Roasts

Recent roast dinner reviews:

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  • Popup Emporium @ W7 Emporium, Ealing (Takeaway)

    Published 16 June 2020, 5:46 pm

  • Firstly, if any of you are racist then fuck off. I’m generally desperate for followers – desperation goes with the territory of being a blogger, but if you are racist then you simply don’t deserve my blog.

    Fuck off and block me. Same goes for anyone not racist that thinks violence is acceptable.

    Aaaaaannnnnnnnddddd calm down. Why am I here? Oh yeah, Brexit…hang on…no its a roast dinner review. Or it will be. Another in the bring roast dinners to Lord Gravy series.

    I do just want to say something else before we go on. DOMINIC CUMMINGS IS A WANKER.

    Ahhhh it is currently Monday morning as I am writing this introduction, I should be on my way to go stand up on the Met Line for 45 minutes, plus the extra time it would be delayed on journey, plus time waiting for a tube that I can fit on. Alas, China has struck and 3 months later I am still sat at my slightly wobbly bedroom desk all day, every day. Even worse, I spend all day looking at desks online thanks to my job. Used to be lingerie models.

    And, of course, I am still not permitted to use a tube train, pubs are still closed, restaurants are still closed. When pubs and restaurants do re-open then I’ll have to use a suffocation device to get there on the tube – and fuck doing that voluntarily. I’d rather stay in Harrow for the next year then wear a mask.

    Actually…maybe there is a way…

    Say No To The Mask Mafia

    Of course, many of you probably have a plethora of good pubs within walking distance but many of you don’t live in Harrow. I do have one good pub within walking distance up a steep hill, one acceptable pub but with shit beer halfway up a steep hill, one under 18’s Irish bar and one Wetherspoons. I do have a bicycle, but I’m obese and can probably walk further than I can cycle…and my bicycle is currently in Luton.

    And you thought it was difficult enough back in January for me to get a roast dinner.

    Thankfully, my dearest and most regular accomplice has a car – and from this point forward will be known as Meals On Wheels.

    Oh crap, I just realised that I searched for “gimp mask” without using private browsing. Going to get some odd looks on the tube when they see the adverts I’ll now get served…oh if only.

    Shall we get on with the review? What? I cannot hear you?

    I’m going to take that muffled bark as a “yes”. Then I’m probably going to go off at a tangent. I should probably have a “skip the crap” button at the top that takes people down to the score at the bottom, shouldn’t I?

    Say No To China

    I wonder if that heading counts as Britain “stepping out of line”? Fuck China…well fuck their government anyway. Chinese people, I like you – maybe one day you’ll be able to elect your own Boris Johnson. Dream of democracy.

    We had options for a roast. Lots of pubs are doing collections and one that really tickled my fancy was Popup Emporium, based at W7 Emporium in Ealing. Who have subsequently just announced that they are taking a break from Sunday roasts after the coming Sunday. Great timing for a review then!

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    So maybe get your order in now.

    Or maybe when you have finished reading this review.

    Hmmm just finished writing the review and realised that I hadn’t mentioned the price or the menu so I hope this doesn’t spoil the flow too much – if you cannot read images then the options were loin & belly of pork, topside of beef, lamb rump steak or chicken – all at £12. I went for the pork. I’m out of practice at this reviewing malarky.

    Sunday morning arrived and I spent it expanding my understanding of Webpack, Node modules and Babel because I am so fucking fun and enlightened. Oh and I also looked for some more shorts. What do you think of these beauties?

    Then Meals On Wheels sent me this:

    What? I have cooking instructions? Erm…this was not part of the plan. Different things have different times? Thankfully I had stayed alert and didn’t do a line of ketamine beforehand (or ever in my life, obviously).

    FYI if the undercovers outside my house are reading, the only white powder in my house is flour. Is that an obvious lie? It could be flour from before lockdown? Have I told you about these people sat in the car near my house that look undercover Mi5 operatives? I left my house to go for a walk this morning and they drove off at the same time…way dodgy. Should I be more paranoid? I’m thankful that my drug of choice is LIFE. Shit choice though nowadays, ain’t it?

    Anyway I’d not had a drink all weekend so I was as alert as I ever am, and was able to carry out the reheating instructions – it came cold so it definitely needed reheating.

    Say No To Ketamine When You Have Vaguely Complex Instructions Like Crossing A Road

    So alert, that I even remembered to enter their roast dinner presentation competition:

    Gravy boat in Roast Dinner
    Margaret Thatcher in Roast Dinner

    If that photograph of Maggie in a roast dinner doesn’t win the roast dinner presentation competition, then I clearly know absolutely nothing about presenting food.

    12 or so minutes later I had a roast dinner.

    There were quite selection of vegetables, all of which were limited in quantity so I didn’t get a particularly strong impression on any.

    Roasted parsnips and carrots were nicely done, and there was a little cabbage and leek – too little to really comprehend that I was eating it.

    A few cubes of swede had their flavour brought out well. All positive thoughts though.

    Also it came with cauliflower and broccoli cheese – again small in volume, but perfect in terms of a marginal squish, a thick and creamy sauce that didn’t pollute, and a hint of cheese – though nothing overly notable. Reasonably impressed.

    3 fairly small roast potatoes were supplied, and were heading in the right direction, but definitely needed a bit longer in the oven to crisp up properly. Above average, but average isn’t anything special in London!

    Say No To Average

    The Yorkshire pudding was really nicely done. Blissfully small – if anything good can come out of lockdown then I hope it is a shrinking of the average size of Yorkshire puddings. Soft and fluffy – yeah this was a victory. Let’s hope they don’t give it a statue then 75 years later call it a genocidal racist and then need to have the Democratic-My-Arse Hockey Lads & Lasses protect it. Corbyn used to claim everything was democratic also, didn’t he? Democratic Socialism. Democratic Football Lads. Hmmm…I’m seeing a problem with this adjective.

    Also in victory was the pork belly. Delightfully plentiful, mostly soft and tender – a little squidgy around the fatty edge. Just really rather satisfying.

    Meals On Wheels had the beef which is pictured above, I thought it really top notch in terms of beefy flavour – but a little tough to cut. Meals On Wheels blamed my knives, which in that case she needs to blame my mum who bought them. Meals On Wheels is my sister.

    The stuffing was pretty good – in flavour it impressed more than in texture, where it felt a tad like cereal…more coarse than gooey.

    The crackling was tough and needed soaking in the gravy to be edible, but once softened there was a satisfying element to making my way through it and that fatty flavouring resonated though with a desire for something easier to crunch.

    Finally the gravy. The absolute star of the show. I know, it looks a little democratically thin on the photograph – probably mostly because the pork gravy was a rather translucent shade.

    Sure, it wasn’t especially thick, but had a mellow yet complex flavour to it, and turned a good roast dinner, into a very good roast dinner. Gravy can make or break a roast – and this fucking well made it.

    If every single “thin” gravy tasted as gorgeous as this did, I would be a huge fan of thin gravy. Arguably, the beef gravy was even sexier.

    Say No To Mi5

    And I could lick the plate afterwards without a care in the world…ahhhh. Granted I was sat in my front “garden” and all the neighbours could see and those undercover Mi5 types sat in the nearby car would have been able to see if they hadn’t driven off as soon as Meals On Wheels arrived.

    I was well satisfied with this roast dinner. Remember – it was a takeaway roast that needed heating up, so things are never going to be perfect. Also remember that my scoring does not offer any compensation for this.

    The item that could have been most improved were the roasties – above average for London but hadn’t quite reached their destination. Texture of the stuffing just a bit grainy for me…perhaps personal taste.

    On the positive side, well, everything else was good but the gravy was absolutely special – and if there is anything that goes wrong nearly as much as roast potatoes, it is gravy. And this was bliss…I even had enough left over to eat with some bread the day after. Hmmm, cold gravy and bread, I should be a chef.

    Also I ordered a tarte au citron which was divine – it just felt like luxury gliding through my mouth.

    I’m scoring this an 8.25 out of 10 – Meals On Wheels gave hers an 8 out of 10. I suspect that in W7 Emporium itself instead of a takeaway, they could well score mid-upper 8’s.

    So you’ve got one opportunity left before summer to get a roast from Popup Emporium – get crackling. Assuming you can get to Ealing, of course!

    Before you go, just time to update you on my shorts shopping – look at these beauties:

    That gives me an idea.

    Those shorts…

    I could…

    Yeah I’m writing sentences to build up the suspense.

    Hopefully you haven’t scrolled too quickly.

    You know, build up to the special moment.

    Those shorts…

    I could…

    You know…

    Wear with this mask:

    I’ll be back at some point. Sleep well. Love you.

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  • Tapping The Admiral, Kentish Town

    Published 7 June 2020, 3:45 pm

  • Tapping The Admiral…in Kentish Town…a place that is many miles away from where I live. I see your stasi eyebrows raised wondering whether I have gone full on Dominic Cummings.

    Welcome to the inaugural Roast Dinners In London Delivered To Lord Gravy review. My most regular accomplice took pity on me and decided seeing as that loathsome wanker controlling our pretend Prime Minister could do whatever he wanted, she would deliver me a roast dinner.

    Whoa did you just draw a line under that?

    Granted, this is now in the rules so I’m not as cool as I like to think that I am, but I did used to smoke weed at university occasionally and read the life story of Howard Marks, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

    In fact, the rules are now so relaxed that I can chillax and toke a doobie with 5 other people in my local area, Harrow. Except I don’t know anyone in the local area, apart from my housemate, my landlady, my landlady’s brother and my landlady’s elderly mother. One of them does smoke weed though.

    Image stolen from The Righteous Stasian

    There have been some dark times in Casa Gravy – at some points I never thought I’d get to see a burnt Yorkshire pudding desperate for triple the amount of “extra” gravy that I’d just paid £2 for ever again.

    And it’s one thing not being able to get a roast, but I’m also starved of cute waitresses. I went for a walk to M&S the other day, and saw a fabulous bum wiggle on the way home – all the more glorious for being possibly the first vaguely attractive woman that I’ve seen not on Pornhub/Tinder in over two months. It really was a damn fine bum wiggle, even my homosexual friends might have appreciated it or at least understood my perspective.

    There have even been moments where I had considered giving up completely. Closing the blog and transferring my effort and talent onto something else – that could still happen depending on how onerous the logistics around roast dinners become.

    Outside?

    After all, it is very easy to see a situation where pubs with beer gardens reopen, but how many pubs do you know in London with sufficiently large beer gardens to meet the expected demand? And with use of public transport still socially unacceptable for social use, I could be stuck in Harrow for some time. And fuck wearing a mask for 1.5 hours on 18 different tubes each way.

    So when my most regular and effective accomplice offered to go to Tapping The Admiral to pick up a roast, and then drive 40 minutes to my house for an eye-test and a socially distanced roast dinner, I jumped at the opportunity quicker than you can say Dominic Cummings is a wanker and the reason I want him sacked is absolutely nothing to do with Brexit because I am totally over that.

    Oh there’s that line drawn under it again. Hmmm.

    OK it does have a lot to do with Brexit.

    So for the sum of £12, you could either have a lamb roast, a chicken roast or…nah you wouldn’t be interested.

