Wednesday, 30 May 2012

MEATMarket - WC2

Having fallen for the messy deliciousness of Yianni Papoutsis' burgers at #meateasy in SE14 early last year, I faithfully followed them to their first permanent home at MEATLiquor in Wellbeck Street in January.  MEAT Liquor kinda did my head in (in a dirty, sexy, scary way) and was probably one of the least relaxed, yet completely delicious meals I had had in a while.  So of course as soon as I heard about MEATMarket, Yianni's latest burger joint, I
couldn't wait to check it out.  Situated on a mezzanine overlooking the tacky Jubilee Market Hall just next to the Covent Garden piazza (which in a weird way really works as a location - I felt like I was at a fun fair) the first thing that struck me was that here I was, ordering a Yianni burger with no queues, which got delivered within 10 minutes to our table which we had scored easily (at #meateasy the other half and I waited 2 hours for our burger and had to lunge on the first vacant table and at MEATLiquor we queued for 20 minutes outside in a London winter).  The second thing that struck me was that, unlike at MEATLiquor, I didn't feel like a deranged maniac was lurking around each corner or that I would find a sex club in the basement (and yes, perhaps you detect a slight note of disappointment...).  The last thing that struck me was that these burgers were still f*cking awesome.  My friend Don and I also ordered some amazing sides, including poppaz (cheese stuffed, breaded and deep fried jalapenos).  From what I hear the evenings get busy, although not quite to MEATLiquor levels - I am keen to try out the alcoholic milkshakes very soon.  As an added bonus for me, since my work has moved offices, MEATMarket is now a short 5 minute stroll away - so I plan to eat here...a lot.

MEATmarket on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Grind - Battersea SW11

Fans of Grind Coffee Bar in Putney (and I am one) will be pleased to know that Grind has a little sister in Battersea.  Somewhat oddly situated in the Plantation Wharf development on the river, this is nevertheless a lovely little cafe.  We actually used to live just around the corner - so I'm not dissing the area (Battersea love) but Grind is tucked away in a primarily residential development.  Anyway - I hope the many local residents discover and hang out at Grind because these guys do the cafe thing really well.  Top notch flat whites made with London Coffee Roasters beans, yummy food and friendly antipodean service - a winning formula in my book.  I love the fact that the SW coffee scene is expanding and that places like Grind are branching out into new locations.  The only thing that would improve Grind Battersea?  Being open on the weekend - then I could visit more often.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Burger & Lobster - Clarges St W1

I had been wanting to go to Burger & Lobster for the longest time.  Then, a few weeks ago, after I had been thwarted in my attempt to see the Hockney exhibition at the RA (I got there later in the day when the queueing time went down from two hours to one hour) I had the brilliant idea of ducking round the corner in Maytfair and trying out Burger & Lobster.  Whilst there are apparently queues (always in London, the queues...) at lunchtimes and particularly in the evening, on this Saturday afternoon it was actually pretty easy to get a table, although I chose to sit up at the bar and ended up having an instructive lesson on gin from the friendly barman.  I knew what I wanted - the lobster roll - but the burger and the lobster itself both looked good as I saw them being bussed by.
The lobster roll was everything I had hoped it would be - sweet toasted brioche, lots of succulent lobster with just the right amount of mayo and some chives sprinkled on top.  This was a rich, luxury sandwich (and so it should be at £20) but totally worth it.  Accompanied by a small, zingy salad and some great chips, this was a great lunch and I happily munched my way through it feeling pretty good about life.  I can't wait to go back and try the burger - it has also had good wraps and I do love a good burger - again my expectations are pretty high given the £20 price tag, but I suppose this is Mayfair...

Burger & Lobster on Urbanspoon

The Murals of W1

I have always loved a mural and there are two in my beloved Soho & Fitzrovia that have always appealed to me.  Not because they are particularly beautiful, maybe because they are eye-catching, but I think mainly because they formed a back-drop for some key moments in my life.  I have done a lot of living in these areas, my life has taken all sorts of turns and at the risk of getting too deep (queue soundtrack) I feel like W1 is where I became the person I am today.  Anyway, blah blah blah - back to the murals.  The first is on the corner of Carnaby and Broadwick Streets and is know as "The Spirit of Soho".  Completed in 1991, this shows St Anne (so featured because of St Anne's church in Wardour Street) overseeing various Soho luminaries.  As an added bonus, on the hour 3 of the figures wink, drink and blow kisses.
The second mural is on Tottenham Court Road, at the back of the rather un-prepossessing open space know as Whitfield Gardens.  I think I particularly like this one because my first London job, at a music dot com in Charlotte St, was just round the corner.  I loved that job and I have to admit I felt pretty damn cool at the time (ahh youth) - I felt like Fitzrovia was my 'hood and so I always liked this mural, celebrating the area.  It's looking a little tired these days, with some graffiti spoiling the bottom portion but it still stands out and I hope they keep it there.  If you are interested in Fitzrovia, I can recommend a book called "Characters of Fitzrovia" - essential reading for Fitzrovia-philes.  So next time you are sauntering down TCR or sashaying down Carnaby St, take a moment to admire (or not) these two fine examples of street murals.