Review: (drunk) MEATliquor – the clue is in the name

MEATliquor missed burger

Having been to #meateasy, sampled the delights of the Meat Wagon and even dropped by the Peckham Rye pub, some might say I’ve had my fair share of their burgers over the last year or so. But, based on the two MEAT Liquor burgers I’ve had already, not to mention some heart-breakingly tasty Mac and Cheese, I’d be inclined to disagree.

However, we can all agree that MEAT Liquor is going to make a good burger or two. What I’ve recently had the delight of realising twice in about as many drunken evenings is the revelation that you can now drop by for one just about any time after you’ve been out boozing.

It requires a process that’s a hyrbid of following the star to Bethlehem and the journey to another world in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Need more details? Let me explain.

*Editor’s note: Drunken photos may lack the usual refined detail – for full experience, have a few beers before reading.*

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Restaurant Review: Santa Maria Pizza, Ealing

Santa Maria Ealing logo

Geographically, I find restaurants can often be lumped into two camps:

1. The central – based in the middle of London or toward the fringes of it, there’s a feeling of convenience and accessibility about these. You book your table, you turn up, you eat and it’s generally a treat to look forward to.

2. The local – favourite nearby venues, far enough out of the centre that you’d have to make a special visit if you didn’t live nearby. Sometimes they’re a compromise because you don’t want to catch the tube into town. Sometimes they’re a hidden gem.

However, somewhere in the overlap here, there’s a third possibility. The odd exciting little restaurant that you hear about which prompts an expedition out from London, far from the maddening crowd to sample its delights.

Join me, my friends, as we travel to deepest darkest Ealing to sample Santa Maria –  consistently voted “The Best Pizza In London”TM

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Review: Honest Burgers, Brixton

Living in Clapham often feels like a bit of a waste of time in culinary terms. Aside from Trinity, Four O Nine and Breads Etcetera, you’re most likely to find dirty takeaways and high street chains like Strada.

What makes this doubly apparent is the high calibre of exciting little offerings springing up just around the corner in Brixton. With just a short stroll around Brixton Village and the market, you can barely turn around without bumping into Franco Manca’s tasty pizza, or Federation Coffee’s snazzy beans.

Honest Burgers burger

Honest Burgers dropped onto my radar when it entered YoungandFoodish’s top ten burgers in London last week and you only need a quick glance at that list to realise it’s in some heavyweight company. But how does an £8 bring-your-own-booze Brixton burger place hold up to the likes of Hawksmoor, Bar Boulud and Byron?

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5 Tips for Dinner by Heston

Reviewing Heston’s Dinner is always going to be a bit of a funny one. For instance, I’m not answering the question “should I go to Dinner?” The answer is unequivocally yes.

So how to tell you something useful? Well, due to a stroke of luck, I’ve managed to hit up Heston’s latest twice within a couple of months of it opening. From that insight of both a lunch and a dinner, a special occasion and a treat, here are my top tips for beginners’ Dinner – a short guide to how to get the most from it.

Heston Dinner meat fruit

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Pop up Review: Pitt Cue Co

From April to September this year, the Southbank Centre is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, which first hit our shores way back in 1951.

Back then, they seem to have celebrated by building things – creations like the exciting-sounding Dome of Discovery (essentially an art gallery) and the intimidating SKYLON (the show’s “Vertical Feature”) for example.

But things have changed. Perhaps it demonstrates the shifting priorities of modern Britain (or perhaps the lingering influence of the Millennium Dome) but in place of these elaborate constructions, this year’s festival has seen a spate of pop-up restaurants appear along the bank of the Thames, offering Londoners a nice taste of something new and exciting from a number of proprietors.

One of these is Pitt Cue Co. – a BBQ project from Tom Adams and Jamie Berger (who served us with charm and patience in equal measure.)

But really there’s one question on everyone’s minds – how does it compare to the SKYLON?

Read on to find out…

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Review: the Meatwagon #MEATEASY

The Meatwagon is not a vehicle, it is a state of mind. It’s not where you are, it’s the chili on the cheese on the chips by the burger under the more cheese and bacon. Of your life.

Which is just as well really. If you haven’t heard the story before, after the theft of the official MeatWagon, it’s father ,Yanni, set up shop above New Cross Tavern to raise funds for another.

So after a couple of visits earlier this year, should you be eagerly anticipating the return of this under-supplied commodity?

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Review: Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

I grew up just outside London, detached by one umbilical tube line which dared venture far enough out to bravely bring us in. But my gratitude to that peculiar shuttle connection continues to this day since it gave life to one of my favourite experiences.

Picture the scene: just got off the tube, several exits around you, which one can I take? Then you make your choice and squeeze up the crowded steps to be hit with bracing daylight as you emerge. And there it is… LONDON.

In many ways, before all the restaurants, bars and treats to come, this first taste of London is the flavour this blog is dedicated to. Wandering around the city getting lost before joining the dots is a pleasure I hope never wanes.

But when on such expeditions, a burning question often starts to emerge and the hunt for sustenance begins.

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#BurgerMonday: Burgermat, where art meets meat

The current burger renaissance has brought with it a growing, near mystical focus on mythology. By that, I mean how provenance, design and background combine to deepen and differentiate the experience of each creation.

While all food has this to some extent – think Hereford rump steak hung for 28 days – it’s more granular with burgers. It’s about shifting proportions of different cuts of meat, thickness of grain, seasoning, condiments and accompaniments. Between those two brackets of bun, there’s a battlefield of countless permutations.

It’s easy to get a bit carried away with all this. However, one thing I do know: every time someone discusses the chuck to rib ratio and the knock-on effects for total fat content, my mouth has a nice time while brain patiently tries to absorb the info.

It turns out that this attention to detail is really mostly a manifestation of the love the chef has put into the dish. Such is the case with the most recent BurgerMonday event, BURGERMAT.

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Restaurant Review: Pizza East, Portobello Rd

I tried to make pizza dough once. My housemates found me pressed up against the kitchen counter with my arms configured as a wide circular wall – the only thing stopping a tsunami of sticky, floury, watery gloop covering the immediate area.

It’s perhaps because of this trauma that I admire the accomplishment of a good pizza. That and places like Pizza East, that is.

After finding myself and fragrant girlfriend in Portobello Road ahead of a friend’s birthday, Foursquare was suggesting a typically lacklustre selection of chip shops and Starbuckses.

But then, out of the shadows, emerged one last tasty hope. The newest (and most geographically poorly named) branch of Pizza East. Open for 3 weeks or so at the time of writing, this transplant of the formula created in Shoreditch is a bit like a more interesting Pizza Express.

Read on for highlights and another ‘pizza’ the puzzle (mamma mia.)


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Restaurant Review: Petrus, Knightsbridge

When everyone first hears of sites like Groupon, the first reaction is more or less the same: “wow, so now I’ll save money on all the awesome things I love doing anyway. Thanks, Internet!” But it only takes an email or two before you realise there are only so many half price teeth-whitening sessions you need in your life.

Except every now and then, the glimmering hope of that dream flickers back into life. It was in just such circumstances that I ended up going to Petrus with fragrant girlfriend and gorging on a 5 course lunch with accompanying champagne for a trifling £55.

Read on for Petrus and a tale of “tasty morsels”.

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