    I should possibly elaborate, lamb shoulder and stuffed lamb breast, or chicken with lemon, thyme and bacon stuffing. Oh yeah. And for just £12 – in the whole years that I have been reviewing roast dinners in London, I’ve had just 4 roasts for that price or less – two of which were abominable.

    Collection was smooth – I should probably apologise to anyone without access to the area between Harrow and Kentish Town as you won’t be getting any reviews of roasts in other areas of London for some time! And who knows whether this will ever be repeated anyway…every time I write a review I wonder if I’ll ever write one again.

    Warm?

    The roast was actually still warm upon arrival, despite the 40 minute drive. This doesn’t always happen on the walk from pub kitchen to pub table.

    There were even two sizeable tubs of gravy – the majority of one tub is in the freezer, which may perhaps give you a clue as to whether I appreciated it.

    GAME ON!

    Except the parsnips were undercooked and rather tough to cut and chew – they were so white that they really should be apologising for their priviledge.

    Despite nearly 3 months without going to a pub, I haven’t thought of any new ways to describe carrots. They were carrots. They were fine, a bit of a crunch to them but nothing off-putting. Allegedly honey-roasted but I didn’t notice it, though this could be user error.

    Courgettes on a roast doesn’t go down too well on Twitter, but I was comfortable.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Most importantly, it is wonderful to see some appreciation for my taste in crockery. I did think about buying this plate off Ebay but I missed my opportunity. Gutted.

    Licking the gravy off the plate would take on a new dimension of concupiscence.

    Ahhhh Maggie

    Anyway, courgette on a roast. Not everyone approves and they probably wouldn’t approve of the spring onion either, but I was content and it provided a nice summer-like balance. There were a couple of small broccoli florets for those less open to new opportunities.

    From a takeaway roast dinner, I would have expected the cauliflower cheese to be the part that fell apart easier than a eye-test alabi. Yet it was good – cauliflower not too soft, sauce nicely thickened with a hint of cheese.

    The roast potatoes were a respectable effort though arguably the most diminished item from 40+ minutes in a takeaway carton. Kinda crispy on the outside and kinda soft on the inside, though the larger of the 3 roasties definitely needed a few more minutes in the oven.

    Respectable – verging on the good, though would have been much nicer with another 5-10 minutes in the oven AND IN A PUB. What’s the odds Boris opens the pubs this weekend when I’m fucking on call? We know what happens when I try to go for a roast dinner when on call.

    I was expecting a Yorkshire pudding – alas this did not arrive, though I’m sure many were expecting £350m a week for the NHS that Dominic Cummings promised them on the side of a fucking bus. Who knew that Dominic Cummings was such a lying, conniving, cheating wanker? Well, I did. I predicted it on my blog. Who’s the fucking genius now Dom?

    Nothing had massively hit the spot so far, it was just an enjoyable roast dinner, made all the better given the long drought. However, the star of the show was the lamb.

    Loads of it, for a start. Both shoulder which was arguably marginally overdone for personal preferences but was hearty and soft, and also rolled breast, stuffed with…stuffing, which itself was glorious.

    Lamb breast is normally a tad fatty – on the chewy fat side, and there was some evidence of this, but it is to be expected, and was really quite minimal. The crispy outside had gone a bit tough and tearable – but one assumes the journey did for that.

    I also enjoyed the gravy. More than sufficient gravy, a little watery – the journey unfortunately didn’t thicken it, but otherwise a proper meat stock kinda gravy, the type that even a leftie would lick off a Margaret Thatcher plate.

    It’s good to be back, isn’t it?

    Takeaway roasts are not going to be easy to score and keep in context with all the pub/restaurant roasts, but I have decided not to compensate and to stick to scoring as if this is exactly what I would receive if dining at Tapping The Admiral.  Yet if I had received exactly this, on a plate in the pub, then I’d still be pretty satisfied.  Easily one of the most generous portions of meat and I loved the effort that went into it.

    Only the parsnips were disappointing – sure, there are other improvements available but broadly this was pretty damn decent.

    I’m scoring it a 7.45 out of 10.  I guess that Tapping The Admiral would probably score in the high 7’s or low 8’s were it a proper roast in a pub.

    Closing Lines

    This might happen again. I’m not quite ready to draw a line under roast dinner reviews in London just yet. We are vaguely alive.

    Who knows whether I’ll be back next Sunday…actually I do know because it is already next Sunday now as it has taken me a week to find the motivation to finish this and I can confirm that I had seabass for lunch. What you going to do about it?

    My destiny is out of my hands, though a repeat should happen at some point. You could say that I am unable to take back control. But at least I can carry on this sorry enterprise for a little while longer. One final line?

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  • Sainsburys

    Published 22 May 2020, 7:41 am

  • Ahhh Sainsburys. We used to have a bit of a customer-corporate love affair back before Theresa May became Prime Minister.

    I’d write to them and express my love for them such as:

    Dear Sainsbury’s.
    It’s been a while.  I just wanted to drop you a note to say how happy I am that we have re-kindled our relationship, and that I was wise to give you another chance.
    I did at first notice a few things were not the same.  Your gorgeous Sainsbury’s Tomato Ketchup Smile was not quite tasting the same as before.  I wasn’t the only one to notice as my ex-housemate that always did his washing up, every single time, honestly, (a good soul otherwise) also thought there was a difference – another Sainsbury’s Tomato Ketchup convert thanks to yours truly.  Now I’m not sure if we were imagining it, I don’t notice it any more so many just in one batch?
    I am not keen on the Sainsbury’s spices either.  The spices themselves are fine, but now there is just one large hole in the lid, which makes it harder to use sparingly.
    Finally, your pitta bread eyes have changed too.  At first I didn’t like them.  But now I actually prefer them.  Though as I am trying to get my body even sexier for you my love, I have had to cut out my bacon and egg pitta bread sandwiches on the evenings.
    Also during the summer, I had some disappointing strawberries and avocados.  I didn’t want to say anything at first, as I didn’t want to jeopardise our tentative reunion.
    Thankfully I don’t have to worry so much as I have moved away from the soulless hole that is Bracknell, to the centre of the universe.  No, not Slough – London.
    I note that though I still don’t get chicken that lasts a whole week, I have yet to register any displeasure until this week.  And even better – I have a Sainsbury’s Local just 7 minutes walk away so I don’t have to get all my fresh food on a Saturday.  Oh and they are always crazily friendly and happy – as if they have some MDMA in their water supply but I highly (pardon the pun) doubt that.
    So this week I ordered some ripe and ready mangoes and some ripe and ready pears (blooming expensive ones!).  Neither are ripe.  Neither are ready.  Which is better than having gone off, I will leave them in my bowl and eat them next week, albeit I spent a day yesterday trying to eat rock hard pear that I had cut up.
    But things should be more as they are advertised.  It’s like dating a girl and finding out she is only 15.  Not cool at all.  Not even in the 1970’s, stripey boob tubes and all.  You know, when I was a teenager I really wanted to know what a boob tube was – it sounded erotic.  We had no internet so the mystery went on for many years.  Then I found out it was just a strapless top.  For girls.  Don’t worry – I have way too much manly chest hair to wear one.
    So on those images I bid my dearest farewell and look forward to many more years of joy and happiness together.
    Do keep in touch.
    By the way, are you going to Hull next year?  City Of Culture 2017.

    And they’d write back:

    So good to hear your voice again, I’d just like you to know that whatever we did, whatever we said we didn’t mean it, we just want you back for good.
     
    I realise we had to endure a rocky patch in our relationship back in Bracknell but let’s put that behind us. I’m glad my colleagues you have encountered in your local store have been friendly, helpful and generally high on life. What a credit to the company.
     
    I’m disappointed however that you’ve been catfished by the mango’s and pears online. No-one likes to be duped by an online description and I’d like to assure you this was never our intention. I hope this hasn’t been as much of a disappointed as the anti-climactic 70’s boob tube discovery.
     
    I’ve sent you an evoucher as a gesture of goodwill for the various issues recently. Simply enter this code at checkout and you can have £5 deducted from your next online shop. Perhaps you can use it towards ordering a little treat on us.
     
    We appreciate the time you’ve taken to contact us and we too hope for a long and fruitful relationship. 

    Alas, customer service is sooooo 2016. I don’t think you can e-mail them now – even my Twitter message from 22nd April remains unanswered, “Will I ever be able to get a food delivery again? I’m so fed up of having to go food shopping every day!”.

    Fucking customers

    I’ve noted during this crisis that some companies have been predictably shite – Wetherspoons take a bow. Others, like Sainsburys, were less predictable – zero customer service, fruit and veg aisles being blocked, no online delivery for people that have been having online deliveries for about 15 years. SOME OF US HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THE FUTURE.

    I know I’m being harsh on Sainsburys as it isn’t their fault that older people keep insisting that we can go back to a time when neither the EU or the internet existed and they do amazing ketchup. Try their ketchup – you’ll never buy Heinz again. You trust me, right? You know, maybe we can fight Coronavirus with Spitfires.

    And don’t get me started on British Airways who have £572 of my money and who are refusing to give it back to me, however I can exchange this for a flight which will be far more expensive than what I originally paid – £572 will probably get me to Newquay in 2021, not Tokyo.

    Anyway I logged in last week on the off-chance of a delivery slot, and I was successful for the first time in over two months. Finally I could start rebuilding my Brexit stockpile. Have you noticed that Brexit is starting to creep back into our lives? Behold the joy – and it is useful to have a reminder that Boris Johnson is terminally fucking useless.

    Well, at least I’d get some head from Boris.

    Brief serious point – maybe the public will now realise the value of serious people being involved in politics. Or maybe we’ll just go all native, destroy globalisation, have worldwide food shortages and then another fucking world war. Maybe I should buy a 3D printer so I can help print Spitfires for the war effort.

    Have I ever told you about the time that me and a friend got talking to two German girls in a pub, and my friend mentioned that his Grandad went to Germany once…and then started making aeroplane and bomb noises, followed by “Spitfire”. There are multiple reasons for my lack of sex life over the years and not all of them down to my resembling John Prescott.

    Fuck, if we did start electing serious politicians, what would I write about?

    Perfect place for heading when you think of one

    On that note, maybe I should start talking about the roast dinner.

    So this is the latest and probably last in the series of roasts from supermarkets – where I bought the constituent roast dinner items from the same supermarket which required the most minimal of effort – in other words something anyone can replicate. Well, except people without ovens…if having only one oven is a sign of being a pleb then I don’t know what having no ovens is like.

    I say last because I have reviewed Waitrose and Morrisons already – Tesco and Asda remain, but I think I’ve had enough misery already. M&S I refuse to do because I’m a shareholder and don’t believe I could review fairly. Yeah, my worst-performing stock by some distance. Good pants though.

    The first task is to see what own-brand gravy is available – not helped by a non-performing filter on the website which thought Bisto was a Sainsburys brand – maybe that was a sign? Sainsburys did their own chicken or beef gravy. They had beef joints but I couldn’t envisage myself not doing any preparation to it – I’d had chicken for the first two supermarket roasts yet I could feasibly do chicken gravy with pork or lamb.

