Sunday, 27 January 2013

MEATmission, Shoreditch

Last year seemed to be the year of the burger.  Gourmet junk food became all the rage (this brilliantly funny article by Marina O'Loughlin on the subject is worth a read).  There seemed to be a new must-visit burger place every week and I felt a little overwhelmed by all the reviews, blog posts and photos of ‘dirty’ burgers.

But I did feel a little left out not to have visited any of places that stemmed from the burger truck MEATwagon (the pop-up MEATeasy, then the first restaurant MEATliquor just off Oxford Street and more of a takeway MEATmarket in Covent Garden), hailed by lots as the daddy of the new breed of burger joint.  No-booking places are common and good for impromptu eating but I had avoided MEATliquor as I really don’t want to queue in the cold for a burger.  No matter how good the burger is.

But MEATmission, the newest addition to the MEAT family near Old Street, does take bookings (for one of the two rooms), and there is a bar you can drink at if you haven’t booked.  We left it too late to book and had to wait about 10 minutes to get in to the bar as it was full at 8 on Friday night, but our table was ready straight after, and I would have been happy to while away a few drinks at the bar.

The inside of MEATmission is great – there are playful nods to the building’s previous incarnation as a Christian mission (hence the name) with a fabulously bright stained glass ceiling, pew-like seating and religious stone plaques on the wall.  The music is loud (we had an eclectic mix of rock and Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff) – it’s the perfect place for a fun, Friday night. 

The menu includes the classic burgers and a few new additions, including the addictive Monkey Fingers (£7).  These are tender strips of chicken which are battered, then smothered in their tangy hot pepper sauce, with a mild blue cheese dip (and a few perfunctory batons of carrot and celery – you don’t come here for your five a day).  Before the burgers, we also shared the Currywurst (£6) – slices of German sausage in a sweet, sticky curry sauce and sprinkled with curry powder, served on top of fries.  The portions are generous – the Garbage plate on another table looked huge (it’s a mound of roast beef, fries, cheese, gravy and onion).

The Dead Hippie's close-up
The original cheeseburger £6.50) was great, but the Dead Hippie (£7.50) was the tastiest best burger we tried – it comes with two nicely pink mustard fried patties, with their dead hippie sauce, cheese, lettuce and  pickles, all combining to a juicy mouthful inside the squishy bun.  Messy but delicious. The fries (£3) are decent, but a little of an afterthought after the burgers.  The food comes on trays with just a roll of kitchen paper on the table, and is excellent value and all good for sharing. 

There’s a short wine list, a number of beers on tap and a great cocktail list with inventive, well-priced drinks (most £7-£8) with tongue-in-cheek names (favourite being their Mulled Meatjito). 

I really enjoyed MEATmission – they execute their niche offering of great burgers and cocktails in a cool setting really well.  You feel a little greasy afterwards (I craved salad the next day), but I guess that’s kind of the point.

MEATmission on Urbanspoon

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