MEATliquor SINgapore review by Adam Boatman
MEATliquor. From meat van to meatopia. It has toured the UK serving chilli dogs, dirty burgers and knockout pickle backs, satiating hunger as it goes. But down in the dark, devilish basement where the dead hippies are piled against the mincer, devious plans have been hatched.
Not content with their slow domination of our little island and uninterested by the prospect of Europe, Scott Collins and Yianni Papoutsis have flown nearly 7000 miles to the island-cum-city-cum-country, Singapore. In Scott’s words, “we didn’t choose Singapore, Singapore chose us.”
So MEATliquor SINgapore was born. Unfortunately it was not in Singapore that I tasted their new additions to the menu, but in a hidden, thumping corner of Meat Liquor London. Not to say the cacophonous halls of their London enclave aren’t good enough for me. It’s just not… Singapore. Which means I have a job, a commute and an average of less than 0.05% alcohol in my blood.
Luckily, on this particular Tuesday night I had no intention of staying that way, and with a list of over twenty-five cocktails to choose from I was in good company. The cocktails were strong. Strong enough that I have forgotten the names of most of them. All my memory can muster now is a vision of two shot glasses side by side. One invitingly amber, the other worryingly murky. The inevitable sweet warming taste of whiskey chased by the pungent, aggressive, preserving taste of pickle juice. An odd pairing that I can only compare to a game repeatedly thrust upon me by a friend/nemesis of mine, who happened to be with me that fateful night. It’s simple, and if you like you can all play along at home. Take one shot of whiskey, one willing friend. Shut your eyes, down the whiskey and let your friend slap you in the face. Hard. Unsurprisingly it’s called whiskey slaps and if you play a round you will have some idea what this ‘cocktail’ is like. Delicious, painful and confusingly arousing.
But the reason for my visit to MeatLiquor SINgapore was not alcohol. I wanted to try Meat Liquor’s new round the world adventure. To put it succinctly, new food here in England. To put it less succinctly, buffalo shrimp, sambal fries and my side-ways walking, dirty talking favourite, gunpowder soft shell crab.
These all came to us, along with huge platters of sliders and chicken wings. Emboldened by the cornucopia of cocktails, neither my comrade nor me held back, giving the fairer of finger no chance. However, as the fifth platter came sliding along the table greed eventually gave way to chivalry and we condescended to share. If you are tucking into these I would suggest doing the same. They are all deliciously rich, deep fried and too much alone.
The sambal fries were a surprise. I was not hugely impressed upon first viewing the golden mountain smothered in a deep red sauce, topped with a fried egg and peppered with crispy little onion bits. I’ll admit my eyes deceived me. It was a delicious moreish mix that positively dripped with comfort, and for those of you who have never tried a sambal sauce I suggest tucking in pronto.
The buffalo shrimp were a crispy, tangy reminder that buffalo sauce and blue cheese work on absolutely anything. That being said, it works better on some things than others, and as tasty as they were I couldn’t help but long for something a bit more chicken-y under the spicy, creamy mess on top. Shrimp is a little delicate for something that powerful. It’s a classic for a reason, so in future don’t mess with mamma’s recipe.
In the end though I bring you down just so I can pick you up. It’s better that way, much better. Particularly when the pick me up is a soft, weak shelled crab thrown in a broiling sea of oil only to be dredged from the depths and fed to Meat Liquor’s hungry, hungry children. I love soft shelled crab anyway (it’s something about their helplessness), but deep-frying them and serving them with a fiery chilli sauce only seems to add to this sinful experience.
Overall, well done MEATliquor. You have taken food from the other side of the world and made it your own. Dark, dirty, deep-fried and delicious (the four d’s of MEATliquor). I may not agree with every one of your choices, but you are certainly bringing something different to the table, while helping it up and cheering as it drunkenly table-dances.