    After a short browse I discovered the existence of a Sainsbury’s British Pork Shoulder Joint, Stuffed with Sage & Onion that I have just copied the name of. Perfect – already had herbs on, namely sage and parsley I think, and had stuffing inside. Always good not to have to do the stuffing yourself. Oh and rated a 2.7 on the Sainsburys website, which seems to be a good score – relatively.

    Coupled that with Sainsburys Yorkshire puddings, a green vegetable medley and some Taste The Difference roast potatoes – and we could have a…dinner.

    Dinner took around 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive – as this is how long Sainsburys advised to cook the pork for. In hindsight I should have allowed it to cook a little longer but it was approaching 8pm, I only had one glass of wine left and other things were in progress.

    Starting with the tender green medley which required either microwaving or steaming. The latter is beyond my neanderthal means so I used the trusty…well…rusty microwave. Yet what happened when I opened up the bag?

    Yes, ladies, gentlemen and fill in the rest depending on the level of your transphobia – PEAS. And, of course, as per their feared lack of discipline, they have got everywhere – bursting out of the bag and scattering all over the kitchen shelf for when my housemate cleans the kitchen this weekend. And no doubt still for when I clean the kitchen the weekend after.

    For microwaved vegetables, they were fine. The tenderstem broccoli was a little crunchy, the runner beans rather mushy. The peas are still under the microwave.

    Next up were the Taste The Difference Roast Potatoes with Goose Fat…wait a minute…

    DO NOT BLAME ME.

    I TRIED.

    A BIT LIKE ONLINE DATING.

    I STILL HAVEN’T MESSAGED MY SPANISH MATCH BACK.

    I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I AM TYPING IN CAPS LOCK.

    So the chips were damn fine chips. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside – you could tell these were not from Iceland. You could also tell that they were not goose fat roast potatoes. You could say that I could taste the difference…sigh.

    And if you think chips are bad, you should see what one of my favourite followers put on her roast dinner the other day:

    Damn, I’m hungry right now and it is barely 7am. Anyway the frozen yorkie was kind of fine. Better than an Aunt Bessie, but still felt a bit tearable.

    You know, I went to Sainsburys yesterday to get some air conditioning, which I feel is within the rules now. I also attempted to buy some food – queued up for ages to use the self-scanning machines, then realised that I have downloaded a self-scan app. So used that, went to go scan the QR code at the checkout and nothing happened. Had I paid? Who knows.

    So I went to the queuing area and asked someone who told me I hadn’t and that I had to get to the back of the queue which was now twice as long. I walked out and went to Waitrose instead. Boring story, but a perfectly timed annoyance – its as if Sainsburys knew I was writing about them.

    Yawn

    The pork would have been much better had I cooked it longer, but it was a decent enough lump of meat. The stuffing had a crispness where it had been exposed to the elements – though a slightly gooey softness inside.

    There was plenty of flavour to the pork, particularly coming through from the herbs so this was decently enjoyable.

    Alas the gravy had little more flavour than it had viscosity. It did have some flavour to be fair, but more of nutmeg. Why? Mostly I noted it for being transparent and watery – a pretty miserable affair. Also when it was being microwaved (hey, that’s what the instructions said), it made a noise similar to a car going over speed bumps, which was slightly disconcerting.

    I’ve had worse roast dinners…from Waitrose and Morrisons, and also those old normal places when we were allowed to venture across London without wearing a gas mask and an NHS identity card.

    The chips were probably the highlight, which isn’t the greatest compliment for a roast dinner, but only really the gravy was substandard.

    Maybe a 6 out of 10.

    As I mentioned earlier, this is probably my last supermarket roast dinner – I don’t feel willing to demean myself further with a visit to either Tesco or Asda.

    There are still options. There’s at least one place left on Uber Eats and I heard a rumour of a nearish pub doing roasts on collection – though it would be cold by time I had walked back home. Maybe I’ll branch out. Maybe I’ll take requests. Or maybe I will just stop writing.

    Even when pubs and restaurants open up, this is almost certainly going to be with social distancing, so much less table availability – and favouring large pubs with beer gardens. How many of them do you know in central London?! That is also assuming that I’d be allowed to travel by tube to get there…and only in a suffocating mask to stop me spreading one of the 14 new cases a day in a city of 9 million people, all of which are probably in hospitals and care homes, neither of which I visit. Also it is going to piss it down all July.

    There are many logistical challenges ahead. There is probably a point of hopelessness at which I just give up and furlough this blog…I hope it doesn’t come to that but I’ve gone from having a to-do list of 122 places to a to-do list of 2 places and I’m fucking fed up of being stuck in the same radius that I can walk until my bladder is half-full.

    Let’s end with a happy memory.

    I won’t be back next week.

    Hola todos.

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  • Cafe Express, Northolt

    Published 13 May 2020, 5:16 pm

  • It happened. I moaned about it for ages and it finally happened. No I’m not talking about Brexit, but about the lack of roast dinners available in Harrow, or anything that isn’t trashy food for basic types. This week, I ordered a roast dinner from Cafe Express on Uber Eats.

    Two months have gone by since my last proper roast dinner outing. I keep seeing pubs and restaurants across London offering roast dinners, and once I got over the heartbreak, I started collating them on their own page.

    Yet I live in Harrow. A true foodie black hole where the only places that deliver are fried chicken shops, fried chicken shops and fried chicken shops. Prior to this Sunday, I had never actually used Uber Eats or Deliveroo – that is the paucity of edibility around here.

    A bit like trying to get a shag on Tinder whilst being obese with an unfashionable hairstyle – I had given up all hope.

    Yet last Sunday, I had a quick “you never know swipe” with my location set to Madrid. Oh and I had a quick “you never know look” through Deliveroo – nada, Just Eat – nothing, Uber Eats – 4 places. 4 whole places. Eh? Albeit two were “sold out” and still are this week.

    GAME FUCKING ON. I didn’t even have to use a neutral ground.

    You know, this writing blog malarkey is weird. Sometimes I think that I have a genius idea for an article but then it falls flat on its face – like my recent Help Me Write post with a grand total of zero contributions. Other times I know that I’m writing a load of shit and then it predictably also falls flat on its face.

    I knew this roast dinner was going to fail in every respect. I knew the food would be dire. I knew that nobody would be interested in a review of Cafe Express in Harrow. And I knew this would fall flat on its face. Maybe I need a slogan?

    Slogan - Read My Blog

    So it got to around 1:30pm and I placed my order. It took a worryingly short amount of time in the preparation stage before Mansoor was on his way to Cafe Express. Not sure why I’ve chosen Cafe Express as my SEO keyphrase given that absolutely nobody will be searching for it, but hey I never cared about SEO before. CAFE EXPRESS.

    CAFE EXPRESS HEADING

    Just Googled it and they don’t seem to have a website, however they do have a 4.7 rating on Google so it must be really good. Or at least the best in the area.

    It does look quite classy from the photo I stole from Google. At least compared to most places in or near Harrow. There isn’t even that much litter outside and no dirty mattresses.

    Cafe Express outside

    They even have 3 out of 5 on some points thing.

    I decided to make a meal of it, and had some freshly-cooked bread for starters from Sainsburys, which tasted somewhat of vinegar.

    And I poured myself a glass of cheap Rioja, also from Sainsburys, into my exceptionally oversized wine glass – so large that I can only fit two glasses from the pack of four in my cupboard. However they are from Morrisons so they’ll smash at some point.

    Red wine in oversized glass

    Regular readers – probably everyone right now as I doubt there is anyone stumbling across this on the internet thinking “ooh I’m really interested in Cafe Express I might have a read of this blog” – will note that I have a fair disdain for presentation.

    So many times I’ve had really well-presented roast dinners that are lacking in flavour and substance. But look pretty.

    Roast in a bag

    I dearly hope that I have roast dinners delivered like this to me in a restaurant next year.

    Let’s make the wait even more enticing.

    Roast in a box

    Yep, plastic cutlery and gravy in a polystyrene cup – at least I didn’t have to ask for extra gravy.

    Polystyrene Heaven

    Now part of me thinks I should be a little kinder for delivery/takeaway – even Blacklock might struggle to score above an 8 were they to deliver roast dinners.

    I don’t really do takeaway food of any kind unless I’m drunk and it is too late to risk the smoke alarm going off, and the subsequent rath of my neighbours/housemate. So my experience and understanding of takeaway establishments is roughly comparable to my experience and understanding of clitorises.

    So my heart suggests that I should be a little more forgiving, especially to any pubs in the local area that are attempting takeaway roast dinners.

    I’m not sure my forgiveness stretches to this though:

    Cafe Express Roast Dinner

    £12.49 I paid for this, including the £3.50 service charge.

    Forgiveness Ahead?

    The carrot slices were stuck together in linear formation as if they had been sliced on the way to my house. They were soft and acceptable, though it is particularly difficult to fuck up carrots. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe.

    Alas the cabbage probably could not have been more fucked up. Soggy to the point of mulch, again all clumped together with even less thought than a government slogan. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe, but worse.

    Roast potatoes were sadly numerous and clearly not roasted. I counted 6 though it felt like 26 as I counted the almost as numerous amount of ways to remove any appeal they might have had before cooking. Some were quite solid inside, all had that deep-fried coating – occasionally I’d get a hint of something a tad crispy. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe, but even worse.

    Cafe Express Sunday Roast

    Does it look better on a plate?

    The Yorkshire pudding was like an Aunt Bessie but worse. It existed but provided no joy.

    Had the rest of the roast been decent, then the meagre amount of lamb would have fucked me off. However nothing had even approached acceptable on the plate so far.

    So I wasn’t too worried about the ungenerous nature of shriveled lamb. It even tasted like lamb. However – whilst at my base for comparison, Poplar Cafe, the lamb was not shit, this was shit. Tired, occasionally cold, overcooked. You can see for yourself how shit it looks and like the rest of the meal, it tasted every bit as bad.

    Finally the gravy. Well, at least I didn’t have to worry about not getting enough gravy thanks to the polystyrene cup filled of gravy. And it was thick! Sufficient, thick gravy – about as close to forgiveness as I can offer. Alas, it tasted a bit cheap and nasty, like pound shop onion gravy granules.

    How Much Forgiveness?

    Well, I was going to be more forgiving about delivered roast dinners, seeing as I imagine that they are so difficult to produce and deliver successfully.

    Yet my kindness ran out after I opened the box.

    The highlight was taking the plate downstairs and doing the washing up. I guess if I had to pick the more forgivable aspect of the food then it would be the carrots. Everything else was almost equally as turdtastic, tough the cabbage was really quite venomous.

    I’m scoring it a 2 out of 10. That may sound generous, but nothing was burnt, nothing was truly inedible. It could have been worse.

    Just realised that I didn’t show you the menu. Is there any point now? Is there any point in any of this?

    Time to get back to pretending to be Spanish on Tinder.

    I’ll be back soon. Maybe next weekend if I can face another dose of misery.

    The post Cafe Express, Northolt appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • Morrisons

    Published 10 May 2020, 8:14 am

  • I needed a roast dinner. So given the limited opportunities available to me, I went to Morrisons.

    Actually that isn’t really true. I didn’t need a roast dinner. But I did feel some compulsion and desire to write a review of a roast dinner – and I know that you need me. And then I spent two weeks with an unfinished article…

    I do sometimes feel that I am misunderstood. Not only in terms of my gender – we had a “guess the baby” competition at work the other day week and nearly half my colleagues thought I was a girl as a baby, but also in terms of my real being, my real persona, Lord Gravy.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    You should all understand my mission by now, and that is to find the best, and worst roast dinners in London. My long-standing fans should definitely appreciate this.

