Whereas Thursday is the new Friday for many bars and restaurants Monday is probably the new Sunday. Sunday according to a statistic that I’m sure I remember reading rather than just making up, is now the third most popular day of the week for going out. Now I assume that includes a lot of lunches, but it’s still a far cry from the days of my youth when the most exciting thing to do on the sabbath would be to look out of the window to see if it’d started raining.
With Sunday now a Funday, purveyors of distraction have to go that extra mile to get us out of the house in the early part of the week, especially during the bleak non-summer months. We all know the drill, special offers, pub quizzes, two for one deals all compete for our attention against the delights of the sofa, a box set and central heating.
The Meat up Grill is a fairly new establishment on the Old York Road next to Wandsworth town station. They’re presently running a new Monday promotion of steak, chips and a glass of wine for £15, as I’d been keen to give them a whirl this was enough to get me and the Ultimate Rugby Fan (URF) off the sofa and down the road.
The old York Road is an interesting area with a good selection of restaurants and shops. It does still seems somewhat lifeless much of the time. This is despite the fact that it has one of south west London’s most famous boozers, the Alma, at one end, it doesn’t have a corresponding anchor at the other. The lack of atmosphere might also explain why so many of the establishments seem to change hands frequently.
The Meat up has replaced a Moroccan restaurant, and I have to say there were no traces of Marrakesh left in the smartly done up interior. The idea behind the Meat up, is that not only is it a restaurant but also a social space/bar with frequent events such as live music. This means that there is a rather substantial bar area up front as well as the dining room behind. I quite liked the fact that there was also a counter for solo diners, which counter intuitively was actually getting quite a bit of traffic, though this did add yet another section to what isn’t the world’s largest restaurant.
The décor as I said is smart, if a bit formulaic, you know what I mean, industrial looking light fittings, industrial beige paint and brown wooden fixtures. Smart, surprisingly warm, but just a bit yeah I’ve seen it before.
My menu came only as a drinks list, as someone had either taken or not added the food section, yes I know I look overfed already. To summarize cocktails are about £8-£11 and beers/ciders £4.5+. Wines are more variable with rather a hefty price jump between the everyday wines which are reasonably priced at between £20-£30 a bottle, and the special occasion wines such as Champagne, Chablis etc. Personally I have to say I think it’s a mistake to charge West End prices for wine and cocktails when part of the raison d’etre is for people to stick around, and for people to accept that much of a hike for special occasion booze where if it was pitched slightly lower people might go for a second bottle.
Anyway the dining room was busy for a Monday and got busier whilst we were there. Both the URF and I went for the special, a 225 gram sirloin steak with chips, slaw and BBQ sauce. To start we split a portion of chargrilled chicken with lime mayo and both had the merlot to drink, so not much variety there.
The chargrilled chicken was OK, well presented and fairly tasty, but pretty much as you’d expect chargrilled chicken to taste like. To be fair our waitress had tried to push us towards the prawns which she seemed to be particularly impressed by, and I think it would have been fairer to try them.
The steak and fries was nicely presented, but my steak was more vertical than horizontal making it seem rather smaller than it actually was. I found myself wishing I’d sprung the extra fiver for 300 gram version. The URF’s looked delightful by comparison, but as it turned out perhaps hadn’t been trimmed as well as it could be, with something more like tendon than fat adhering to it.
The chips were the standard skinny fries, which I am now getting rather bored of, I prefer proper chips most of the time. The slaw was good and the steak was actually pretty tasty, which it should be for a meat specialist. The wine was good and went well with the steak and it does seem like the list is generally well chosen.
Hmmm, the problem here is that I think generally the Meat up Grill is more expensive than I think it needs to be. It’s also competent rather than dazzling and this is fine for something like the special offer that the URF and I enjoyed, but would leave you feeling deflated if you’d paid full whack.
On the other hand though I don’t feel I’ve given them a fair crack of the whip and that I should go back on a Thursday for the live music nights or at the weekend to get a better idea. First impressions though are that there are better value places and better cooking places and that they have yet to find there place. I wish them luck.
‘The bill came to about £41, which is reasonable, but not especially cheap when you consider it’s for one and half courses each and a small glass of wine.’
350 OLD YORK ROAD,