Are you hungover? Do you love meat? Are you hungry? Are you near Covent garden? If the answer to any of these is yes, get over to MEATmarket. It’s not posh. It’s not refined. It’s not elegant, by any stretch. It’s brash, loud, friendly, satisfying and pretty much a must-visit if you like.. well, meat.
Part of the MEATliquor empire, MEATmarket is nestled above Jubilee Market on Tavistock Street. It’s a long strip of a venue, with diner-style tables along one wall and a go-up-and-order counter on the other. They’ve decorated the place with witty plaques and slogans everywhere, something to amuse you while you wait for your feast. It’s not huge, and I hear there are fairly hefty queues at the weekend. Lucky this was a Tuesday then, given my level of hangover-hunger at the time.
We were a foursome so got to sample a good variety of dishes. I went for the mushroom cheesesteak – shaved rump steak with fried mushrooms and emmantaal. The meat was juicy and peppery, the cheese stringy, and the bread soft and insipid enough to really do justice to all the juices that were soaking into it. Delightful.
I have a thing about mac and cheese (I still think about the scotch egg version at Finch’s – review here) and on seeing a deep fried incarnation on the menu immediately ordered two portions. To share, obviously. Carb on carb, creamy cheese sauce, hot crispy coating – they were little bricks of heaven and my hangover’s best friend.
We also ordered tangy, spicy chicken wings (disturbingly named ‘bingo wings’, as if they need to remind you what you’ll get if you eat them). Cheesy fries were string-thin and covered in mozzarella and fried pickles were perfect with their rich blue cheese sauce. That sauce was actually perfect with everything.
Drinks-wise, we had a couple of beers, and also sampled the cocktails. The pina colada was a slushie from a machine – sweet and delicious, and the white Russian was in milkshake form, with Kahlua, vodka and vanilla. They were both good but if you pay £7.50 for a small slushie/shake you really need to feel that booze packing a punch. I’m sure it was there but it wasn’t discernible, therefore not plentiful enough.
The bill was about £90 between four of us, not bad at all considering it’s the West End and we ended up so stuffed we could barely move. I could only manage two post-dinner martinis before having to be taken home to lie down, so really pretty reasonable. I’d suggest deliberately getting drunk the night before to enhance the experience and maximise appreciation.