Time Out rating:
Not yet rated
Time Out says
Wed Jan 19 2011
NB THIS RESTAURANT HAS NOW CLOSED
Just before Christmas, Yianni Papoutsis had his van nicked. This very distinctive vehicle was the Meatwagon, the most acclaimed burger van in the land. It won a British Street Food Award in 2010, and was the talk of anyone who could keep up with its peripatetic appearances across south-east London over the last year or so, heralded via Twitter (hence the ‘#’ in the new name).
The van, one of a kind, has still not been recovered, but was last seen at its usual pitch on an industrial estate in Peckham.
No van, but a plan. Meatwagon was already having an on-off romance with the Capital Pub Company, which allowed it to park up outside its Florence pub in Herne Hill, Victoria Inn in Peckham and Boaters Inn in Kingston.
And so Scott Collins of Capital Pubs and Yianni came to an arrangement, and #Meateasy is now squatting on the first floor of Capital’s latest acquisition, the former Goldsmiths Tavern.
The deal struck is that while the old dive bar gets a very much needed refurb before being reborn as the New Cross House, #Meateasy’s upstairs, feeding local residents and Twitterati travellers, until April 16. For burger fans, this is currently London’s hottest grill.
There are a few things you need to be aware of before you make the pilgrimage. The Tavern’s rough and ready, and so is #Meateasy.
You find it via an unlit fire escape in the back yard. The lighting is low, the waits for food can be long. Seating is first come, first served, so arrive after 6.30pm at your peril. The loos, on our visit, had no soap or towels. Which isn’t a huge problem, but food is served with no cutlery or napkins, and can be very messy.
Service, friendly though it is, can be hit-and-miss, and #Meateasy is cash only.
Our burger lived up to the accolades – big, a bit sloppy, made with prime ingredients. The minced ‘chuck steak’ (braising steak) is 28-day dry-aged, and minced daily, so it can be cooked rare but doesn’t seep blood. The sourdough buns are baked daily to Yianni’s specifications.
The result is like the sort of burger you’d find in a first-rate diner in the US, even down to the processed sliced cheese oozing down through the bun.
Our chips were a bit disappointing – skinny fries in the McDonald’s mould, but a bit limp by the time they arrived. Coleslaw was a touch heavy on the raw onion for our taste, but a good version, and not smothered in mayonnaise. The onion rings were exemplary – crisp on the outside, soft in the core, and huge.
Other dishes from the handwritten board included buffalo wings, chilli dogs and Philly cheesesteak. The latter is a hot dog-style bun filled with thin cuts of fried beef, laced with more of that hyperplastic processed cheese – an excellent version.
While you’re waiting for your food, and possibly for a table, you can take advantage of the Soulshakers bartenders’ skills at #Meateasy’s dedicated cocktail bar – they’re pretty good at negronis and mojitos, and that’s what pays #Meateasy’s rent.
Yianni’s hoping to save enough to buy a replacement van and go mobile this summer. So if you prefer to have a top burger indoors, you’d better make it to New Cross before Saturday 16 April, and before Yianni gets some new wheels.
Meateasy First Floor
316 New Cross Rd
- Cross Street:
- Opening hours:
Open 6-11pm Tue-Sat (check website for latest opening hours)
Tube: New Cross or New Cross gate Overground/rail
Meal for two with drinks: around £30
- First Floor
316 New Cross Rd
- 07796 304024
- First Floor
Restaurant and bar facilities. Bookings not accepted
Drinks. Cocktails. Hip factor. Unique. Unique London