Call it fate, call it kismet, call it good luck… whatever. Meatliquor in Brighton opening on the week of KS’ stag (also in Brighton) delivered the perfect fulcrum for our southern coast boys’ weekend – an oasis of sustenance perched neatly between man-child paintballing antics and alcohol-fueled early-hours carnage.
Scott (@thepubguy), the brains behind Meatliquor, generously agreed to my (full-disclosure) request for a stag-party booking on @MEATliquorBTN ‘s first Saturday night. We arrived just before 6:30pm for our booking, me bricking it that I might have somehow messed up the booking when I saw the heaving line snaking its way down the block (I have to admit giving them the wrong details on at least two occasions). No danger, we were warmly welcomed and shown to our tables (inside a cage – they saw us coming – complete with neon clown of your nightmares).
Sophia had the pleasure of serving us that night and handled us like a champ. She patiently explained the menu (for those who haven’t made it to a Meatliquor/mission/market/wagon before – fools) and helped us out with some suggestions.
This being a stag, it wasn’t long before the shots started appearing. We kicked off with a Meatliquor favourite: The “Pickleback” – a shot of Bourbon chased with a shot of Pickle Juice. I know that sounds weird, but all twelve of us jumped on board the bandwagon – Picklebacks must be tried. The round also delivered my second “heart in mouth” moment, when I saw KS down the drink (in response to some gentle coaxing from the bartender). You see, KS’ stag nickname is “Lightweight” for a reason – let’s just say he’s not a “confident” drinker. He was about to undertake his third Triple Chilli Challenge ) and I couldn’t afford for him to be our first “man down”. Fortunately, he was able to rally before the arrival of the behemoth, but more on that after I get through the drinks and starters.
At this point, it starts getting a little hazy. I blame tequila shots laced with some kind of chilli/tobasco and a marvelous concoction known affectionately (by us anyway) as a “Game Over” (limit 2 per person) – I know there was Mountain Dew in there, but I’d struggle to tell you more. Delicious.
Starters arrived and we tucked in (none for KS). In addition to the always hot, tangy and delicious Buffalo wings, my personal favourite: the fried pickle, and the largest onion rings I’ve ever seen, we tried a Meatliquor Brighton special, the Deep-fried Prawns. Now I’m constantly let down by any type of battered brawn, probably because I stupidly compare them to Nobu’s tempura rock shrimp. However, on this occasion, I was more than impressed, the prawns were fat, sweet and juicy, with a crisp batter, which I think I dipped in just about everything on the tray. Bold and brash, and definitely up there on my fried shrimp leaderboard (who says I can’t have one?)
And then the moment arrived. Sandwiches for us – Dead Hippies (classic), Beef and Bacon, Philli Cheesesteak, and a whole tray of awesomeness for the stag. For context, KS has now tried the Triple Chilli Challenge three times. His first attempt saw him dominate with a time of 6:50. His second was a successful, but disappointing 9:05 but still lives on to this day on the board in London’s Meatmission (but that’s what happens when you try it without your coach) and the third… you’re about to find out. This was definitely the best challenge experience I’ve had. Sophia got the room fired up for Meatliquor Brighton’s first ever Triple Chilli Challenge (thanks guys) with a performance worthy of Michael Buffer. With patrons crowded around our cage and @TheGaztronome on hand to document the madness, the challenge began. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but it was fast, with the burger gone within the first minute. The Chilli dog soon followed (particular respect earned for dipping the bun in water – thanks Kobiyashi). The Chilli-fries (as always) presented some challenge, but despite constant head shaking from KS, these too went. Total time 5:21. A new PB and a triumph for skinny guys in camouflage dresses everywhere. The stag took his victory lap in style, to chants of “Lightweight, Lightweight” before finishing up with some press ups (these were mandatory – he wasn’t showing off).
With the challenge over, it was time for us to sit and enjoy our burgers, and for KS to sit there groaning. However, in “where does he put it?” shocker, he even managed to put way what looked like at least another half a burger. My Dead Hippie was delicious, and I got good reports about the Cheesesteak and the Beef and Bacon. I also tried the Hippie fries for the first time and have to recommend them highly.
Happy, and warmed from a combination of top-notch burgery and boozy cocktails, we made our way out into Brighton’s rainy embrace, ready to put the stag through the rest of his challenges. That’s a story for another blog (or for no blog), but Meatliquor remains the highlight. Top work from the crew there – less than a week in and already delivering.
Apologies for the lack of photos. I… oh you can guess why.