Friday, 4 February 2011

#MEATEASY

''Crap blog and worse review. They don't understand burgers. Hache better than #MEATEASY? That's funny.''

12:22 PM Feb 4th via Twitter

Now there are certain posts like this, this and this; that are responsible for the blog loosing 40 or so followers. This latest post will undoubtedly maintain (and, by now) the predictable nature (mettlesome to my food-blogging contemporaries but honest-to-goodness in my eyes) of my findings. Now, allow yours if you may-

Much has been written about #MEATEASY, so I shan’t bore you about the tedious rigmarole. For sure-fire references, please refer to here, here (great photos and excellent blog!) and HER.

I came here because I was wound up by the immense ‘networked’ hype surrounding the be-all-and-end-all burger in London.

Came here early at 17.30ish (not the first mind you, as there were already 10 others hovering at the cocktail bar).

But I was however the first with the order.

There you have it- cheeseburger, dog, fries and a couple of cocktails (latterwise, tenner for two).

THE criterion à la Meatwagon.

What’s the fuss? I could hardly taste the beef that’s been supposedly aged for nearly a month. The patty albeit cooked well and excellently medium rare, was under-seasoned and pedestrian-like. I know that I’ve badgered on about umami elsewhere, but this burger was certainly devoid of it. I hereby apologise to no one in stating that this so-deemed ‘hallowed’ burger was in no way as good as the following- ouch!, ouch, ouch! and ouchus maximus! In addition the sharp-tasting gherks and the synthetic cheese slice gave some kind of salvation to the burger but the 3-quid-bowl of fries was served lukewarm (a few minutes later I began to utter endlessly- ‘do I not like cold and limp chips!’). Taking the mick out of Macs is unnecessary at this point in time.

Chilli Hot Dog-

Never in my life have I encountered such a messworthy dish (and that includes Singapore Chilli Crabs). Wash your hands, wear a bib and unlock your jaw. The wiener itself was astoundingly good…where did they get that frankfurter? Mild chilli aside, it was a great dog; recommended.


The Chicken Burger.

An additional order because of what The Chinaman said. And he was indeed right- crispy, tender and a standout at MEATEASY. But me inner inhibitions suggested it was all too pricey at 7 quid.


The above was spotted about 200 yards from #MEATEASY at a local chicken shop on Clifton Rise, let’s just say that the local businesses of a similar ilk would be all too immune to #MEATEASY’s pop-up existence.

#MEATEASY is ok but not worth the epic journey to and from where I live. I’d rather stick to my local sighburger. The Contarian Rebel (moi, labelled as such) has said enough.



The Goldsmiths Tavern
316 New Cross Road
London SE14 6AF



www.themeatwagon.co.uk

30 comments:

tim_g said...

ha! underseasoned! thats what i said as well. im glad someone agrees w/ me... i thought i was going crazy

Anonymous said...

At last, a voice of sense amongst the babble of people with no tastebuds. We had one of his burgers when he was up at the Highgate pub - it was just embarrassing and an absurd wait when there weren't that many customers. The chips done by the pub (the Red Lion is it?) are brilliant though.

v

thatslondon said...

One thing that irks me about London food bloggers is the often unwillingness to say anything bad. Not every meal is going to be fantastic. I've been steered wrong by bloggers from this before. You have my bloggy blogger respect for just saying "eh, not that great!"

Katie Parla said...

youve nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Personally I can't believe the arrogance of the place. OK the food is reasonable but treating their customers like a load of movie extras who have to turn up at 6pm with the possibility of being allowed the honour of paying homage to the food at some point during the evening is laughably self-indulgent. Perhaps if they got someone who knew what they were doing to run the operation, things would improve. If not, I would suggest they stick to hosting small dinner parties at home. Invite a band-wagon load of friends over whose sycophantic sweet-nothings could feed their egos for all eternity.

Mr Noodles said...

Lest be I accused of being even more contrary than your good self, I have little interest in going to #MEATEASY. It's out of my way and FFS, it's just a burger, not the second coming.

Kay @ Chopstix2Steaknives said...

Aahh.....the distance has put me off trudging over there and judging by the comments, It will probably not be very high on my list for the moment.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to wish you a very happy Chinese new year. Have a good one.
Thora

Anonymous said...

"You have my bloggy blogger respect for just saying "eh, not that great!""

Why?

That sort of suggests that every other blog post, review and word of praise have been made by people unable to discern good food from hype. A sceptical review is no more valid than a gushing one, and the only thing more tedious than sycophancy is the contrarian posturing by some commenters who are setting themselves up as 'the voice of reason'. You're not - you're just another subjective opinion.

For the record, if I hadn't tried the burgers way before all the hype I would be very annoyed at it all too. They are just (really, really tasty) burgers, after all. However, the Meateasy is just a temporary solution and not a permanent fixture - the Meatwagon is what Yianni should be judged on and for breathing life into London's street food scene (along with the rest of eat.st) AND giving Byron, Hawksmoor, Goodman et al a run for their money, he deserves all the praise he's getting.

Anonymous said...

