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We all have the same 24 hours. Yes, I’ve been inspired by Molly-Mae and decided this Sunday to go to (the) Job Centre in Deptford.
You know what? I’m not going to hate on her. Yes, this is partly because some people on the internet decided that she was Margaret Thatcher re-incarnated (oh, if only) after her comments, but also, you know, I think she was kind of saying to follow your dreams, just not with the greatest amount of tact ever.
She was probably referring to people like me. I once had a dream – and I don’t mean the Spanish lesbians kind of dream. A few years back I was so committed to working hard and following my dream, that I moved to Bracknell so I could be closer to work and spend more time studying. Bracknell. Bracknell. It’s actually worse than Deptford.
And look at me now. Yes. London’s number 1 roast dinner reviewer. I look shit in a bikini though.
Alas, I didn’t do it, and now every company is so desperate for software engineers that I could probably tell prospective employers that I worked for ISIS and I’d still get job offers. Less than 5 years later I’m somehow a senior software engineer and they keep giving me pay rises. I WORKED HARD, OK? Yeah they are desperate.
Anyway, so Job Centre. A place I shouldn’t need ever to visit again, but this one serves roast dinners.
It was worryingly quiet when we entered, after a long walk along the Thames and a trip on the DLR. Quite dimly lit and very rustic – in the photographs online, it looks brightly lit and colourful but I can assure you that wasn’t the reality.
Further to that, the photographs online suggest pretty solid and stylish furniture – but again, in reality that good-looking furniture wasn’t there – and there was an abundance of ordinary (and empty) tables and chairs. Job Centre had a vibe when we walked in – and it was a vibe of low expectations.
I asked at the bar about our booking, and he walked off. I followed him for a while before I realised that he was going into the office. They hadn’t set us a table as per the booking. Clearly they didn’t need to. For some reason that I would later regret, we sat near the open kitchen, trying to eke out the tiniest bit of atmosphere in this desperately trying to be quirky pub. Or at least it tried at some point in the past before quirky just became tatty.
The menu almost had a bit of a Christmas theme to it, with pigs in blankets for the chicken – and…ok well maybe just the pigs in blankets but that was enough to persuade me to order the chicken. Other options were pork belly and topside, all meat roasts were priced at £16.00.
One of my accomplices wanted the vegan roast as she’s doing…ah I cannot really tell you as you might think differently of me. Same accomplice that had a burger last Sunday on ROAST DINNER CLUB, before she started doing the thing I won’t mention. Somehow, despite having only slightly above zero customers, Job Centre had run out of vegan roasts.
10-15 minutes after ordering (and paying), our roast dinners arrived.
Not In My Gob Centre
Let’s start with what I enjoyed. The kale. It was nice.
And it goes further than that – the roasted carrots were good, I didn’t especially detect the maple, but that might be more to do with the red wine gravy. Yeah the gravy definitely gets a mention later.
There was a little roasted parsnip too along with a ton of parsnip crisps, which I’d love to say were the ingenuity of the chef, who would definitely have been able to hear us talking about the roast. Also, American Beauty is 20 years old. WTF? Anyway, the parsnip was acceptable, if a little tired – but the crisps were kind of good.
Right, let’s get properly into things. I don’t like red cabbage. But this was worse than normal – somehow almost black, quite gooey in consistency and somewhat pungent to taste. A full on yuck.
Then the roast potatoes. Need a close up?
You know when I said that the menu had a bit of a Christmas theme to it?
I’m assuming that the roast potatoes were leftover from Christmas Day. It’s as if they had been cooked multiple times since then. They were also impossible to cut – though at least I managed to get some frustration out whilst bashing away at them, and I ended up spitting it out on the first attempt to chew. The only way to glean some sustenance was to treat them like artichoke heart leaves – scraping some potato out with my teeth, leaving the inedible quintuple-cooked, thick crispy sides. Fucking abominable roast potatoes.
At least they weren’t undercooked, I suppose.
For some reason we had ordered a side of cauliflower cheese at a cost of £4.50, despite this being a total rip-off. There is visual evidence of cheese, but I didn’t taste any – and the cauliflower was exceptionally mushy – it just fell apart – like really nicely cooked meat should – and just like all vegetables shouldn’t.
I sold double glazing once. “Hiya, it’s Molly from Walker’s Windows, I’m just wondering if you are looking to upgrade to double-glazed windows?”. “Fuck off, I’m eating me tea”. “How about a conservatory?”.
By this point I was lost in a what the fuck am I doing in Deptford haze, and the yorkie didn’t improve matters. Crispy and dry, as if it had been standing around in the kitchen for hours, which it almost certainly had. I’ve had worse – it was edible at a push though I only ate half of it and I
never hardly-ever leave food.
The chicken had both thigh and leg, but I’ve had larger and healthier chickens at 2am from Chicken Cottage. Dry and almost certainly cooked quite some time ago – however there was a redeeming feature in that the flavour on the outside was enjoyable, with something like a chargrilled BBQish taste to it. Got to take your enjoyment whilst you can, preferably with 100 other guests at a BYOB party during lockdown that clearly wasn’t a party.
Finally, the gravy. The red wine jus gravy – though I couldn’t really tell the difference between this and the red cabbage in terms of taste. I hated the red cabbage but I hated the “gravy” more. There was some consistency, it was at least relatively thick – but it tasted disgusting, and left a nasty after-taste.
It somehow made the whole roast dinner even worse.
OMG I just thought…maybe I could get some publicity for this blog (about fucking time after 5 years of HARD WORDS) by posing naked with gravy boats scattered over my privates?
Hang on, the pig in blanket was good. Fairly soft and succulent.
You Ate Our Roast Which Made You Sob Centre
Well I ended on a positive.
But don’t be under any delusions of hard work – this roast dinner was shite.
The red wine gravy simply made everything on the plate worse – rarely have I had nastier gravy, though I have. The cauliflower cheese WHICH I PAID EXTRA FOR was mushy and bland, the yorkie dry, chicken dry and small.
Oh and those roast potatoes. A total abomination.
Positives? Well the flavour of the chicken was nice and some of the vegetables were good.
Service was indifferent if I’m being kind, mardy and unwelcoming if I’m not. The whole vibe at Job Centre was one of not wanting any customers. Maybe the beer is good, but I’m doing fucking Dry January Plus.
Afterwards I did a little more research and found that Job Centre is part of the Antic Pubs chain – I’ve previously reviewed two of their pubs – East Dulwich Tavern and Balham Bowls Club, which respectively scored a 5.05 and 5.88 out of 10.
There Could Be A Lynch Mob Centre
This was worse.
Scores in the group were a 1.90, 2.00 and 2.50 out of 10. I’m scoring it a 2.81 out of 10. Which, at the time of writing, makes it the 3rd worst roast dinner in London, out of 190 reviewed. And the worst roast dinner I’ve had for nearly 5 years. Impressive.
Awkwardly, the chef/cook/guy in the kitchen warming things up, came to ask me what I thought of the food when all my friends had gone to the bathroom. “Erm…it was ok…but…erm…the roast potatoes were…erm…a bit over-cooked”.
Don’t you love being British? Sigh. At least we had a nice walk beforehand.
I’ll be back next week and I can almost guarantee that it will be a much nicer roast dinner. There is no plan yet, which normally wouldn’t concern me in January, but I had no plan at this point last week and look what happened.
I ain’t gonna get those 24 hours back, am I, Molly?
It’s the first roast dinner of 2022, and the random number generator took me to The Bobbin in Clapham.
I guess I should say something inspirational at this point.
Maybe our leaders can give us inspiration. What did Kier Starmer have to say? Yes, I mentioned Kier Starmer. You know there may come a day when Captain Cockwomble drifts out of the blog, and Captain Hindsight takes centre stage. 2024 is probably the earliest this could happen. Yeah, I’ll still be reviewing shit roast potatoes in 2024. Well, unless I have a Spanish wife and have moved to Spain by then. Yeah I’ll still be reviewing shit roast potatoes in 2024.
Anyway, Kier says, “make the right choices, to come together”. So you’ll be joining me for a roast dinner then?
Ed Davey (know who he is yet?) says that a “cost of living crisis” is brewing. He’s obviously seen the price of roast dinners go up too.
Boris Johnson just invoked the joy of the covid lottery, “it could be you”…”in intensive care”.
So basically, get a jab, get a better paid job, and have lots of roast dinners. I could created that inspirational message myself. Maybe I should become Prime Minister? I mean, it would improve my sex life. I also have a small willy, fat belly and my hair is thinning (though not quite at the just fucking shave it off stage that Johnson is at).
I do have dreams for 2022. Crispy roast potatoes is one such dream.
The usual boring shit like buy a flat, get a big pay rise, get the hell out of this perma-cloudy country for at least a week, oh and lose weight – yeah right.
But important stuff too. Like eat more roast dinners. Last year I managed 31 roast dinners in pub, and 10 at home. This year I’m hoping to beat that – including eating NO roast dinners at home…you listening, Johnson?
And I’d like to get my to-do list down to a more manageable size, say under 50 – how wonderful would it be if in theory I could review everywhere on my list within a year?
