Tuesday, 12 February 2013

MEATmission: Holy Hell

Same burger, but you've gone to a better place.

If there's one thing sure to give you a 4pm energy crash at the office it's drinking a pint of 5% Sierra Nevada and demolishing a chilli-topped burger with chips at 1pm on a Friday while sitting in a darkened church. And with God as my witness I swear I would do it again.

MEATmission, the sister of MEATliquor, opened in a former mission near Hoxton Square at the start of the year. Quite how the poor souls who founded the place, and who's names adorn plaques on the walls, would feel about this transformation is now irrelevant. In this modern age it will have more evangelists through its doors as a burger bar.

And quite right too. It's a brilliant setting. Not only does it have a much less daunting atmosphere than MEATliquor, it somehow feels like it's trying less hard too, even though it must have taken a lot of effort to turn the the plaqued, pillared and stained glassed hall into a dining room. This is despite the fact it offers a much wider menu, including (God forbid) non-burger related products. I didn't give them a second look. I'm here for one reason, and it's just as likely to be religious enlightenment as it is chicken wings. So I chose the chilli burger and waited patiently. Unfortunately, despite there being tables a plenty, we had already been forced to stand and wait to be seated, simply because no waiter would acknowledge our presence. It felt suspiciously as if we were queuing. Now WHERE HAVE I DONE THAT BEFORE?

So my patience was already pretty thin, and my table of colleagues had gone silent, occasionally voicing how hungry they were, as if doing so could change a thing. The food took a good 30 minutes to arrive. Now, at a burger joint that's just not right. I want to eat and be out the door in that time, not have to have an awkward chat about whether we should even tip as the hour mark ticks by.

Still, once the burgers did come they were really excellent. Perhaps ever so slightly overcooked, they were in my case made special by the ladleful of sloppy chilli con carne on top, which wasn't just a damned good chilli in its own right, it did an admirable job of staying in the bun while I mauled it. The chips, meanwhile, played the role of Garfunkel (rather than Paul Simon) and didn't really add much, and I'm still disappointed by the branded condiments. My friend's chilli fries, however, looked fantastic. They were almost onomatopoeic in the way that they looked exactly how I would draw a heart attack. It would be a great way to go though.

Being in a mission, it would also be a great place to die. Perhaps God would think you were there for more ecumenical reasons. And I have to say, if there was to be one true religion, the people behind MEATliquor make a strong case for being our elected saviours.

MEATmission on Urbanspoon   Square Meal

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