Recent roast dinner reviews:
This is just a content scrape of the Roast Dinners in London site - it does not include videos, formatting, comments, etc. For the full Roast Dinners In London experience, please visit Roast Dinners In London
Published 25 November 2020, 6:59 pm
Published 3 November 2020, 6:08 pm
Published 27 October 2020, 6:28 pm
Published 14 October 2020, 5:39 pm
Published 8 October 2020, 5:15 pm
Published 30 September 2020, 4:45 pm
Published 24 September 2020, 5:13 pm
Published 16 September 2020, 4:54 pm
Published 9 September 2020, 5:22 pm
Published 1 September 2020, 5:00 pm
I need to start this review of Hawksmoor At Home on a serious note – a note of regret, sorrow and pain. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of drivelous, inane bullshit to come – after all we must take this and every possible opportunity to celebrate Dominic Cummings fucking off.
As much as this roast dinner reviewing blog is at times utterly nonsense and facile – there is a point to it. I want to help the good people of London find their way to the better roast dinners in town – let’s face it, there are no shortage of crap roasts in town.
But this works two ways – I also want to help those doing great roast dinners to find more customers. And this is ever more important in 2020. I don’t think you need me to elaborate on why.
Cast your mind back to 2017, if you can make it that far. It was the year of covfefe, the year when The Shed in Dulwich was the most popular restaurant in town and the year when I truly developed my heart-breaking relationship with the teenage angst-ridden Metropolitan line. It was also when I decided to celebrate roast dinner number 25 at the highly-rated Hawksmoor in Spitalfields.
I’m not Doctor Who
It was also a time when I still felt aggrieved by the 12.5% service charge in the same way that I feel aggrieved by being told to put my mask over my nose nowadays.
Costing £20, which was a hell of a lot of money for a Sunday roast back in those days, especially notable because I was on a junior wage from the first proper job in my new career, I was expecting great things. My expectations were not met. Not at all. Look!
Some things were excellent – like the gravy and the steak, albeit the steak portion was small and the gravy was thin. Yet the yorkie was like dried sponge, the roasties were tough and the spring greens went on forever.
I scored it a 6.93, which is a fairly low score.
Now I don’t mind giving low scores and criticism. Honestly, I really don’t mind! It does pain me when I have to give a poor score to a small independent, but to large chains that have served me a poor roast then bring on the moaning. And not knowing much about Hawksmoor at the time, I just concluded that it was another chain with an undeserved reputation. It baffled me, really did baffle me when I kept reading people recommending it.
Yet it has become clear to me over the last couple of years that Hawksmoor are actually a fucking brilliant organisation. It has become especially clear this year from just how well they look after their staff, their e-mails and social media output, how much they look after their customers – what this whole restaurant thing means to them. And their support for local charities. Not to mention making me laugh from their Twitter output.
I have therefore come to conclude that I was simply unlucky that time. Chefs have their off days. Restaurants have their off days. Even I’m very occasionally not true wonder and perfection. Yet that rating of 6.93 will stand forever more. Unless…
Oh, wrong moron, sorry…
YOU MUST STAY AT HOME FOLKS, AND ORDER A HAWKSMOOR AT HOME BOX.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Hawksmoor At Home was first born in the proper lockdown – though for a steak box. Which after all is what they are really known for. £125 for a fillet steak box for two, with wine. I thought about it, but didn’t order.
Then in the plastic lockdown where seemingly the only things closed are pubs, restaurants and eyebrow parlours – the only 3 places I need to visit in life, they expanded to do a roast box and I think something close to their full menu, but only for 5 miles around their Air Street restaurant. I live in Harrow. Yes, I still live in Harrow. Yes I have been talking since ooooooh roughly 2017 about moving closer to central London. And not even Harlesden is within 5 miles of Harrow.
Thankfully, my support bubble person (I think we are still allowed them?) lives within 5 miles – and ordered one to her house.
Finally, my dream was available to purchase. Hmmmm. Sexy.
Jeez, wrong image.
Finally, my dream was available to purchase. Hmmmm. Sexy.
$6.89 and free international shipping. Oh and the roast was just £30 for two people, plus £10 delivery charge. Hard to tell which is the better of the two great deals. Have I mentioned that Dominic Cummings has been sacked?
Yeah there isn’t an especially relevant reason for me putting a picture of a sexy Spanish woman here. My Google search did start with “person laughing”, then went onto “ugly person laughing”, then somehow I ended up searching for “sexy Spanish woman in bra laughing”. I know, she isn’t laughing. She hasn’t seen how small my willy is. Also that’s possibly a bikini rather than a bra.
Did I tell you I’ve stopped drinking? I decided that lockdown wasn’t boring enough so I thought why not deprive myself of alcohol also. Yeah. Please don’t judge me, OK? I already know that I’m a nobhead.
How you doing anyway? No, wait. How you doin’?
Gosh I hope I can go to Spain next year. I just love the architecture and the food over there. She’s probably Brazilian and not Spanish, isn’t she? And that jacket is dreadful. OK, no more sexy Spanish women until my next post.
So how are you anyway? I hope you haven’t missed me too much the last few weeks. I hope you are all coping reasonably…it isn’t too long until we get a bit of freedom back. I hope. I think. Well, Hawksmoor think so anyway:
Believe it or not, I’ve gone a bit Railtrack from my original point…I wanted to correct what I’d come to see as a wrong due to my growing fondness for Hawksmoor the organisation – the Hawksmoor roast dinner is the first ever to earn a second chance. The original review was fair – it was a disappointing roast – yet it still feels wrong in the whole context of life. It was getting to the point where I could shed a tear or two about it. Obviously BIG HARD NORTHERN MAN so I haven’t cried since Italia ’90.
Therefore I approached this roast dinner with some trepidation – what if it was disappointing again? At least I could blame my middling cooking skills – for this roast you have to finish at home. Don’t worry, there are instructions – but you’ll need two frying pans, two roasting tins and two saucepans. Or I did anyway. Yeah, my guest left the washing up to me.