The Bobbin (every time I start writing Boobin rather than Bobbin) I think has been on my to-do list since the beginning. Beginning of time. Well, at least since I started the blog.
It’s quite a small pub inside, though has the benefit of a conservatory addition, along with an outdoor area – half of which is under a marquee (perhaps only for winter?) – the garden is well-sheltered by walls so I’d reckon it is quite a sun trap in spring sunshine.
I also noted Bose speakers – when a venue has quality speakers instead of naff ones where sound bounces off against the walls and everyone has to shout to be heard, it gives me hope that they actually care – that they understand the customer experience.
So. Menu. First roast dinner of 2022. Exciting, huh?
The options were pork belly and beef rump, at £20 and £22 respectively. Given that I’d managed to put on 6kg in 6 weeks, I decided pork belly was the most sensible option – for my body clearly needs the additional calories.
Oops. Forgive me for doing Dry January. Except my birthday weekend. And Dry February. And Dry March…maybe.
Though don’t worry, I won’t be having any vegetarian roasts – not that I could at The Bobbin. In fact, I think they only had one vegetarian option on the menu.
Doesn’t really need a few sentences of nonsense to tell you that this is a good roast dinner, but that’s what I’m here for anyway. The carrots were nicely roasted and tasted very much of carrot (actually not always the case).
The greens were a mixture of Savoy cabbage and, I think, cavelo nero – if I remember correctly. Not much to say about them but they were pleasant, a little wilted and pretty much spot on.
That’s it for the vegetables – The Bobbin (yeah I started writing boob again) don’t seem to keen on vegetables – but they were keen on potatoes. Both roast potatoes and mashed potato – a rare treat.
So the mashed potato was soft and succulent, but the roasties were the star of the show.
3 roast potatoes, reasonably fresh, all crispy on all edges (perhaps could have done with a sharper knife) and soft inside. There is no guarantee that I will get better roasties during the rest of the year. These were excellent.
No Yorkie on the porky, but it was supplied on my accomplice’s beef roast – and was fairly ordinary apparently. She didn’t finish it. She was complimentary about the beef.
Back to my pork belly roast, and the lack of yorkie (which I increasingly disdain anyway) was substituted with crackling. Winner. Well, I personally prefer crackling that is part of the pork belly, melded in with the fat – which I didn’t quite get here. It was more in quaver form. Very crispy, and needed some gravy to soften up enough to cut, but it was reasonably delightful.
The pork belly itself was pretty good. A little dryness on part of the bottom section and again, I prefer pork belly as a whole so you can eat the gluttonous fatty, crispy, meaty whole – but broadly it was good.
And then we had a little situation with the gravy. Both beef and pork had separate gravy, and of course, not enough.
The pork gravy was really nice, thick and creamy with a hint of apple – and only a hint, thankfully.
Yet we asked for more gravy, and only the red wine jus for the beef arrived. We then asked for some for the pork, and more red wine jus arrived. Red wine jus was fine, again only a hint of red wine flavour – but the pork gravy was much nicer.
A very good roast dinner to start the year. You may be wondering if that is a good sign for 2022. When was the last time I started the year with a very good roast?
It was The Wheatsheaf. In 2020. That wasn’t the best year for roast dinners ever.
Any deficiencies at The Bobbin seemed minor – pork belly could have been sexier, there was a bit of confusion over the gravy and perhaps another vegetable would have given the roast a better balance than the mashed potato (hi Sandra).
But we should be talking quality. Really nice roasted carrots, excellent roast potatoes, tasty crackling – there was nothing bad on the plate, or even average. Everything was good, or better.
And therefore I’m scoring it an 8.12 out of 10. My regular accomplice scored it an 8.20 out of 10. And our other accomplice had…the burger…I know…sigh…but she’s nice and I was far too tired to insist on her following roast club rules. She rated her burger a 7.50.
I’ll be back next week. No plan yet but I’m figuring that it being the second weekend of January, I won’t need to worry too much about a lack of table booked yet.
Until then, I wish you all the best for 2022. Make it a good one.
Ho ho Honor Oak…oh actually it was Herne Hill. You can tell I live north of the river when my brain cannot decipher between Honor Oak and Herne Hill, but anyway, last week I didn’t go to The Florence in Herne Hill.
Yep, I went there some weeks ago but haven’t reviewed it until now. Call me psychic, but I just had this feeling that there would be a Sunday over winter where I’d either have covid or we’d be in lockdown.
BOOM! Covid struck. Merry Christmas.
Shit, sorry. Wrong country. Yeah it’s a very wrong country and that’s without Donald Trump as president.
Ahhh that’s better, my tank-driving hero, Lady Thatcher. Hang on…
Jack & Jill
So what happened? Well, a fair few weeks ago I mysteriously found myself able to have two roast dinners in one week. I don’t have time to write two reviews in a week, so I kept this for that special upcoming moment for when I couldn’t go for a roast dinner. Lo and behold, it has become my Christmas special. Hasn’t it, Boris?
Thankfully, given that by time I wrote the introduction this morning, I couldn’t remember where in London I’d eaten all those weeks ago, let alone what I’d eaten, most of the review was actually written some time ago, so…here goes:
Herne Hill isn’t the most difficult place (at least in south London) to get to, being just a few stops from London Victoria station, and right outside Herne Hill station there is this cute foodie market, with sausage rolls, cakes, and all manner of food items that I really didn’t need given the amount that I’ve eaten in the past 10 years.
And just around the corner is The Florence.
It took a little while for the hostess to get around to seating me, but she was very apologetic. She seated me on this small table right next to another small table, where a couple were enjoying drinks with each other.
The couple then went and sat elsewhere. Something I didn’t say because I am some miserable loner, dining alone?
Went Up T’ Herne Hill
I went for the beef for no particular reason, priced at £18.50, along with a pint of Brockwell IPA which was damn tasty – if I wasn’t dining alone then I could have quite happily had a few of those, along with some pigs in blankets for dessert.
My roast took around 20 minutes to arrive, maybe it was less but time always takes longer when dining alone.
Let’s start with an annoyance, and that is the parsnip puree that you can just about see poking through the gravy, below the roast potatoes. It was actually really nice in of itself, a real smokiness to it – however it was dotted randomly all over the plate, with gravy on top, so as someone that likes to take back control of his food (hence, fuck peas with their lack of discipline), I had some difficulty with finding tiny bits of parsnip puree on half of my food.
Yes, this is trivial. But so am I. So is he and he supposedly runs the fucking country (was a pretty safe bet when writing a couple of months ago that Johnson would still be PM come posting and that Brexit would still be shite):
But it does mean that I’m not entirely sure what other things tasted like, because I often ended up with hints of smoky parsnip puree.
You probably don’t care or even expect me to tell you what things taste like anyway.
You’re here for the reminders of how well Brexit is going, aren’t you? There’s still a few things we haven’t ticked off this list yet…
The cabbage was actually really tasty – a bit crunchy, and possibly it was tasty because of the smoky parsnip puree, but also it had an earthiness to it.
To Fetch A Pail Of…Gravy
Carrots were fine – soft, I assume roasted. Gosh I talk about carrots nearly as much as Brexit.
Then we had a crime worse than Brexit, because Brexit is obviously totally defendable. Two roast potatoes. Just two. And I thought only three was a crime – but I’ve become so normalised to just three.
They weren’t bad. Not especially fresh but not especially old either. Slightly crispy, somewhat soft inside.
The Yorkshire pudding was pretty huge – it looks a bit burnt but away from the top edges it was pretty good, nicely softened with the gravy.
Gravy itself was thick but had very minimal flavour – some evidence of cornflour perhaps and a slight creaminess. Is plain tasting thick gravy better than watery meat stock type gravy? I’m not sure. But at least it was thick and didn’t taste of anything weird, so this is more positive than not.
Finally, the meat. Three decent slices of beef – the menu didn’t state the cut and it wasn’t anything to write about, yet it was pretty good and had a beefy punch to it.
Then it was time to go past those cake stalls…and look at those gorgeous slices of carrot cake…
I resisted. Alas, I’ve put on nearly 5kg in December.
Why Can I Not Remember The Rest Of Jack & Jill?
Oh crap. It’s Christmas Day again. Well, to you (and only if you are actually reading on Christmas Day) but to me it’s just Saturday. And it is crap, but also it’s crap because my previously-written review finished without doing the summary/scoring part. And yes, I did search Pornhub for Christmas lesbians.
Actually now it’s Boxing Day because I couldn’t be fucked to finish it yesterday. It wasn’t like Christmas Day was bad – I kind of expected to be as miserable as a typical London roast potato, being on my own with the remnants of covid, but actually it was…sufficient. Like – this level of Christmas joy:
I had good beer, I had good wine, I had control over what to watch on the internet, my Grandma wasn’t able to teach me any more racist phrases from the 1940’s, nobody told me not to drink any more alcohol and I could put peppercorn sauce on roast potatoes without any weird looks.
Oi. Leave me alone. Also the roast potatoes were actually better than the steak – granted I overcooked the steak somewhat SHOCK HORROR.
Anyway, we have a roast to talk summarise.
