England/ London/ Restaurant Reviews/ Reviews/ UK/ £15 and under

Meat Market, Covent Garden, London Review

May 13, 2012

Meat Market is the new sister restaurant to Meat Liquor behind Oxford Street. I’ve been to Meat Liquor before, and wanted to try Meat Market because I had heard good things about it on the grape vine.

Meat Market Burger Photo by @Addy_Osmani

Meat Liquor is a very casual American burger and hot dog diner. It’s only been open a week or so, and is set in Jubilee Hall in Covent Garden. I wonder how long hey we’re looking for a suitable site for a new restaurant after the obvious success of Meat Liquor – Meat Market is set in the old Meat Market.

Their first restaurant is known for its very large queues at peak times, and I’ve heard of people waiting well over 2 hours for a table. I’d recommend going to Meat Liquor late (after 9pm) if you can – I didn’t queue at all going at this time. The Covent Garden diner looks like its going to be no different at all, but it has some clear differences from their other restaurant. I went about 12:20 for lunch. There were a few spare tables, and no queue. There were 8 of us, and we found a couple of tables together with no effort at all. However, by the time we’d decided what to order, there were no tables spare, and the queue was well out of the door.

View from towards the back of Meat Market

There is only a single row of tables is this long, and very thin diner – clearly they could do with more, but the take away option is clearly what they’re hoping will increase the sales on such a small place.

There is no table service at Meat Market, you have to queue at a single till to order your food, then wait for them to shout out your name, to collect your food. The soda drinks have unlimited refills, and they have their Hard Milkshakes (alcoholic). But that’s about the whole choice of drinks.

The food menu is a cut down version of Meat Liquor, but they’ve also added hot dogs to it. A notable missing part of the menu is the vegetarian section (or Rabbit Food as they call it). The only vegetarian food on this menu is French fries. Once you’ve got your food, now its time to eat! Although don’t think this will be a civilised lunch – oh no! There will be sauce everywhere, grease dripping – you’ll be needing plenty of the supplied kitchen roll from the table. If you’re in the mood for it, then this is great! However, certain lunches, such as the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich are just impossible to eat without any cutlery at all. See the picture below for half a lunch that just had to be left because it was too hot, messy and difficult to eat for too long!

Philly Cheese Steak

Meat Market Signage is pretty cool

The quality of the burgers seems very high – but I hope you like grease! They’re cooked medium, so its a pleasant surprise to see some pink meat in a burger still. The actual meat isnt greasy at all, and its almost as if the bun has been lightly sprayed with grease, as opposed to it all being fatty and greasy. Speaking of the burger buns – they’re great – some of the best I’ve had in London. They’re soft, flavoursome, and almost like brioche as opposed to bread. Really reminds me of some of the great burgers I’ve had in NYC.

For a decent sized lunch, I’d say you would want to have a burger, some fries and a side of the stuffed Jalapenos. This will come to around £15 with a drink. There are a lot of decent lunches in London for that price. In fact, you’re only a few ££’s away from being able to afford a Michelin Star lunch on a budget.

Overall, I’d say that this place is a little on the expensive side. Considering its the same food as Meat Liquor, at the same prices, but without the table service, I would expect it to have been slightly cheaper.

Jalapeno Bites

Meat Market Hot Dog

They don't actually sell this...

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