I’m not sure what there is to say about the cooking process. I fried the beef rump (600g for two people no less) then plonked it in the oven. Pre-prepared roasties and the cauliflower cheese went in the oven too. The carrots were fried with butter and spring greens warmed up in a saucepan – with butter again. And the gravy was warmed up.
Want to see inside my box, doc?
This feels like the point where I’d post a photograph of the roast dinner and start talking about carrots. But I’ve just posted a photograph of the contents of the box. Maybe I could move the photograph of the box contents?
Naaah too late. What else can I talk about? Oh yeah, Dominic Cummings has gone! I’ve probably flogged that too much already. I wonder if my American readers know who he is? For the purpose of my American readers, Dominic Cummings plays a similar role…PLAYED a ha ha ha ha…a similar role to what Steve Bannon did. Except Steve Bannon would have been the playground bully and Dominic Cummings would have been bullied so much that he is attempting to take revenge. Something like that.
And, big, huge, bigly news – I’ve not lost as many Twitter followers as in the proper lockdown. Only down about 8 followers – was down about 50 in the proper lockdown. Don’t think the Russian hacker helped matters back then. Fucking goulash. OK, fine, I’ll start talking about the Hawksmoor At Home roast dinner.
The carrots were plentiful, quite large slices of carrot, cooked in butter with a hint of thyme. These were silkily great, just gliding into my mouth. Though the carrots impressed at the restaurant also.
Spring greens were also plentiful – this was a pretty huge roast dinner. Nicely soft, cooked in butter. Good.
The final vegetable offering was the cauliflower cheese. Nicely gooey cheese, soft but stable cauliflower – I think a couple of minutes under the grill to crisp it up at the end might have improved this, but again – this was good. Really tasty.
Probably need a heading here
You won’t be surprised to know that the roast potatoes had the usual “cooked earlier” feel about them. Because they were actually cooked earlier for us to finish off in the oven. They were quite crispy, they were quite soft inside – and tasted luxurious in the beef dripping. They were also much better than the roasties I had when I ate there – but still they cannot quite justify a tag of “good”.
Decent roasties in a world of dire roasties, but…I feel like they need a bit more perfecting – however is it even possible to make a perfect pre-prepared roast potato? I can make amazing roasties on demand, but they’ll be crud if I leave them to eat until the day after.
The Yorkshire pudding was really good – and survived the delay between being prepared and being heated up. Rather eggy and went nicely with the beef.
Which leads me onto…the beef. 600g of rump to share between two – bearing in mind that we paid £20 each including delivery, and I feel that this is a damn fine deal.
The beef was very nice – good quality, nicely browned on the edge as per instructions and juicy. The only downside was that halfway through the joint was a thin layer of impenetrable membrane – which made slicing part of the joint very difficult, especially with my unhelpful selection of knives – so I ended up with very thick slices.
Calling Doctor Vain
I know what I want and I want it now, I want more gravy because there’s never enough. I knew there wouldn’t be enough and I was correct. If it had been as thin and watery as I experienced at the restaurant then maybe it would not have been an issue – but this was glorious, thick bone marrow gravy. And it tasted sooooooo good.
But one pot between two was nowhere near enough – as you can see if you scroll up to the image. Not the sexy Spanish woman. Wait…I’ve just remembered the photograph that I was going to use to laugh about Dominic Cummings fucking off…
Anyway, one pot each is the minimum required, dear Hawksmoor. I mean, if you are properly qualified to work in Downing Street as per Dominic Cummings’ requirements then you could suggest that the roast dinner didn’t need gravy…
Doctor, where is my horse tranquilizer?
Hawksmoor. I think we can be friends now.
This was a great roast dinner to have as my return after a couple of weekends of enforced roast dinner celibacy. So much food on the plate and all good quality – only the roasties were marginally off game, but were still decent. Obviously not enough gravy also.
Everything else was very good. The gravy flavour was superb – as it was at the restaurant. Otherwise I’m struggling to pick a highlight…it could be the cauliflower cheese which was a bit dreamy, or just enjoying the beef and yorkie combined.
An empty plate too.
Ahhh well I did say no more sexy Spanish women. Oh Maggie, I’m so honoured to eat off you. Yes I did lick the plate. I know what you are thinking, and no, you don’t seem to be able to buy a David Cameron plate. Hmmm, gap in the market?
My accomplice scored Hawksmoor a nice round 8.00 – I’m scoring it an 8.15. You will see me in one of your establishments for a steak in 2021.
Finally, I’m also under instruction to plug my accomplice’s colleague’s chunky oreo cookies. They were damn nice also. I feel that I’d do this more justice in a short dress with stockings and a blonde wig – alas, you know I need to keep my anonymity so that I can continue to bring you unbiased reviews. Albeit this cookie review is biased and you will now order some from Instagrim because you are under my spell.
I’ll be back next week. You know where I’ve ordered from, don’t you?
Stick with it folks. Eventually we’ll all be bouncing around like a crazy fucker. Life will be back.
Here we fucking go again. Another fucking lockdown. This post is going to be a roast dinner review of The Albion in Islington. There might be some swearing. There might be some ranting. There might be some tears. There will be some goodbyes.
I was planning to make it my goodbye, fuck off and don’t ever speak in public again, Donald Trump special. But what happened? Yes, our political opponents and the evil far-right media decided to usurp all of this and castigate the nice, kind Jeremy Corbyn – giving me a tough call between a Goodbye Trump special and a Goodbye Corbyn special.
Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn. We are not going to be singing that at Glastonbury next year are we?
And then our dear, beloved chief scientologists decided that we are not being protective enough about THE RELIGION, cue time to release new scary graphs showing 5 times as many people dying as the previous worse-case scenario.
Boom. Lockdown. Despite it seeming that the tier system might actually have been working.
