Although it was early evening on a chilly Sunday night, the Meat Mission was rammed full of hipsters when the boyf and I visited. Slightly giddy from a three-hour session of The Hobbit fuelled by popcorn and diet coke, I sat down for my dirty diner dinner full of excitement – and caffeine.
We were served by friendly but frantically rushed waitresses and seated in the reservation area – which is definitely a boon as you can’t reserve at other Meat joints (Easy, Liquor and Market). The whole area is very darkly lit, framed by stained glass windows and box-lit images of naked girls with skulls for head – all very jolly. The place was buzzing – warm and friendly if not a little pretentious (which is alright with me).
We ordered two cocktails to get us in the mood – I had a Gin Smash, which involved something like gin, passion fruit and apple juice. It was served long and was utterly refreshing and delicious. He ordered a creamy little number called the The Slushy – that was pretty delicious too, although it was a little small.
The boyf more than made up for his small drink with his huge meal – he always orders twice what any normal human needs when we eat out so he can ‘taste everything’. It’s kind of embarrassing but at least I get to sample more at no extra cost – as long as you ignore the shocked and often disgusted looks of the waiting staff/ other patrons. Thankfully, the waitress, or ‘burgerette’ (jury’s out on that one) barely batted an eyelid when we ordered fried pickles and monkey fingers to start – both served with blue cheese dip, followed by two dead hippie burgers, a dirty chicken burger and a side of fries.
The fried pickles came first – and it was unfortunately all down hill from there. We expected big juicy halves of gherkin (he was hoping for wholes but even I knew that was a little enthusiastic). They arrived, soggily sorry for themselves, and a first bite revealed a very miserly sliver of pickle, whisper thin, shivering inside a giant wet coat of batter completely devoid of crunch.
Next, the monkey fingers slapped on to the table – glistening and moist, they promised a honeyed looking and home made hot coating. However one bite revealed a bottled hot sauce flavour – it was like eating sweet n sour chicken from a really dirty Chinese takeaway. Paired with the blue cheese dip, they were unbearably rich. On the plus side, the dip was good and even persuaded my blue cheese hating date into dipping a few French fries (which were also very good – the perfect antidote to the grease overload).
Then the Dead Hippies arrived – and they were well and truly dead. The boyf has eaten, and loved, the dead hippie at the Meat Liquor before and I have read many a blog declaring them to be the best burgers IN THE WHOLE WORLD EVER. Describing themselves as ‘mustard fried double beef patties, dead hippie sauce, salad and minced onions’ I had high expectations – a Maccy D’s without the obligatory corporate machine/ pigeon meat guilt. But they were distinctly average. Not bad, not good, I would happily have eaten this if I were not in a restaurant famed for it’s amazing burgers. A six out of ten. His was slightly more overdone than mine, but there were both pretty dry – there didn’t seem to be any of this infamous dead hippie sauce on the buns either.
I’m not a chicken burger connoisseur – unlike my beloved. His review of the dirty chicken fillet was as follows: “Coating was a bit too herby, crispy in a dry way, like it had been resting too long or had been refried.” I would always choose beef over chicken anyway but there you have it – the batter seems to be one of the big let downs in this joint.
I wouldn’t tell anyone to avoid Meat Mission – although I would recommend Byron Burger first, which is just around the corner – or Lucky Chip, which really is the best burger IN THE WHOLE WORLD EVER. The prices were fair – our huge order only came to £50 – which was just £15 for my own portion of half a starter, burger and a tip. The atmosphere was great, the cocktails were great (but I’ve heard the bar is a separate company?) the staff were friendly but the food was disappointing. Perhaps it was our high expectations, an off day in the kitchen or a change of management – but this Mission was definitely a failure.