A ripper hotdogMore pictures
I’ve been a big fan of the burgers sold by the meatwagon team since my first bite of a dead hippy nearly three years ago so when I found out that they had opened up a new place just minutes away from my office in Covent Garden my it’s fair to say I was rather excited; I wondered if having something so awesome added to my potential lunch options was a dream or not. After my first trip, where it took me longer to find the place (upstairs in and overlooking the ropey Covent Garden jubilee market) than it did to get served I’ve sampled most of what the menu has to offer but for me the jury is still out.
First off, eating everything on the menu isn’t the feat of greed it sounds, the menu at MEATmarket is rather smaller than all the others found in their previous places. The favourites of dead hippy and double-bubble burger are there to order, as are a decent selection of hotdogs (more on those later) but no chicken burgers (my personal MEATliqour fave) and only a few sides – though recently chilli cheese fries (rather a meal in them self) have been added so I’m hoping that the menu is close to expansion. There aren’t the numerous cocktails available but there is a boozy slush puppy and a couple of rather expensive cans of beer – while tasty £4.30 for a CAN of vedette normally has be waiting until I can get back to the office (where the beer is free) to quench my thirst.
While the menu is short the good news is that the standard of burger is still high. Time is still taken to cook them all fresh and they come out as pink as juicy as the first one I ever had. I was a little disappointed with the Philly cheese steak, the bun I had was a bit soggy and the chunks of steak a little bit chewy but the big winners for me are the hotdogs. There were two on offer on my last visit – the old favourite chilli dog (which are just as good as they sound) and, from what I can tell, a new concoction of a ‘ripper-dog’ – a hotdog wrapped in bacon and covered in both minced and crisp fried onions. A combination of beef hotdog and crisp fried bacon sounds good on paper (at least to me) and tastes just as good to eat; though not one to eat with your hands as these are big dogs and need a bit of care and attention to pick up and not have falling down your front.
Something that they proudly claim is that everything on the menu can be eaten either in or taken away, and while this is indeed possible I would strongly recommend against it. We took some burgers back to our office (less than a 5 minute walk) and by the time we arrived and unwrapped them the juice had all soaked into the bun and a once proud burger ended up looking rather sad and limp (see below); I think it is far more enjoyable sitting on one of the big wooden benches and overlooking the tourists below anyways. One thing that always surprises/pleases me is that opposed to the huge queues that have descended on each of their other restaurants this, apart from during my last visit, is always rather quiet. You can walk up, get served and be chomping down on hotdog in minutes. I’m also very surprised that even thought it’s situated in one of the most tourist packed areas of London the eaters seem to be entirely office workers from the local area.
I’ve only ever been to MEATmarket on lunch hours and to me the lack of the trademark dark and dingy atmosphere makes it feel rather unlike the rest of the meatwagon experiences I’ve had before. While the food is still good the lack of exciting new additions (at least on my last visit), the small number of side dishes (I do not count chilli cheese fried a side dish, they’re so filling and tasty on their own) and the expensive beer leave me feeling like I’m missing out on something. I’ll go back for the chilli dog and the occasional ripper but if given the choice would rather plan an after work mission up to MEATliqour where I can sit down, not worry about going back to work and let the cocktails and cheaper beers roll. Equally every time I go back to the office after a big burger I always wonder if maybe I should have gone for something lighter. Maybe something really can be too good to be true.Tweet