What? There’s breaking news? Nigel Farage is doing what?
I just want to clarify that I am 100% in favour of this new lockdown. Cannot wait. I’ve been calling for it since July – why has it taken so long? So exciting. Best thing ever. Go lockdown!
Gosh, now there’s someone that I’d love to be doing a goodbye special on.
West Bromwich Albion. Yeah I’ve no idea how this heading ties in either.
I’d booked The Albion via random number generator, and I’m pretty good at getting as far as Islington now. Well, I thought I was however I still managed to go the wrong way and be late. Fucking masks. Though when I arrived at The Albion and advised who I was, they took me to a table in the back garden where a woman with a similar-sounding name to me was waiting for her guest. She wasn’t waiting for me.
Fucking masks. Masks were to blame for him not hearing me, in case I haven’t explained that well.
Yeah, all that mask wearing worked really well. Anyway, onto the China section. Actually, no lets just not talk about China because everything is fine in China, perfectly normal country that didn’t cause covid, isn’t sterilising a whole ethnic population and there isn’t any form of large-scale gulag over there. Chinese agents probably follow this blog, don’t they?
Anyway, so they showed me to my correct accomplice that was waiting for me next to the fire on a ridiculously mild November day. Two northerners placed next to a fire. Thankfully my accomplice had already asked them to switch it off (and you thought I was referring to the risk of me burning masks). Also my seat was vibrating a lot, like almost all of the time – as if there was a tube train permanently running underneath, but a never-ending tube train.
Can you tell I’m in one of those moods? Starting a new fucking team today, with a hangover, and in a bad mood. It is Monday morning as I’m writing this by the way…need to get it done sharp as I’m going out for dinner on Wednesday, oh and need to post my Goodbye Trump special before the election results start rolling in. He is going, right? I’m not going to look totally stupid, am I? You yankies better fucking vote for Biden…especially in Texas which would pay for my next 3 roast dinners.
Yeah I probably should have brushed my teeth when I was young. That and do a bit less crystal meth.
Another heading. Just to split it up. And masks don’t work.
Choices on the roast dinner menu were beef sirloin, pork belly, herb crusted leg of lamb or chicken breast – all priced between £18.50 and £19.50. I’d already decided a week ago when I booked it that I wanted the herb-crusted leg of lamb, priced at £19.00, though I did have a little dither over whether to have the pork belly instead.
The roast took around 15 to 20 minutes to arrive, I’m not entirely sure as I was focused on having a moan about lockdown and how everyone was to blame except China.
On first sight, it looked quite average. I wanted either a great roast or a shit roast – I really didn’t want an average roast.
But is something missing? Can you work out what is missing before I tell you? In the meantime, here’s a word from our sponsors:
Have you worked out what is missing?
Maybe you need a close up.
Yes, there is barely any gravy on the plate. Or jus? We always ask for extra gravy, but I was quite forceful about the lack of gravy. How am I supposed to eat this?
Extra gravy arrived after a few minutes. Can you see it?
No, I mean the gravy, not Trump’s penis. Can you see the extra gravy?
Not the best photo – I am barely a better photographer than I am an epidemiologist, but extra gravy came to about 3mm of a small gravy boaty thing. Yeah, I asked for more – which came back thinner than the original gravy, but was just about sufficient.
The struggles of modern life
Shall we talk about carrots? For the last time for “4 weeks”, I’m going to spice it up and review them with the parsnips within the same paragraph. Whoa. Check me out. Or perhaps check out from reading this shit. Don’t worry, I won’t be back that soon.
So the carrots and parsnips had been roasted in honey – both were soft, the parsnips too soft really, but that was more than made up for by the flavour in the parsnips – the best I’ve had in ages, though perhaps seasonality also has something to do with that. I thought I could detect some mustard involvement also, but the menu suggests just honey. Good start.
I enjoyed the buttered greens also. They were, erm, buttery, cabbagey – I think with either some form of kale mixed in…or maybe it was just another type of cabbage. My accomplice thought there was leek also, but I didn’t detect it.
We’d ordered a side of cauliflower cheese to share. The cauliflower was a tiny bit too soft and the sauce too runny – but it was heartily cheesy and enjoyable also. I’ve had better, but it certainly squeezed into the good category, and the cream did thicken as the meal went on – and was a useful substitute for gravy.
Ohhh roast potatoes. Bit of a mixed bunch for me. They looked rather pale – so far this was a roast dinner that tasted better than it looked, and the taste of the roast potatoes fit that pattern also, with the beef dripping flavour coming through nicely.
One of them was large and rather al dente – though slightly crispy on the outside. One was just too soft and not crispy. The other was quite crispy and quite fluffy – on the way to meeting expectations but not quite meeting let alone beating. My accomplice was a little luckier, with two nicely crispy roasties out of three. I’ve had worse. I’ve often had worse. But they were nothing to shout about.
Fuck off, Donald Trump
If any inventor is bored the next few weeks, may I recommend making a machine that makes perfect crispy roast potatoes in 15 minutes – so that pubs don’t feel the need to make the roast potatoes hours, or even days before?
The Yorkshire pudding was quite soft on the bottom, but overall tasted a bit burnt and was quite tearable in texture. My accomplice again fared better than me.
My accomplice (fucking support bubble before the stasi accuse me of being the second wave) enjoyed her beef, rating it some of the best she has this year. It was very, very nice from my one bite – though I thought the lamb was arguably even better.
Not quite as tender as the beef, but with more flavour. I didn’t quite get the “herb-crusted” adjective as per the menu description – there were no more herbs visible than extra wall built on the border with Mexico.
Are we onto the gravy already? Or was it jus?
You know, I don’t think I’ve had a jew on a roast dinner since Kier Starmer became Labour leader. I mean, jus on a roast dinner. I would apologise but the scale of the unfortunate spelling mistake has been dramatically overstated for political reasons by my opponents, and of course by the evil far-right media.
