said...

Tried both your recommendations (Dead Hippie and Buffalo Chicken) at the Brighton branch of Meat Liquor last Friday, shouted out "FUCK YEAH" both times. Went at lunchtime, got seated and served within ten minutes! Evenings aren't too crazy either apparently, max wait for a table is 20 minutes.

best tasting liquors said...

If you like something with a "fruity" after taste then you should try some citrus fruit based liquor; I recently tasted this best lemon vodka ever. I was hooked my very first sip.

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