    There is no point in me cooking a roast dinner and putting it up for review – as you cannot replicate that. Also…I’d get a roasting…let’s just say that I look more like Delia Smith than cook like her.

    However, if I go to a supermarket, and choose the pre-prepared roasting options then you can replicate this yourself.

    So last Friday (well, 3 Fridays ago now), I went on a long walk to Morrisons before I started work – yeah I’m not one of you lazy fuckers on furlough getting almost full pay in exchange for maybe mowing your lawn once a day, and yes I did intend that to refer to my neighbour’s joy of noisy gardening instead of it being innuendo. There could be worse images in my head right now.

    This was just after the Trump revelation regarding disinfectant and I was delighted to breath the vast quantities of disinfectant fumes within Morrisons.

    Hmmm, disinfectant

    You may remember my trip to Waitrose a couple of weeks back, which was the first in this lockdown roast series. It was far worse than I expected – I scored it a 4.5 out of 10 for it really was tasteless and miserable. I don’t expect any supermarket pre-prepared roast dinner to score even as “high” as a 7 out of 10, but I certainly thought Waitrose would score higher than a 4.5.

    You’d expect Morrisons to score lower, wouldn’t you? Snobs.

    The first challenge was to scout for the pre-prepared gravy pouches. I could only find beef gravy at first, and I could only then only find either pre-prepared beef joints with their own gravy, or normal topside…and that would involve me doing something of my own volition.

    I stumbled around looking for vegetables whilst I considered my options. Pre-prepared vegetables were thin on the ground too, though I found some cauliflower cheese – so that was ticked off the list.

    Pre-prepared roast potatoes were not possible to find – I could have bought a minging bag of 90p frozen roast potatoes but I wasn’t willing to stoop quite so low and I have a fantastic excuse in that my freezer is full of pie and sausage rolls. Thanks to MyPie. Yeah I recommend.

    Hmmm, Chips On A Roast Dinner

    So I went for chips instead. Don’t look at me like that. They were Maris Piper chunky chips – and part of Morrisons’ The Best range. So must be the best, right? Certainly the best decision I could make, perhaps bar closing this blog and not feeling compelled to review such shite.

    Not long after, I discovered a pouch of chicken gravy, located nowhere near the beef gravy and other sauce pouches – I turned around to find a chicken in a bag – a new concept to me and it came with it’s own stuffing.

    Oh and a frozen giant yorkie, again because of a lack of freezer space and perhaps more importantly I didn’t want a fucking bag of the things – they were not from The Best range and quite frankly looked like they were from The Rather Nasty range.

    All that cost…actually I don’t know. £22.55 in total, but that included wine which was £7, cheesecake which was £2 I think…£13.55 at a guess. Oh and some chicken too for a sandwich, so about £10. Cheaper than Waitrose which was £12.98.

    The big day came around and I was suitably inspired by our leader returning to his duty as were surprisingly so many lefties on Twitter who seem to keep calling “Where’s Boris”, to my surprise. Yes I was raring to go.

    Hmmm, Food In A Bag.

    I’m glad I read the instructions as chicken in a bag needed to stay in the bag. My assumption was that I would need to remove it. 1 hour and 50 minutes in total – it required the bag cutting open with 30 minutes to go to brown it up (should I desire) – before I did that it had a few large brown spots which was slightly disturbing.

    At first I thought it looked like it had taken a large dump whilst in the process of cooking – thankfully I realised the stuffing had actually squeezed out of its head so looked more like a turtle. The skin doesn’t look right, does it?

    The gravy was a microwave job – woohoo that qualifies me to be a chef at Wetherspoons…and a few of the places I’ve eaten roast dinners at too, especially in Balham. Otherwise everything was a stick in the oven job – my favourite kind of cooking.

    All easy enough for you to replicate, you will be overjoyed to hear.

    Not quite strong enough for Rate My Plate but I’d certainly be a bit disturbed if that was served to me in a restaurant.

    Starting with the cauliflower cheese and this was…kind of decent. Decent enough, anyway. A little cheesy, the sauce thickened a bit but we did have some gravy pollution issues. Cauliflower was quite soft. Not amazing, but you aren’t expecting amazing, are you? I certainly wasn’t. It ticked a box of satisfaction if not overwhelming joy.

    I’m sure I’ve told you this story before, but I regurgitate plenty of my pithy anecdotes and I still somehow have readers – and I review the same fucking meal every week, or used to prior to 5G being installed.

    Anyway, when I was young I used to go watch Hull City AFC – in the days before 5G cancelled football. We used to sit in the Best Stand. Paint was peeling off, the wood was rotten, it stank of piss – if you were sat in the wrong area you’d get a shower of rust if the ball hit the roof. But it was the Best Stand. You know, this is probably someone else’s story that I’ve stolen.

    I didn’t want to put chips on a roast dinner, to the point where I seriously considered the frozen smiley face potatoes – alas, no freezer space. These The Best chips from Morrisons were the worst chips that I’ve had in a long time. Miserable, dry, a bit chewy – even with gravy on. Even worse – there was enough left for the next day’s meal.

    Hmmm, Cardboard.

    The Yorkshire pudding was predictably cardboardy. I felt like I was ripping strips off it, and it added zero value to the meal whatsoever. Then again, you could say that about many Yorkshire puddings at expensive restaurants in London.

    Believe it or not, the chicken was actually quite good. It was plump and didn’t feel especially cheap – the chicken drumstick seemed tough and overdone, but the breast was relatively juicy.

    The stuffing could have been better but likewise it could have been worse. It was tasty – being a mix of pork, sage and onion you’d bloody well hope so, and the texture was quite soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside.

    I took a sniff of the gravy once it had been microwaved and it smelt like a 1990’s football ground concourse. It didn’t taste like that and had enough resemblance to a chicken gravy to assist with the appeal of the roast dinner, even if it was weirdly transparent for a brown, gloopy liquid. Don’t take this as a resounding compliment – but it had flavour unlike the Waitrose gravy and improved the roast dinner a bit. Albeit perhaps less than crappy cheap granules might have.

    Hmmm, Summarise This And Lick Me All Over

    A roast dinner from pre-prepared ingredients at Morrisons was actually better than similar at Waitrose.

    Whereas at Waitrose, I encountered zero joy through the whole meal – I at least enjoyed most of the chicken, and the stuffing.

    The chips and yorkie were dire, but it isn’t exactly as if I never have to complain about anything on a plate when I go out for a roast.

    I wouldn’t choose to repeat this experience. I don’t recommend it. But it could have been much worse. A score of 5.75 out of 10 will suffice.

    Next up in the series could be Asda. It could be Sainsburys. It won’t be M&S because I’m a shareholder and I will have to give them 10/10 as I don’t want the share price to fall any further. Tesco is too far away.

    Unless, Boris…maybe…open restaurants first?

    The post Morrisons appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • Reader’s Roast Competition Winner

    Published 26 April 2020, 8:45 am

  • You know when you have a really great idea, normally after copious amounts of alcohol and drugs? Like snorting dried bleach…or even running a Roast Dinner Competition.

    Then you decide to go ahead with the idea, and tell everyone.

    And then you realise that you haven’t got any idea how to finish said idea?

    Well that is the stage I am at. I wrote the blog post for the roast dinner competition, I had a fair amount of entries – most even managed to follow the rules and e-mail or message me directly.

    Yet I don’t know who the winner is. I froze. I am still frozen. I am hoping that by time I have finished writing this I will know who the winner is. You, of course, have the option of scrolling down – that ain’t going to help me though. I’m as lost as a travel influencer stuck at home in Slough. Shit, just imagine being on lockdown in somewhere like Slough. Or Bracknell.

    Jeremy’s Roast

    So I’ll start with Jeremy’s entry who didn’t follow the rules and tweeted me instead of e-mailing/messaging his entry…I needed some level of organisation so if anyone else didn’t follow the rules and wonders why I’m not mentioning their roast, there is your answer.

    It’s a credible entry – pork and crackling looks decent, yorkies look nice and squidgy – the photo would suggest that the roasties need a bit longer, and a bit of chuffing post parboil, but you know this stupid competition is going to be very subjective.

    However, there are peas involved so I can rule this one out. Next!

    Timmy’s Roast

    Timmy was next with this effort:

    Well, he sent in two entries but one was a GIF and I cannot be bothered with going through the effort of trying to convert it into something WordPress will accept.

    I’m liking the look of most of this – you’ll already know why I’m not having it as the winner, however the roasties look proper, the broccoli cheese looks sexy – I cannot quite see what is at the far end of the plate well enough, but assume it is up there.

    Alas. Not only are there peas but there is sweetcorn too. Is this from a freezer bag, Timmy? Might have been considered more strongly without.

    Mush from Waterloo’s Roast

    Next up we have Mush who hopefully is not named after a type of enemy vegetable.

    If I pretend that I haven’t seen the frizbees in the top right corner, I’d probably suggest this is the best so far – the lamb looks tasty, the roasties look excellent and the non-purple veg looks up my street.

    And stuffing. Apparently she was reasonably drunk by the end of cooking too – someone has a lucky set of friends or family.

    I think we’ll get even better than that though.

    Matt’s Roast

    Jeez it isn’t easy doing this when you’ve had a long day at work…well at home working and only having eaten fruit and vegetables all day. Oh and a little bit of Manchego. Anyone else noticed how difficult it has been to get Manchego recently? Bloody Spanish need to stop doing interpretative dance with rubbish bins and make me some cheese.

    Anyway, Matt made this rather stomping roast dinner – and from Tesco ingredients too! Yeah, lockdown hasn’t stopped me being so snobbish – I spent £140 on food over the last 7 days…no I have no idea how I’ve managed that either. £33 was on pies though. Oh actually that includes wine and beer. Maybe that is normal?

    Just look at that pork and the crackling – pork looks so juicy, crackling looks banging. Celeriac mash, my kinda gravy – roast potatoes perhaps look a bit burnt and sweet potato is a controversial choice, though I like a bit of controversy.

    Well, I couldn’t end the last paragraph like that and not add the track.

    Anyway, Matt, this is definitely going to be considered. You could call it a finalist. Maybe it will be the only finalist? I’m impressed.

    Evan’s Roast

    I guess you are wondering if there is any kind of order going on here. No, you probably aren’t, are you? But I’m going to tell you anyway, and quickly before you fall asleep.

    I am writing about them in order of receipt. Fascinating.

    Just look at the roast rib of beef – that looks so close to perfect…at least for my tastes. Roasties look good, roasted carrot spot on and I bet the red onion that was sat under the beef whilst cooking tastes damn fine.

    But no gravy. No gravy! What are you thinking – I am Lord Gravy. Why have you sent me a photo of a roast dinner without the gravy…so close to being a finalist.

    Mark’s Roast

    Next up was Mark’s entry.

    Someone has made gravy exactly how I like it. Please tell me that you are going to work as a chef in a London pub after lockdown?

    Onion gravy (obviously so I am told – not quite sure why that would be obvious), plus some Hendos. Shall I Google that for you?

