Meat Rack – Earlsfield
THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED DOWN!
Meat Rack has only been operating for just over two months now.
Although upon arrival we found it all but empty at around 8:30 on a weekday evening, we were kindly greeted by two enthusiastic owners who wore their hearts on their sleeves. Not only were we made to feel very welcome, we were also well looked after during the course of our stay (in fact, we ending up leaving at around 23:00!).
The restaurant is a small establishment with a rustic theme going on, which, we were told, was largely decorated by the owners themselves.
Let’s firstly put to bed the bad, and the ugly first. The reason why we decided to go with sweet potato chips is because our last outing witnessed the best sweet potato chips we’ve ever had at Pecking Order. So it only made sense that we’d give this a go. Sadly though, and as though it isn’t obvious enough from the above pic, these were at the opposite end of the spectrum: soggy with a leathery textured exterior, these were not very nice at all.
As to why we went with Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Well, simply because it just seemed so out of place!
But these weren’t much to our liking. Essentially, they are what they are – more comfort food than anything else (we were told that this was on the menu because of its popularity with the Earlsfield locals).
And now on to the good, and, boy, were these good. Triple cooked to perfection – soft and fluffy on the inside, and crispy and golden on the outside.
These wings were also something to behold. Moist and tender, and delivering a different taste sensation every time. Don’t ask us exactly which one’s which, but what we can tell you is the following:
- House Spicy – This was a lovely combo! While being spicy, it had a delicious light lemony taste to it.
- BBQ Honey – This was more honey than BBQ, but tasty for what it was.
- Parmesan Garlic – Certainly the most subtly flavoured of the six. Alas, the strength of the Parmesan totally overpowered the garlic.
- R.I.P. – Rest In Peace indeed! :evil: This really took the biscuit. Like a delayed fuse, the chilli, which tastes like sour Tabasco, just kicked in from nowhere to hit you like a jackhammer before lingering around for ages. It took a lot of water and milkshake to dampen a burning mouth.
- Mango Habanero – With a strong hint of mango in the background, and in spite of the Habanero factor, this didn’t quite deliver the same intensity of heat as the R.I.P. Perhaps our taste buds hadn’t quite recovered.
- Jerk Tastic – Sweet and quite fiery this one.
In conclusion then, the top 3 have to be:
- House Spicy.
- Mango Habanero.
Our only complaint was that the wings could have been served hotter (a cold plate certainly didn’t help).
A Boerewors Sausage is a South African sausage that certainly looked the part.
And though it had a lovely, meaty texture to it, unfortunately, it was let down by an over addition of pepper which, as a result, annoyingly lingered long thereafter.
Of these four homemade dips, it was that strikingly coloured orange chilli sauce that stole the show. Apparently, it was made from, among other things, celery, onions and carrots. Hence, while it was crunchy in texture, it was mildly chilli, and so didn’t dampen the sweetness of the carrot.
Next in line, was the blue cheese which, though a little on the watery side, was nevertheless subtle in taste.
The other two were average.
Before you ask why one half seems darker than the other, then no, our camera is functioning fine, thank you very much! :-| We specifically asked for one half (right) to be coated in their Meat Rack Seasoning, and the other to be left as it is. The objective was to determine how good the quality of the meat really was and what difference the seasoning would make.
Now, unless you’re presented with Grade-A quality meat à la La Fiesta, then you’ll definitely need some sort of seasoning or sauce to compensate for the ordinary. Having said that, we asked for medium well-done, and that’s precisely what we got!
Alas, high quality meat is hard to come by these days, and the same was true in this instance. As such, the non-seasoned side was fairly ordinary, but the seasoned side – a salty, spicy mix – turned out to be pleasantly tasty. What is more, the two sauces were a little underwhelming. The chef did seem a little heavy handed with the pepper this evening because the chimichurri was certainly that. On the other hand, the mushroom, though buttery in taste, wasn’t quite as thick nor deliver that deep mushroom flavour we were hoping for.Advertisement Advertisement
On to the burgers. The idea here was to try all three meats on offer: lamb, beef, and chicken.
This burger, as with all of them, was well cooked and succulent. The caramelised onion chutney gave it a slightly sweet taste. The beef rasher, though aesthetically pleasing, brought nothing to the table. Not only was it soft and chewy, but flavourless.
We were also expecting the egg to be slightly runny (we certainly weren’t asked how we’d like it); unfortunately, it turned out well done.
Again, the overall flavour combo was quite delicious, with the jalapenos and hot sauce delivering a hint of heat along with a sweetish aftertaste.
For us, this was the tastiest of the three thanks, in no small part, to the chicken – tender and near perfectly cooked. The caramelised onion chutney and the smoked BBQ sauce provided a lovely sweet, smoky flavour.
And so what conclusions do we draw with Meat Rack’s burgers. To be truthful, they are a tale of two halves. On one half, the buns are soft and tender, and flavourwise the sauces in each are sufficient enough to keep you interested right until the last bite.
On the other, we have a major gripe with the lamb and beef patties, specifically. While Meat Rack describe these as “gourmet burgers”, they appeared to be preprocessed and, therefore, most likely previously frozen. Just take a look at the dense structure to the right:
Now, the question we wish to ask is whether such a burger has the right to be called “gourmet”? Unfortunately today, this word has been brandished about a lot. But what really defines a gourmet burger, is the question? Well, without getting all technical, :-D we reckon that a burger that calls itself gourmet ought to at least be authentic enough to be freshly handmade/ handcrafted. Take for instance Gourmet Burger Kitchen; they make it clear:
We still pride ourselves on serving up a variety of handcrafted burgers, combining 100% prime beef with the freshest ingredients and burger sauces made from scratch, every day, in each GBK kitchen.
That for us is the start of anything gourmet, i.e. handcrafted, but certainly not preprocessed.
With lashings of cream on top, this was thick, milky and utterly scrumptious!
And finally the desserts. We decided to go for an assortment of single ice cream and sorbet scoops since we were told that they were all naturally made without any artificial additives. What we got was coconut sorbet, strawberry sorbet, salted caramel ice cream, pistachio ice cream, and Ferrero Rocher ice cream, all equally amazing. This really was a treat and highly recommended.
- NO/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
We were told, however, that the place is packed during the weekends with locals slowly, but surely, becoming regulars.
With a solid menu, and with dishes that are above average, this place can only get better with time and effort. If you're in the area, then this is definitely worth visiting, particularly for those ice creams and wings.
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T: +44 (0)20 3759 5823 | W: www.meatrack.co.uk
Opening Hours: Tue CLOSED | Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00 | Sun 12:00-22:00