MeatUP Grill Review:
Guest post by Jenny McGee
Don’t you love Social Sundays? Picnics on summer lawns; cosy pubs in winter. But what about autumn and winter? Where to gather, away from the chilled crisp air, after strolls and cycle rides through leaf-strewn paths? How about an indoor barbecue?
MeatUp opened in Wandsworth in June, headed by chef and committed carnivore Stephen Hinkley. It offers a non-weather-dependent barbecue experience and promises the finest cuts of meat and fish, marinated in exciting blends of spices, from the very best of British suppliers.
A stroll down Old York Road shows that there is something of a gourmet centre springing up in the shadow of Wandsworth Town Station with quality butchers and other meat vendors trading alongside small cafés and independent shops. MeatUp’s focus is on “a little social grilling” and the restaurant’s centrepiece is a fabulous Josper grill, open to diners, allowing you to both watch the kitchen team at work and, during an infrequent lull in service, chat about your food and the techniques involved in preparing it.
The atmosphere is relaxed and relatively adult. Friends sit in couples and small groups, catching up. Singles enjoying brunch with the Sunday papers for company. The staff are friendly and attentive. It has a good vibe and I ordered a delicious spicy Bloody Mary whilst I took it all in and looked over the menu.
Sunday lunch is served between 1200 and 1700 and the menu is severely tempting. If you can’t decide on one first course then MeatUp have kindly come up with “social starters” offering you the chance to share platters of a selection from the starter menu: marinated sticky and smoky ribs and spiced chicken pieces, smoked salt pink peppercorn squid and roasted scallop (sufficient for four at £32).
For your main course choose from a selection of sublime comfort food: Tiger Prawn 4 Cheese mac (£14); Chargrilled sea bream fillet (£17) home-made potato dumplings (£12) and a choice of chicken, beef or veggie burger (£14/£13).
The “Social Roast”, however, is the real deal. With a choice of cuts on the day, all roasts include braised red cabbage, perfect Yorkshire pudding, honey roast root veg, seasonal greens, roast potatoes and the most delicious sweet, savoury, ale and bone marrow gravy. We chose meltingly good sirloin steak (£20) and the recommended slow roasted pork belly (£18). The inclusive portions of veg were generous, tasty and attractive. An extra side portion of cauliflower and celeriac cheese (£4) could easily have been the main course in its own right.
The drinks menu and wine list are fresh and interesting. Cocktails (£8 – £12) are fun, the vodka-based Wandsworth Village I have banked for next time whilst I’m hopeful a friend will let me taste Illegal in America with its London Porter Reduction, Diplimatico Rum, tonka bean and apple juice! Bottled beers are from London based craft breweries (£4 – £6) and I particularly like the sound of Camden Gentleman’s Wit! Draft lager and pale ale are courtesy of Greenwich’s Meantime Brewery.
Wines start at £20 with a popular Petit Papillon red or white. I was pleased to see wine by the glass was not restricted to the cheaper end of the list and we enjoyed a delicious glass of Lirac Rouge Clos de Sixte Alain Jaume Organic (£10) with our food.
If you’ve space for dessert, then I’d recommend the Yoghurt with poached strawberries and hazelnut praline (all puddings £5.50). Light and sweet, but if chocolate’s more your thing then you’ll find fudge brownies alongside those other dependable menu classics: Sticky Toffee Pudding, Rhubarb Eton Mess, sorbet, ice-cream and a British cheeseboard.
We rounded off with a carafe of Gentleman Baristas filtered coffee (£4 serves two) which, almost tea like, was light and refreshing.
The Gentlemen hail from Southwark and whilst sipping their brew I reflected that Sunday lunching in London has come a long way. One of the joys of eating a hugely satisfying lunch at this establishment is the additional buzz you get from knowing you’re supporting local producers, suppliers and the entrepreneurs that make London, well, London. Where else would you get indoor barbecuing in winter?
350 Old York Road, Wandsworth Town, London SW18 1SS
Wandsworth Town, London SW18 1SS
London SW18 1SS