    Yorkshire puddings were apparently still edible the day after – some pubs struggle with this just an hour or two after burning them, I mean cooking them – everything else looks pretty good though it is the gravy that I am in love with.

    And he added, “…would be good to finally meat you for a roast”. I hope he means meet.

    A strong contender. There are a few stronger though.

    Viscount of Roasties’ Entry

    Then we have this entry from the Viscount of Roasties – the only person to have held the dubious honour of me being desperate enough for content to post his review.

    You’ll need to forgive him for being American (yeah – it’s not just British people that have entered – this web thing is WORLDWIDE – impressive technology huh?), and also his presentation skills…lets just say that it’s on my level of ability.

    He did attempt a compliment, “it’s the funny people that make life fun” yet this isn’t really a roast dinner is it? They are not roast potatoes, there is no Yorkshire pudding and just one solitary green leaf for show?

    And he sent me a photograph of a girl he is trying to hook me up with.

    I bet it tasted great but it isn’t a roast dinner. Soz.

    Saoirse’s Roast

    You are correct that I misspelled her name at first and also that I have no idea how to pronounce Saoirse.

    It looks similar to my mother’s roast dinner attempts – a respectable effort though that teeny tiny bit of stuffing does upset me!

    Plenty of food and at least I can see the gravy unlike other efforts, but I have seen better, as much as I’d be very happy eating that tonight. Though I do have a damn fine meal already in the fridge for dinner.

    Will’s Roast

    More than halfway now – you may think you’d got it tough as a reader to get through my drivel, but I have to write the damn thing – and judge.

    Thankfully my friend, Will, made it easy with his entry.

    To be fair, I’ve had less credible roast dinners than a bag of roasted chicken and thyme crisps.

    A real entry came later:

    Except it has rice. Seriously, Will? And peas. You know me – you actually know me and we have been for a roast together, got drunk together, celebrated election results together…yeah maybe not the last one. Don’t worry, at least you have your choice of mayor for a bonus year.

    I’m told it’s a jerk chicken with creamy spinach, and it does look like it tastes bloody great. And the flowers are really nice and I’m up for a game of poker in 2021 to celebrate the Police & Crime Commissioners Election results, if you fancy.

    But this ain’t a roast. Sorry, bud.

    Courtney’s Roast

    Another gorgeous looking rib of beef – my favourite cut by a long way came from Courtney.

    A mound of roastedish potatoes, possibly some gravy – a huge splodge of horseradish yet no Yorkshire pudding? Do they not have flour, milk and eggs in your local supermarket? Actually that is quite possible.

    And with a side of Korean BBQ sprouts – which sound and look amazing but if you look closely, what are those white bits that look like rice? I can tell you that I think they are rice.

    So not a roast dinner, but enticing enough to ask if she requires a flatmate – alas, Minneapolis is too long a commute. And I’ve heard the odd story about their president being, perhaps, a tad…basic.

    Dean’s Roast

    I said that I would have the results by last weekend yet I threw a strop because nobody read my Worst Roast Dinners in London post and Dean was actually offended by my attitude.

    So I decided that his Monday night concoction would replace his original entry…or replace his entry that replaced his original entry.

    Yes, his missus insisted that he replaced his original entry, which was a fine-looking pork joint, with this beauty:

    The garlic and rosemary lamb looks sexual, roasties and parsnips on point – veggies look fresh and tasty. It’s a finalist. Perhaps because I admire the bravado in posting a chilli in yorkie dish on social media.

    Matty’s Roast

    I’m onto my 3rd can of Gamma Ray now so I’m probably going to accept any entry as a finalist even with peas. Hey, my competition, my rules.

    This comes all the way from Malaysia – see, told you about the power of this newfangled world wide web thing – the whole world can read this. I’m still not sure why anyone in London would read this nonsense let alone Malaysia, but hey. Maybe it is for my fashion advice?

    All guys wear lacy lingerie nowadays, right?

    The cauliflower and broccoli cheese just screams “please lick me” even more than wearing that lacy lingerie on a date would, the chicken looks gorgeous as does the potato dauphinoise.

    A lot of effort has gone into this and I’m very close to putting it as a finalist.

    Daniel’s Roast

    The final roast. Don’t worry, your pain is nearly over – Daniel started his e-mail with “Love your work” and I can confirm that he is a finalist.

    Oh, the roast.

    Another rosemary and herbed lamb that just looks amazing. Roasties on point, gravy looks just how I like it – and thanks for letting me actually see the gravy unlike some other entries!

    And look at those stuffing balls made to look like hot cross buns, for Easter weekend. Amazing. Actually is a finalist just for that level of ingenuity.

    But peas. Peas. Ah fuck it, Daniel is the third finalist, pretend I didn’t see them…and the grotesque quantity of creamy liquid!

    Finalists

    These guys were serious.

    Matt

    Dean

    Daniel

    And the winner is…

    Matt! Congratulations.

    Why? I could have chosen any of the finalists…and perhaps a couple that didn’t make it to the final, there were good arguments for several.

    But there has to be a reason, and that reason is gravy. All about the gravy.

    Yet Matt’s gravy really stood out compared to the other finalists.

    And £25 has gone to his charity of choice, which is London Air Ambulance service.

    I am sure Matt will be celebrating this as his finest achievement of 2020…though staying inside and baking a loaf of bread seems to be the limit of most people’s achievements this year.

    And a massive thanks to everyone that entered. Would you have chosen a different winner? Let me know in the comments section below.

    I’ll be back where I belong soon.

    And I will need your help writing two upcoming articles…keep an eye out.

    The post Reader’s Roast Competition Winner appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • 10 Worst Roast Dinners in London, 2020

    Published 18 April 2020, 5:41 pm

  • Funny how life has changed, isn’t it? Two months ago we were all making copious travel plans from our addiction to the multitude of talented influencers on Instagrim – now we are all desperately trying to find photographic evidence of people being less than two metres apart so we can denounce them on Twitter and be a proud member of the Social Media Stasi.

    Well, I thought I’d take it one step further, and do something nearly as useful for the NHS as privatisation, and update my list of worst roast dinners in London.

    Granted I wrote a 2019 version of 10 Worst Roast Dinners in London so this will be mostly regurgitated content – 9 of the 10 places in this 2020 list were in the 2019 list. Whilst I’m only on paragraph 3 and it isn’t like I have somewhere to go this weekend except to go pick up some crystal meth from my dealer (don’t worry, he throws it to me out of his window – 2 METRES AWAY), there is a real danger that I might just copy and paste.

    It’s only been a month without going for a roast dinner and I’m already like, how the fuck did I used to write about roast dinners every week? Yet I realise that it is my duty to keep you inside your home and I think this list of worst roast dinners in London should do its job. Then again I realised in 2016 that it was my duty to keep us inside the EU and look how well I did there.

    Pornhub to the rescue?

    Then again, can you actually watch porn now without being disgusted about the lack of social distancing? I just looked at “SANDY, PUMA SWEDE AND SOPHIE DEE FUCK IN THE POOL AND PISS BEFORE DINNER” and was like, what are they doing so close to each other? Why are they touching each other? I cannot watch something like that – what has the Stasi done to me? Why has porn suddenly started to feel like it is disgusting and unnatural?

    Why am I here? Perhaps why are you here is the more perky question? Yet I have fans. I have no idea why. Shall we get on with the top 10?

    Now there is a man that could fix COVID-19.

    And I reckon he’d rather enjoy the roast dinner in at number 10 – well, still in there from 2019. Starting my roast dinner cabinet of all the non-talents…

    10. The Northcote, Clapham Junction

    Carrots harder than Mark Francois, turgid roasties and gravy so far removed from the concept of “real gravy”, which is what the menu promised, that I actually complained to Trading Standards.

    Yeah, I’m already reaching for the copy and paste functionality – but most crappy lists are copied and pasted in full with the year changed, and at least I’ve eaten these roast dinners. Well, tried to.

    “Unfortunately, Trading Standards wouldn’t be able to provide a description on what they believe is Real Gravy. We would recommend to bare in mind that it may be difficult to pursue as a description of real gravy is opinionated.”. In 2019 I said, “Is it fuck a matter of opinion”. In 2020 I say, “Is it fuck a matter of opinion”.

    9. The Grocer, Spitalfields

    I went for this most disappointing roast dinner after going to a jobs fair which involved unlimited free booze and I didn’t have enough time for a drink or even use the ball pit. Yeah, tech job fair.

    So imagine that you have a choice of the above after two hours trying to tell recruiters how amazing you are and no you don’t know React but are sure you could pick it up quickly, and no you are not a senior developer.

    Well that wasn’t my choice but I can tell you about the roast – not only was it on a fucking child’s plate which is the most ridiculous thing since Michael Gove said that we’d hold all the cards the day after we voted for Brexit and we could choose the path we want, it was also as turd as the path we have chosen.

    They only had chicken left when I arrived, it had bits of red cabbage scattered all over it, the gravy tasted odd and the roast potatoes seemed days old. Wow, much of that was actually original pirate material, lock down your aerial…OH MY GOD I could make a good joke out of that…hang on…LOCK DOWN your aerial…

    8. No 32 The Old Town, Clapham

    Down a place from the previous year’s list as the original number 7, Heirloom in Crouch End has closed down – though not before they offered me a free roast dinner. Note to self – please continue not accepting free roast dinners. Do people still have aerials?

    The thing that most pissed me off about No 32 The Old Town was how they tried to cram us in – literally, so much so that Matt Hancock would have been proud were this a bed in an NHS ward.

    I’m fat. Well, I’m obese, and for some reason they stuck us into a space where the table stuck into my belly all meal. Cheers. Don’t blame me that I’m fat – if I had to pay health insurance than maybe I might have thought twice about eating five sausage rolls a day. BLAME THE SYSTEM. BLAME THE WHO. BLAME THE BEATLES. BLAME THE TORIES. BLAME CHINA. Oh wait, maybe we can blame China.

    Basically this was half a plate of cabbage, roast potatoes that were rock solid – one almost as green as the sprouts, a stale yorkie and tiny portion of chicken.

    Yeah, someone didn’t CARE about this, did they?

    I must not Photoshop the badge.
    I must not Photoshop the badge.
    I must not Photoshop the badge.
    I must not Photoshop the badge.

    The sprouts were nice though. All 5 of them.

    7. The Three Jolly Wheelers, Chigwell

    Yeah I went to Essex for a roast dinner – well, it was on the Central line. And I went with a Brexiter that I met on a Conservative debating forum before I was forced out for not being Islamophobic. And it was exactly as you might expect it to have been. Both the forum and roast.

    Actually, I’ve just checked and my ban from the Conservative debating forum seems to have ended – guess what the first post I saw was about? I’ll let you think about it. There are two topics involved…see if you can guess correctly.

    There was nothing jolly about the roast dinner at The Three Jolly Wheelers – it was as cheap and nasty as it looked, and the worst thing was that despite being promised there were no peas – it came with peas. Good job we were sat outside in the wasp garden as I didn’t peacefully take them off my plate. I reckon Liz Truss would have something to say about this:

    No I don’t even remember the name of the person I went with. And yeah, he lived in Europe.

