Last year vegetarian diets were in the limelight and nearly every new restaurant that popped up offered a plate of veg and two veg. This year it’s a different story. Carnivores have come up trumps and meat is currently trending, with meat themed restaurants dominating the high street. So why does Meat People stand out? I headed to N1 with a plus one to see why Islington’s newest eatery is regarded a big, fat juicy cut above the rest…
Located in a 1920s Grade II-listed building on Essex Road, Meat People has the feel of a retro café, with a tiled ceiling, yellow leather booths and warm, low lighting. There’s a distinct prohibition era vibe, but a young waitress was very quick to say hello, let us pick a seat (instant bonus points) and pass us the drinks menu. There’s a great choice of world wines, simple cocktails and whisky, including a ten year Laphroaig.
Argentinian head chef Nicolas Buyo serves up quality cuts which he sources from around the world, namely Spain and South America. Of course we came with the intention of eating a big chunk of meat, but there is the option of whole baked trout with aubergine caviar, fennel, grapes and rosemary (£15) if you’re pescatarian. If you’re vegetarian, you’ll be going hungry.
We skipped starters and headed straight for the main attraction, though if you’re hungry there’s octopus with confit potatoes, capers and paprika, juicy king prawns with chickpea puree and watercress (we can vouch for the juiciness because our neighbours ordered them and we were very jealous), and raw bass with an exotic accompaniment of crushed pomegranate, red onions, chilli, mint, lime, coriander and mango, which are all priced around the £6 mark.
The steak is the star of the show here. It’s priced per 100g, though you need to order a minimum of 200g. To makes things easy we went all out and ordered the Chateaubriand, a 500g hunk of beautiful meat at £50. It really was a thing of beauty and arrived sizzling on a large wooden board. Tender and flavoursome, we cut through it like a hot knife through butter and were actually glad we didn’t order a sauce. Top notch.
Sides are extra; we were drawn to the carbs, opting for hand cut chips and cauliflower and goats cheese gratin. The chips were thick but crispy and the gratin was creamy and flavoursome. Next time I’m definitely going to be trying the sprouts, chickpeas and bacon and the sweet potato, cumin and nutmeg puree. They also have a popular lunch menu that draws in those working in the area and locals during the week and weekends.
Though we didn’t meet anyone, it’s certainly the place to, filled with young, trendy, like-minded meat-eaters after a good time. We’ll certainly be back!
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