Despite the quantity limitations rivalling the Great Ket Drought of 2012, there was eventually enough to be able to enjoy my roast dinner. It was quite rich and you could arguably describe it as a jus or as a gravy. Quite thick and tasty, I thought rather red wine based but I was drinking red wine, so maybe don’t take my word for it.
And that was that at The Albion in Islington.
Goodbye Trump. Goodbye Corbyn. Goodbye roast dinners. Goodbye life. The next “4 weeks” looks so miserable that I might even give up drinking. On the bright side, at least I won’t need to go to any Christmas parties this year – unlike last year where I started banging on about my roast dinner blog to the guy next to me, who turned out to be a vegan. And then became my new manager. Thank fuck he appreciates my work, as this blog is hardly a great human resources advertisement for myself.
Getting off tangent again. Shock horror, but just enjoy my nonsense and the thought of my Trump-like penis, as it might be the last time this year that you are graced with such linguistic beauty.
So the roast. It was good.
Yorkie was a bit burnt tasting and the roasties were…well…London style, let’s call it if I’m being kind. On the flip side, the vegetables were flavoursome, the lamb was too – the gravy jus thing was very good…but such a pain to actually get enough gravy.
Service was pretty good, friendly – though difficult to understand people between masks. Personally I wasn’t that into the wine we had, a Tempranillo Grenache if I recall correctly, was a bit light and grainy feeling. And also the beer – the IPA was too aley for me, the pale ale was fine, but didn’t really do it for me either.
As a venue it was good, plenty of outdoor space in both the back garden and outside the front, which will be very useful for the coming weeks…or maybe not. Broadly speaking it felt safe and clean, and was pretty busy. And fairy lights in the garden. We all need fairy lights after a few beers.
My accomplice scored it an 8 out of 10. I’m scoring it a 7.44. The gravy struggles, along with the yorkie and roasties being on the poor side, drag the score down from what was a good roast dinner.
Goodbye, for now?
You haven’t heard the last of me. Hopefully I’ll be back before Trump barricaded the White House and armed militias take over most state buildings prior to the US civil war. And certainly before Corbyn becomes London mayor.
If we are deemed to have saved THE RELIGION in 4 weeks and are bestowed our freedoms once more, there will be 2 roast dinner opportunities before Christmas.
One of those roasts will be special. Well, one of those roasts will be somewhere which should be special.
I’ll speak to you soon.
You’ll be hearing from me again.
Yeah, I’m going.
Just about finished the blog.
Yep. I’ll be out of here soon.
Just on my way.
Just need to build a bit more wall.
At least we proved masks don’t work.
Welcome to the first roast dinner review from Tier 2 – this time from The Hunter S in Dalston. London being in Tier 2 meant that I could only go with my housemate – alas she’s goes to a different type of church to me on a Sunday, one with Jesus and stuff, but thankfully 2 new housemates moved in during the morning and were very keen to come with me to Dalston for a business meeting.
Oh, before I go on, this review is NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Assuming you are reading in 2022 and people have actually gone back to the office.
I arrived a bit earlier than my new housemates as they had, erm, gone shopping on route – I felt like I was smuggling drugs into a festival (not that I have ever done that, obviously, I’m just guessing what that feels like), and walked around the block before going in – but the urge to urinate was too much to be able to wait outside for my new housemates.
Shit, wrong toilet.
Well this was supposed to be my Halloween special, but you know, tits and stuff. I even had a witch joining me for dinner. I mean, one of my new housemates is a witch. A self-styled witch, but a very nice person, in case she is reading. Oh gosh, this isn’t starting well is it? And now WordPress is refusing to upload the nipple shot but has accepted the man porn.
Urgh, Monday morning. That’s better now. Can you tell I’ve not been laid in years?
Hunting for my sex life
Anyway, enough about my sex life, as there isn’t much to talk about – I can barely even be bothered to load up Pornhub nowadays. Let’s talk about the toilets in The Hunter S. The men’s were decorated with photographs of mostly exceptionally attractive women in exceptionally attractive states of undress. The women’s likewise with men, though as a not very raging heterosexual I am unable to comment on their attractiveness, but I think my guests appreciated them. You want more photos?
Struggling to keep my mind on the review. One more?
Just ordered a similar hair piece on Etsy. I might spend the cumming (sigh) weekend recreating all the images but in a fat, ugly, slightly camp way and send them to The Hunter S so they can sexually balance out their toilet experience. Speaking of Cummings:
Right, I assume that you are no longer horny and are ready to read about roast dinners.
The Hunter S is almost unique amongst London establishments in that it doesn’t have an Instagrim page. Nor a Twitter page. They do have a Facebook page but they haven’t updated it since prior to the London Olympics. Leap years are not always this bad or 2016 kinda bad, folks.
They also have a website which doesn’t seem to have been updated since the Dotcom crash. The Dotcom crash was when the NASDAQ spiked really high and there was loads of money being thrown at dodgy IPOs – totally unlike 2020 and I can assure you that the current valuation of Tesla as being worth more than all other car companies in the world put together (ish) is totally normal. If anyone reading has billions spare then I would advise you to invest in Jinko Solar. This is not financial advice, FYI. Let me know when you have so I can sell my holding at a massive profit. Well…enough to fund a roast dinner or two.
You’re here for the history lesson and my investment advice, right?
Anyway, The Hunter S responded to my e-mail pretty much instantly and a table was booked.
Hunting for human life
It was worryingly quiet when we arrived. Sadiq Khan’s dream of a nullified hospitality industry in London seemed to be coming true.
We were shown to our table, which awkwardly had 6 chairs crammed around a table suited for 4 people. Otherwise the pub was charming, it had this outward feel that maybe it was a dive pub 30 years ago, yet had been decorated for the more discerning Dalstonite of modern days, replete with peacock taxidermy, amongst other stuffed animals – though the peacocks always stand out to me.
