#MEATEASY: Raw fun above a pub

 

Not your standard barman

 

#MEATEASY is the creation of Yianni Papoutsis. He had a famous Burger van that unfortunately got stolen a few months ago. Due to a combination of his regular customers demanding his food, and Yianni’s business acumen, he made a deal with the owners of a currently closed pub in New Cross, that while it is being refurbished, he could use the upstairs area to do whatever he’d like. This was the birth of #MEATEASY. The # symbol before the name signifies how Yianni spread the word through social media sites especially twitter.

Great Atmosphere

Being a person who is always pursuing the search for the perfect burger and steak, I decided to see what Yianni had to offer. I had no idea where New Cross was, but it was surprisingly only half an hour on a train, and I live in South West London. With less than a 5 minute walk from New Cross Gate rail station, you find the Goldsmiths tavern. The door on the left of this, is the entrance to #MEATEASY. You walk through a couple of doors and then go upstairs. Once I entered, at about 6pm, it wasn’t too busy yet, so we had a pick of tables to sit at. The walls are covered with pages of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and there is a speaker tanoy system for calling out the numbers of raffle tickets. You receive said raffle ticket when you enter, and when your number is called, you go up to the till and place your order. You cannot reserve any tables and it is first come first serve.

Nathan Barley woud love this place

The food had arrived, and I had ordered the Cheeseburger (£6), Onion rings (£3) and the Chilli Cheese Fries (£5). The cheeseburger was awesome. From the first bite, it was big, very juicy, pink and in a very nice sourdough bun that I think must have been slightly steamed (This is usually done by splashing a touch of water on the bun while it’s on the grill and then covering with a bowl) This created a lovely gloss and soft texture to it. I made my obligatory burger sauce of half french’s mustard and half ketchup to make it even more to my liking. The onion rings were the crispest pieces of batter I have ever crunched into, I was very impressed. The chilli cheese fries were also very flavoursome, the fries were covered in chilli con carne with a touch of french’s mustard on the top. I really enjoyed all of it, but the Cheeseburger was the star of the show. As soon as I finished it, I had a craving to have another one, but I thought I would try to have some restraint.

So Juicy!

So Crispy!

Myself and “the Date” had a few drinks from the bar, which is manned by some hot shot cocktail makers from Soul Shakers. One of them was wearing just an apron and a wrestling mask, which was quite strange but it put a smile on everyone’s face. They have a slush puppy machine which had margarita mix on the night we were there, which is topped up with a touch of lager at the end to make the drink a “Lagerita”. I don’t think this added anything to the drink taste-wise, but is was a very good Margarita nonetheless. All the cocktails are served in jam jars which i think is a quirky nice touch, and also keeps costs down of course! There was also a really good mix of music all night , from grunge to funky house, which kept everyone upbeat. The staff were extremely friendly and looked like they really enjoyed working at this microcosm of fun. The place got really busy by 7:30pm but this just added to the atmosphere. The place has so many quirky aspects to it, I think you either embrace it and enjoy yourself, or moan that it’s trying to be too East London/Shoreditch-esque wannabe cool. But I am firmly in the first camp. I hadn’t been in such a buzzing place for a while, and I had a whale of a time all night. The place just made me smile. I went on a Saturday, but I was told by a waitress that friday nights are usually the music nights where they get a dj and go onto the early hours. If you don’t want to wait long for your food, I would recommend going at about 6pm, but personally I think it would be absolutely fine to go at anytime in the evening, because you can always soak up the atmosphere and have a few tasty cocktails while you wait.

Verdict: Some of the best burgers in the UK (very reasonably priced – £6 for the cheeseburger), good music, buzzy atmosphere and a fun and quirky setting. Come here if you want a great evening out with friends. It is a bit of a trek, but not as bad as you think, and well worth the pilgrimage. I cannot wait to go back. Be quick though,#MEATEASY is closing for good on April 16th. So I urge you to go, embrace the raw atmosphere and fun of this temporary venue while you can. And Yianni, please can I have the burger recipe?

