MEATmarket is the little brother of MEATliquor (Soho) and MEATmission (Hoxton). It’s a down & dirty no frills version of its predecessors that sits just above the Jubilee Market Hall in Covent Garden. The entry signs are tiny and you’ll be forgiven for walking past once or twice before you spot it. No reservations and a queue out the door every lunch time – despite the hidden location – mean that the word is out on this fast-food version of the MEATliquor family.
Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins of MEATliquor fame, started the market location as a burger-focused, lunch counter version of their flagship. The menu is composed entirely of double-burgers, hot dogs, tasty sides – and of course, the booze-filled milkshakes. They also have chicken… but I digress.
Intended to serve a rabid lunch crowd quickly, the narrow dining area is lined with communal table and high chairs – first come first served. Queue at the door, place your order, find an open seat and then collect your order when you hear your name called.
The overriding distinction in a MEATmarket burger is the peppery, smokey flavor. My favorite is the Dead Hippie burger; composed of two ‘mustard-fried beef patties’. The peppery beef is perfectly offset with the dead hippie sauce, a closely guarded secret recipe. The meat is greasy and delicious; very similar to the Five Guys burger, so don’t unwrap all the foil you noob! Approach your adversary with respect and delicacy, unwrapping only enough for you next bite so that none of that goodness escapes. The cheese melts gloriously into and around the patties and blends into the sauce.
The standard burger is £7.00, but the Dead Hippie and some of their fancier offerings will set you back £8.50. Good value for how much they’ll fill you up!
The sides that you can get are some of the largest portions in the business. If you are a fan of onion rings, there are some of my favorites in London. Not quite a beer-battered flavor, but the size and crispiness is outstanding. If you order a portion of cheesy, onion fries, make sure you’ve brought a friend because you receive a massive foil-encased portion that is enough for two or even three to share.
Their fried pickles are another favorite of mine, crispy and light, these go perfect with a special thousand-island style dipping sauce. Another point worth mentioning is that their buffalo-style chicken wings are some of the closest to the real thing that i’ve come across in London. I don’t often discuss chicken products, but here I’ll make an exception. Their wings aren’t the normal anemic chicken wings that seem to be the accepted standard in the UK. They are big, juicy and spicy buffalo wings, fit to be served in an American sports bar. If you’re hungry as hell, maybe get some as a starter and fill up a nice ice water to put out the flames.
After all that, I don’t know how you’d possibly have space, but MEATMarkets boozy milkshakes beg the question. They have three standard, the maple bourbon vanilla shake, a Jaegermeister vanilla and a White Russian vanilla shake. I must confess, I’ve never tried them, but word on the street is that they are amazing and worth the £7.50 price tag.
Meat Market – 40/50
Beef (8): Peppery, smokey and pink.
Bun (8): Soft and eggy – a great burger bun.
Toppings (7): Definitely not the stars of the show.
Value (8): Right where you want to pay.
Ambiance (9): Kitsch and funny signs make up for the queue times.
Make sure to take it easy on the stairs on your way out, heavily laden with delicious internal food hugs. Check out their website here.