Lockdown is easing and we’ve entered into a world of social distancing and face masks. Having not eaten in a restaurant since March I was excited at the prospect of my first ‘sit down’ meal somewhere other than my dining room. But there was a trepidation there. How would the experience compare? Rather than going ‘all out’, the Teen and I opted to try out the newly opened Meat:Stack joint in the Bigg Market instead. It felt like a great way of dipping our toes back into dining out without pressure. Plus, this is a place my son loves.
He was fairly regular with his mates to their Grainger Market location and raved about their burgers. As a vegan, I didn’t think there’d be anything on the menu for me so avoided. I looked at the menu and saw the meat-free option was jackfruit. My heart sank as I’m not a fan. The important thing was I was spending time with the boy going somewhere he loves. Worst case scenario I’d enjoy the fries.
The restaurant is nicely kitted out and I like the retro gaming touches. We were asked names and telephone numbers for track-and-trace purposes and areas are taped out to wait in. So far, so ‘new normal’. Two meals were £23, which I felt was more than reasonable compared to the likes of Five Guys or Byron locally.
We were given a buzzer and the meals were brought to our table when they were ready. We did wait a little while but it was a busy afternoon’s service so that wasn’t a concern for us. If I’m being sniffy I’d prefer not to have sachets of ketchup and mayo, but for hygiene purposes I think we’re looking at changes like this for the foreseeable.
If you are veggie or vegan, there is an alternative to the beef dripping fries. They are top-notch, it has to be said. They are well-seasoned and don’t need any adornment. It would have been churlish to cover these bad boys in Heinz. The portion sizes are generous, and I could have probably shared mine with the Teen. He doesn’t understand that concept, however.
Burger-wise, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the Jack:Stack. To me, jackfruit is stringy and only has a flavour if it is well marinaded in something sapid. This had a nice meaty texture and worked well with the pungent vegan cheese used. It is very much like a chicken patty, which I wasn’t expecting. Their burger sauce is reminiscent of the Golden Arches for all the right reasons and it was one of the best vegan burgers I’ve tried in the Toon. Their veggie option definitely doesn’t feel like an after-thought.
The Teen’s Yellowstone (Triple, he’s a growing lad) was imposing. I can’t give you an eloquent review of flavours and seasoning because he’s 18 and inhales food. All I can say is that they’re his favourite, and this kid eats a lot of burgers. He’s employed by a certain fast food chain, as a side note.
It is safe to say we’ll be returning to Meat:Stack in the not-too-distant future. It is good to see the brand growing in the current climate and I would encourage everyone to visit our wonderful independents if they can to support our local economy.
Keep on keeping on,