#MEATEASY

Above Goldsmiths Tavern
316 New Cross Road
London
SE14 6AF

Nearest tube/train: New Cross Gate rail & New Cross tube

Meal for 2 including a couple of beers and a cocktail: £40

Website: themeatwagon.co.uk

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 11pm for food, later for drinks. CASH ONLY.

#Meateasy on Urbanspoon
#Meateasy on Urbanspoon

Byron: Farewell Big D Burger!

Byron, Old Brompton Road: Ask for a booth when you are being seated

I visited the Old Brompton Road Byron Branch the last day of February 2011 to get my last fix of the Byron “Big D” Burger. It is a special burger that they only have on the menu in February. The burger patty is made from twice ground Scottish chuck steak (the twice ground process apparently makes the fat in the patty finer, thus melting more quickly and evenly within the burger) The meat is from one of my favourite butcher’s in London, Darragh O’Shea in Knightsbridge, which is on a par with Lidgate’s Butcher’s in Holland Park. I have rarely had a piece of beef from either butcher’s which has not been sublime.

I usually go to the King’s road Byron, and I have to say that I prefer the decor and setting in the Old Brompton branch. They are of course similar but one big plus point of the Old Brompton branch is that it has booths, which in my opinion feels more sociable, comfortable and just adds something to any dining experience.

No nonsense, simple Menu. No starters just either Olives or Tortillas, then the main event!

I didn’t have any “while you wait snacks” this time, but the tortilla chips with freshly made guacamole and tomato salsa are always of good quality and taste, and indeed a good thing to nibble on while you wait for the main event!

I of course ordered the “Big D” Burger which is best cooked medium rare. The more you cook it from here, the less juicy and more dry it is going to be. I also recommend adding one of their cheeses to your liking. I usually go for blue cheese or american cheese. Blue cheese has always complimented quality meat, and it actually makes it taste like the meat has been aged for longer. The american cheese is quite mild, but it just works so well with the burger, and there’s just something about the colour and general look of it which makes it look like a classic american burger from the movies.

The Big D £10.50

So, the Big D at £10.50, lives up to its name. It about 30% bigger than the standard Byron burger, and it comes with the usual tomato,lettuce and gherkin on the side. It’s a very tasty burger, the meat is cooked evenly and is incredibly juicy. It is served in a lightly toasted, floury bun which is pleasingly not too heavy. I just had fries on the side, which are passable, not incredibly crispy and not made in-house, but I can understand logistically , freshly cutting the chips in every branch probably isn’t practical for such a big operation and volume of customers.

I did have the Big D which is the Special burger only sold in February, so it’s the one to look forward to next year. But as their standard Burgers go, they are still top quality, a lot of flavour in the patty and maybe just a touch less juicy but it is still a top-notch burger.

One tip to add a bit of extra flavour to your burger or fries, is to get the Yellow Bottled French’s mustard and the tomato ketchup and mix them together to a 50:50 ratio. This will create the equivalent of the Ivy Restaurant Burger sauce and also the standard burger sauce of McDonald’s burgers. Try it with your next burger and let me know what you think!

Say Cheese! I recommend either American or Blue

 

Verdict:

One of the better burger joints in town. I think it has a touch more class than Gourmet Burger Kitchen and it has delivered consistently every time I have been there, regarding the food and friendly, attentive service. The bill came to £39 for 2 people including service, which isn’t that cheap for a few tortillas and a burger. But I do think it is worth it.

And one last thing, if you are going with a lady, near the end of the meal, please order her an Oreo Cookie Milkshake, I have never seen anyone not finish it, even if they say they don’t want it!

Byron

93-93 Old Brompton Road

London

SW7 3LD

Tel: 020 7590 9040

Byron Website

Average Price: £20 per person – For tortillas, Burger, fries and a soft drink

Nearest Tube: South Kensington

Byron on Urbanspoon

Byron on Urbanspoon