So it was a not bad roast at The Florence. A commendable effort, thick gravy that didn’t taste of too much was probably the way to summarise it. Apart from annoying me with smoky parsnip puree all over the plate, nothing was bad – and the parsnip puree was a smoky delight.
I don’t remember coming out with a score for it at the time, so I’m just going to give it a flat out 7.00 out of 10. Bang decently average. Worth going to if you are in the area.
Jack And Hill Took Half A Pill
Well that’s it for 2021.
31 roast dinners in London. 5 of them excellent. 8 very good. 2 shite. The rest not bad enough to moan about but not good enough to recommend that you go out of your way to discover, a bit like The Florence really.
Not forgetting the 2 takeaway roasts and 7 roast dinner meal kits – fingers crossed I won’t need to do that in 2022, though things do look a tad ominous.
All being well, I will be back with a roast dinner review and a pint of apple juice in the first week of January.
And there will be some awards to hand out when I can be bothered to write them – tends to take me half a day.
Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Christmas, and I shall enjoy my Christmas when freedom finally fucking arrives.
With a bit of luck, next Christmas might finally meet my dreams.
Christmas is approaching with even more inevitability than the release of Boris Johnson’s photocopied backside, and with that it is time for the penultimate roast dinner adventure of 2021 – this time at The Coal Shed near Tower Bridge.
You know what this calls for?
A Christmas gift to you.
How about some tits for Christmas?
Oh, sorry, I lied. It’s actually a nuclear power station. Ha.
My search engine optimisation plugin isn’t going to like that introduction. It didn’t like me last week when I started putting in the meta description:
Until I finished off the description:
Yeah, I know, he’s only doing his best, bless him. Nobody else would have done any better. Nobody else would have cared more, lied less, cheated on their wives less, lied about giving money to the NHS less. Everyone else would have given contracts to their buddies, tried to subvert the rules and been even scruffier than Corbyn (either one). Aha. Everyone.
I guess I did lie about the tits. Oh well, maybe next week.
Shed & Shoulders
So I made it through to the penultimate roast dinner adventure of 2021. Granted, with the amount of socialising I did this weekend in a city apparently with a tidal wave of omicron, this could very easily be my last review of the year.
And The Coal Shed was the last realistic opportunity for it to be “The One”. As next Sunday’s will be average. I know that already. Next Sunday is a Young’s pub. I’m even considering eating outside. Yeah, apparently I’m a bedwetter because I don’t particularly want covid the week before I visit my 70 year-old parents. Well, I’m also technically obese so that’s also a good reason to avoid it. Though I do have sexy legs.
Anyway, so we arrived at The Coal Shed, and after a short wait at the bar were shown to our table.
At which point, we noticed some problems. Can you spot them?
Yes it is the confusing use of the OR operator (that straight line thing on your keyboard that you’ve never used, unless you write code), which on the sauces section is used as a separator, yet on the sides section is used as a comma.
Yeah, over your head also.
The Coal Shed is perhaps a bit more modern looking than you might imagine, housed in the bottom of an office block, and rather hidden despite being really close to Tower Bridge – you probably wouldn’t find it by chance.
Situated on two floors, with large glass windows letting enough light in for my photographs to be semi-decent, wooden beams on the ceiling (possibly fake) and proper chairs and tables – it had an upmarket feel but not too much to turn away plebs like myself.
There is only one option on the menu if you want a roast dinner, which is roasted sirloin of beef. It’s a steakhouse. No, I don’t know if they have a vegetarian option. All five of us ordered the beef roast, and we ordered some bread as a starter.
Priced at £24.50 each, which if you think that is expensive then maybe consider that someone paid $650,000 for this yacht the other day.
Yeah, it isn’t a real yacht. It only exists in the metaverse. Sigh.
Thankfully our roast dinners were in the real world – alas, they turned up at the same time as our starters. Oops. And that was after having to chase drinks that hadn’t arrived.
Shed Over Heels
It was one of those that comes on sharing platters, hence the abysmalish presentation as this is my own doing.
I’m going to mix it up this week and go worst to best, rather than my usual order of carrots, veg, roasties, yorkie, meat then gravy. Not sure why. My blog, innit.
So starting with…the greens and cabbage mixture. Which was fine, quite an earthy taste to them and I was a bit meh about them, but yeah. Damn I wish I had written more notes.
Next are the roast potatoes, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that these are early in the order but they were decent enough. 4 roasties, quite soft inside, occasionally a crispy edge and they didn’t feel like they were cooked too long ago. Better than average for London – though average is toss.
Next up is the…cauliflower cheese which was good. Yeah, already into the good shit. It would have been better with a deeper cheese taste, perhaps the cream could have been gooier (gosh that is a word apparently) but broadly this was good.
Then let’s talk jus. According to the menu it was jus though I wouldn’t have been offended had they called it gravy – it did have a bit of consistency, it was quite hearty and tasted of beef stock and was good. Alas, we ordered extra and…yeah…it didn’t arrive.
Sheds, Shoulders, Knees And Toes
The carrots were actually really quite sexy. No seriously, not in a Carrie finding Boris sexy kind of way…wait…I haven’t offered my congratulations, have I?
Well, in that case I’d like to congratulate Carrie and Boris Johnson’s new baby daughter on her upcoming government contracts. I’m sure she’ll make a great success of them.
So the carrots were pretty sexual. Small, baby carrots which had been roasted I assume, but also had this charcoal-like edge as if they had been finished on the same grill as the beef. Quite excellent.
And the Yorkshire pudding actually was excellent. Properly fluffy inside, a little crispy on the outside – I’d go so far to suggest that this is one of the best of 2021. And look – it isn’t huge. They do not have to be huge. In fact, they are better smaller. Better smaller. Got that?
Finally, the beef. A minor gripe on the table was that the medium requested was medium-rare, and the medium-rare was rare. Not something I was bothered about, but it was mentioned by others. I quite enjoyed that the bone came with it, so there was opportunity for scavenging at the end.
The sirloin itself was really good quality, it tasted rather smoky inside and salty on the slightly crisped outside. One or two spots the fat hadn’t rendered enough and was chewy, but again, minor gripes. The beef was gorgeous.
Not another crap heading, I mean, shedding
Well, it wasn’t quite “The One” but it was one of the best roasts of 2021.
Alas, the service wasn’t quite to expectations. I’ve mentioned a few things already – the starters turned up at the same time as the main, though they advised the starters would therefore be free before we even questioned it.
Extra gravy that we ordered didn’t turn up – though a cheeky request for extra cauliflower cheese did, without charge.
Drinks were not easy to order, one order didn’t turn up – generally I expect a half-decent restaurant to top up empty wine glasses and notice when we might need to order more drinks, but that didn’t happen either.
Then they never even asked us if we wanted to look at the dessert menu. After a while, we gave up and just asked for the bill – surprisingly we’d only spent £51 each. We would easily have had another round of drinks, another bottle of wine, and possibly desserts – yet we left nearly hour before our allotted time was up.
And this was just the start of our problems with a lack of service on Sunday, in London.
Afterwards, we walked along the river to Spiritland – normally an excellent bar in Southbank. Yet there they didn’t seem to want to serve us, one of the staff members was soooo distant (good party the night before?) and then they closed two hours earlier than Google advised.
So we went to another bar which Google said was open. It wasn’t. Then we walked back to The Green Room, which we’d seen was open. No, it was closing at 6pm. Two more pubs advertised on Google as open, were actually closed. Then we found a pub which was open…and decided against staying.
Finally, we did find somewhere open until 10pm. And, erm, then somewhere open until midnight. Yeah, there is a reason why this review is taking ages to write.
The Coal Shed. Or tails.
Anyway, I did feel a tad aggrieved – there is going to be lots of complaining from hospitality in the coming days, as well as demands for taxpayer’s money (please can we stop calling this government money) – yet we struggled to get served. In central London. On a Sunday.
Whilst I’m being a bit serious, I should probably clarify that I don’t have an opinion as to whether more taxpayer money should go to hospitality – but as consumers we now have to contend with 5% inflation and rising, national insurance increases next year and the tax-exempt band staying the same for the next couple of years – so approximately we are all going to have 8-10% less spare cash as it is next year (assuming no increase in your pay).
So do we want to spend more money on subsidising hospitality – some of which will desperately need help, others absolutely not (fuck Wetherspoons) – or should it be better spent elsewhere? NHS, social care, levelling up, government contracts for Johnson’s children…hell…or maybe we could just not spend more so our tax doesn’t need to go up even further.
Hmmm. Thank fuck I’m a roast dinner reviewer and don’t need to make those decisions. There are big economic problems coming up, aren’t there?
But hey, it could be worse.
Sheds in the bed
Erm…tangent central is over.
Despite the service difficulties, it wasn’t like services was especially bad at The Coal Shed – it just didn’t meet expectations.
Food, however, did very much meet expectations.
The steak was smoky and sexual, the carrots were gorgeous and even the Yorkshire pudding was fluffytastic. And nothing was bad – the roasties were acceptable and the greens a bit whatever, but overall this was verging on the excellent. Fuck it, the roast dinner was excellent.