    6. Treehouse, Croydon

    Ahhh Croydon. Why on earth did I go there? Well, I decided to enter a competition to unearth the next great talent in food writing and I saw no other choice than to go to Croydon. I think the uniquely talented Nadine Dorries would have approved of my choice of venue. Alas, I had some Jeremy tosser as the judge, and you know my thoughts on Jeremy’s.

    We came pretty close to having a Jeremy as Prime Minister, didn’t we? Ahhh that alternative universe where Jeremy Hunt is the Prime Minister and we only have hundreds of cases of Coronavirus and I am still going to Croydon. Well, still able to go to Croydon.

    What part shall I copy and paste? It was a plate of mushy broccoli, roast potatoes that seemed like they had been cooked in a different decade, a brittle and dead yorkie, and a salty brown water to pour over the food. At least I was thought of as a VIP. I still haven’t been back to the nightclub upstairs. I haven’t even been back to Croydon.

    And no, I heard fuck all back from the competition. Racists. Oh Jeremy Hunt. Oh Jeremy Hunt. Oh Jeremy Hunt.

    5. The Red Lion, Westminster

    In case you are new around here – I’m not sure whether my 23 readers are repeat readers or whether most people read once then block my website – I used to be a Tory. I still want to be a Tory. I miss being a Tory. But I don’t belong any more – nor do I belong to any political party…I did vaguely consider starting a roast dinner political party but I had better things to spend my money on like a new suitcase for my exciting travel plans in 2020.

    Anyway so I take the piss a bit, but I do believe that almost all MPs are honourable people so I wish them no harm – I just disagree with most of them on most things nowadays. You don’t believe me, do you? Well, here’s Maggie:

    Yeah, a life-sized cardboard cutout of Margaret Thatcher. Yeah, the only contact with a woman that I’ve had in my bedroom for years.

    Anyway, this was a free roast dinner because I’d been here on a Friday night with my family and it was shit. So they offered me a table for 4 as an apology, and yes the roast dinner was equally as shit.

    A huge pile of stale red cabbage, weak and wobbly parsnips, tough, rubbery and Farragey roast potatoes, and finally, tough and dry yorkies finished off a truly UKIP-style roast dinner. Utter turd on a plate. Can you tell I copy and pasted this paragraph? I mean, UKIP aren’t a thing any more are they?

    A totally clueless roast dinner, and for absolutely no related reason I shall share a photograph of Dominic Raab, who Brussels apparently nicknamed the turnip. Yeah, no idea why either.

    4. Poplar Cafe, Poplar

    In hindsight it doesn’t seem like going somewhere Brexity for a roast dinner on Brexit weekend was the most wise use of a limited Sunday. Then again, nothing about Brexit demonstrates wisdom and I did at least get a forewarning of trouble ahead when someone wearing a mask confused a window for a door and then shouted that he “didn’t give a shit what people thought” about him wearing a mask. Though I did add some clarity for future readers – “for those reading in the future, there is some global panic over a cold”. Hmmm, I may have understated things there.

    Yet you couldn’t understate how bad this roast dinner was, how expectedly bad this was – yet it perhaps marginally beat expectations. It was edible though if you gave me the choice of ending lockdown now but the next 3 weeks I’d have to eat this roast dinner, I’d probably stick with lockdown for now.

    I did actually prefer the basic gravy to some of the wanky jus that pubs serve…used to serve, sigh. The lamb was edible – which you couldn’t say about the beef or chicken that my accomplices had, and the yorkie wasn’t burnt – chewy, but not burnt.

    I don’t know what the supposed roast potatoes were – some kind of ugly blocks of turgidity, the cabbage was so disgusting – it was almost like two people shaking hands. This was misery on a plate and fully deserves its positioning in the list of worst roast dinners in London, but I will have worst aspects of roast dinners in 2020. Actually, I probably won’t have any unless I cook a roast, will I? Even then, I have no idea how to make food this bad.

    Don’t fucking laugh at me.

    3. The Bedford, Balham

    Ahhh back to copy and pasting. I went here after watching Hull City AFC (my football team) confirm relegation at Crystal Palace – and we needed something to lift our spirits. This wasn’t it.

    You could imagine Priti Patel serving this to me as a sympathy meal with her perma-smirk. Ahhh, get relegated did ya?

    The carrots were actually solid – we had no idea whether they had even had an attempt at cooking them. Rubbery roasties and the beef was just an astounding achievement of arseholery – tough, chewy and way over-cooked.

    It is under new owners now, The Three Cheers Group, and I’ve had a couple of very good roasts at their establishments. So maybe this abomination is truly in the past.

    Back to normal times, and I had a bet on my football team getting relegated (again) in January, when we were near the play-offs. £5 at 250-1. We then went on a run of 12 games without a win. One more defeat and we would have been in the relegation zone and I would potentially have a nice little bonus for my Japan holiday. Fucking bats.

    2. London Business School, Baker Street

    You’ll need to sneak past the security guards for this one, and it was served to me on a Monday. This was when I had no job, so I did some mystery shopping in exchange for £20 and some free meals whilst pretending to be a mature student. I even had to feign interest in joining their gym – they must have seen right through me when I pretended to be interested.

    Steve Baker. Baker Street. Geddit?

    I’m not sure that I even need to comment on this – yeah I’ll copy and paste again.

    Salad on a roast dinner. Huh? Some of the carrots were crunchier than an apple and the broccoli was yellowing. I complain a lot about roast potatoes but these were as bad as you could get – cold, hard and greasy.

    The Yorkshire pudding was not only served upside-down – but it was rancid. It was possibly the second most disgusting thing I’d eaten on my adventures (the most disgusting is in the next review) – it seemed like it had been soaked in the North Sea. And the watery, brown “gravy” was pretty damn salty too.

    1. The Islington Town House

    You know when you sing along to a tune doo do da, doo doo doodoo doo dada and you are trying to work it out?

    That was me earlier today, and then I was like, “Fuuuuuuucccck…I keep singing the theme tune to Jim’ll Fix It”. I really must get out of this erroneous behaviour before lockdown ends otherwise I will experience lifelong social distancing.

    It’s an error, and you can get things wrong in life. Badly wrong like the Iraq War or Islington Town House’s gravy.

    For the rest of the roast dinner was reasonably good – I have since been recommended to go here by a couple of people.

    Yet our experience was vile and all because of the gravy, which will forever be referenced as the “road resurfacing tar” afternoon. Yep, somehow, I guess by burning sugar, they made the most disgusting gravy possible and totally ruined what could have been a good roast dinner. One of the very few places to actually put enough gravy on the plate too. Ahhh I do love irony.

    So, I hope you are all suitably excited about staying in for the next few weeks…months and I’ve put you off wanting to have a roast dinner in a pub for a little while.

    Let’s hope I get to add a few more to the list of worst roast dinners in London for 2021.

    Anyway, I left you with a question earlier on about what the first post on the Conservative debating forum that I used to be banned from was:

    “The crop pickers have arrived and bringing the virus with them. What a joke! Wasnt this what Brexit was designed to stop?”.

    Sigh.

    That’s three themes actually.

    I could go back and edit the earlier paragraph where I said two themes.

    I’m not sure I can be bothered.

    Yet I can be bothered to keep typing stuff here.

    I’m not sure why.

    How do I end this now?

    Maybe I should say something offensive.

    I wonder how easy it would be to find a “Boris Has Risen” video on Pornhub?

    END THIS HELL NOW.

    The post 10 Worst Roast Dinners in London, 2020 appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • Waitrose

    Published 5 April 2020, 5:08 pm

  • Saturday night and I like the way you roast, unprecedented.

    Don’t look at me like that. My blog, my life, my lockdown and I will do what the unprecedented fuck I want, thank you. If I want to cook a roast dinner on a Saturday night, I shall do.

    I made one at 4am off my tits once many years ago in my party days. It remember it taking forever to cook and me desperately trying to stay awake after a rather long sesh where I hadn’t eaten. It might have been a Sunday, though it also might have been a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…I don’t know, and I probably didn’t know back then either.

    You are still upset about me cooking a roast dinner, unprecedented, on a Saturday night, aren’t you? You want the song, don’t you? Saturday night and I like the way you roast, pretty gravy…

    Revenge is a dish best served with cut-up bleeps. You did listen, didn’t you?

    Now where was I? Oh yeah, I was about to wish congratulations to the far-right for their takeover of the Labour Party. Who would have thought that the Labour Party would have their very own version of Tommy Robinson leading the party? Gosh, Kier Starmer might not nationalise everything in exchange for free broadband…well, free everything if Labour win a general election. And for that, he is clearly THE NEW HITLER. Can I trademark that?

    Hang on, just had a report from a parallel universe…Jeremy Corbyn has nationalised Debenhams. Oh, the dreams. Clearly a nationalised clothing company is exactly what the UK government requires. Masks, I hear you say? Gowns? Ahhh. I’ll move on before the parallel universe’s communist government closes all restaurants…oh.

    Desperate times

    I was kind of up for herd immunity and taking my chances, in exchange for working from home, lots of social distancing, being able to wear my imaginary ex-girlfriend’s lingerie whilst on conference calls and hopefully not selecting the video option – and being able to still go for my roast dinner on a Sunday.

    Alas, Boris Johnson has been following the science – I’m heartbroken. Yeah, I know I’m not the first person to have had their heart broken by Boris Johnson.

    Sundays are just not the same. I wanted to blog about something. I wanted to keep your spirits up in the same way that the bag of ketamine you bought from Silk Road is doing…hmmm…do I still have my Silk Road account? Is Silk Road still a thing? I nearly bought some Bitcoins when I set up my Silk Road account many years ago, only set up out of technological curiosity of course. When they jumped up from $100 each to $250 each I decided “fuck that” and didn’t buy any. In other news, I have just bought some shares in a cruise ship company.

    Anyway, those hours…what was this paragraph about? I skipped to the next paragraph and now I’ve forgotten. PHOTO?

    Whigfield
    Mandatory Credit: Photo by Shutterstock (234072g) WHIGFIELD WHIGFIELD

    That was a hot look in the 90’s.

    Desperate aunties

    Oh my word are you also getting a massive influx of the same memes from your auntie and other people you speak to once a year? All the same memes that you saw two weeks before on Facebook. And why is my auntie sending me a picture of someone in a gimp suit?

    Anyway, back to the subject. You need content – but my content is me going for a roast dinner somewhere in London, and with the pubs shut and the Twitter Stasi shaming everyone who dare go near a park or a tube train, there are few options left.

    Some people said I should cook my own roast dinner. But there is a slight problem there – and I’m not just talking about my cooking skills, for that would be like a lesbian porn critic trying to recreate his own lesbian porn – the more pertinent issue is that I’ve dished out wayyyyyyyyyy wahey too much criticism.

    However, you need content. You need me. My blog needs content – I have even less page views that during the election. Ohhhh, remember those hallowed times where all we worried about was a communist government or THE OLD NEW HITLER insert trademark symbol?

    So I compromised. I would review Waitrose’s roast dinner. That way I can blame Waitrose instead of my middling cooking skills for what goes wrong – though I opted against the misery of frozen meals, and went for the hope of pre-prepared roasting items.