After experiencing the original Meatwagon, I don't think I would want to inflict this upon anyone I know. The prices have also risen substantially. Maybe if it becomes a permanent fixture then the crowds and hype might settle down. The Hamburger Grapevine told me that the Meatwagon was not insured against theft. Let's hope that insurance is purchased at the same time as the next one.

Anonymous said...

"The prices have also risen substantially."

No they haven't. Unless you consider a £1 rise 'substantial'.

bellaphon said...

tim_g, v_anon, thatslondon, Katie Parla, Noods - Thank you all. Truth be told, the review wasn't a deliberate attempt to highlight the ‘herd mentality’ approach to the Meateasy’s phenomenon, but alas, the majority of the pro camp see it otherwise. The burger I had, was simply below expectations and hardly reflected the plethora of gushing tributes.

Kay- Hey and thanks for stopping. With all due respect I think it would be churlish to dismiss Meateasy based purely on my experience. As most opinions in eating are subjective, do go, as you might like it more than I did.

T- thank you and happy bunny year to you as well.

Anon III- Thank you and you've been precise. But this post isn't about the championing or damning of street-food indies. Instead, it’s about the food that was served, the burger at Meateasy quite simply failed…have you tried the Byron’s Big D? A corporate invention good enough to rattle anyone with their own burger-business ambitions, unnervingly worrying but a fact nonetheless. And talking of street-food heroes, these guys deserve all the accolades.

Anons et al- Street food dishes shouldn't cost more than a fiver, period.

I also received about 23 emails (and in no way nice) regarding my default prose and the inability to spell. 'Loosing' has been rectified but I'm no loser.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you and you've been precise. But this post isn't about the championing or damning of street-food indies. Instead, it’s about the food that was served"

My post wasn't actually directed at you but more at the comments on your blog. Having said that, the fact that this is a street food enterprise means that it would be nice and more informative if you looked at it in context as a part of a wider London trend. In that respect you're as guilty as most people who have written about the Meatwagon. Personally I think enterprises like these are the most exciting thing to happen to the London food scene in a while, and whilst the quality of the food is crucial it's also about more than just the food.

"the burger at Meateasy quite simply failed"

For you. For many others it's the best burger in London at significantly cheaper prices than the competition. I might put it down to a bad day maybe (the good quality of the meat is always apparent to me, the seasoning and the cooking variable now that Yianni isn't always at the helm). The customers that made sure the Meatwagon was packed even before the incessant Twitter hype is proof that the burger hasn't failed.

"have you tried the Byron’s Big D"

I have, and it's far better than their usual burger. The quality is more down to O'Sheas though.

"And talking of street-food heroes, these guys deserve all the accolades.

Anons et al- Street food dishes shouldn't cost more than a fiver, period."

Nonsense - that's a completely arbitrary price and you've contradicted yourself by linking to a stand selling kebabs for £6/£6.50. Personally I think anyone who has the initiative and the patience to sell and market one street food item really well is a food hero, whether it's the Meatwagon, La Grotta Ices or a kebab stand at a market. Especially when you have the ideological zeal to spread the message and influence others.

Anonymous said...

This is for the person who disagreed with the comment that the prices have risen substantially. They really have; burgers used to be £3.50 - that is a huge increase in my book.

Anonymous said...

"This is for the person who disagreed with the comment that the prices have risen substantially. They really have; burgers used to be £3.50 - that is a huge increase in my book."

I assumed you meant the price rise from street food to pub food.

The Regular, Bacon and Chili have been priced at £5,£6,£6 respectively for at least a year. The £3.50 burger was back in 2009 when the wagon was still in a state of transition and unknown outside Peckham. Considering how the burgers have improved, got larger and the demand has grown, £5 seems like a more than fair price (especially considering a Byron burger is around £9).

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything on that receipt priced at a fiver. The chicken burger is now seven quid; that too used to be three fifty. And, he Meatwagon was definitely known outside Peckham in 2009. How else do you think it became popular?

Anonymous said...

"I don't see anything on that receipt priced at a fiver. "

Because prices went up £1 for the Meateasy, as I said about 5/6 posts back.

"The chicken burger is now seven quid; that too used to be three fifty"

The chicken burger is probably the one thing I agree is overpriced. But then, hey, he's not going to lose business so he can charge whatever he likes if it helps him get a new van.

"And, he Meatwagon was definitely known outside Peckham in 2009. How else do you think it became popular?"

Helengraves's blog post which then created a snowball effect and also Facebook, Twitter and an excellent marketing campaign. It really wasn't known outside the areas in South London he pitched up at (especially since I recall there being a massive gap between summer 2009 and him setting up again, which must have dampened the word of mouth effect somewhat).

tl;dr - your reference to the prices going up is about 1 and a half years out of date.

Anonymous said...

Helen Graves blog post was in August 2009. Prices were low then.
What does tl;dr mean? Who is writing this btw?

fingersandtoes said...

I don't eat meat so I consider myself a fairly neutral party in all this. I'd just like to point out that the price rise is probably due to the fact that, as customers are now eating in as opposed to taking away street food, VAT must be paid.

