A few weeks back, when I asked our Visiting Swiss Miss, M, what she was craving so that I could arrange dinner, she said, and without a hint of hesitation, mind – steak. Come to think of it, we often eat steak together – Hawksmoor (see post here), STK (see post here)… It’s either that or fondue (see post here). All very fattening, and all very good. I mean, I am of the mind that girlfriends who eat together stay together. True story. And I don’t mean clean-eating, or eating salads and all that awful good-for-you crap. Because yeah, people who love to eat are always the best people, but people who love to eat dirty, now, THOSE are the ones whom you keep around. Anyway, that is the story of how we ended up at Meat People, which I’ve always, always loved for a casual binge.
On a side-note before I begin, it was so hard trying to tell people where I was going to eat. The conversation went something like, “Where are you going later?” “Meat People.” “Yeah I know that. But where?” “MEAT PEOPLE.”
If you are one of those lame people who doesn’t eat steak, or worse, doesn’t eat red meat, or worse still, doesn’t eat meat at all, then I think I need to knock some sense into you – not with a stick, mind, but with a steak. Oh yes. Shtick it to them with a steak. (Just kidding!)
It’s located about 5mins walk from Angel tube station, which is also where one of my other favourite places, the Pig & Butcher (see here and here), is located. Inside, it’s warm and cosy, decorated like a saloon and they play a great selection of happy, old-school tunes that really give the place a very casual, laid-back vibe. Songs like this one, which you should definitely play while reading to set the mood!
And so we begin.
… With a lager, which is always one of the best ways to start a meat fest. You know, if you’re going to eat like a man, may as well drink like one too.
YAY FREE BREAD. I love it when restaurants provide you with coarse sea salt to sprinkle over the softened butter.
I was quite bummed out that my favourite starter, the Iberico pork, was no longer on the menu. The pork belly is another favourite of mine as well, but I had just eaten pork belly thrice in the past 5 days, so I decided against it. Paragon of self-control, this.
This was the chupe de camarones, a thick Peruvian prawn bisque, topped off with an egg. It was very flavourful and the prawn flavour came through quite strongly, so if you aren’t a fan of seafood dishes that actually taste like seafood, don’t order this. I liked it though.
This was perhaps my least favourite dish. It was nice enough, but nothing spectacular. The crabmeat was also a bit too fine, and I prefer it to be chunky.
Beef carpaccio with rocket, capers and parmesan (£6.50)
The meat was buttery soft and tender but the delicateness was ruined a little by the large peelings of parmesan, which was a bit too harsh, much as I love me some hard cheese.
You put grilled squid or octopus on a menu and I will order it. This was really tasty, and the texture was quite perfect. I love me some caramelised portobello mushrooms, and grilled anything with chimichurri is a wonderful combination. My only gripe about this dish would be that the seasoning was a little uneven – some parts were under-seasoned while some parts were just plain salty.
Ok, so I have been a little harsh on you non-meat eaters. I do apologise, and this is an olive branch of sorts. You know I love you guys xoxo. This was actually quite substantial and, for lack of a better word, meaty. It was almost like a ragu actually.
And then it was time to meet our meat.
I know. But go big or go home, right? The onglet is a French cut, but it’s actually the same as the English skirt steak, which is the same as the American hanger steak. It’s extremely rare for anything to supersede my love for lamb but the onglet was my FAV. It’s very juicy and tender and packed with flavour. I think we were all quite split between the onglet and the rib-eye though. The rib-eye and lamb are both good as well.
Come, children, let me show you more pictures of real meat.
The Pig & Butcher (see here and here) does a phenomenal onglet by the way.
Sorry for that, but can you honestly say you’ve ever seen a more beautiful series of nude tableaux vivant? And though this is a form of nudity in artwork I can appreciate, OF COURSE you have to up the steaks (hehe) with some sides!
Mushrooms seem like such a boring choice but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! These mushrooms have a great caramelised flavour and are beefy enough not simply to stand up against the meat but also to complement it. I definitely recommend getting this as a side.
This is another side I couldn’t recommend more. It will change how you feel about brussel sprouts. (Either that or try them braised with bacon, beer and a good slosh of cream. YUM.) This is essentially a brussel sprout gratin. A good one. The brussel sprouts aren’t overcooked to a grey mush, and the cream and cheese is not overwhelming or cloying in the least.
I liked that they left a bit of peel on the ends of the chips because it made it seem properly “homemade”. They don’t really salt the chips and though that’s easily remedied, other than that, these were just okay. You still have to have chips with your steak though. It’s only right. And a chip is a fry is a fry is a chip. I mean, nevermind that they are loaded with butter, cheese and cream, mushrooms and sprouts are only veggies, you understand. And we needs the carbs.
The mash was also pretty non-descript. Wouldn’t order it again.
And the béarnaise sauce really wasn’t the best, which is a shame because it’s always been my favourite sauce to go with steak. A little on the thin side, the buttery flavour wasn’t quite strong enough, and I actually would’ve preferred it if the acidity had come more from the lemon than from the tarragon vinegar. But then the meat was flavourful enough on its own, really. No need for any sauce. But from what I do recall from previous visits, the blue cheese sauce is pretty tasty.
So anyhow. You know how good friends are supposed to bring out the best in you? Well, it’s true, and with me this usually manifests itself in a particularly good appetite.
And so, Round 2.
Unfortunately, the onglet wasn’t quite as perfect as it had been previously. The outsides had gotten a bit too charred, and I don’t love the taste of burnt meat because it just stays in your mouth and dulls your tongue from detecting any sort of flavour in the meat itself, which was almost, dare I say it, a little bit tough. I was disappointed but what can you do?
Except seek comfort in more brussel sprouts and chips.
Mains polished off, we followed it up closely with dessert. I remember really liking their dulce de leche cheesecake when I’d had it previously – and I’m not really a cheesecake person – but sadly it’s no longer on the menu. Thankfully, though, they still had their chocolate fondant!!!!!!!!! Now, I’ve said time and again that chocolate fondants/molten chocolate cakes/chocolate lava cakes/chocolate soufflés are not my kind of dessert, but we all know that, firstly, I have no integrity whatsoever when it comes to food, and secondly, and you can trust me on this – the chocolate fondant here is quite magical.
The outsides weren’t at all hard and crusty, and the molten innards leached out exactly like it was meant to. There was NO RAW EGGY TASTE AT ALL, thank god for that, and overall I tasted more chocolate than I tasted batter. It’s kind of perfect with the salted caramel ice-cream as well. We got 3 servings of this. Promise me you won’t miss this when you come here?
I liked the elderflower flavour in this but didn’t like the texture of the panna cotta itself, but then I’ve always been fussy about that. It had that turgidity that you get from too much gelatine and a panna cotta has got to have a creamy, almost melt-in-your-mouth texture or it’s just disappointment.
Like the panna cotta, this was a good dessert if you’re after something light. I don’t have much impression of this given that I was, at this point, drowning in a molten lake of chocolate desire.
I’ve only ever been for dinner so I’m kind of intrigued by their brunch menu… But then it doesn’t have the sprouts! And there’s no real guarantee they have the chocolate fondant… Arghhhhhh. I would say #firstworldproblems but this is more like #fatpeopleproblems.
4-6 Essex Road,
London N1 8LN
Mon to Sat: 10AM-4PM (brunch), 5-1030PM
Sun: 10AM-4PM (brunch), 5-9PM