Informal, high quality dining in a vintage diner, with adventurous meats, inventive combinations and great service.
A cross between an American diner and a canteen, vintage touches make Meat People a great, quirky venue. Black and white tiles and a sunny mustard colour fuse decorative styles, giving the feel of a retro discovery, while open booth-style seating and zinc tables give plenty of elbow room. The meat-centric menu and individual features makes this specialist steakhouse a cut above similarly priced chains, and outstanding combinations of ingredients evidence a very fine palate behind the scenes.
The venue is intimate, allowing the staff to be attentive without hovering, and diners are given a genuinely friendly welcome. Jazzy swing music plays in the background, and a relaxed vibe means you can enjoy proper food without a stiff atmosphere.
Starters are around £6, mains from £15 to £22, and deserts from £6.
Warmed olive bread arrives free, with butter ready to spread, a basic welcoming element which signals the spot-on attention to detail to follow. Naturally, meat of all sorts is central to the menu, and while the line-up changes occasionally, it usually includes something out of the ordinary, currently a zebra starter (£7). Zebra turns out to be quite beefy and gamey, with an intrinsic taste of pepper. Combined in the dish with chunks of mango, it proves delicious. The smoked trout salad starter (£6.50) is a fresh and light appetiser with crème fraîche and beetroots balancing the trout perfectly - golden beetroot is rather like firm mango, an impression shared by the waitress, gratifyingly proving that the best waiting staff taste and know the dishes well.
Iberico secreto (£18) is a stack of pork with plenty of garlicky juices – its crunchy skin and tender meat is pretty much impossible to criticise in any way, and is easily finished down to the last smear on the plate. Although there are plenty of other great options to choose from, this dish alone makes a return visit to Meat People practically inevitable.
It’s not really a venue for vegetarians, but if a fish option is preferred, the swordfish (£16.50) is an intriguing dish, with a hearty texture yet delicate flavour, combined with a sweetcorn purée that allows the bursts of herbs and wild mushrooms to vary in every bite. The hand-cut chips to share are outstanding.
Waiting staff are helpful in deciding upon cuts of steaks and which side dishes might go well together. It’s intriguing to see what great hunks of meat are served up on neighbouring tables, and to plan which to order next time. Side dishes are more than afterthoughts, and evidence the thinking of an intelligent chef behind the scenes who likes to try unusual combinations but who always has an eye on the dining experience. For committed carnivores there are sharing platters available (£52, £48), and Meat People have the hang of cooking their meats – juicy and tender within, and with a seared bite straight off the grill.
The deserts are the sort of dishes you don’t immediately get stuck into the moment they arrive, but have to simply look at for a while to admire their beauty. Conversation recedes here, as does sharing, as confectionery-delight takes over. Sky tocino (£6) has a perfectly poached aniseed pear matched with vanilla ice cream and a crème caramel. The pavlova (£6) is a celebration on a plate - soft, poached rhubarb sitting on top of a generous dollop of light vanilla cream, all housed in a meringue with a bit of bite, and scattered with the crunch of dark chocolate drops and pomegranate seeds. A round-up coffee is good, strong and nutty.
The house white is a well-considered wine, a Spanish Covinca of 2011 (£16.50) which fits well throughout three courses of diverse orders. The wine list changes and evolves with the menu, and favours hearty Italian reds, with some high quality guest wines and champagnes available as good accompaniments to meaty feasts. A range of desert wines and spirits are temptingly listed alongside the deserts, and cocktails seem like a good idea in this setting. Meat People thinks a lot about what goes with what, and don’t keep their wine list static.
The Last Word
An inventive menu of high quality and considered meat dishes ensures you will be well fed, while attentive service and beautiful presentation in a genuinely friendly atmosphere makes Meat People a steak house with considerable personality.