As someone who quivers at so much as a scuff on their shoe, and experiences serious discomfort watching food fights in films, getting messy at the dinner table just isn’t in my nature. However, I knew there was one restaurant that might be able to convert me into a finger food-lover who shrugs off the knowledge that there’s sauce all over their hands. Known for their filthy way with food and effortless ability to cook up ‘grammable, gut-busting grub, it’s the original maestros of meat, the myth, the legend: MEATliquor.
Upon entering their newest neon-lit, graffiti-plastered site in Oxford Circus, it’s clear to see that this laidback burger joint has taken its signature ‘why not?’ approach to the extreme. Why not sell cocktails in 3 litre steins? Why not stay open until 3am every day of the week (true story)? And why not plant an 8ft illuminated pickle against the back wall. That’s right, distracting me even more than the ‘Push For Jäger’ button in the middle of our table, was a giant, glowing pickle - serving as a shrine to one of their key ingredients.
After gazing in awe at the beastly replica, it took the clang of our mahoosive silver food platter hitting the table to lift me from my hypnotised state. Everything arrived at once, making it feel like a proper pig-out sesh, but thankfully this evening’s visit was highly anticipated - and properly prepared for with a ‘light lunch’.
We eased ourselves in with a few of the bite-sized Fried Pickles (£3.75) - we figured we’d embrace the theme. The golden morsels were a salty delight and kept their outer crunch despite the juicy pickle inside. Our selection of plates also featured some famed MEATliquor creations. As the most talked about carb-based dish in town, the Hippie Fries (£5.75) didn’t disappoint, the chips thin but crispy enough to hold their structure under the lashings of tangy, signature yellow sauce. The Monkey Fingers (£8.70), which comprised slithers of chicken encased in an airy batter and lathered-up in house-made buffalo sauce, also lived up to the hype.
We also each got a burger because, well, when in Rome, my choice being the Green Chili Cheeseburger (£9.25). The chili was present but not overpowering, the bun and patty absorbing all it touched and allowing everything in the stack to mesh together into one juice-dripping entity. My veggie friend grabbed a Halloumi Mushroom Burger (£8.25), and the chunky slabs of halloumi were exactly what you’d expect from the kings of go big or go home.
After concluding that we were fit to burst, we went ahead and got a something sweet anyway, and boy did that slice of Filth Pie (£5) make us glad that we did - a dense, creamy chocolate pie topped with Oreos and marshmallows, served warm and with ice cream. Special mention goes to the nine spirit-strong Nine Ball Hustle (£12), which offered a very long apricot-flavoured sip and set me up nicely for a tipsy post-dinner tour of London’s Christmas lights.
This notorious rule-free eatery showed us who’s boss in the dirty grub department. The chilled party vibe instils a care-free attitude in all its diners, making you unlikely to bat an eyelid at anything… not even a giant glowing pickle.