It wasn’t always easy to attract the attention of staff, though that was mainly due to the grateful fact that The Hunter S became busy, we even encountered a female Mario lookalike – solo dining. Hmmm, maybe I could be a male Peach and need rescuing from Bowser.
Sunday roasts came in 4 main choices, lamb, chicken, beef fillet and pork belly. For some reason I’d already decided that next Sunday I’m having lamb, the previous roast at The Drapers Arms I had pork belly, so chicken and beef were left – The Hunter S didn’t feel like a beef pub, so I went for the corn-fed chicken at £16.50.
I think the roasts took around 20-30 minutes to arrive, and we had a mixture on the table of lamb, chicken and beef between us.
Starting with the carrot, as often is. Now, after reviewing carrots around 143 times out of 153 roast dinner reviews, I am always heartened to have something different. This time, the roasted carrot tasted of aniseed, perhaps Star Anise to be exact, though I’m not a chef. Did I like it? I’m not sure. But I did like that it was something different, so kudos for that.
The cabbage was pretty unremarkable, the bits of leek were nice, but again unremarkable.
Hunting for cutting
The green beans (we had some confusion upon ordering when I asked for no peas – “no beans”? No, no peas. “You want something other than beans?” No, just no peas. “So no peas or beans?”. Just no peas.) needed a steak knife to cut them. I should probably write that sentence in whole. The green beans needed a steak knife to cut them. Maybe you like them this tough and undercooked – some people do. I don’t.
Oh fuck it’s 2020 and I need to prove that I’m anti-racist, hang on.
Phew. So the parsnip puree was interesting. Like, not interesting in a voting against free school meals kind of interesting. Sloppy, earthy and a bit peppery.
The roast potatoes are my Bowser and I need rescuing from them. These were very good roast potatoes at some point, whenever they had been made. But they felt tired like they had been lying around for a fair while. I seem to say this almost every week. And at least they were edible – they were good at some point and you could tell this. But I want freshly cooked, crispy roast potatoes and these were not fresh.
The Yorkshire pudding was pretty good. A tad overdone and tearable on the top, but quite soft on the bottom.
And the chicken was hearty – plump and good quality chicken, with a peppery flavour and a hint of thyme, at least that I picked out anyway. The breast a tad dry but not to the point of disturbing me (I’m already pretty disturbed and we haven’t even mentioned Brexit yet). I’ve had better but I’ve also had much worse.
Finally, the gravy. It was an inoffensive, decent enough gravy. It had some consistency and added some value to the roast, but I won’t remember this come next week – I struggle to remember it now.
The summary of The Hunter S and their roast dinner
The Hunter S is a very likeable pub – if this was my local I’d be very content indeed. It really does have a proper pub feel to it.
Their roast dinner was decent enough. It scores highly on quantity, attempted something different with the carrots and left me fairly satisfied, if unexcited.
Green beans were difficult to eat, the roasties need to be fresher but otherwise not much offended me. However, my highlight is cunnilinigus-related instead of culinary-related.
I’m scoring it a 7.01 but it only creeps above the 7 mark due to the toilet art. My accomplices scored it a 7.2 and 6.9.
I shall be back next Sunday with my Goodbye Trump special, and with only my support bubble for company so chill out stasi and stop telling me to stay the fuck home. Oh wait, you’re breaking the rules too now, aren’t you?
Anyone for watermelon?
So in a week where we all become obsessed by tiers, I thought I’d review The Drapers Arms in Islington. Yeah, there’s not meant to be any connection.
Ahhh that’s better.
So our blonde-mopped master that wants to rule the world has given us our Tiers for Fears. I know, let it all out, I’ve just sown the seeds of love. You and me, baby. You and me in our very own tier of love.
I’ve assessed it, and even Tier 3 seems to mean that I can still go for a roast dinner. Albeit either by myself or with my support bubble person (that is still a thing, right?) – who perhaps not so coincidentally is my most regular accomplice on my Sunday roast adventures. Alas, she thinks that The Drapers Arms has the best wine list in Islington. Who thinks like that? Especially when they are supposed to be from up north.
Alas, Tier 3 could potentially also mean that I’m not allowed out of Harrow. Which isn’t great from a roast dinner reviewing perspective. Or a life perspective. No, I didn’t move house like I said that I would. I’m still “decluttering”. Slowly. Very, very slowly.
And then, of course, we could just go full-on Tier Starmer. Come, on, tell me you are laughing out loud, with tiers rolling down your face?
Yeah, Tier Starmer would be pretty shit for reviewing roast dinners. Brave call.
Draping my arms around your manboobs
I don’t feel massively inspired at the moment, so I guess I’ll just move on to reviewing the roast dinner. I think like most people the uncertainty and increasing drumbeat of lockdown is grinding me down, and my inspiration levels are around the same level as my weekend sobriety levels.
Just be thankful that it isn’t Tier Starmer who writes this.
This would be a good place for a heading. But I’ve already put one above. Hmmm.
Ahhhh, the solution. Now I can start writing about The Drapers Arms. It is a pretty highly-regarded pub in Islington, an area of the country where very few people shag their chickens. Split on two levels – the pub, not the chicken’s legs – we were seated upstairs on a table of 4 – yes, two households mixing, the horror of it.
Unlike a lot of venues which have really pared back their menus since lockdown (understandably), The Drapers Arms had a rather extensive menu as you can see…
Oh why isn’t my image uploading? The uploaded file exceeds the upload_max_filesize directive in php.ini. Fuck off, WordPress, it doesn’t. I give up. What you laughing at? Fucking write the fucking roast dinner review yourself. Or get Tier Starmer to do so.
I went for a roast dinner. They had a menu. Different options. I thought about choosing an option. I assessed the options thoroughly. I let someone else decide the best option.
Draping my heading around your eyes to wipe those tiers away
OK, fine I’m back. I had a break…well, I did 8 hours of work. Actually, I lied, I have 15 minutes of my lunch break left.