Scores around the table were an 8.2, an 8.4, an 8.45 and an 8.55. My score was going to be an 8.40 and normally I do only rate on the roast itself, but because the service left a slight disappointment, I’m scoring it an 8.20 out of 10.
The Coal Shed is one of only 5 excellent roast dinners this year. If you like your steak…you know what to do…albeit maybe in February.
I’d like to say that I’ll be back next week with a review but omicron feels ominous and I’m feeling risk-averse with 70 year-old parents to visit next week. Plus I can cancel without a guilty conscience after eating at Blacklock, Dishoom, The Coal Shed and Smoke & Bones in the weekend just gone. Though maybe we can sit outdoors – or even get a takeaway. We’ll see.
So if I’m not back next week, then I’ll be back on the first week of January.
Don’t you just love an opportunity? This week, I had the opportunity to visit Acton and to have a roast dinner at neighbourhood restaurant, Fed & Watered.
Yeah, don’t I get all the cool opportunities – last week Hounslow, this week Acton.
Yet Churchfield Road in Acton is bougie delight, some seriously gorgeous pubs and restaurants with the cutest fluffy dogs, all the pretty little cafes with strange names that you could ever want, a vastly over-priced barbers with DJ decks, a craft beer shop and possibly London’s only level crossing.
It screams, “WHY THE HELL DO YOU LIVE IN HARROW, LORD GRAVY?”. Yet Harrow was an opportunity once.
Speaking of opportunities, or the land of #HospitalityHaveHadAShit18MonthsSoI’mGoingToGiveThemTheOpportunityToGiveMeAFreeMealThatICanPromoteToMy300Followers otherwise known as Instagrim, I had a message pop up the other day:
Hey! could you please send @Wore a message when you see this, we want to offer you a collaboration! If you are interested send our main account a message they will go through the details with you
Fed & Clothed
Well, I was intrigued and sent them a message back straight away, such was my excitement at this opportunity. Well, a few weeks later anyway, which is kind of straight away in my life right now.
One of your representatives (perhaps allegedly?) kindly offered that I should contact you if I was interested in a collaboration.
Now, I can see a few logistical issues.
Firstly I am a roast dinner reviewing account. As far as I can see, you do not sell roast dinners.
Maybe you are hoping that I would pose in your clothing whilst eating a roast dinner.
Small problem or two there. Firstly I’m anonymous, so not sure how we’d get around that. Also I’m nowhere near as thin as your models. Nowhere near. Probably because I review roast dinners.
Also I’m quite manly. Not the manliest person ever but I do have a willy and stuff. Granted I see your Clio Bodysuit has guns on it so maybe that would make me look more manly? https://shopwore.com/collections/best-sellers/products/clio-bodysuit
Anyway, I don’t think I’m best suited for your marketing efforts, unless your marketing bods have any moments of genius.
All the best
I would look quite manly in that, right? Check out those manly gun symbols. Yeah. Manly.
To my surprise I received a response within minutes – they are clearly excited to have me on board.
Hey! Thanks for getting back to us so quickly
So we are just launching our influencer campaign and really want you involved, you would get free monthly packages (3 items of your choice per month), your own exclusive discount code to share, shoutouts and reposts to our Instagram and website.
We will be sending you out free PR packages every month, this means you will get to show off our newest items completely free with no catch! in return just tag us with the clothing either wearing them or just showing off the package! You will also be getting 30% commission paid via bank transfer every time your discount code Is used.
Fed But Not Stupid
Wow, doesn’t this sound like a great opportunity?
For our collaboration to begin you would only need to place an order on our website!
Oh. No emoji for this part either.
Here is a discount code to use to help get started COLLAB this gives 30% off, you will only need to pay for your first order we only ask this is placed so we know you are interested in working with us! Dont worry there is no minimum spend you can just order one item if you’d like!
I was perusing their website to decide what to wear for the next roast dinner. Maybe this leopard print bodysuit would suit me? Only £34.00.
Then again, maybe I need something a bit warmer with it being December (and quite possibly it still being cold when it arrives 3 months later from China)? Would be quite nice to have something to keep my nipples warm…I could still wear a t-shirt underneath or something. Plus it’s only £45.00.
If you can send the order number asap we can get you added to our monthly package list for next month, can’t wait to start our collaboration! Any questions Chloe will be ready to help! Link to our website is in our bio
Hmm, bit keen. Then in a few more minutes, just 10 minutes from when I sent my message:
Heya, hope you haven’t forgot about us! We only have a few spaces left on the team and wanted to let you know before they fill up!
If you are interested here’s a code for 40% off to help you decide if you want to start this collaboration. We are just preparing free monthly packages for our team for next month so if you order today you will be able to get free packages pretty quickly!
Fed & Desperate
I guess it is time to talk roast dinners – which is the only opportunity in the world I really need. Unless an attractive Spanish woman manages to make it through immigration at some point.
Fed & Watered is a cute restaurant on Churchfield Road in Acton. It is quite small, maybe 30-40 covers I’d guess, it had a pastel green and pastel pink influence with some stand-out bright paintings on the wall, and some gorgeous dark green chairs.
I stole the photograph from the internet (I did this in the past so it isn’t illegal) – but I just loved these chairs.
Anyway, we had the warmest welcome of anywhere in ages – the guy who I assume is the owner was willing to spend a few minutes enthusing about his restaurant and the menu – and also the mural outside that we promised to look at when we left and promptly went the other way without looking.
Yes, you might notice that I’m paying £25.00 for a roast dinner and I’m in zone 3. You may also notice that there is only one option – pork belly, with pork belly croquette.
This I was explained was so that they could concentrate on doing one thing really well, and reduce the amount of wastage. Each week is a different meat – the coming week is turkey.
Fed & With Expectations
You could say this raised my expectations even more than the idea that Michael Gove will now have his passport taken off him next time he gets caught doing cocaine. Oh that isn’t going to happen, is it?
Anyway, I chose the tiny bit of boob dress:
Well, you already know I chose the pork belly.
Yes, I know, everything is the same colour. Except the outer leaf of the hispi cabbage which still has a hint of green. Said cabbage was good, soft enough to slice and chew, charred on the edge with an intriguing French dressing – normally I’m anti any other condiment on a roast other than gravy, but this did work – and it wasn’t like we had too much gravy.
One assumes the owner couldn’t procure any yellow carrots – orange ones obviously wouldn’t fit the theme, so for possibly the 3rd time out of 186 roast dinners I have no need to find yet another way to write about carrots. Except I just have done.
The parsnips were pretty good. Crispy, nutty with a hint of thyme (I think).
And I liked the cauliflower puree, which was quite smoky. Yeah – different flavours on different vegetables.
Fed & Being Fed
Hmmm, what next. Let’s talk about the roasties which were actually pretty decent. They won’t win any awards, but they were a damn sight better than most of London’s roast potatoes – one had a crispy edge, they were quite soft and actually freshly made, or reasonably freshly.
The Yorkshire pudding was thankfully small (I’m guessing the owner doesn’t know how Instagrim works – halleluiah), it was also soft and fluffy – you know, how Yorkshire puddings should be. Yeah, I’m rating this roast dinner. So far.
Just think, if I lose a bit more weight I could pull this look off in 2022:
How MANLY is that? Granted I’d probably need to go a whole year without roast dinners and without booze to get that slim, and also start doing a lot of fucking drugs, but then I’ll lose my passport because I don’t live in a Tory-voting area and people who don’t live in Tory-voting areas are bad people if they take drugs.
Speaking of manly, let’s talk balls. The pork roast came with a pork belly croquette which was divine – the highlight of the roast. Soft, tender pork belly inside a perfectly crisp croquette.
And the vegetarian came with a blue cheese kataifi (yeah one of them) which apparently was also excellent. I actually have a photograph of the vegetarian – the kataifi is the thing with pubic hair.
The pork belly itself was good – fairly small in portion but one should also remember the croquette. It was quite delicate and full of flavour – it seemed like it had been cooked in apple. A downside is that I only had the meat of the pork belly – no fat or crackling. But what I had was good.
Finally…let’s just share the meat roast again.
Right, finally Boris Johnson is a cunt. Oh and the gravy was rich. Not a huge amount of it but it was so rich that even I as a Yorkshireman wouldn’t want my plate flooded with it.
A red wine flavour, quite oily – not really my kind of gravy but it was good, and suited the roast. We aren’t going to vote for that fucking moron again are we?
I can only assume people vote for such a lying bastard of a scruffbag to make themselves feel better. “Shurrup, Mavis, if the Prime Minister is a scruffbag then I can go t’ Tesco in me pants and me gun logo bodysuit”.
Fed & Summarising
The temptation to take the opportunity offered to go on a rant about Boris Johnson is strong right now, but let’s focus on what was a good roast dinner.
There was nothing bad. Sure, £25 is a lot to pay in central London – let alone in Acton, the roast potatoes could have been crispier and a bit more phone reception would have been useful as I was on call.
Everything else was good or very good – though the only thing that really stood out as great was the pork belly croquette – I could merrily have a whole dish of those.
Service was good, the welcome was exceptionally good. The venue looks nice and the chairs I am in love with.
