Meatopia – London

Finally I’m here. It’s been talked about, we’ve indulged in the hype and already chosen what’s on our hitlist. A feast of meat ahead……

Nestled in the East Ends Tobacco Docks, It’s the smell that grabs you first…. the air thick with tasty BBQ smoke. Yes it’s busy, mainly rotund men who clearly spend more on food than good clothing, yes there are queues for ‘meat coins’, one coin costing you £5.50 but is the only currency for a portion of the good stuff, yes It can even be a bit confusing but it’s all worth it.

Several stalls set on two levels, boards highlighting their chosen dish on offer and the respective chef, then surrounded by the drink areas…. just got to get stuck in.

With a fellow BTNDC diner and another friend, who to me is the Meatopia Guru, with his lovely wife, who is equally quite the connoisseur, scoring was carried out by the three males, obviously, on each dish.

A – Smoked Applewood burger and drunk onions. (Joe Grossmann @ Patty & Bun)
I forgot to take a photo…. looks like a cheeseburger…. but omg bloody delicious. It was our first one of the night and we were hungry so I don’t think it could disappoint but one of my favs. Maybe not the epic meat dish others were looking for but I loved it. 20.5/30

B – Txuleton Basque style matured Beef (Mikel Vinaspre @ Sagardi) The queue was long for being this early into the evening…. but understandably so! Nothing grabs you like giant hanging lumps of 5 week matured Beef which then gets severed in front of you, the hulks of meat then tossed onto the flames and given an unholy amount of salt. Seasoned further, served on a ciabatta with red pepper…. this is what we had come to taste! Mmmmmm. 23.5

C – Presa Iberica (Nacho Del Campo @ Camino) This famous pork, pigs fed solely on acorns, divided options. BC loved it but for me… for this event… too normal albeit served with a potent garlic dressing on an apple purée. 20.

To wash this all down there is pretty much nearly anything you want. From a normal selection of wines, mainly Bourbon based cocktails and alcoholic Slushies to a ‘warehouse’ full of every type of ale you can think of. It was a clever, professional setup with the only trouble likely when the favourite stalls run out of food!

D – Oak smoked Ox Cheek Chilli (Andy Stubbs @ Low N Slow) This is what Meatopia is all about for me. Trying an amazing dish which I wouldn’t normally order. The meat fell apart, served with a spicy salsa on a nacho of sorts…. the joint winner on the night. 23.5

E – Black Jack Burger! (Siggi Gunnlaugsson @ Tommi’s Burger) A picture tells a thousand words?…. as is described! I preferred by first, more conventional burger, but this was very tasty too! 21.

F – BLT (Lewis Hannaford @ Foxlow) disappointing as it was just a chunk of fatty bacon with a slice tomato and lettuce. Some would have loved it I’m sure but underwhelming. 19.

Hidden away under the staircase was possibly an essential highlight to compliment all this smoked food…. The Bourbon Bar. An amazing selection on offer including the legendary Pappy & Old Rip Van Winkles. We however opted for another Hall of Famer…. a George T Stagg.

G – Smoked Expresso Pork Belly with red slaw (Stephen Hinkley @ Meatup) This was one high on the hitlist coming into it….. maybe we were getting tipsy, maybe we were getting too full, surely not, maybe it was the 20 minute long queue as it was getting later and the waits longer….. but it was possibly the biggest disappointment. Very average with 3 unfinished portions. 12.

H – Lamb Satay (Seb Myers & Freddie Janssen @ Snackbar) ok so unfairly now we had definitely hit a wall and got frustrated with the growing queues! A nice unspectacular Lamb Satay with a tasty crispy coating. Too tipsy to note much more here! Sorry! 17.

I – Iberico Pork Ribs ( Roberto Castro @ Lobos) the final one…. no photo… remembered as ‘ok I’m done here for the night’ 12.5

A fantastic night and experience which when shared with similarly minded foodie friends is an event not to be missed. Unexpected triumphs on dishes you’d maybe normally swerve, served by friendly people washed down by Slushies or straight up Cowboy Bourbon… 2018…. get your tickets!