Restaurant review: Meat Bar, Glasgow

Latest mean and meaty opening in the Glasgow City Centre

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Prime Time

What did Glaswegians eat before pulled pork? Nostalgia now washes over the days before the rise of the brioche bun, when craft beers were a niche market. In their place is a ruthless world where every gourmet burger in town is blogged, snapped and reviewed on Facebook as soon as the meat has left the smoker.

This month-old basement venue is riding the crest of a wave that began with takeaways and street food stalls about a year ago. Its arrival feels like the logical conclusion – hence the self-referential name. It’s also pleasantly macho, from the neon sign saying simply MEAT, to the open brickwork walls, woody-browns, leather menus and the brushed-metal spotlights above each table. This is Meat Bar. Rugged. More Hemingway than Fitzgerald.

Credentials are strong: meat that’s smoked for twelve hours, traceable back to the farm it came from; tap lagers from Samuel Adams and Williams Brothers, with lots of artisan brews in the fridge. It’s not massive, necessitating a concise cocktail list and a small but classy selection of spirits. Yet there’s an impressive spread to the menu beyond the house ‘grinder’ burger (itself jolly good) and, yes, pulled pork.

The Iberico slider is a cracker, unashamedly pink and juicy, tasting almost like beef but with that lovely smoky, fatty edge that makes most things ‘pig’ so delicious. Crispy pig’s cheeks, mind you, display a more delicate side to the kitchen: the crunchy texture and bright, citrusy-dressed micro veg give some respite from the ruggedness. Not for long, though, as the ‘French Dip’ – shreds of brisket, swiss, mustard and onions, all in the right quantities – struts out and provides the sort of decadently savoury dish that lingers on the lips all day.

If the meat lives up to the hype, some sides disappoint: ‘silky bone marrow’ gravy is too salty while truffle and parsley chips are needlessly extravagant and fussy (chips cost extra, by the way – another trend in burgerland). One also wonders how many people will order a second ‘meat infused cocktail’ after the novelty of the first one wears off.

But the overall sense is of a slick bar that’s enjoyable to drink in, where the eating is both fun and marvellously full-on.

+ Indulgent meat dishes at every turn
- Sides need a bit of work

Meat Bar, 142 West Regent Street, City Centre, Glasgow, G2 2RQ, 0141 204 3605, themeatbar.co.uk
Food served: Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm
Ave. price two-course meal: £16

Meat Bar

142 West Regent Street, Glasgow, G2 2RQ

Offering smokey meats and meaty cocktails, this central bar has a great beer selection and cool vibe.

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