Gastro1 said...

Great post and discussion.

I always rated Meatwagon's "joint" burger but have not been to MEATEASY. One of the things I liked was it was well seasoned and seasoned at correct time in the cooking process.

The pricing must be due to the business model that has been agreed .

You have given me an idea tough I will contact Yianni and see if he want's O'Shea's of Knightsbridge to make a custom blend for him.

Anonymous said...

"Helen Graves blog post was in August 2009. Prices were low then."

I never claimed otherwise.

"What does tl;dr mean?"

too long;didnt read. It's an internet thing meaning 'in summary'.


"Who is writing this btw?"

Anonymous. I'm not associated with the Meatwagon in any way, I'm just a fan.

Tuck said...

Aha! I love a bit of controversy.

Firstly, thanks for kind words and link - I was -> this close to having one of my shots published in the Metro!

As for the establishment, I will partially agree - our party certainly thought that the burgers served by Meatwagon at the Hackney Towpath were indeed tastier and better seasoned - but then the choice at MEATEASY is much wider, and probably the better for it.

In addition the atmosphere at Goldsmith was amazing, one would never imagine hundreds of people to be crammed into a small attic space when viewed from the outside = proper speakeasy vibes.

L

Mr Noodles said...

Where has the sense of perspective gone?

Particularly when you read comments like, 'Especially when you have the ideological zeal to spread the message and influence others'.

Ideological zeal! Get a grip! It's a burger!

I heart cupcakes said...

So I'm going to disagree and say I really enjoyed my burger at #meateasy a couple of weeks ago. The burger was perfectly seasoned for me, loved the bun and the orange cheese, as usual for me the gherkin was removed and placed on the side. The fries were nothing special but loved the onion rings.
I do agree people are talking about it like they've cured cancer but that does seem to be the new thing amongst bloggers - one blogger recent musings about getting the perfect photo of tapas of some such other guff made me want to go there and slap her while screaming "you've taken a picture not sorted out world peace". Or something.
The only thing I dislike about the meateasy is patronising bloggers who write about how New Cross is a shithole and they thought they'd be shot on the way to it blah blah blah - if you're such a girl that New Cross scares you stay at home and eat a birds eye frozen burger you pillock.
Anyways enough of my ranting sorry you didn't enjoy your visit to my part of town!

Anonymous said...

"Particularly when you read comments like, 'Especially when you have the ideological zeal to spread the message and influence others'.

Ideological zeal! Get a grip! It's a burger!"

Ugh. It's not about burgers, it's about London's moribund street food scene. For such a big food city it's absolutely woeful and it needs more pioneers who aren't just doing it for a living but believe in the quality of what they are selling. Yeah, it's a bit Soup Nazi-ish but you'll find the same people everywhere in America and in many cities in Europe and the Middle East, there's no reason why it shouldn't happen here. It doesn't have to be burgers, it could be anything - Brixton Village Market, Maltby Street, eat.st. Those are things worth blogging about, not the next big restaurant opening.

"The only thing I dislike about the meateasy is patronising bloggers who write about how New Cross is a shithole and they thought they'd be shot on the way to it blah blah blah"

Yes! They're absolutely awful and it's also(more inexcusably)incredibly lazy writing.

meemalee said...

Whoa, so much anonymity.

"... patronising bloggers who write about how New Cross is a shithole and they thought they'd be shot on the way to it blah blah blah"

I agree - this has been pissing me off big time.

Niamh said...

Wowsa! Lots of anonymity and finger pointing, eh? Honestly, if you're going to name bloggers or insinuate, it's only fair you name yourself too.

I've never eaten a meateasy burger (shock horror), but I agree with all comments on the street food scene. It needs encouraging. From my brief 6 month foray into having a market stall, the costs of producing and serving good produce would not allow a £3.50 burger. People are eating in now, it's more expensive. Comments to the tune of when I first ate there it was this and this are just dull.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, Les is, Helen is, all commenters here too. But be big enough to stick your name on it.

Patrick said...

No fair. How come you got to order 4 items?

thatslondon said...

@anonymous

No need to get so worked up over my comment. I'm happy that Bellaphon felt comfortable and compelled to express genuine dislike of a place. I'm not saying I agree with the author, as I haven't been there. I am saying that I see a lot of food bloggers in London who will not say a bad thing about a restaurant, especially when there is a flux of raving reviews from their contemporaries.

Judging from the backlash received from this story, this is with good reason.

I have been to overpriced crap restaurants and events because the blogger community in London has supported and raved about the event or place. It made me angry and wonder if they were giving positive reviews because they were being comped/wanting to continue to be comped/not wanting to make waves or because they actually liked the place. My guess is they didn't want to anger the person who comped their meal and I had to pay the consequences.

To me this is not the spirit of this style of journalism.

Little Miss Random said...

Erm. I just wanted to say "hello, long time no see and gong xi fa cai!"

Unfortunately, it seems there are tonnes of comments on your most recent post, so I hope this doesn't get lost amidst all the debate.

Yours,
A chapalang blogger