Meat Factory, the place where enough falls out of your burger whilst you’re eating it to make another burger.
Along the stretch of the quite Bohemian Lark Lane, is a purple neon lit venue that is bringing a bit of the United States and attitude to Lark Lane. Now, burgers aren’t anything new. If anything, we’re in a burger surplus but there are a few venues doing the patty justice. The brilliance of the building is that it doesn’t profess nor try be anything more than that. It isn’t the kind of place you dress up for as in all honesty you’re going to end up with half of the burger on you. Look past the pseudo-trash from the conventional and you’ll stumble on Meat Factory, the place where you should bring your own towel, so you can either throw it in and admit defeat or alternatively use it to wash your face.
Formally Meat & Liquor, Meat Factory have people flocking, pun not intended, in their hundreds for their duck fries; a moment of ingenuity that has changed the world of fries. Once a side dish, fries are now becoming the main event in some places as venues test the boundaries of what they can do with the humble chip. Not so long ago, an order of chips for a chef was seen as the simplest thing in the world. Cut potatoes, cook potatoes and put some ketchup on the side. Meat Factory wanted to test those boundaries and whilst testing a new menu late one night, they imagined shredded duck on top of fries. That’s not all folks, there is also hoisin, crispy onions, spring onions, cucumber and a few lashings of mayo. You’ll struggle to find a better basket of fries in the city. Oh yeah, we’re making those claims.
The menu is simple and sets the scene for the remainder of the afternoon. We decided to go for the “Juicy Lucy” and the “Brooklyn Big Ass”. You know you’ve come to the right place when your burgers sound like a reasonably popular Wrestler’s finishing moves or the kind of women that used to adorn the walls in phone boxes. The Juicy Lucy has become a fan favourite within the American food scene and Meat Factory have saved you the plane journey. It is basically your everyday cheeseburger but with more self esteem. A mix of cheddar and blue cheese oozes from every orifice of the perfectly cooked burger with crispy onions and crisp iceberg lettuce to add good texture into the mix. All the ingredients are hugged by a pillowy brioche bun that, to be honest, is so soft you could have a nap on it and after you’ve ate it, you’ll wish you still had it for that looming post-burger nap.
The Brooklyn Big Ass is exactly what it sounds like, an intimidating pile of meaty goodness. Finding an angle you feel confident enough to tackle it from will take up the majority of your time. It’d probably take less time to tell you what isn’t on the burger rather than what it is. It is a double patty, pulled pork, potato cake, bacon and cheesy concoction that will make moving for the next few hours prove difficult. It would have been criminal, okay maybe not criminal, but against some form of unspeakable social norm, to not have ordered the duck fries. Just when we thought our order was done, we spotted steak fries out the corner of our eye on the Specials menu. It was like something out of a Hugh Grant film and the closest we’ll get to love at first sight. As if the duck fries weren’t delicious enough, we went for medium rare steak on a bed of fries that had been drenched in peppercorn sauce. C’mon, how the hell does anybody expect us to be in shape when these kind of things are on offer? We just see it as making ourselves much harder to kidnap and circle is still a shape.
This was one of those rare occasions where there wasn’t room for dessert. We know, we’re disappointed in ourselves too. However, this isn’t our first endeavour down here and we can vouch for the whole dessert menu. Make sure you check out the waffles if you save room, they’re incredibly moorish and will make the sub sequential few hours on the couch right after extremely worth it. Overall, although the food isn’t anything new, it is refreshingly consistent throughout. There’s no pretence or hype and they have a really good craft beer selection to accompany a cool venue with nice people. Make sure you check out their Camden beer selection, they do a pretty good job at washing down the burgers and if they don’t leave you drunk, the food definitely will. Follow them on Twitter to longingly look at their food pics for hours on end.