Thursday, March 15, 2012
I Went To Meat Liquor And Didn't Have To Queue
I was in a bad mood on Friday. Real bad. I had had a crappy day, which was about to be made crappier by the fact that I'd have to probably stand in line for over an hour to an hour and a half to get into the restaurant that John and I had agreed to meet at that night. See what I mean? Bad.
The said restaurant was Meat Liquor in Fitzrovia: the highly hyped, trendy burger joint so cool and exclusive, you actually have to queue to get in. Now, I don't wait in line for much - at the grocery store? Yes. Waiting for my prescription? Sure. But in general, I don't stand in lines at clubs (because I'm a loser and don't go out) and if I have to wait 90 minutes in line to get into a restaurant, then they'd better be serving me fresh lobster on a gold plate.
This was not the case at Meat Liquor, where they serve you burgers on a tray lined with wax paper (no plates) and your drink in a jam jar. Luckily, I read all about the queues (rules are: 1) everyone queues, no matter who you are and 2) if your entire party isn't there, then you ain't gonna be seated. No ifs, ands, or buts - apparently, a LOT of people object to this), snotty service (though it was pretty darn friendly when I was there), and jam jar outrage (apparently even more people object to this - go read the TimeOut reviews).
Luckily, I had read all the bad reviews, so prepared myself. We arrived around 6:15 pm and promptly joined the end of the pseudo-queue - I say pseudo-queue because it was like 4 teens smoking and making out and John solemnly saying, "This is the end of the queue" to me but when they finished sucking each other's faces, they nonchalantly walked in and so did we. The good thing was that we weren't the only idiots lining up behind the kids - some dude in a business suit rocked up behind me and stood there patiently.
Inside, it was loud. And dark. I was a little confused. I felt like I was at a bar in East London, but I could have sworn I just walked in from Oxford Street. It's weird to eat in an environment like that when you feel like you should just be drinking, solidly.
We both ordered Dead Hippie burgers (I originally wanted a basic cheeseburger, but decided I couldn't go to the famed Meat Liquor without trying their famed Dead Hippie burger), which consisted of "minced onions" (controversial! Yes, that was sarcasm ...), Dead Hippie sauce (still don't know what that really is or what it tastes like), and lettuce (I think. It was dark). We also ordered a side of fries (which I loved as an American because the menu specifically stated, "FRIES. NOT CHIPS" - and rightly so) and coleslaw. The burgers were pretty good. Two patties stacked high, served on the medium rare side, sandwiched between two buns that don't collapse in your hands - good enough for me. Better than Byron, but not the best I've ever had. Some over-enthusiasts claim it's the best burger they've ever tasted - but, I mean, if I was standing in line for 2 hours, most food would be the best I'd ever tasted.
The coleslaw, however, was PHENOMENAL. Seriously. Go and skip the burger. Just have the slaw. It's freaking amazing. None of that over-mayo-ed, fattening business they serve at other burger joints; this was a freshly made slaw with freshly grated carrots and red cabbage, seasoned with a kick of lemon juice and other subtle delights. If John hadn't been complaining of a sore throat that night, I would have gobbled his down as well.
So, my verdict? Go early. I mean, if you want to stand in line for an hour or two just to psych yourself up, then go for it. If standing in lines is your thing, then do it. If you really want to be a masochist, tell your friend to come later, just so you can see people who arrived after you, walk in before you. Shortly after we were seated, a line did begin to form outside (or, from what I could see through the conveniently tinted windows) and when we left, it was snaking down the block. We left with only very slight smug grins on our faces.
And try the slaw. It's super good.