There’s a lot to like about Fed & Watered. I’m scoring it an 8.07 out of 10 – the first roast to score above an 8 since going to The Blue Boar back in August.
Other scores on our table were an 8, another 8 and an 8.30. Nice to finally have a roast that I can recommend to you all!
I’ll be back next week, assuming there are no covid restrictions a ha ha ha ha as if anyone will take any fucking notice now. We are going to see Boris Johnson’s photocopied arse from the party now, aren’t we?
Anyway, it might be the best roast of the year coming up. It also might be a disappointment. And I’ve booked the Monday off – yeah it’s one of those events. Gonna need something manly to wear too…
I’m back from my toilet holiday with another roast dinner review, this time of The Swan Inn in Isleworth. Will it be a super roast? Or a roast dinner of concern? Scroll down to find the answer then move onto doing something more productive than reading this shite.
Still with me?
Sigh. I have writer’s block. I don’t know what to write. And I have to start work in 20 minutes.
So this week I was tasked with finding somewhere on the to-do list that my friend could drive to from Reading, and that wasn’t too difficult to get to Heathrow from afterwards. The Swan Inn ticked those boxes.
Alas, it was a pain to get to from Harrow and I had a pretty stonking hangover thanks to drinking the day before with my crazy friend. 3 tubes to Richmond followed by a 30 minute walk in the cold.
Give me the swans
It’s a rare accolade in a London pub for the barman to suggest that it is nice to see new faces in there – The Swan Inn clearly was a local’s pub though it didn’t have that “get the fuck out or I’ll stab you” feel that some local’s pubs have, mostly up north.
It definitely had a dated feel inside, though still very much functioning – it had the feel of a pub that might be dated but was actually providing a community hub for the locals, somewhere to eat, somewhere to drink, somewhere to bang on about how sexy Nadine Dorries is…
It felt like it worked. They even had a Neck Oil for me to drink – and I was a bit concerned before I went that I might be forced to drink Foster’s or some trash like that – the barman advised me that it was a recent addition.
During the week, The Swan Inn do Thai food. And on a Sunday, they do a carvery. Nothing more, nothing less, they seem to keep their options simple. Not sure what a vegetarian was supposed to do…I don’t even know how much the carvery cost. I kind of need to find that out don’t I?
Hmmm. The total bill for 3 people was £82.50. We had 5 beers and 2 coffees. So I guess a carvery was £15.00 each? There definitely wouldn’t have been any service charge as it was a go to the bar kind of experience.
You want a menu also? Well, it was on a chalkboard above the bar. Beef, lamb, pork, turkey and gammon. I’m not doing very good at this review, am I?
It’s Peter Swan. Obviously. It says in the heading. But apparently there was more than one Peter Swan and now I’m confused.
This is a crap review isn’t it? First I pick somewhere that is a total ballache to get to. Then it ends up being somewhere that none of you have heard of and won’t care to read. Now I cannot even write anything worth reading. Maybe I need a break. Maybe we need a lockdown. Maybe I need the government to inspire me. Or maybe I should tell you the story about my friend who got pulled over doing 20mph in a 60mph zone because he did too much ketamine.
OK let’s get this review of concern out of the way. The carrot was soft and quite nice.
The two parsnips were acceptable, though they felt like they were from a packet – my mum served me similar back at Christmas in May.
Did I mention that it was a carvery? So we went up and queued for our meat, which was really generously sliced – none of this Toby cretinous carving here. 5 options – I chose beef and gammon as I thought they looked most recently cooked.
Then you walk over to the vegetable section but again someone serves you – they did have some other options – peas, cabbage – possibly something else that I didn’t fancy.
The mashed swede was ok. Quite crumbly, a tiny bit buttery but mostly just ok.
You know, August was the last time that I had a really good roast dinner. August. I’m really just going through the motions with this review. I’ll do better next time, I promise.
So I said to the woman dishing up, “can I have some roast potatoes…sorry…I mean fried potatoes”, to which she laughed in a way that suggested that I’m not unique in that joke. They did again seem either fried or perhaps from a packet. There was a crispy edge on one, they were kind of soft in the middle – but these weren’t freshly made roast potatoes.
The Yorkshire pudding was freshly cooked – I even saw them preparing the next batch by pouring batter into what looked like a cold muffin tin. Alas, my Yorkshire pudding hadn’t finished cooking – it was really quite stodgy, like semi-cooked batter that had been left waiting for me.
Onto the meats – neither of which particularly impressed. The beef was quite beefy in flavour, but was not far off well-done. The gammon was a bit tough and had less flavour than I expected. Quantity was high, and lesser mortals may not have eaten it all.
Stuffing went with neither but I didn’t care. Maybe it was also from a packet but packet stuffing is actually pretty good in my experience – and this was herby and a little gooey. It reminded me of the stuffing that my mum would make for us when I was a child instead of a manchild. And that was Paxo.
I almost forgot about the cauliflower cheese, which yes was also part of the carvery unlike many pubs which try to con you into paying £6.00 extra and that I fall for repeatedly. This was pretty good, the cauliflower was quite soft, there was cheese flavouring, the cream was sticky and didn’t infect the gravy. Yeah, it was good cauliflower cheese.
I’m kind of in my flow now. Actually starting to enjoy writing this review, and I only have the gravy left to tell you about. Well, she did say to me, “tell me when to stop”. And kept looking at me, expecting me to say “stop”. I don’t think I could have put much more on there without ending up with brown marks on my jeans for the second weekend in a row.
And yes it was good gravy. It was proper gravy, thick gravy – not the tastiest ever but broadly a good, proper gravy. And that is all we need. Can you imagine that roast coming with some wanky jus?
Sum up The Swan Inn and end this shitty review.
I think truly appreciating this roast dinner at The Swan Inn depends on whether you prefer quantity over quality. The quantity was very much there – I’ve been served roast dinners elsewhere with about a third of the amount of food offered. And about a tenth of the amount of gravy.
The quality was there in places – notably from the cauliflower cheese, the gravy and the stuffing – though the latter may well have just been Paxo. But I like Paxo.
Some of it was on the poor side – the stodgy yorkie, the seemingly fried potatoes, the poor parsnips.
I’m scoring it a 6.91 out of 10. For me – just not enough quality. For my friend who enjoys food at Wetherspoons, he scored it a 7.80. My other friend, who is from France and has never been to roast club before, scored it a 7.50.
If you are in the area (or don’t mind going to awkward places) and want a load of food, The Swan Inn is worth a try.
But it was quantity over quality.
Just 3 more roast dinner adventures left in 2021. The next one is a bit of an unknown – it isn’t even on my to-do list. The two after should…should…be 8’s. Go on. For me.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my annual modern art special, this year featuring Dean Street Townhouse in Soho.
Well, annual in a very haphazard fashion like many annual things have been since China didn’t allow a virus to escape from a laboratory, though I’m not really sure this was annual before.
That’ll be £96,500 please, Sir. And you thought Test And Trace was a bargain.
Yes, it was one of those weekends that my parents come down to remind me that I’ve eaten too many roast dinners and that they would like to go for a roast dinner with me, oh but make sure it is as good as Blacklock. Yes I’m still fat. Yes I’m still single. No you are not having grand-children any time soon. I did tell you to sort me out an arranged marriage when you went to Spain the other year, but you only arranged to send me a postcard of a Spanish woman. And she didn’t even have her tits out.
Which reminds me, I need to apply for tickets for the Women’s Euro 2022 football tournament. Guess which country I support?
Anyway, so this weekend gone I needed somewhere to eat a roast dinner after going to the Royal Academy, that was easy for my mother to get to. We had a choice of Berner’s Tavern and Dean Street Townhouse on the to-do list within walking distance, so I went for the latter – only because it was the first entry on the list, it has been awaiting my visit for longer than anywhere else.
It was a good job that we hadn’t booked Berner’s Tavern, as they relaunched their menu not long after we chose where to go – sans Sunday roast. Though I’m trying to reduce the length of my to-do list and am reluctant to accept many new additions, I’m definitely short on places to go in central London.
And Dean Street Townhouse is another ticked off the list. One of those places that project a quality offering, with a certain Britishness to its feel – starting with the chaotic entrance (or exit, depending on your view of modern Britishness), with too many people in the entry area, most of them David Bowie lookalikes, and staff buzzing around but without quite offering us an understanding of whether and how we could announce our entry.
After a little while, the chaos subsided, but our table wasn’t ready. Not their fault – we were 10 or so minutes early. After a while we caught the attention of the barman and ordered some drinks – at which point our table was ready. It was feeling more British by the minute.
Do you want to play a game of guess how much the sausage roll cost?
And then we can play a game of guess how much the roast dinner costs. Because it only tells you the prices for 2 courses – £30, or 3 courses – £36. I’m quite wise to this wizardry and just ordered whatever I wanted – including a dessert that isn’t on the 2 course for £30 list. And the sausage roll which isn’t on the list either.
Beef, chicken and pork were the choices – I had eaten beef the Sunday prior, so that was knocked off from my considerations, and I didn’t really fancy chicken. So pork it was – and the actual price of a single Sunday roast is £22.00.
