Last night I indulged in a feast so despicable and so naughty, that I don’t quite know how to bring myself to tell you about it. But, I’ll try.
One menu is for meat, one menu is for liquor.
Seems quite simple, one may even say it seems underdone. But let me tell you, MEATliquor is far from underdone.
Co-owners, Scott Collins (liquor) and Yianni Papoutsis (meat) started out with a food truck so appropriately titled the MEATwagon. After gaining a burger-cult following, a permanent home for the wagon was established as MEATliquor. They hadn’t initially considered a location in the West End, but the previous unknown Italian joint tucked under a car park seemed to fit their seedy criteria.
As we joined the queue wrapped around the restaurant, the smell of grilling meat hung in the air. It was 10.30 pm and although the line seemed long, it moved quickly. After a twenty minute wait, we were pressed against the dark, glass doors, next to be allowed in.
Once inside, it takes a few seconds for your eyes to dilate in order to truly consume your surroundings. A red lit room with tables and booths bordering what can only be described as a pit. Above the pit, a dome covered in black, white, and red graffiti illustrations that also covers the walls. Exposed bulbs and neon red lights shine on the plastic meat curtains splattered with red paint giving the place a grunge, slaughterhouse look. Club music mixed with Rock&Roll plays loudly and the bartender can barely understand the boozy guests requesting more liquor.
The liquor menu offers a selection of interestingly named cocktails served in metal tumblers or jam jars. The Brit had The Donkey Punch which consisted of vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and an absinthe rinse. I had Louisiana Jam – hold the Southern Comfort – with lime, apricot jam, mint, and fresh apple juice. I loved my drink, but only had a few sips as it was mostly ice. They also serve a House Grog which is limited to 2 per person – it’s that strong.
We were eventually seated at the mouth where the bar meets the restaurant, offering the perfect view of both drunkies and diners. After poring over the menu, The Brit ordered onion rings and The Dead Hippie: two mustard fried beef patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles, minced white onion and dead hippie sauce. I ordered fries, “not chips”, and The Green Chilli Cheeseburger: beef patty with cheese, lettuce, grilled red onion, and green chillies. I danced around on my chair whilst watching plates of heaped chilli cheese fries and stacked burgers whisk by.
And then it came. A tray lined with paper was smacked down in front of us, between the condiments and rolls of paper towels. This is burger eating diner style. These beasts are made to be eaten, not looked at. One bite of the sloppy, gooey, juicy burger and my eyes lit up. Fire tingled through my mouth and I couldn’t contain my devilish grin. The fries were smothered in salt, but tasted so incredible with the burning flame in my mouth. Then came my introduction to the Dead Hippie. My Americans, I have found an In & Out replacement. It is so far from the pristine white booths and hidden bible verses of my Californian burger joint, but the quality and execution of ingredients makes this the rebellious, miscreant cousin of In & Out. The two patties stacked on the Dead Hippie are much less intimidating in person and the melty, tangy, toppings are just beautiful together.
Intoxicated from the loud music, buzzing diners, strange atmosphere, and heavenly feast, it was all I could do to not pass out into a food coma right then and there. We tidied ourselves up with a roll of kitchen towels, and stared down at the aftermath of grease stained paper and splattered juices.
I have officially been MEATliquored.
This is a No Reservations Restaurant and i’d advise tweeting someone to find out how long the wait is. A fellow tweeter not only told me the wait time, but informed me to count my cash before paying as her waiter lost the money on the way to the till.
Sorry for the picture quality – I lightened the photos as much as I could while still retaining the mysterious factor.