    Roast dinner items from Waitrose

    With slight unease at my job situation, I went for the cheapest option that Waitrose had, which was chicken. Granted, I am still shopping at Waitrose, though in my defence it is the closest large supermarket to my house. I don’t count Iceland.

    Desperate explanations

    In case you haven’t realised, there is a point here in that I am trying to replicate your options for an off-the-shelf roast dinner, for the purposes of a review. Hence everything had to be pre-prepared, off the shelf kinda thing. No making my own roasties, no making my own gravy. For the purposes of the review – this has to be available to you.

    The ingredients came to £12.98 – though this was easily enough food for two. Alas, I’m not finding it any easier to get laid since lockdown. How’s Tinder going for you right now?

    Saturday night came…hang on…Saturday night and I like the way you roast, pretty gravy.

    Whigfield Greatest Hits Album Cover

    Greatest hits? Plural? Man, I have missed out. Shame I don’t have time to research the rest of her greatest hits.

    So Saturday night arrived…and I fired up the oven, pretty gravy. You might think that I was just putting shit in the oven, which I was – Waitrose shit nonetheless, however this was unexpectedly complicated.

    First the roast potatoes required 40-45 minutes at 200’C. The chicken required 40 minutes at 180’C. The stuffing required 15 minutes at 160’C and the carrots required 20 minutes at 180’C. I have one oven. And easily lose track of time. Yeah I know, I’m the only person shopping at Waitrose who only has one oven…poor scumbag pleb jumping above his station.

    Desperate one oven pleb situation

    This roast dinner cooking shit ain’t easy I can tell you. If I hear anyone criticising chefs next year once Sir Boris Johnson grants us each one Sunday out of our home, then I shall send the Twitter Stasi around.

    And how the fuck did Osama Bin Laden manage so long in that compound?

    My roast took around an hour or so to arrive – I kind of kept forgetting that I was cooking as I was trying to write this at the same time, yet I managed not to burn anything which is always a bonus.

    Waitrose Roast Dinner

    Yeah I know, my presentation ain’t the greatest – but if you saw my Tinder profile then you’d probably appreciate the above as a comparative work of beauty.

    Starting with the Chanteney carrots – all three colours of them. Having vaguely followed the instructions these were still too tough for my liking and really didn’t get the best out of them – the purple ones in particular were so plain that I couldn’t bear eating them. These are good quality carrots, but they really need roasting longer and at a higher temperature than Waitrose’s packaging advises.

    Gosh onto the roast potatoes already. Roast potatoes are easy to make. Honestly, they are. I followed the instructions by decanting them (their words, not mine) into a baking tray. This was such a mental struggle not to put some oil, pepper, rosemary or anything on them – but that would have gone against the point of this review.

    I think they were better than frozen Aunt Bessie’s roast potatoes though it is so many years since I’ve had such abominations – even at my most hanging I can make a few roast potatoes.

    Vaguely crispy on the outside, somewhat soft on the inside – they would likely have been better had I had two ovens and not had to turn the temperature down.

    Desperate roasties

    The Yorkshire puddings were fine – better than Aunt Bessie’s by some way and better than at least half of those I’ve had in pubs, normally sat under heat lamps for days until they become brittle. You could tell these Waitrose yorkies weren’t fresh, but at least they weren’t brittle, burnt or dry – even if they did feel a bit plastic. More an appreciation of what they weren’t rather than what they were.

    The butter basted chicken breast joint wasn’t the largest before it went in the oven and was notably smaller after. It wasn’t amazing, I’m not sure it was even quite good. It passed in a way that I’d expect any pre-prepared supermarket chicken to do so bar Iceland. There was a slight peppery texture to the skin and the chicken was a little dry despite the silver foil tray being half-full of juices after cooking.

    Things went downhill with the stuffing and weren’t exactly gleaming before. It kind of had this earthy, uncooked feel to it despite my having followed the cooking instructions. Perhaps I should have trusted my own intuition when it came to cooking?

    Finally, the gravy. Marketed as delicate and savoury – I can only assume delicate means tasteless, and savoury means watery in a Waitrose marketer’s world, with apologies to my friend who works in Waitrose marketing though he did vote for Brexit so make that a half-apology as I’m still waiting for the NHS to get their £350m extra a week.

    This “gravy” requires an apology nearly as much as Brexit (woohoo – more Brexit than virus references!). It tasted of water. It did have a kind of syrup-like texture so it wasn’t texturally shite, but this was no better than many of the watery nonsenses that so many pubs in London serve. I actually threw the rest away. Yes, I threw gravy away. £1.99 gravy.

    Desperate times

    This Waitrose roast dinner was massively unsatisfying and puts quite a few of my roast dinner adventures into context. Perhaps I should have expected this and perhaps this is a failure of my expectations, or even my fault for only having one oven. I could have microwaved the stuffing too, which would have made it easier…and wouldn’t have made the stuffing worse.

    And there was enough for leftovers. Fuck my miserable loner life.

    There was no highlight. Even the beer that I had chosen to drink with it was disgusting – some grapefruit thing, yuck – the perils of buying a box of random beers. The worst part was the watery gravy, by far.

    If I scored it a 4.5 out of 10, that would probably sound generous – though I think other supermarkets would do a worse job. Asda and Tesco, surely?

    All that was left was for me to wait for my dessert, which was bread and butter for some reason. Alas, I hadn’t quite caught Michael Gove’s instructions.

    Michael Gove.  Stay home.  Snort Coke.  Tell lies.

    This is a failure that I am in no rush to repeat any time soon – I might as well have gone to Morrisons. I guess you know what my next roast dinner review will be of…maybe. Suggestions and inspiration for these tough times welcomed…

    Next week there will probably be something new or at least regurgitated in writing. Whether or not I can bring myself to cook a roast dinner again is another matter.

    Don’t forget the unprecedented reader’s roast competition!

    The post Waitrose appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • McMullen’s Irish Pub, Las Vegas

    Published 24 March 2020, 7:04 pm

  • Do I have a teleport? Do I have a time machine? How on earth do I have a roast dinner review of McMullen’s Irish Pub in Las Vegas? Which is not part of London, FYI.

    Oh for fuck’s sake, since when did anybody take what I write seriously? This blog is bad enough let alone my piffle on Twitter. And now everything is closed. Why wasn’t I ignored like normal? Sigh.

    I am loathe to let anything stop me from going for a Sunday roast, not storms, not hangovers, not even the Metropolitan line. Alas, we must do what our Virus Taliban overlord, Sir Boris Johnson (he will be knighted one day) asks of us.

    Even if the pub that we were booked at had remained open, I was concerned that I might lose followers for doing something now socially unacceptable.

    It seems that I should clarify that I neither have a time machine or teleport, despite many years of speaking shit about them, though that didn’t stop Nigel Farage getting an end to freedom of movement.

    I don’t even have a fucking air conditioning unit. Think ahead – you will need one soon with all this working from home!

    This was sent to me by my budding American understudy – he does quite often write little love letters on Twitter to The Orange Man but hopefully you can forgive him for that. I mean, I nearly voted Tory in December and you still love me. Right?

    Anyway, I was keeping this for a special occasion…probably when I went on holiday except I probably now won’t be going on holiday this year and neither will you, so we can just all be miserable here together. Let’s hope for a wet summer, shall we? Anyone with a large garden right now – fuck you and your outdoor space.

    Over to you…Viscount of Roasties? Occasional annotations from myself in square parentheses…I mean brackets.

    Not a Roast In London…Clearly

    So I’m not Lord Gravy. This isn’t a roast in London. And I’m not even a resident of the UK. What the hell happened to this blog?? I could make several jokes that would all end with the word Brexit or minor violations of the law involving minors but nothing is coming to mind so I’ll just cut to the point: I’m a guest roast reviewer so our Lord and Salver (yes, I spelled that correctly, google it) can take a five minute break to surf his Tinder app (or is it Grinder? I’m not up to date on my dating apps) and maybe get some much needed lovin’. I’m an American, if that’s not already immediately clear. We apologize for butchering your language and sending our fat-load of a President over to insult your food, insult your politics, insult your mayor and insult…well, pretty much everything. You can keep him if he hasn’t already escaped to insult Ireland and France.

    [LG – apologise not apologize, bloody yank]

    So, why is an American reviewing a non-London roast, you might ask (go ahead….ask……) I have no idea but isn’t the point of this entire spin around the sun to have fun? Ok, I’ve already lost you so maybe I should get with the reviewing:

    [LG – nobody is having fun nowadays except the Virus Taliban]

    I’m not Incoherent

    It was Mother’s day here in the good ol USA and I took my mom out for a Sunday roast. I know, I know, Mother’s day was last month but who knew writing a blog about food was so hard? I picked up my mom and headed to Crown & Anchor pub here in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, I live in Las Vegas. No, I don’t live in a casino. Crown & Anchor is a British pub, owned by a British expat and is the place to go for Brits to get a little bit of England in Las Vegas. I recommend a visit if you’re ever here. We arrived just after 1 pm to avoid all the crowds watching the last football matches of the season (go Arsenal…Oh well, I just lost the other half of the audience) and to avoid the crowds of drunken college kids from the nearby University of Nevada Las Vegas. My daughter being one of those college kids….not the drunken kind (I hope). As we walked in the power went out. I’m not kidding, the lights actually went out and the whole place was pitch black. I’m not sure if it’s a statement about your country or mine but there you go.

    [LG – writing a roast dinner review isn’t that hard…any old shit tends to do. Though shorter paragraphs are easier to read]

    Roast in the Dark?

    Ok, no. After about 15 minutes of waiting in the dark to see if the lights would come back on, we decided to pass on this location and go elsewhere. No one wants to eat in the dark, no matter what the trendy fools at Time Out say (no corporate sponsorship for me). Besides, the transformer was knocked out and they couldn’t cook anything without electricity. Makes me wonder how many microwaves they have back in the kitchen. And it seems they can’t serve beer without power so I’m outta here.

    A short 10 minute drive away was McMullen’s Irish pub. I know, not the same as English but more than half their menu is British food so I’m not going to complain if you don’t. Luckily for me, they had a Sunday roast and my mom was still enjoying “her day” so we ordered up our roasts. She ordered the beef and I decided on the pork. I know there’s usually a photo of a menu here but this isn’t my blog and this isn’t my usual job, sue the other guy….he’s already catching hell for just doing this blog, the idiot American isn’t going to improve things.

    [LG – erm…]

    Irish Roasts in Las Vegas?

    Beer is up. The Boddington’s was a fine way to start the meal and let me thank you Brits for giving the world some of your best in the form of beer. I’m a fan. The roasts arrived after only a 15 or 20 minute wait.

    [LG – Boddington’s? What the actual fuck? Nobody in Britain drinks that, by the way…Americans don’t yet understand sarcasm, do they?]

    (roast Picture here)

    [LG – I’ve seen worse but what the hell are those discs?]

    Let’s start with the veggies. The carrots were kinda bland and not well flavored. The green beans followed their carrot cousins down the same bland hole of blandness (I have the best words). Now, the Brussel Sprouts, do they have Brussel sprouts in Brussels or anywhere else for that matter? Great, I just googled Brussels and now I have a picture of a statue of a little boy peeing on my desktop and the boss wants to see me in the conference room, I didn’t learn if they have Brussel sprouts but I now have a “file”. The Brussel sprouts, by the way, were tasty. It seems the flavor missing from the carrots and green beans was located on the Brussel sprouts. Nice and buttery. Tender and yet, still with a bit of crunch to them. Perfect.