We shared the sausage roll, generous in sausagemeat though also compact – flavouring closer to Lincolnshire sausage, I’d suggest. Gosh, am I writing about some other food than a roast dinner? Ginger Pig sausage rolls outclass this though – pork and stilton are the bomb. Know of a better sausage roll than Ginger Pig? Please do let me know. You can write to me at PO Box 110, Granada Studios, Manchester. Or maybe just put it in the comments.
Our roasts arrived around 20 minutes after our sausage amuse bouche roll:
Ahh, sorry, that’s not a roast dinner, that’s an exploration of “space, scale, texture and colour through repetitive and durational sculptural processes”. Though I do actually quite like it, and the artist has overcome way more difficulties than many of us have.
Yeah the roast was one of those put together yourself roasts – with each portion of vegetables, cauliflower cheese and gravy, to share between two. At least I didn’t have to pay extra for the cauliflower cheese here – which almost makes £22.00 look a bargain. This time next year, £22.00 might indeed look a bargain.
Edit – just been told that I need to use a better photo. Here’s one of the beef from someone with a better camera:
Do you want me to describe the roast dinner using modern art?
No? Well go read Instagram.
OK, this harder than I expected. But I’m going to suggest that the vegetable medley was like this horse picking out the flowers in the dark, as I was trying to pick out the vegetables I liked from between the peas. I didn’t expect somewhere quite upmarket to serve peas. But hey.
So the carrots were almost so tough that you required hummus – but just had enough malleability to make them enjoyable.
The broccoli had a bit of crunch to it, but nicely so and the cavelo nero/cabbage was fine – but only fine.
The cauliflower cheese was pretty stunning.
And now I have a huge wad of space to use thanks to this funky layout though if you are on mobile and 62% of my users are, then you probably won’t notice…unless you have a flip phone but please don’t get a flip phone because then I’ll have to take them seriously when doing styling of my website and my website at work.
Gooey and cheesy inside, the cauliflower was soft, there was a crisp to the top – and this was quite frankly excellent. Just like keyboard boy to your right…or above if you are on mobile. Seriously, everyone should get a desktop computer to make my life easier.
So the roast potatoes were most like this chewy-looking piece of modern art – bravo to Gabriela Giroletti who can now afford 35 roast dinners by selling this chunk of wood panel with a bit of paint on.
Yeah, the 5 roast potatoes – 5 – were all pretty tough on the outside and pretty chewy on the inside.
I’ve had worse, and will have worse again, but they weren’t good.
I feel like you might need a reminder of what the roast dinner actually looked like:
What? You are just waiting for the tits?
I’ve no real idea what is going here, and I’ve no real idea what the point is of Yorkshire puddings. People still think it is great when they are huge.
It was acceptable enough, over-cooked without tasting burnt, still soft enough on the bottom to be edible – I left some.
Something to do with the birth of Copernicus?
Ahhh just two more items to drag out this modern art comparison with.
The pork was nearly as magnificent as these donkeys. It had some shortcomings – mostly that there was too little of it, just two thin slices, and the crackling was only crispy in parts.
I think for some people, perhaps too fatty – but I’m happy at this level of unleanliness. No surprise that my spellchecker thinks that isn’t a word.
I also had some of the beef – which was good, if not especially spectacular. The pork topped the beef.
The most obvious choice of modern art to compare with the roast, was comparing the gravy to this family picking their nose, with their dog taking a shit.
Though this was actually my favourite piece of art, it also typified a lackadaisical attitude which came across in the gravy.
Watery and barely tasting of anything – they might as well not have bothered. Perhaps their reluctance to provide enough was a sign.
Ahhh back to normal paragraphs.
So the roast had some excellent moments, but was outshone by averageness. The cauliflower cheese was stunning, and the pork was excellent also.
But then having to pick out the vegetables from the peas (like…peas on a £22.00 roast dinner?), chewy roast potatoes, overdone yorkie, watery browned nothingness. I did say to my Dad after we exchanged scores that I might persuade myself down when I write, and I think I have just done so.
Nothing was especially bad though. Oh, but it was bloody mafting inside. It was a nice restaurant, there was a good feel to it, it was busy and bustling yet you could hear yourself. But I wished I’d had shorts on. In November – just two weeks before the big freeze. And no, I’m not going to Iceland.
I’m scoring it a 7.04 out of 10. My family scored it a 7.40, 7.50 and another 7.50.
Service was mostly very good, bar a few minor moments like nearly taking an unfinished drink away and that kind of minor service misdemeanour where they are almost trying too hard, and then towards the end it became more difficult to attract attention.
They’d also undercharged us. It was good enough service to be honest about it, but even then the new bill saw us undercharged again. To finish with a note of good service – my Dad left his glasses there and they called me after we left to advise.
Modern…yeah I’ve run out of things that rhyme so I’ll make the SEO plugin happy by saying Dean Street Townhouse
Hmmm, what else do I have to say? Did I mention how warm it was in there?
Well I guess that is it until next time. Oh yeah, the sausage roll was £9.00. Let me know if you won and I’ll send you a prize of my choosing.
I’ll be back next week. Nothing special planned…I’ll be surprised if it is anything other than bang average topped with watery gravy, but you never know.
OK, you deserve it. Titty time. Yours for just £200,000. And she has three legs.
OMG the world is going to end, you evil, capitalist bastards. Yeah this is a green special. With a review of The Jolly Gardeners in Putney. Well, gardens are green, right?
OMG we are going to be Siberian in less than 20 years. Look, you didn’t give communism a chance. It was the wrong type of communism. Oh fuck, the article is 17 years old. That means…we are going to be Siberian in 3 years time?
Yes, I’ve escaped the clutches of my Halloween captors in Bracknell – seems that there is only so much banging on about the EU that they can cope with.
And now I find out that the world is going to end. Again. And I thought going to Toby Carvery was bad.
Oh actually we’ve got 100 months to act. Panic over. What? That was 144 months ago? Aaaaarrrrgggghhh, how am I going to get through the rest of my to-do list?
So there’s 50 days left? 10 years ago. Oh fuck.
Gosh you hate me already don’t you? But the amount of “x days to save the planet” claims that are long past their deadline are racking up almost as much as “our famous roast dinner” claims have past their deadline – usually with roast potatoes that were best a day before they were served.
No more flights for you
Yeah, I’m cynical. Yeah, your world famous roast dinner ain’t gonna be the best in London either, bruv. But I am green. I am environmentally friendly to fuck and I can prove it. Firstly – the banner on my website is green.
Second, the worst thing you can do for the environment is have children – and I’m aesthetically unshaggable. Long-haul flights with masks? Fuck that shit. Owning a car in London? Are you mental? I even have some vegan lunches. Not on a Sunday, obviously.
Not to mention trying to get people to sign up for Oddbox – saving the planet through reducing food waste. I do have shares in them so really it is just the evil capitalist in me. Oh and in BP. They are green too, right? They have a green logo like me.
Some Monday mornings, I’m like, “what shit am I going to fluff up my articles of exactly the same dinner as the previous 181 times around this week?”. But this week was obvious. Climate innit. I know, I’ve passed up the opportunity to theme the blog around Tory government corruption…I’ve a feeling that they’ll offer me another opportunity though.
And like all good corporations, I suddenly feel the need to wank off about how environmentally conscious I am. Because the world is going to end. And we are all going to be forced to holiday in Blackpool in the 2020’s.
Well…I did go to Whitehaven for 30 minutes this year, whilst on holiday.
How many times have you told me to fork off so far?
No more petrol for you
So The Jolly Gardeners is a pub in Putney, with a gardening theme inside – there are forks aplenty on the walls and some rustic watering cans too. Not to be confused with pubs of the same name in Earlsfield or Mortlake – though without giving too much away, perhaps in hindsight I wish we had been confused.
It’s one of those areas I’d describe as chi-chi even though I don’t know what that advective means. A Nordic cafe, a Sicilian restaurant, a baby photograph studio, a Waitrose – everything I don’t have in my local shithole of an area where people care so much about the environment that I can barely walk for all the litter and fly-tipping. Yeah, yet more area envy.
The Jolly Gardeners is quite a sizeable pub – though there were tables close to us, it felt spaced out also. Unlike the toilets which were rather small and cramped.
There was some form of beer choice, the usual crud amongst a couple more interesting beers, though nothing too independent – I ended up with a Cali Pale.
My eyes lit up when I saw that they did sides of pigs-in-blankets – but then disappointment struck when I saw those words, “red wine jus”. All the excitement of a handful of countries saying they are going to phase out burning of coal – only for Australia, China, Japan and India to be like, “nah mate, we’ll keep on spewing”.
Oh – and peas. You know I don’t trust evil green things, and no, I’m not referring to Insulate Britain – not only that, but the peas and leeks were together – so to not have peas, meant I had to sacrifice the leeks also. Sigh.
Given that the communist environmental miserabilists are probably going to ban beef as soon as they win an election, I thought it apt to choose the sirloin of beef at £18.50. That and I’d had a disappointing quality steak from my supposedly good local (ish) butcher the night before – so had some making up to do.
