If you’re a fully-fledged carnivore like me then your curiosity would have spiked when MEAT arrived at London Road not so long ago. With the dark windows and neon lights you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a strip joint (sure enough MEAT would be an equally appropriate name). Alas, it is not a strip joint but a burger and liquor bar – great news seeing at it’s just across the road from St Peter’s Church.
At MEAT dining is all about the experience. We were greeted by friendly staff who were happy to offer recommendations for first time diners. The staff at MEAT really make the experience; attentive but relaxed and easy going. They’re always there to help but not pestering you to order. In fact, they are so likeable that you wish they’d pull up a bar stool and join you for a drink. The relaxed atmosphere is one of the biggest selling points of this place. There’s a hint of American diner influence here in the best possible way. Every now and then your ears will prick up as you notice the country song playing in the background. The food is what you might expect to find in a diner too, decent food without the pretence.
The menu is neither particularly extensive nor vegetarian friendly (would you believe), but a concise menu is always a good indication of decent food. Fewer dishes done well are far better than hundreds done poorly. I opted for the chilli cheese chips and Buffalo wings followed by the green chilli cheeseburger. The fresh chillies are shredded in the burger for maximum effect, leaving you ordering water by the bucket load to try and combat the heat. The food here is like smack for carnivores, it may not be a healthy habit but you will keep coming back for more, even as your mouth sets alight. Perhaps avoid any flaming Sambuca after the chilli cheese.
Then we move onto my favourite part – the drinks menu. Perhaps twice the size of the food menu, the drinks menu boasts a whole host of cocktails, beers and wines. You know you’re in for a good night when the drinks menu is bigger than the food menu. The drinks are vegetarian friendly. So if you are looking for a decent bar to drink before heading ‘out out’ then MEAT may be the place. The most eye-catching drink is probably the ‘Game-Over’ containing absinth, vodka and who knows what else, it’s so alcoholic it has a limited serving of two glasses per person per night. Try saying ‘she sells sea shells on the sea shore’ after two of those!
As I said, MEAT is all about the experience. It would be ideal for a first date – just pack some mints though- or for a good old get together with mates; it’s young and relaxed and feels more like a night out than simply a place for refuelling. It’s not fine dining, it’s fun dining. So I suggest you get your mates together and go check this joint out.
I’ll be at the bar. “Two Game-Overs please!”
Written by Josh Howell