Monday, 28 October 2013

Meat & Shake, Tooting Bec

A lot of people tell you about how stressful buying a house is. It's just one of those things, like weddings and break-ups, that you go into knowing you may, somewhere in between searching for your dream home and realising your going to have to settle for an ex-local authority one-bed in Croydon, become a raving lunatic.
I accepted that and having not very long ago carefully packed away my bridezilla tiara, prepared to gain a house-hunting-bitch hat.
What I did not expect is the effect buying a house has on your diet.
With every evening spent viewing awful flats came the inevitable, I'm-going-to-kill-myself-if-I-have-to-meet-another-estate-agent comfort meal. Which, as you are usually a long tube journey away from where you actually live and in a rush, means fast food.
For me and the area I was trying to buy in, the nearest late-night pit stop was Pizza Hut
How can I declare myself a foodie and eat at Pizza Hut? Well, it started with a group viewing of a bedsit in the dark because there was no electricity and ended with a mouse running over my foot.
By the time I heard the estate agent mutter the words 'desirable location,' as I watched someone cycle past us with what I can only guess was a stolen TV, I was ready to kill myself with every type of complex carb.
Now our house hunt has finally come to an end I'm a good dress size larger and through lack of any good food, have been blogging MIA.
So, how did I celebrate finding a tiny little London shoebox to call my own? With more comfort food, except this time some really good stuff.
For the whole time I've lived here Tooting has been a bit barren for good places to eat if you weren't after Indian. Mirch Masala has long been hailed the best Indian in South London but recently a few gastro pubs have popped up like The Antelope and there is now the tapas restaurant at Graveney and Meadow.
But the area is transforming and following 2013's obsession with poshed up American fare, Tooting has it's very own burger joint to add to the mix, Meat & Shake.
As a resident of the area, although not for much longer, I can vouch for the genuine excitement that surrounded the opening of Meat & Shake, not least for all the home owners around here who took it as another sign the area is going the way of Balham et al.
From my experience, Meat & Shake did not disappoint and although I'll soon be moving, I'm coming back just to Tooting just to visit this place.
The focus is definitely on the burgers, along with the usual, cheese, bacon, caramelised onions, other toppings include tacos, turkey bacon and aoili. More unusual offerings were the lamb'ardo, a lamb patty served with feta cheese, pickled onions, sweet pepper yoghurt and coriander. Or, the mouthwatering rib & cheese, pulled beef rib, montery jack cheese and barbecue sauce.
Hot dogs, ribs and wings are also on offer as well as an intriguing grilled beef bone marrow served with crostini.
Shakes, as the name suggests are taken seriously here, it was definitely a beer day for me but my husband told me, through slurps and after wiping the white ring off his beard, that the Oreo milkshake is incredible.
We went for the meat & shake (£8.90) beef patty, cheese, tomato, matchstick fries, turkey bacon, stanton sauce and the johnny (£7.90) beef patty, sauteed onions, creamy mushrooms and swiss cheese.
They were served in delicate, soft brioche buns and though the dressings were delicious, the real star, as it should be, was the burger, which is ground on site freshly every day.
The fries (£2.50) were thin and soft but the real stonking side is the onion rings (£3) which are perfect. Light and crispy instead of dense and greasy, the onion is soft and almost caramelised inside.
I never imagined I would be telling people to go out of there way to visit Tooting if they want a good meal but Meat & Shake is worth the burger commute.
Not only are the burgers better than most of the over-hyped places in central but you won't have to queue for ages, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service couldn't have been better.
I guess it would be silly not to visit the place as much as possible whilst I still live here.
See, moving house really is bad for the waistline.

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