Thanks to John, I had a wristband waiting for me and we began the day at Smatt's rum and ice cream shack on Monmouth St. I'm not a rum fan and made a massive error in ordering a cocktail that practically had visible vapors emitting from it, I forget the name, something about death and bitterness.
We cruised around Covent Garden's various gin pop ups, trying Hendrick's teas at the Monin Mad Hatter tea club, G & T with a twist of grapefruit from The Ginstitute, more G &T at the Fever-Tree Botanical Bicycle as well as Kamm & Sons punch & Judy Bar and The Gran Marnier Punch House.
It was a pretty boozy afternoon and by the end of it, we needed sustenance. We head to MEATmarket where they were offering a vodka laced slush puppy type thing as their nod to London Cocktail Week, though the programme promised a Woodford Reserve cocktail. Fortunately, we were just about done with cocktails.
I ordered a dead hippy (£7.50), so I could do a direct comparison to MEATliquor and I found their version lacking actually, and overall my heart still lies with MEATliquor, but we walked straight in and got a table at MEATmarket, so you can't argue with the plan to make things more accessible. The girl at the counter was rather curt and dismissive, but then we can't have been the first woosy customers to amble in after a gutful of grog.
What I did LOVE were the poppaz (£4), little deepfried morsels filled with jalepenos and cheese. I could eat these all day, they're quite fiery, but so moreish, I didn't let anyone else get a look in. We also had the chicken wings with blue cheese sauce and the chilli cheese fries, all of which I know and love from MEATliquor.
I've heard talk about the buns here not being steamed like the MEATliquor ones, and whilst I don't recall them being in any way dry, there is something lacking in both atmosphere and quality of the food at MEATmarket. The venue is less of a destination, it's more of a takeaway bar, and I know this is the idea and I'm all for avoiding queues if at all possible, but I don't mind queuing for MEATliquior, because it's MEATliquor!
Having said all that, a dead hippy was just what the doctor ordered to soak up all that gin at this point in the day, and it certainly did the job. I hope the next MEAT appears in EC1! It's dirty, it's cheap and it's hugely satisfying and still the talk of the town.
NB. Announced today (17th Oct) was the opening of MEATmission, Hoxton market, before the end of 2012, and they'll take bookings! Hurrah, I work just down the road.
Jubilee Market Hall