Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Meat Counter, Falmouth

For a relatively small town, Falmouth has some top class eateries, and The Meat Kitchen might just be the best I've experienced so far (though I don't think anything will ever beat Rick Stein's).

On first impression, you might be a little intimidated by the small restaurant, The Meat Kitchen, on Falmouth's high street. The place is so hipster* I found myself almost feeling guilty for stepping through the door (being so un-hipster myself), but I was totally wrong to judge.

My flatmate had raved for days about the pulled pork burger she'd tried at The Meat Counter, so when spending the day in town, there was no question where we'd be eating. The set up there is great - you sit down where you like, choose from the chalkboard menu that makes up the entire wall (so hipster), go to the counter, order, and pay. No hassle, no rush, no being accosted by eager waiters. Perfect.

If burgers aren't your thing (who are you? get out.) then The Meat Counter may not be for you, but the choice is so great you're bound to find something everyone in your party will like, so it's well worth a visit. The menu offers several different kinds of amusingly named beef, chicken and pork burgers, with a good range of veggi options too. Don't be mislead by thoughts of meat-cheese-lettuce affairs, these chefs mean serious business, buttering buns with the likes of mustard butter and garlic mayo, and stacking patties high with provolone cheese and house made pickles. These are like the best burgers you've ever had, but kicked up about ten notches.

The chip choices are also far from boring - choose to have yours with cheese sauce & bacon, chilli & cheddar, or pulled pork, coleslaw & BBQ sauce, to name just a few options. We just ordered plain chips, but never actually got to taste them (see below)... A creative range of shakes and desserts are offered as well, but we just stuck to the burgers.

from their Facebook page

After hearing so much about it I was dead set on the pulled pork burger, but when I went to order one at the counter they'd run out of pulled pork, so we had to make another choice. For me this wasn't hard, I'd been eyeing up the mac-n-cheese burger anyway. Libby and I also ordered chips to share, but for some reason we never got these, either. I don't think we were charged for them, so the waitress must just have not heard, but still, that was a bit of a let down.

Service was quick and within 10 minutes our food had arrived on enamel plates (hipster), and was gone within half that time. My mac-n-cheese burger consisted of a fried round of macaroni and cheese (could you get more unhealthy? Fat and carbs deep fried) in a soft, delicious bun, adorned with cheese, flavoured mayo and pickles. A million calories of totally worth it. The thing was huge and very filling so we were actually glad in the end that we didn't get the chips. Libby's 'simply chicken' - buttermilk battered chicken with lettuce, tomato and cheese, I believe - was also apparently very nice. Prices are good for what you get, with burgers going for around £6 each. With a side and a drink you'd probably be looking at paying around £9-£10 for a meal, very competitive for such artisan food and a great atmosphere.

Great food aside, it's also worth paying The Meat Counter a visit for the feel of the place. It's small and intimate, but relaxing, and dining there feels like a real treat, even if you're not paying that much. I loved how the open kitchen let you see the chefs prepping all the fresh ingredients, so you know you're getting top quality grub. You have to be tactical with your timing, though, as seating is first come, first served. We went there quite late (for a lunchtime) about three, and had to wait on bar stools for a proper table. There are only three or four tables with benches, and the rest of the seating is on stools at the window, and if you don't mind this it's obviously no problem, but I can easily see how the place would fill up very quickly in the evenings. Decor is modern with low hanging bare light bulbs and the statement chalkboard walls. The modern vibe is topped off with those enamel plates and mason jar glasses. It's the kind of place you'd expect to see in a hip corner of New York or London, and makes a welcome change to the standard (but still lovely!) places in Falmouth.

Pulled pork and chip sadness aside, I'll definitely be returning to The Meat Counter soon. It has a great vibe, and the relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for a friendly gathering, but it's also intimate enough to be the perfect setting for something a little more special. It's worth checking out the weekly deals they offer, like 'mates rates mondays' and 'limited editions' of the already fantastic food. Overall, two enthusiastic thumbs up, and a recommendation to anyone passing through Falmouth's high street.

from The Meat Counter Facebook page

Check out The Meat Counter's Facebook page here.

*hipster is hard to explain, but a hipster is the kind of person who drinks from mason jars, is interested in bands before they become popular, and dresses in clothes non-hipsters won't understand. Falmouth is crawling with them.


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