The halal gourmet burger revolution exploded onto the scene a few years ago, enamouring a large population of the Muslim community that yearned to enjoy burgers that were prepared fresh, used high quality meats, were epicurean in standard and all served in a comfortable dining environment, thereby liberating us from the confines of processed meat burgers from the local takeaway/fast food joint.
The halal landscape was changing and we all presumed it was for the better. However, everyone suddenly wanted to jump on the “cash cow” that was Gourmet Burgers (excuse the pun), and soon burger parlours were in abundance, with prices rocketing and quality and standards slowly slipping.
The burger revolution recently entered into a new chapter, with the rise in competition, encouraging innovation, such as sourcing halal Dry Aged meats; along with influencing standards to rise and enticing prices to flatten. Now you can enjoy a gourmet burger experience, without feeling as though your wallet has been unceremoniously violated.
Meatcetera, who are the spiritual reincarnation of the former Neon Burgers, are another addition to the gourmet burger chronicles.
The interior is spacious and decorative; paying homage to London’s graphic art scene, with graffiti style designs, pop art and modernistic murals flowing through the decor, in addition to retro lighting, all providing a trendy and urban feel.
The menu is American inspired, with elements of Asian fusion, plus some innovative ideas that are truly intriguing.
We were invited to review Meatcetera. First we ordered their signature burger, the “Meatcetera”, which was a 6 ounce Beef patty with mozzarella, sautéed Mortadella, Merguez sausage, caramelised onion, relish and mixed salad leaves. This was a superlative burger. Everything I crave for in a burger. The patty was cooked well done, even though we prefer it to be prepared medium, yet the patty was still juicy, succulent and well seasoned. The relish and caramelised onion provided a sweet and tangy taste, which to my tastebuds was sheer pleasure. The Merguez sausage was bold and spicy in flavour and the sautéed Mortadella further enhanced the umami taste of the burger, making the burger a true carnivore’s delight. The brioche bun was lightly toasted and the fresh, buttery baked aroma of the bun was deliciously intoxicating.
The second burger was the “Lamborghini”; 6 ounce lamb patty, with aged cheddar, minty mango yoghurt, mixed leaves. The patty was once again unfortunately prepared well done, but yet again, the meat was still juicy and tender, with subtle seasoning, so not to diminish the natural flavour of the succulent lamb. This was a pleasant burger, but lacked any flavour sensation. The minty mango yoghurt, which is the key component of the burger, was too weak in flavour; the mint needed to be more prominent and the mango needed to be bolder in taste. The yoghurt unfortunately tasted like the bland mint yoghurts that are usually provided with papadums by mediocre Indian restaurants.
The final burger was the “Zaal”; which was a 6 ounce beef patty, with English cheddar, grilled Romero pepper, caramelised onion, Sriracha and mixed leaves. The Sriracha sauce coated the mouth like lava coating a volcano, making the palate bubble and boil with the addictively saporous chilli heat. This is a Asian fusion burger for all you chilli heads. The heat, even though prominent, still did not defuse the lovely meaty flavour and texture of the beef and the rest of the components of the burger. This was another good burger.
For wings we opted for the “Meatcetera BBQ”, which were of good size and were copiously slathered in slightly tangy BBQ sauce. Even though the wings were tantalisingly exquisite, personally I would have liked some underlying chilli heat to cut through the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.
The “Candy Shop Wings”, which are drizzled in honey butter and coated in icing sugar are an innovative idea. However, it terms of flavour, my tastebuds needed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), as the wings bordered on unpalatable. The wings are undoubtedly a novel concept and we are sure many patrons will find the “Candy Shop Wings” a joy to eat, but they were just not to our taste.
For sides were chose the “Messy Fries” that were topped with cheese, grilled red peppers, American mustard and jalapeños. These were standard in flavour, nothing too exciting.
The “Chilli Con Fries”, which were topped with beef chilli con carne, jalapenos and American mustard, fared better than the “Messy Fries” but the flavour of the beef chilli needed to be bolder in our opinion. Furthermore, I’ve always found American mustard to be slightly unappealing to my taste. Nonetheless, a dish still worth ordering.
Meatcetera offer burgers prepared from a range of prime beef cuts, from Angus, Hereford, to Sussex beef stock, which are grass fed and naturally reared. The beef is aged for a minimum of 21 days which allows for the texture and flavour of the meat to be intensified.
Similar to Neon Burgers, the prices at Meatcetera are reasonably set, especially for a gourmet burger establishment, which is serving aged meat. The prices range from £5 to £7, plus they also offer rotisserie chicken.
Meatcetera offer some good and some average dishes, but what is promising about Meatcetera is their desire to push the boundaries and try different ingredients and flavour combinations. Whether their innovative ideas are successful or not are a different matter, but at least they are attempting to offer something a little different to all us food adventurers.
Follow their Meatcetera Halal Food Journey to experience something that is truly out of the ordinary.
*We were invited to review.