So on the menu for I DON’T SHARE FOOD types (I don’t share food) was lamb rump or pork belly. For food sharing types, there was the option of a whole roast chicken, a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb or beef forerib. Do you have to be married to want to share a roast?
I chose the pork belly, mainly because I fancied pork belly. Priced at £18.50.
It took around 30 minutes to arrive, I think. I wasn’t really taking too much notice, I was enjoying trying to talk about the Aston Villa game to the Liverpool fan on the table. Don’t worry, I’m safe, he isn’t from Liverpool. And I mean that in a covid way, FYI, before you accuse me of being scouseist.
Let’s start with the red cabbage, shall we? Regular readers (quite why you exist, I don’t know) will know that I don’t like red cabbage. At all. And it doesn’t belong on a roast dinner, does it?
Urgh, sodding British public.
Urgh, sodding British public.
Urgh, sodding British public. Anyway, I don’t like the stuff and I didn’t like this either. If you enjoy red cabbage then I think you’d be impressed with the fruity, tangy nature of the red cabbage at The Drapers Arms. The only positive for me was that it didn’t pollute the gravy, which is a relief.
Green cabbage is my kind of cabbage. This was good, finely shredded, though perhaps you could question the double-cabbage carry-on.
A few chantenay carrots were fine in a nothing special way. Just carrots, small and wholesome, with crunch.
Drape those arms
At some stage, these roast potatoes were half-decent crispy roast potatoes. I just don’t know when that was – it was quite probably the day before. They felt very tired and like they’d been hanging around for a long time, but at least they were fairly soft inside…a bit like the current government, they were good at one point but are now very tired. Maybe my love of Thatcher is really only a sexual thing?
No Yorkshire pudding. My accomplice asked for one, and was charged 50p. Make of that what you will. I increasingly disparage Yorkshire puddings, and didn’t care for one. I’m advised that it wasn’t worth the money. Not even a Brexit 50p coin.
It hasn’t exactly been impressive so far, has it? But the pork belly was sexual – eating it felt like it rescued the whole roast dinner from a bit of a semi-slating – it lifts the whole mood of this review.
The crackling was close to perfect, crunchy and gooey, and just melded into the pork itself. A generous portion too – I’ve had less than half of that amount at some places. Really quite sensational – this is why I go to restaurants, as I cannot do pork belly this well.
One minor down mark for the enforced condiment. STOP THIS!
And finally, the gravy. It was one of those oily, oddly tomatoey affairs, though with some consistency to it. It wasn’t really to gravy to my tastes, yet it didn’t offend. My accomplices that had the chicken roast, said that their chicken gravy was really good.
The Drapers Arms roast dinner review summary
So what tier does this roast dinner belong to? Fuck, imagine if I rated roast dinners in tiers. I’d need around 556 different tiers.
Service was attentive from mainly young women working there – and they were very hot on stopping people from going to the toilets downstairs without a mask…so if you think masks are to thank for covid being completely under control then I’m sure you’d be happy. Also tables were nicely spaced with the window open…and a northerner correctly placed next to the open window. That northerner being me, of course. Not sure what I’d think in December.
The pork belly was outstanding, if my body didn’t need vegetables then I could quite happily eat that for every meal and nothing else, for a week.
Everything else was broadly around average – roasties were probably good long before they were served, red cabbage isn’t for me but the 60.2% of the British public that think it belongs on a roast would probably be impressed.
Good service, nice pub, price not too expensive on the grand scheme of Islington, Soundwave on tap, decent Rioja. Plenty to commend The Drapers Arms on, though roast dinner improvements definitely available.
My accomplices rated it a 7, 7.1 and 7.3. I’m scoring it a 7.23 out of 10.
I don’t know when I’ll be back. Unless we go into lockdown this weekend, then I’m going away this weekend. If we do into lockdown this weekend then I won’t be going away but I also won’t be going out for a roast dinner.
And next weekend is far too far away to contemplate. Fucking covid.
Where? Yeah never heard of it until recently either…Wood Street Bar & Restaurant I mean, not the Barbican. I’ve heard of the Barbican – I went to a sit-down techno rave there years ago. Yeah I’m well ahead of the curve, me.
At least none of the 2 million and counting Instagram roast dinner reviewing accounts of London that all go to the same places will have ever heard of it – let alone been here. You know what it could be?
I was hoping that it would be a hidden gem.
It wasn’t the most culinary successful weekend ever. Do you remember a few weeks ago, when I said that the fish and chips looked amazing at The Bull & Last? I took my parents there this weekend and I can confirm that the fish and chips was not amazing. Well, it was amazing in one way…amazingly crap.
And then I went to a highly-rated Italian in Hampstead on the Saturday night – it was certainly an improvement from the night before, but the swordfish was overcooked and therefore a little dry, not to mention how hot it was in there…and crowded. Oh, and they played adverts over the speakers. Loudly.
The Romanesco sauce was good and the smaller potatoes were nice and garlicky with crispy edges (the larger ones were, erm, like most Sunday roast roasties but garlicky). I always think that my minimum expectation from a restaurant should be that I get a meal at least as nice as I can do myself. I’m not an amazing cook by any stretch of the imagination but I can follow a recipe accurately bar tripling the garlic requirements.
Can Barbie rescue Ken?
I needed the roast dinner to rescue my weekend. And just for a little added pressure, the chef is a long-time follower of mine on Twitter. We’ve talked on Twitter quite a bit. We nearly arranged to meet up for beers before the little pandemic issue. He nearly sent me some peppercorn sauce samples, before he had a wife using them and putting the empty pots back in the cupboard issue.
So if it’s a bad roast dinner, how the hell do I write that? Ooh look, some more Instagrammers going for a roast dinner:
I do always try to be unbiased, and this will continue 4 EVA, but maybe just bear in mind that I don’t want to give a bad review for personal social reasons, as I think he’s cool and a potential drinking buddy. So maybe it isn’t as unbiased as per my ideals.
