When Meat & Shake first opened its doors in Tooting in 2013, it presented itself as a gourmet burger restaurant and early fans were delighted to have a halal gourmet burger offer. However, as the market became more saturated with halal burgers and as Meat & Shake had ambitious plans to open more outlets for hungry halal foodies, they changed their concept to a smokehouse. Good thinking – there aren’t really many smokehouse concepts around, let alone halal ones. With three branches around London – Tooting, Ealing and Watford, this halal smokehouse has a unique vibe about it and has clients that aren’t just halal diners. It has to be said, that when a completely halal offer with no alcohol in sight, still manages to pull a crowd of diners for whom halal isn’t even a consideration, that’s got to be a testament.
On our latest visit to Meat & Shake, we set off to Watford, where the branch is conveniently located just outside the main town shopping centre. Perfect for a shopping / dining day out. There are two floors at this outlet and we made ourselves comfortable downstairs loving the themed decor.
The menu is quite extensive and they also have a dedicated kids menu – which had really good options!. We skipped the starters on this occasion, having decided we were all going to have the delicious milkshakes – which are actually thick shakes in some amazing flavours. We went for Fig & Cinnamon, Oreo and Mint Choc Chip. These milkshakes are really very good and we highly recommend you try them out. The Fig & Cinnamon stood out for us – flavours that you can’t really get anywhere else.
Our main orders arrived in about 15 minutes or so – to be honest we were enjoying our milkshakes so much we didn’t really notice.
We tried the Smoked Brisket which had been dry rubbed and smoked for 14 hours in a hickory and apple-wood combination. Brisket is a tough meat and so it can’t really be cooked as a steak and has to be cooked slow and low giving it flavour and the smokiness in the surrounding fat tissue really adds to the taste. The brisket had a hint of a smoke ring – the beautiful pink on the edge – but had perhaps been taken a little bit over. It was still good. The accompanying Bordelaise sauce added some moisture to the dish – we just wished we had more of it!
We also had the Classic Hot Dog that came as you would expect with sauteed onions, ketchup and mustard. The smoked beef Frankfurter was moist and huge! In a soft brioche bun, this was really a tummy filler. The sweetness of the sauted onions and the heat that came from the mustard were great against the smokiness of the beef. A great find for halal hot dog lovers.
Finally, we just couldn’t resist sampling one of the Meat & Shake burgers made from dry aged grass fed free range beef. We went for the Plain Jane on this occasion – a beef patty with leaves, gherkins, onions and tomato topped with American cheese, mustard and ketchup. The brioche bun looked like it was going to fall apart but actually held well. The burgers here are huge and it is is always a debate about whether to deconstruct it, attack with a fork and knife or squash down and try to take a bite without creating a mess. The Plain Jane was satisfyingly good and whilst we were torn between going for some of their other delicious combinations, on this occasion, the classics spoke for themselves.
We ordered a side of Truffle Fries, topped with truffle glaze and Stilton mayonnaise. As promised on the description, these were really good – almost too good to share. Some more of that truffle glaze would have been good though – yum!
Must Try Dish – Their burgers and shakes remain our top picks.
Halal Status – Halal Kitchen, No Alcohol Served & Muslim Owned
More Details – Click here for opening hours and more details.