whathappensinlondon

Vegetarians should look away now

In Day to Day on March 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

#MEATEASY, NEW CROSS

Whisperings and mutterings of ‘that burger thing in New Cross’ or ‘the meat place in Deptford‘ have not escaped my notice over the last month or so. Never one to be left out of anything, this Tuesday, myself and a companion made our way (on the 177 from Greenwich) to the Meatwagon – supposedly serving some of London’s best burgers. Any foodie who has a twitter account would probably recognise the wagon’s Meateasy hashtag that has been used to spread the word as most of the Meatwagon’s hype and publicity has come from it’s clever marketing on Twitter and die hard meat enthusiasts.

Anyway, a little history for you. The Meatwagon is a pop up above the Goldsmiths Tavern, New Cross. Last year, it was an actual wagon, well, burger van, and owner Yanni was enjoying the success that the fresh burgers and hot dogs gave him as he drove round (mainly South) London. Unfortunately, the van was stolen at the end of the year, and despite offers of a reward, is yet to be found… Cue the meateasy pop up. Raising money for a new van, the pop up has everything that the van had, plus triple cooked chips and macaroni cheese.

We arrived at the door at around half seven, it says in scrawly paint ‘well done, you’ve found it’. Up a dark fire exit staircase, nothing is looking very promising and its very quiet, hmmmm. When we reach the top, paint scribbled here, there and everywhere points us in the direction of where we want to go. Opening the door, music, meat smells, and chatter attacks our senses and we are given our raffle tickets (152 and 153), and told that it would be at least an hour before we could eat, we can order three things each and to feel free to have a drink at the bar.

After waiting over an hour and a half for the food, we were somewhat doubting whether the quality would match up to the long wait. We needn’t have worried. We got: Bacon Cheese Burger, Hot Chilli Cheese Burger, Onion Rings and Fries and didn’t really say a word to each other until everything had been finished. Burgers, made with ‘chuck steak’ and minced daily, were juicy, rough and just on the right side of drippy, and the melted cheese was neither overpowering nor dull, perfectly plastic. The freshly baked-that-day bun did it’s job of soaking up the juices from the burger and generally acting as a buffer for all the various bits and juices spilling out from the sides.

Onion rings are hard to get right, either they are all about the batter where the whole ring comes out of the case on first bite, or they are the new breed of onion ring with weird onion pulp inside so the onion remains in tact throughout the eating process. Meateasy’s were perfect, the batter stuck to the (real, not pulped) onion ring the whole way around. Plus, they were giant and as I shoved them down my mouth; as they come in odd numbers of 5, all that was on my mind while eating was to get to the last one before my friend did.

This is no-frills dining at its finest. Despite the long wait, the haphazard raffle system and slightly unglamorous environment, owner Yianni Papoutsis is onto a winner because the food makes up for all of this – delicious meat and a thoroughly enjoyable experience owing to the fantastic atmosphere and packed to the rafters space.

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