Thursday, 24 February 2011

#Meateasy or Easymeat aka no frills burgers!

Once upon a time there was a mobile burger van. It had a massive following but just before Christmas some nasty people stole the van. To keep business going and to help save up for a new motor (insurance people are clearly being difficult as ever), someone waved a magic wand... and #Meateasy has taken over the first floor dining area of Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross Gate for a short time only.

New Cross Gate is not the most salubrious of destinations which gives the whole concept an added element of excitement. Equally entertaining is the fact #Meateasy isn't really signed and as the pub downstairs is being renovated, there's an added buzz to the occasion when you go through an unmarked door and up some 70's carpeted stairs into a dark, eerily lit dining area.

Immediately, you're welcomed by a hostess who explains to you the ticketing system. With raffle ticket in hand, you wait for your number to be called for you to order. This is all very well in an environment of gentle muzak and gentle chit chat but here, the music is really loud (it's good though - O Brother Where Art Thou meets Motown) and the place is packed with people yelling to hear each other speak! Add to that the extreme low lighting, precarious seating, walls papered with peeling pages from a Gore Vidal book and the occasional megaphone interruption of numbers and names being shouted over the top of all the other noise - you won't be bored here! The bar was also very cool with weird and wonderful concoctions appearing in jam jars (yes really but I forgot to take a pic)

So your number is called and you go and order anything from a simple cheeseburger and fries to a Hippy Burger, a Yuppie Burger, Macaroni Cheese, chilli cheese fries, onion rings or a Chilli Dog

Then wait for your name to be yelled out by a waitress as she clambers her way through the mismatched tables, chairs and benches to serve you your food on a rather luxurious paper plate or bowl.

Is the food good? My cheese burger (£6) was great and the onion rings (£3) were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside followed by that lovely burst of oil so you know you've just consumed a billion calories but every single one was completely worth it! I tried the macaroni cheese and, as expected from a true carnivore, wasn't overly impressed - comments welcomed from vegetarians. I also watched someone else [who clearly enjoyed their food a lot!] demolish their chilli cheese fries in a mouthful. So I think they were quite good.

Now when I look back on it, £9 for a burger and chips isn't so cheap after all, especially when it comes in such a no frills environment. It's so dark that it's hard to see what you're eating but the serving staff do a brilliant job in keeping everything coming and clearing tables and all with big smiles on their faces. It's a great experience and definitely worth popping into - I'd much rather eat inside over the winter than be outside a burger van (and I'm sure the owner is much cosier too)

So my advice to EVERYONE is ...come to #Meateasy for a loud, tasty and entertaining experience! But don't come here for a quiet romantic dinner.

...and finally, take heed all those pubs that are struggling to make their food businesses work - get someone in who knows what they are doing and you can have a mutually beneficial arrangement.

#Meateasy on Urbanspoon

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