At least he didn’t know that I was visiting, so there was no special treatment and yes I paid my bill in full, didn’t ask or expect a discount. No free dessert, no asking for a complimentary meal, no offering exposure…though with 19 followers I’m not entirely sure being featured on Roast Dinners in London is much exposure.
He didn’t even know I was there until I sent him a photograph of the roast when it arrived.
Suppose I should tell you a bit more about the place, and perhaps even the menu before I lie to you about how amazing the roast dinner is.
Wood Street Bar & Restaurant in Barbican. It’s pictured below. Ahhhh.
You know I said that I hoped that it would be a hidden gem? Well, I arrived at Farringdon on the Thameslink and loaded up Google Maps (yeah I know that the Met line is quicker to get to the Barbican…well…normally, but changing to Thameslink gives me a nice oxygen break). I couldn’t find it on Google Maps. Though we walked towards Wood Street and it was nested in the corner, right under the Barbican flats. Wood Street Bar & Restaurant was certainly hidden…could it be a gem?
Inside felt decoratively dated – none of this modern exposed brickwork, light blue painted walls, fairy lights, yadda yadda. It had a classic feel, it had proper comfortable seating, solid tables – but most of all it felt like it suited the Barbican and the 1950’s era that it was opened in…whoa…just checked Google and the Barbican was opened in 1982. I blame Thatcher.
Anyway, I like the Barbican as much as I like a day of non-stop rain…I do actually enjoy rain, though it is something that you need to learn to love – a bit like the Barbican itself. I liked the look of the menu too at Wood Street Bar & Restaurant.
You’ll already know that I chose the beef as for some reason I’ve posted a photograph of the roast dinner already, priced at an affordable £18.00 which is not too bad for central London. I actually quite fancied the chicken, but I was wary that “chicken supreme” might be more a sauce than gravy.
Dinner took around 20 minutes to arrive, and this is a photograph from another angle. Three different shots for you today – I hope you are feeling as blessed as a billionaire president that pays less tax annually than I pay service charges, when he “catches covid” to distract everyone from said tax revelations.
I was a bit wary when I read on the menu that it came with beetroot as I’m soooo fed up of the stuff arriving in my veg box every other week…though I have recently worked out how to add my alleged intolerances so I won’t get it going forwards.
Anyway, this was honey golden beetroot, so none of that purple pollution in the gravy, they had a really nice texture – almost like that of cooked apples, and tasted of a malty kind of honey. Impressed…he’s made me like beetroot.
Barbie & kale
The kale was good, a hint of garlic to it I thought, and a nice crisp texture.
We interrupt this programme to bring you an important announcement:
For the purposes of any lawyers reading, I would like to clarify that I am simply astounded by the excellency of the brickwork. Yes, I love bricks. I love how they fit together and make walls, and even houses when we can be arsed to build any. Someone else also likes bricks:
Moving onto the, erm, carrot. Which was, erm, long, whole and solid – it didn’t have a huge amount of give in it when sliced. Really nicely roasted, close to perfect – a faint orange flavouring though I thought I picked up more ginger than orange. However, I’m just some bloke with a blog and a small collection of Barbie dolls, one to represent each time I matched with someone on Tinder (and in each case was then subsequently unmatched when they sobered up).
Three roast potatoes were supplied as per London standard, but were actually edible, unlike London standard. Two were pretty crispy on the outside, all were pretty fluffy on the inside – and they tasted really good…not like ordinary roast potatoes. Certainly some of the best roasties that I’ve had this year…granted that doesn’t say much.
The yorkie was fine. Sizable, arguably felt a tad “done earlier” but when does that not happen?
Beef up a barbie
So onto the most important bits and the beef was pretty damn sexy. Two reasonably thick slices of sirloin, cooked rare with a mustard and pepper coating.
It was quite tender, having been slow-cooked for 12 hours – sirloin does tend to take an extra bite or two than, say, fillet, and this was a juicy munch. More importantly the flavour was quite the taste explosion, with the mustard and especially the pepper impacting.
Finally, the gravy. Yep, you guessed it – proper, thick, meat-stock gravy. Because no chef that has followed me for years would dare suggest that I visit them without doing proper gravy. And this wasn’t just proper gravy, it was how the hell can I make gravy that good myself. Proper, sexy, somewhat complex, northern gravy.
Well, that was pretty damn delicious. Are you more impressed with the roast dinner or the fact that I’ve made it this far without referencing the “Barbie Girl” song?
It was time to meet the chef – the first time that I’ve ever done so. I asked him what score he was hoping for, and he was hoping for an 8.8 out of 10. Ambitious.
Yet there is very good argument for a very high score. Every single vegetable impressed – the carrot in orange and ginger, the kale with the garlic and turning beetroot from something I cope with to something that seriously impressed.
Perkier than Barbie’s nipples?
There was flavour throughout the whole roast – even the roasties had even more taste to them than is normal. The beef was very good, and the gravy was just sexy. The roast dinner very much met the criteria of being as good as I can do myself…in fact, it surpassed it quite a bit (though I do make the perfect roasties).
The only meh was the yorkie…and it was still decent…I’m very meh about yorkies anyway.
I am scoring it an 8.65 out of 10. My assistant said it is either an 8.40 or an 8.50. Which makes it the 6th best roast dinner out of 151 reviewed so far.
Someone please go visit and check that I’m not being biased!
I’ll be back this Sunday. Table is booked and it is quite highly rated…though quite possibly overrated. Good job you have a hero like me to find out for you. Unless Boris cancels life.
Well, can you believe it. I’ve finally made it to roast dinner number 150. A milestone that should have been reached in April, has been made in September instead – which was a bit like the delayed milestone of my football team being relegated in July instead of April. I chose to celebrate it at The Grazing Goat in Marylebone.