No more holidays for you
Our roasts took around 20 minutes to arrive:
There were four slices of carrot and they were…fine. Soft with a hint of pepper, but also that red wine jus.
I quite liked the cabbage. Except for it being in that red wine jus.
Parsnips were mixed, one was notably anaemic and undercooked, the other two were rather tired and on the cool side. Am I selling this to you or are you preparing to go sit on a motorway?
It gets worse. There were many small roast potatoes supplied – and they may have been good at some point. However, by time they were served to me (and it was a 1:30pm sitting – hardly late in the day) they were chewy and tired.
The Yorkshire pudding was like eating a rubber frisbee – which is not an enjoyable experience at all.
As you may be able to tell, the beef didn’t make up for the disappointing steak from the night before – this was overcooked and tough. A steak knife was required but not supplied – this was almost enough to make me wish that I’d ordered the vegetarian wellington with a side of pigs in blankets.
Speaking of which, I did actually enjoy the side-dish of pigs in blankets, albeit which cost £4.00. Bacon a bit crispy, sausages had a herby touch to them – in retrospect I should have asked for some ketchup with them instead of having them with the roast and its (oooh nearly put an apostrophe there) red wine jus.
So. Red wine jus. Oh jus, I do not like you. Occasionally I’ve had a nice jus, but this was some wanky, weird stuff that tasted slightly of burnt red wine. It detracted from an already poor roast.
No more meat for you
You could say that I was no more impressed with this roast than China, India and Russia are with the idea of reducing their emissions. By the way – I do believe in climate change, because my hero told me it was real.
I asked one of my accomplices, a fellow northerner, to give me a summary of her thoughts: “shit”. She scored it a 3 out of 10.
Her husband, on the other hand, was impressed with the amount of food, having both his roast and half his wife’s. He called it adequate and scored it a 7.5. I questioned him as to whether something “adequate” should really be scored a 7.5, and he moved down to a 6.5.
I was really quite disappointed. The beef was overcooked and tough, the roast potatoes chewy, the yorkie rubbery – the only thing I enjoyed were the pigs in blankets, and they were a side-dish at £4.00 extra.
OK, the carrots and cabbage were fine – but everything was worsened by a yucky red wine jus.
I’m scoring it a 5.20 out of 10. Yes, it is the worst roast dinner of 2021 – even worse than Toby Carvery.
I might be back next week, assuming the world hasn’t ended. The folks are down so it needs to be good…especially given the prices – £9.00 for a sausage roll.
(yeah, there is actually a problem, folks)
I wrote on my Twitter page the other day that I was going to do something shameful – to which someone replied, Toby Carvery? Oh…how little did I know.
BANG BANG BANG. I was awoken on Sunday morning by some ferocious banging at my front door. “POLICE, OPEN UP”, came the shout.
Fuck. What had I done? I’d been out 3 nights in a row which is a bit much for me in my old age. “LORD GRAVY, GET DOWN HERE NOW”. How do they know my name? What have I said? Has The Carrie been reading my blog?
With that I heard a smash and I ran downstairs, to be confronted by two women. Well…one was like an obese version of Nadine Dorries, the other was…well…robust with a tattooed face.
“WAAAA WHY ARE YOU WEARING GIRLY KNICKERS, YA POOF”. Oh shit…what did happen last night?
“Well let us in then”. Panicking and wondering what the neighbours, might think, I went looking for my front door keys, “one minute”, I said.
Toby Young is dreaming of your anus.
“Don’t you remember us?”, the robust one said. “Erm…”.
“We miss you, Lord Gravy. Bracknell hasn’t been the same since you left”.
I opened the door to let them in, “you don’t remember us, do you?”. “Well, no, sorry…”.
“You don’t have a girlfriend yet, do you?”. Well, no.
“My psychic said that I needed to hurry up if I was going to get you to fall in love with me – she said I’m running out of time. So here I am. And here is Chantalle, also”.
“And you are?”, I replied.
“Sharon”. “Don’t you remember, we lived around the corner from you in Bracknell. Chantalle used to blow you kisses on the way to work every day, I used to follow you to work when I was walking the dogs”.
Ahhh those dogs – everyone had pit bulls and horrid dogs in this estate (also some pugs), though I assumed most were drug dealers. I shuddered with the memories of walking through the estate in Bracknell, where I used to live.
Toby Young has a foot fetish.
“We’ve converted our basement into a shrine…all about roast dinners…and all about you”.
I AM SCARED. Is it Halloween or something?
With that, they dragged me upstairs – I’m not the strongest guy and certainly couldn’t out-muscle Sharon, who pushed me onto my bed. “I just want to show how much I love you, Lord Gravy”.
She pulled my, erm, pants down – “I’ve…never seen one that…tiny”.
“Well, erm, yeah. I’ve got a bad hangover”, I replied.
“I’ve got a better idea”, said Chantalle. Well, I couldn’t think of many worse ideas. “Put on some clothes and we’ll take you out for dinner, somewhere really special – and then you’ll realise how much we love you”.
“And then we can have a threesome after”, added Sharon. “I can speak a bit of Spanish if that helps turn you on?”.
With that, I felt something around my ankle. “What the fuck is that?”, I coarsely said. “It’s just a tag – half of the guys in Bracknell have one, don’t worry”.
Toby Young is licking your ear.
I concluded that I had a better chance of escape by following them, for now, so got into their rustbucket of a car. Plus food – I was hungover, and needed food and beer. Also, to my surprise, Chantalle offered me a can of beer when we got in the car.
“Carling or Fosters?”, she said. Well…”or we’ve got hooch…or cava…or…”.
“Fosters would be delightful”, I replied.
I won’t repeat the rest of the monotonous conversation about their favourite Love Island characters, how we’ve taken back control, isn’t it so great, amongst other drivelous matters, plus she even offered me some ket – though it definitely wasn’t ket.
We were very much on the M25, I assumed going towards Bracknell, when we came to a halt. “Oh those fucking cunts are on the road again”, shouted Sharon. My eyes lit up – this was my escape. “Shall I go piss on them?”, I suggested.
“YEAH! We love you, Lord Gravy, you are our hero”. They let me out the car, and I went towards the eco mob…and sat down next to them.
“AIR CONDITION BRITAIN”, I shouted. “AIR CONDITION BRITAIN, AIR CONDITION BRITAIN, AIR CONDITION BRITAIN “. I had no shortage of evils.
With that, Sharon dragged me out of the road, “Oi, we’re going to fucking Toby, don’t be a dick, you love roast dinners”.
Toby Young is whispering in your ear about Brexit, in sexy, hushed tones.
We arrived at Toby Carvery in somewhere called Snaresbrook – practically Essex. Over come the booming voice as I checked for our booking (yeah you have to book a table at Toby Carvery), “what do you want to drink, Lord?”.
I asked for the most expensive bottle of red wine, received some abuse from my captors but they did at least show their love for me. “Twenty fucking pounds that cost – you better love me later”. Cheap and nasty, but probably the least nasty of the options. The wine, I’m on about.
Toby Carvery actually has a food menu. Who knew?! And they try to make it look like one of those places that offer so many options that they clearly specialise in nothing.
They even do a set menu, yorkie wraps, fish and vegetarian/vegan options. Though when we were queuing up, someone asked for the vegetarian, was given two Yorkshire puddings and Sharon just laughed out loud, blurting, “a fucking vegetarian in a Toby”. Sigh. One imagines there are few vegans in Bracknell.
There are two tricks to consider applying at a Toby Carvery. Firstly, choose the meat that looks like it has been there the shortest amount of time – as we were queuing, a new turkey crown arrived. Decision made.
And the second trick is, that you need to chat up the “chef”. Firstly, whilst my captors were laughing at the vegetarian, I tried to tell him I had been kidnapped. “You want king size?” he replied. No.
I then asked him how we was, said I was excited to be here and it was the first time that I’d been in 10 years – “you work here?” was the response. Ahh. No.
I asked for turkey, “only turkey?” he said. Yes. And once he finished slicing, I said, “oh can I have a bit of gammon too”. Tricks of the trade, my friends.
Toby Young is getting an erection whilst whispering to you.
The vegetable selection looked pretty miserable, but I think I made the best of it – avoiding the peas and red cabbage, and choosing a mixture of roasties with beef dripping, and ruffled roasties. No, I didn’t work out what was ruffled about the roasties.
And no, mash doesn’t go on a roast, Sandra.
The carrots tasted of carrot, which is pretty useful – the last time I went to a Toby Carvery around 7 years ago everything tasted the same, so to start with some unique flavour was a plus. Steamed and soft, they reminded me of what my mum would do.
Also steamed were the green beans, but steamed to death. When I went back for extra roast potatoes, the next batch of green beans were actually closer to green than brown – but these were even limper than my willy in a threesome with my captors.
Finally, for the vegetables – at least the ones I dared try, I had a lump of very robust cauliflower. It had a little dried cream on the stub, which I assume was their Brexity version of cauliflower cheese – but you cannot really suggest this was cheese.
Toby Young is about to stick a roast potato up your bum in the Toby Carvery toilets.