    The Yorkies, I got two but don’t be jealous because they lacked anything in the way of size. If they had been combined as a single yorkie, maybe it would have been fine, but these bite sized yorkies seemed like a tantalizing tease, much like that school dance date back in the day where I received a hand shake at the end of the night. I was 16 years old. I mean, how is that supposed to make me feel? I said I loved her and I tried to pretend that it didn’t hurt inside but it did. It’s not all about food here on the blog, is it? This may be the cheapest therapy session I’ve ever attended.

    [LG – you got a handshake from a woman? Better than I ever managed]

    Wankers on Parade

    The potatoes were….unusual? Upon first examination, I assumed that these were a total loss. Some kind of sacrifice to the fryer gods. There were three and they were only about a half an inch thick, that’s @13mm for you metric folk and they looked like some kind of puck but they were crispy. So I took a tentative bite. And joy!! They were light and fluffy on the inside. I’m not sure what kind of witchcraft this is but I approve and now worship at the church of strange but crispy potatoes pucks. Wear your Sunday finest and don’t sass the choir ladies. Well, now I’m a convert but I still have some meat to review….much like the college dorm days but you get through the long nights just to say you were brothers in the fraternity…Oh, did our therapy session end? Sorry, I’ll let myself out.

    [LG – and you thought I spoke a load of shit]

    Where were we?

    The pork roast was a pork loin and I’ve made those before so I know that its possible to screw these up and make them dry as, well, the Las Vegas desert. I was quite surprised to see that this pork was roasted up perfectly. Nice and moist and very flavorful. The fat was crisp and the seasoning was to perfection. The gravy, of which there was a very nice size dish, was almost unneeded. The gravy had great flavor and was the correct consistency. When I poured the last of the gravy on the last half of the final piece of pork, it just remained there, like the UK should (took me ten paragraphs to work in a decent Brexit mention, the first one didn’t count).

    [LG – gravy was “almost unneeded”? Gonna be a while before you Yanks get this roast dinner thing. Pork did look nice though]

    My mom barely ate her roast but she took most of it home in a to-go box so I ended up buying her annoying dog a roast dinner for Mother’s day….what a time to be alive. All Dad ever wanted for Father’s day was for me to buy him some beer. At least I knew he was going to enjoy it and not the dog. Or maybe not. That dog never does walk straight.

    [LG – and you thought that was a bad time to be alive…]

    Score, Score, Who’s Got the Score?

    This being my first Roast review, I’m inclined to give it a high number, but I’ve read this blog and I know better. The bad parts can’t ruin the roast but the best parts shouldn’t make me overlook the badness, hello carrots, I’m looking at you. So for my first and probably only roast review not in London, I’m giving this roast a 6.72 out of 10. That seems higher than I intended just looking at it but I’m happy with that number and I’m leaving it that way (did I just say Leave?). Long story not so short, if you’re ever in Las Vegas and the lights are out at Crown & Anchor, go to McMullen’s. It’s Irish on the inside but Vegas on the outside. Oh….vote Tory….small nob….Spanish girls….Nipples!

    ******

    Those stars indicate that I’m back. Me, Lord Gravy. I don’t know what else to say. Did my yanking protege do me proud or shall we go back to Herd Immunity?

    I have no idea when the next review will be. I see all these social media posts from pubs across London that are doing roast delivery services, and then I check what is available for delivery where I live in Harrow:

    A search for “roast dinner” was coming up with somewhere that would struggle to outclass Poplar Cafe – alas even that potential mountainous opportunity of misery is now missing. A search for “gravy” comes up with “Sheba Chicken in Gravy”. Sheba is cat food. We haven’t quite reached that stage…two more weeks perhaps…

    I could, of course, make my own roast dinner. But after being an arsehole towards many other chefs/restaurants I would blatantly get a hammering. Deservedly, of course.

    And it isn’t like I can make a roast dinner out of packs of sliced ham, beetroot and bananas – which was roughly the fresh food choice in Sainsbury’s this morning in my one proscribed escape from the Virus Taliban.

    Sigh. Don’t fear. One day this will all be over, there will be giant statues of Boris Johnson all over the country and you will be able to sit underneath them, reading a new roast dinner review from London. And you know I ain’t going anywhere shit on my return. Well…I’ll be trying not to.

    I wonder if maybe my Twitter demands can be met again?

    Unless the next time we meet: Stay at home. Cook roast dinners. Save your sanity. And don’t drink shite like Boddington’s.

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  • Rotunda, King’s Cross

    Published 16 March 2020, 8:09 pm

  • Everything is cancelled. The world has stopped. But I’m still going around, around a round round round to Rotunda in King’s Cross.

    Sigh. This might be the last review for some time but hopefully I’ll make your eyes roll enough to vaguely miss me. I’m almost a Brexit-free zone now, too.

    This week I took the dangerous decision to visit my parents in Hull for the weekend, who are taking the current mass panic no more seriously than my Grandma, who when I offered her a fist-bump (triple-checked the spelling) grabbed my hand and kissed it. Yep, hygiene messages are getting through alright.

    My usual accomplice had decided that she would rather disappear to deepest, darkest south-east Europe and try to get stuck there so I was dining on my own. Not just at a table on my own but pretty much a whole restaurant on my own – I counted 4 tables including my own, and by time I left there were more toilet rolls then people inside. Staff included.

    Alas, when even Ireland starts a #CloseThePubs campaign, the writing is clearly on the wall for roast dinner eating possibilities.

    My guess is that even if the government doesn’t ban pubs from opening (edit – actually it hasn’t banned them from opening…), it may well become socially unacceptable to leave the fucking house by next Sunday. Not that I’ve ever cared too much about being socially acceptable, but even I’m not picking my nose and eating it on the tube any more.

    The world is round

    I’ve been to Rotunda a few times before – you could call me a regular, then again you could call me sexy. Bar a handful of chips, I’ve never eaten here.

    Rotunda hasn’t quite charmed me enough to this point. It has a charming location right on the corner of Regent’s Canal and some kind of minor harbour – a fair amount of outdoor seating yet whenever I’ve been in the summer the amount of tables actually in the sunshine is limited.

    The bar area is large, and part of both indoors and outdoors is reserved for dining. Alas, it is still March as I write and still pretty damn chilly.

    One notable memory here is that there was a sizeable party, all quite well to do who had reserved an area outdoors – yet it got chilly and they wanted more space indoors. The manager apologetically asked if we would consider moving tables – in exchange for a large glass of wine each. I’m always happy to do almost absolutely nothing in exchange for wine – so they know how to look after customers here.

    I think I only put this on my to-do list in shock at the price of their Sunday Beef Club menu – £65.

    Subsequent research let me to realise that Rotunda did pleb roast dinners too, so in my slightly disturbed way of thinking, I decided that if they dare charge £65 (granted there are several courses plus wine for that), then maybe it was worth adding to my to-do list. Either I’d get a good roast dinner that not many know about, or I’d be able to slate somewhere that thinks way above its reality. Though as much as I love a good moan, this potentially being the last roast before Virusmas, I was kind of hoping for a good send-off.

    On the menu was just lamb or pork – unless you were more than one person, or rich and wanted to be part of beef club.

    I went for the Texel leg of lamb at £20 – Texel apparently being an island off the coast of Netherlands, and Texel lambs being some kind of yellow dog-like sheep.

    No, that isn’t a display of my Photoshop skills either.

    My roast dinner took around 10 minutes to arrive, if that – it wasn’t exactly as if there was a queue of orders going on, and I could see a mass of Yorkshire puddings which were almost definitely going to waste.

    Fuck me – a chef in London has managed to serve a roast dinner using just one plate. Is it the end of the world or something?

    The world has ended.

    Some people might suggest that it wouldn’t win any prizes for presentation, but it ticked a lot of my boxes on arrival – this is how I want my roast dinner to look.

    You know, I was at home this weekend and my mum told me that I needed to dry my hair. And then offered me a Dyson hair-dryer. A Dyson! I explained to some incredulity that I voted remain and couldn’t accept such a suggestion. BRING BACK BREXIT.

    Oh those were the days.

    Three thin, whole carrots were supplied that had been roasted. They were good, but didn’t especially stand out for any reason.

    What happened to my broccoli paragraph? I swear I wrote one but doing a check before posting it seems to be missing. This was slightly charred, slightly crunchy ordinary broccoli – about as good as ordinary broccoli can be. Again, I approved.

    The cauliflower cheese looked sexier than it was, but there’s not really a criticism of it. The creamy cheese on top almost had a suggestion of scrambled egg to it, and the cauliflower itself was fairly soft – though not close to mush. In the very good category.

    I’d heard someone say to the chef on the way out, for it was an open kitchen, that it was the best Yorkshire pudding that she’d ever had. I took one bite of crispy nothingness and wondered if she had some kind of fever.

    The world is now flat

    The three roast potatoes were neither a dream or dreadful. More a bit tough than crispy on the outside, and not a million miles away from starting to feel tired – yet they were within the bounds of acceptability.

    I went back to the Yorkshire pudding though. Once it had been softened by gravy, and there was enough gravy once my extra arrived, it became more enjoyable as every bite went by. Perseverance – and sufficient gravy bought me joy, and it was definitely a bit more eggy in flavour than average. A win – in the end.

    I really liked the lamb…wait…did I just hear that Chris Grayling has a new job in government? Chairman of the intelligence and security committee?

    Find out what I thought of the lamb after a word from our sponsor:

    Anyway, I really liked the lamb. Lots of it – I hope they normally offer this amount but possible that the panic had caused some generosity here? It was nicely pink, quite fatty in places – which is my preference. Like most of the meal, this was good. Really good.

    And the gravy? Thick. Yep, thick gravy. Not only had the chef managed to put the whole roast dinner on one plate, but he (well, they) had managed to provide thick gravy. More of a red wine kinda taste, more complimentary than complex – I was as happy as Putin might be with the latest Chris Grayling news.

    The world has stopped. So has this review.

    I guess you can stop the world. All I need now is a blow job and I could isolate a happy man. Shite, just realised – with all the virus shenanigans, social media has forgotten about Steak & Blow Job Day. Sad times. Not that I ever celebrated it in full.

    My only real disappointment on the roast was the potatoes, scraping in at acceptable. Most was joy – if not quite Blacklock standards, the lamb and gravy providing a silky combination that I will remember until at least the next roast dinner.

    Service was good, it is a damn fine location and I was able to practice social distancing. Though being a software engineer, social distancing is fairly natural to me.

    I’m scoring it an 8.25 out of 10. 14th best roast dinner in London at the time of writing, from 145 reviews. 145 reviews…no wonder I never get laid.

    I love you

    Next Sunday, who knows what we’ll still be allowed to do. I do have a table booked. In a pub. With friends. Multiple friends. This isn’t going to happen, is it?

    OK. Game over. I think. I’ll be back once our vast number of Twitter virology experts deem it safe to do so. Though I haven’t cancelled my table…

    Guess there’s not much point in asking Netflix to film Roast Dinners Around The World for while. Oh won’t someone think of the travel bloggers.

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