Due to Britain’s terrible weather, our idea of barbecue cuisine is rain-ruined burgers in soggy buns. In America, their abundance of sunshine has given them the time and the opportunity to develop it to a fine art. Go anywhere in the south of America and you’ll find a world of pulled pork, sausage gravy, smoked brisket and other such dishes. It’s generally spectacularly good and well worth turning your arteries into an obstacle course for your bloodstream. This is food that comes with immense satisfaction and not nervous glances up into the sky due to oncoming clouds.
Bringing Southern American cuisine to the south of London is Meat & Shake. It’s a modest establishment, not going overboard on ersatz Americana paraphernalia and keeping things simple. They make no secret of their cooking process with the smells of the food being prepared coming wafting out of the kitchen and getting you right in the mood.
My companion and I started off with a brace of wings, Buffalo Wings and Lafayette Wings respectively. My companion was very impressed with her wings and especially the accompanying blue cheese sauce, which provided an excellent counterpart to the meat. I was similarly exuberant about the Lafayette Wings, with the excellent Thai shriracha chilli sauce adding depth to the chicken.
For our main courses, I went for the Smoking Bandit burger, which came with smokey chipotle mayo, smokey cheddar, sautéed onions and smokey turkey bacon. If that was not enough smoke, it was served under a glass dome filled up with smoke. This however was good smoke, not the kind I am used to when cooking at home. Due to wavering concentration levels, I burn pretty much everything I cook from cottage pie through to quiches. But this smoke did not induce panic but intrigue and I was rewarded with a fantastic burger, a prison riot of flavour and sensation.
My companion went for the pulled smoked chicken which came with brined and smoked chicken, with a bespoke cherry barbecue sauce and house coleslaw. This too went down exceedingly well with the cherry sauce combining well with the smoked chicken.
The only misstep in the meal came with the dessert. Whilst my companion was too stuffed to take on another course, I ventured for the Deep Fried Oreo Doughnuts. I have had and enjoyed deep fried Oreos before but this creation added an unnecessary layer that didn’t add anything to the biscuits and was rather cloying, making it hard to get through all of them.
But in general, Meat & Shake has its principles in place and does Southern American food to a good standard. Tooting does fantastic Asian food but has managed to find a little corner of the south in SW17.
Meat & Shake
47 Upper Tooting Road