Considering that they are constantly making fresh roast potatoes, unlike half the pubs in London who seem to make them the day before, one might expect fresh, crisp roast potatoes. And they weren’t bad – they were better than many I’ve had in London.
I wouldn’t go too far in praise – they were quite chewy, only occasionally crispy on the outside, sometimes soft on the inside, occasionally with chunks of dead, black potato that should have been chopped out – but in the grand scheme of London’s roast potatoes, these were…ok? And the beef dripping ones were tasty – like a slightly stickier version of the gravy.
The Yorkshire pudding was one of the best Yorkshire puddings that I’ve had in recent years. No, seriously it was. Soft, freshly cooked, a bit of crisp on the outside. I thought it was excellent.
As one of my captors had also been flirting with the chef, suggesting a foursome (I hoped he misheard that also), we had some sausages that you should only get for king size. It was tired and basic – but it was sausage also. Make of that what you will.
I liked the turkey. One of my captors suggested it was the best turkey she’d ever had – fuck knows what Christmas is like round hers, and I dearly hope that I escape their clutches before then. It was, however, quite nice, not too dry, not especially succulent either – just fairly respectable slices of turkey. And three slices too, a ha ha ha ha ha.
Again, the gammon was nothing to write home about, but I quite enjoyed it as a compliment to the turkey, a tad salty but nothing too much.
The stuffing cube was surprisingly square, a tad over-cooked but also quite tasty – how can you resist the charms of sage and onion together?
Finally, the gravy. It did taste quite a lot like gravy granules, but with added meat juices. I actually liked it though – maybe that says more about me, but it was thick and meaty – albeit with a saltiness you’d expect from cheap gravy granules at Iceland.
Toby Young is naked, with only a book covering his genitals, smiling and waiting for you
I was stuffed. I could barely walk – and certainly couldn’t run away. Yes, I went for more semi-disappointing roasties and more semi-delightful gravy, so this didn’t help matters.
My captors insisted that this was the best Toby Carvery in the south of England. How many had they been to?
It certainly wasn’t as bad as I had imagined it would be. The Yorkshire pudding was actually very good – given that many pubs in London make them hours before (or the night before) and leave them lying around, it isn’t difficult to do better.
The gravy was thick and flavoursome – albeit also salty and granule tasting – and the turkey was quite nice also. There are actually compliments to make. About the roast. Not my captors.
All the vegetables were as miserable as I fear life will be with my captors.
I’m scoring it a somewhat surprising 6.20 out of 10.
“So, do you love Toby Carvery more than me?” asked Chantalle.
“Innit great, that we’ve taken back control?”, asked Sharon.
It was a very, very, very long drive back to Bracknell, my new but hopefully very temporary home, until I figure out a way to escape their evil clutches.
Will I be reviewing a Toby Carvery near Bracknell next week? Or will I be be back in London? Find out in a week…
Until then…be scared…stay scared.
Petrol shortages, sewage discharges, inflation, the reappearance of Mark Francois…the list of shit going wrong in this country is growing. And then on Sunday, we got a call from the venue that we’d booked – “I’m really sorry, but the kitchen is closed today”. One could panic. Or one could call in help from the colonel…no, not that one…The Colonel Fawcett.
We were tied into a fairly small area logistically this Sunday. I was on call so I prefer to keep things “local” just in case (not one call out all week – freemoneytastic), one accomplice was due into work nearby late afternoon, and another refuses to go anywhere that isn’t near where he lives. Thank fuck I don’t have that attitude – Roast Dinners In Harrow would have a very limited shelf-life. Though you’d read me still, wouldn’t you?
I mean, maybe you are interested in finding good new places to go for a roast dinner, or just to have your favourite places judged by me, but really I think you are interested in me. Lord Gravy. I actually have proof. Kind of. This is what people search for on Google that then go on to visit the website:
A whole 49 people searched for Lord Gravy in the last 3 months. Not sure how long I’ll be able to contain my ego for. At this rate my ego might get to the point where I am persuaded that I would do a better job of running the country than Boris Johnson. We are allowed to slag off politicians again now aren’t we? Oh except Saint Jeremy, of course.
I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn’s claim to have won the 2017 election inspired Donald Trump?
OK, I hear you. I feel your stare, dear London reader. Be nice to Saint Jeremy. I profusely apologise more even more than Boris Johnson did that time he cheated on his wife. Which wife? Which affair? Not sure.
I have a hangover. I need a bacon sandwich. See ya later.
Colonel Harland Sanders
Right, it’s Tuesday now and I can still just about remember what I did on Sunday. And I remember eating a roast dinner. Wish I had taken more notes, but hey.
The Colonel Fawcett was the third time that I’d been to Camden this year for a roast dinner – the other two times were the overpriced, disappointment of The Farrier, and the respectable, no more, roast at York & Albany. Also overpriced. Was hot and sunny that day. Ahhh summer 2021, those two weeks were glorious.
It’s an aging venue, with two fairly small but cosy seating areas downstairs, some secluded picnic tables outside and then a larger dining room upstairs – we were seated in the dining room. They had a few spare tables (hence we were able to book at short notice) but it was reasonably busy.
Their relative popularity perhaps helped by somehow managing to keep their roast dinners below £20 despite the apparent hyper-inflation, at least according to anyone desperate to sell you Bitcoins. Yes I said Bitcoin was in a bubble at $8,000 last year. But at least my oil and gas stocks are doing well. Don’t tell Greta. Oh do I have to be nice about her too?
One person I can definitely be nice about is our waiter who was top-notch throughout – charming and funny, yet tellingly hungover. I asked him who Daphne was, which rather spun him out until he noticed that I was talking about the menu – apparently Daphne is the cow. With that knowledge, I ordered Daphne’s lamb at £17.00.
It wasn’t just that that persuaded me – I fancied beef (Greta gonna…sorry…be nice to lefties on your London blog, Lord Gravy) or lamb – but topside is pretty crap in my opinion, plus the beef came with red cabbage and the lamb came with tenderstem broccoli. Broccoli over gravy pollution every day of the week. See, I do care about pollution. Gosh two mentions of the environment in one post, Carrie will be proud.
Our roasts took around 20 minutes to arrive.
Yes, you do see crispy roast potatoes, but let’s start with the carrot – nicely roasted but with some slight aniseed flavouring. Nothing too heavy, I guess the flavour came from the “agave” on the description but I’ve never heard of it. And I’m supposed to be a food writer, yeah I know. Go to Instagram and then compare that to me. At least I gave you a vague flavour.
The kale was nicely done also. Kind of buttery in texture though not flavour.
Finally for the vegetables, the tenderstem broccoli was soft but with a slight crunch still. It was also nice.
Not only did the crispy roast potatoes look crispy, but they actually were crispy. And unlike last week’s, I didn’t need a steak knife to cut them with. Which was a good job as our knives were pretty crap. The larger one was probably the best one, it was a tad fresher too – but these were all good roast potatoes.
Even the Yorkshire pudding was pretty good. Quite oily in feel, edges crispy, the bottom nicely softened with the gravy. I seem to be using the word “nice” a lot, don’t I?
I guess the lamb was nice too. It wasn’t anything special in terms of cut, quite ordinary quality really. Yet it was a little rare, browned around the edges, quite tender.
Thankfully I’d made the right choice as both my accomplices reported the beef being pretty crap – neither came close to finishing theirs.
The gravy tasted of lamb which was quite useful – we think we had different gravies, mine did seem a bit thinner than theirs. It was of plate-lickable quality – a proper meat stock kind of gravy, though could have done with being a bit thicker.
So, there you go. A nice roast dinner with nothing to really complain about. Portion size on the light side, the lamb fairly ordinary but nice enough.
The vegetables all…hmmm…nicely done, the roast potatoes were the star of the show (though still only very good) – The Colonel Fawcett do do the best roast dinner that I’ve had in Camden. Certainly worth a visit if you are reasonably local.
I’m scoring it a 7.62 out of 10. My two accomplices who were disappointed with their beef, scored it a 6.90 and 6.50 respectively – like me, they were warmly complimentary about everything else.
Goodbye Colonel Fawcett
As I mentioned earlier, our waiter was great and earned his tip (service charge wasn’t added), the beer choice was pretty good – I chose an Australian-hopped pale ale, though never found out what it had to do with Australia.
The Colonel Fawcett itself is a decent pub too. Oh and the desserts were special – I’m avoiding cake and chocolate but my accomplices loved their desserts – 9/10 kind of level. I did have a spoonful of the sticky toffee pudding and it was wow. And I don’t even like sticky toffee pudding. I could be persuaded though at that standard.
So The Colonel Fawcett is worth a visit in a don’t expect to be bowled away kind of way, and don’t come all the way from the other side of London kind of way. And maybe they need to sort out their meat supplier – Daphne ain’t cutting it, at least in my view. But it was a good roast in a good pub – and a really enjoyable afternoon there too.
Afterwards we went to a Brewdog that didn’t announce it was a Brewdog until you got inside – how sneaky. Though they gave me a fortune cookie:
Yeah, I definitely shouldn’t have slagged off Saint Jeremy.
I’ll be back next week. It’s going to be spooky. And very scary. Be afraid. Be very afraid.