Restaurant review: Meat Bar, Glasgow
Latest mean and meaty opening in the Glasgow City Centre
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