MEATMarket, MEATLiquor’s inexpensive grab and go takeaway sister is nestled away above Jubilee Market – smack bang in the centre of the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden. I took a visit with four of my friends on a very cold Friday evening. You would have thought we would have struggled for a table (no reservations) but the rapid service and high turnover in this American style diner meant the crowds flowed nicely throughout the 50(ish) cover restaurant.
There is no doubt that this is serious urban dining – you mean business if you decide to take the plunge and head into the depths of ‘edgy cool scenesters’. Creator, Yianni Papoutsis, has certainly got his finger on the pulse of forward thinking food chains – his previous success stories are his MEATeasy, MEATwagon and 2012 place to be seen, MEATLiquor ‘staurants. My first impressions of MEATMarket were severely diminished by my high expectations of the burger joint. Unfortunately when a place has been so eagerly anticipated, it generally never stands up. This was the case with MEATMarket.
On entering, you are greeted with the gordy frontage of a somewhat worn TGI Fridays – or should I say “shabby chic, florescent signage”. Push through the PVC strip curtains into a long canteen area lined on the left side with wooden benches and bar stools and on the right, the open kitchen. One menu towers above you in all of it’s 50’s retro glory. I decided on a classic philly cheesesteak and a Budvar beer then was promptly ushered through to order by an agitated staff member (my pet hate).
We joined a queue of particularly Shoreditch types anxiously waiting/preying on a free table – ready to swoop in at any given moment. Thankfully a table became free next to a heater as mid December, it was blowing a gale into the restaurant. My philly cheesesteak came shortly afterwards on a bed of classic red and white checked greaseproof paper. Take one fresh white bun and fill to the brim with shredded meaty goodness then combine with a smattering of green peppers and smother with melted plastic cheese – introducing, my philly cheesesteak…
The bun was so fresh that it soaked up the grease from the meat, making it very moist and wet – not my favourite. Neither the meat, nor the cheese was particularly packed with flavour so I ended up smothering it in radioactive yellow mustard and ketchup. I guess that’s the American way!
MEATMarket serve call kinds of mains from the traditional burger, my cheesesteak to ‘dogs’. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced for London town, expect the bill for a main, side & drink to be around £10 – £13. Think I missed a trick by not ordering one of their whisky-based milkshakes! Here’s my friend, Katie, with her fave Chilli Dog which she said she couldn’t get enough of!
- Quick service – food came out in a matter of minutes, despite the restaurant being busy
- Reasonably priced
- Best french fries EVER!
- Pretty tasteless
- Such demand for tables that you can feel a bit rushed
- Our conversations were permanently interrupted by the calls of ‘MARK’, ‘HANNAH’.. no wait, that’s not edgy enough… try ‘MILLY’, ‘MAX’…
If you believe the hype, this is certainly the place for you. By no means am I damning MEATmarket, the food would be great for those hungover greasy cravings and as for the clientele, gorgeous! I would be back in an instant if you asked – just wouldn’t be my first place in town to visit.
Jubilee Market Hall
London | WC2E 8BE
MON – SAT > 12:00 – 23:00
SUNDAYS > 12:00 – 22:00