AHT reader Gerard recently sent us an email recommending #Meateasy in London, the temporary burger joint opened by formerly mobile burger purveyor The Meatwagon in January after their truck was stolen last December. It closes at the end of March, so head over soon if you can! Gerard's not wasting any time—he told us he's been there six times so far. If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our review submission form. —The Mgmt.
First floor of Goldsmiths Tavern, 316 New Cross Rd, London SE14 6AF, UK (map); themeatwagon.co.uk
Prices: Cheeseburger, £6; bacon cheeseburger, £7; chili cheeseburger, £7
Notes: Tues. to Thurs., 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 6 p.m. - 12 a.m.; cash only; open until the end of March
Last year AHT ran a feature on The Meatwagon, when owner Yianni Papoutsis was touring South East London cooking diner-style burgers to queues of people in pub gardens. Now the operation has moved to a semi-permanent location in New Cross called #Meateasy, after the wagon was stolen by some dastardly unknowns before Christmas. The small dining room above a disused pub features a small cocktail bar, dingy lighting, and menus chalked on the wall, and is jam packed five nights a week.
The menu is small. There are four burgers: cheese, bacon, chili and a double cheeseburger, plus sides and a couple of non-burger extras. The beef is loosely ground aged chuck with what seems to be a fairly high fat content (it's certainly juicy), and ample seasoning. The beef has that beefy, hearty flavor that reminds me of a butcher's, and is served medium by default. All the burgers come on specially-baked sourdough buns, which is unusual for London. They don't stop the juice from dripping onto your paper plate, but that's half the fun.
The cheeseburger and double cheeseburger come with what seems to be classic slices of American, although Yianni won't reveal where he gets it from (it's almost impossible to find anything other than Kraft singles in the UK, so most places just use cheddar). Shredded lettuce, tangy pickles, and neon American mustard come on the cheeseburger, while the double features burger sauce and fewer veggies.
There are some delicious burger-alternatives, including a peppery chili which adorns the chili cheese dog and the chili cheese fries. The Mac and Cheese is gloopy and tangy and the onion rings are large and crispy, with a light batter. They do a pretty mean cheesecake too, if you're lucky enough to be there when it's on special.
#Meateasy is closing at the end of March, and the rumor is that Yianni will return to his nomadic ways for the summer. It'll be a shame to leave behind the little bar, which has become something of a mecca for London's burger enthusiasts over the past couple of months. Hopefully it's popularity will convince others that it's not too hard to make proper burgers, and we could see something of a revolution in the city. I think #Meateasy has opened a lot of people's eyes to what burgers should really be like. If any of you are making a trip to London in the next couple of weeks make sure you don't miss it.