These milestone roasts don’t always go smoothly. Hawksmoor was number 25 and was well below expectations. The Pig & Butcher was number 50, which so many people raved about. It was very good – but no more. Eat Lagom was number 100 – but was more like Eat The North Sea, it was so, so salty.
The Grazing Goat was chosen by myself, on my to-do list for a little while from at least a couple of recommendations. The random number generator has been half-retired as I’ve only been doing roast dinners that are relatively easy to get to from Harrow, and this will likely continue for as long as we need to pretend that masks actually protect people from covid-19. Or someone decides that they want to drive me to south or east London from Harrow. Yeah, see you after the pandemic, south London. Also, how can Piers Corbyn afford to get arrested so often?
Last week wasn’t the most joyful of weeks, was it? Two scientists decided to present made up scary figures on Monday, Boris then decides to make up policy from the made up figures on Tuesday. The hospitality apocalypse is upon us, the most pointless, evidence-free 10pm curfew has been imposed and then they take the piss by making us wear masks when going for…a piss.
We still do “follow the science”, right?
So everyone seems to have a cold at the moment, everyone seems to blame everyone else for spreading covid-19 and everyone thinks either these measures don’t go far enough or go too far. My loathing of humanity gauge is reading quite high. And then autumn has finally arrived. Whilst I really enjoy rain, I also really quite like the light nights. Do we have to have darkness?
Not to mention the change in clothing – out goes the PROTECTOR GYM BAND for my 6-pack with matching pants, in comes the bum-warming t-shirt, perfectly designed to stop that chilly winter wind making my willy even smaller than it already is.
And it does feel like a very long winter is ahead of us. At this rate I’ll be your only joy for the next 6 months that doesn’t involve self-pleasure. By the way, have you considered sticking your finger up your bum whilst reading this?
Our politicians are goats
These reviews are always much easier to write if I have something to moan about, but I feel that I overindulged in covid ranting last week, and I’m yet to have a bad roast since lockdown ended.
I did actually cope with the mask thing. Upon arrival at The Grazing Goat I scanned the QR code via the NHS app, advised who I was (do you know who am I? I really hope not as these are supposed to be anonymous reviews), was sent upstairs and asked to wear a face covering. Fine. I complied. I don’t like it. I really don’t like it and don’t agree with it. But I do it for you, and your need to know where the best roast dinners in London are. If I didn’t wear a mask then maybe I’d only get a thimble of gravy. Oh that would be normal anyway.
I arrived upstairs, grunted my name to the waiter and we were shown to our table for two – well spaced from all other tables in what was already a very open feeling gastropub, on one of those cute Marylebone streets with the super exclusive delicatessens.
Our hospital surgeon…sorry…waiter was very professional and welcoming. You know, the “proper service” kind of waiter, the kind you expect in a proper restaurant though The Grazing Goat did seem to have a bit of an identity crisis – pub or restaurant? I’m sure I’ll describe it as both, quite interchangeably. He seemed to have good command of the food and drinks, was kind and considerate, willing to have a little chat about the whole scenario we are in. It was a proper waiter’s welcome.
No goat to eat
So I said that this was an upmarket gastropub and the prices of a roast probably exceed the expectations of many.
The lamb was £21.00, pork belly £23.00 and rib of beef £24.00. Oh and I nearly forgot about the trio – which was £27.00.
Marylebone is an expensive area of London and this is one of the more upmarket gastropubs that I’ve been to – though very much still a pub and not quite a restaurant. And it was roast dinner number 150, so I was happy to pay a little extra…I wanted a trio and I wanted one now. Not one, not two but three meats innit.
Yeah I’ve been waiting for 149 reviews to be able to use that 1980’s reference. With apologies to my American readers who won’t have a clue, but you know, Chris Grayling also.
Our roasts took around 20 minutes to arrive, time in which we indulged ourselves with a good moan about the whole situation and the bullshit over the curfew and masks – but I won’t bore you further. Here’s the roast dinner instead:
Before you ask, there was plenty of gravy – it’s in the later photographs, and I have no idea what that little pot of sauce is…perhaps mint sauce but I’m a one-condiment only kinda guy, faithful to the love of my life, gravy. Well, gravy and Margaret Thatcher. Don’t ask me to choose. I’d probably go for gravy, pending clarification on Thatcher’s modern views on leaving the EU.
Pump up the goat on your toast
So the carrots had been well roasted, to the point of being charred – though we are not talking burnt, actually tasting like more flavour had been brought out than normal. A mixture of orange and purple carrots, and plenty of them…though thin and floppy so perhaps only half a carrot in total!
Some heads of broccoli were supplied. Broccoli is pretty magical yet ordinary, these had a bite to them but not too crunchy.
And that was the end of the vegetables. They had some sides that we could have ordered but I didn’t realise this until after the roast. Plus I’d already forked out £27.00 for a roast dinner, so I was happy not to extend this.
I’ve been moaning about the lack of crispy roast potatoes for weeks…months…well, nearly 4 years. Though it has been especially notable of late.
These actually were crispy, but sadly they were very much tough and crispy on the outside. Too crispy but in a tough way. If you can get over them being too tough, then they were decent enough and quite fluffy in the middle – closest to good roasties for a while, but not good. And one had enforced apple sauce on.
The Yorkshire pudding was decent, one of those pot kind of things. With the beef and gravy, it was pretty sexual but I’ll cover that later.
So the lamb was pretty banal. Nice enough, I’d have been happy had I cooked it, but it didn’t really stand out in any way – which is why I normally don’t have the trio, trieeeeeo.
Hang on, we need a photograph of Shaun Goater, don’t we?
Gosh its a good job I’m not famous or some leftie university lecturer would be unpacking my photograph of Shaun Goater to explain my subconscious bias towards a white cisgender normative agenda and why I should therefore be cancelled. I don’t think me going from 19 weekly readers to 0 would be much of a cancellation culture coup.
The pork belly was much more in line with expectations, it seemed like quite a small joint had been used, it was a very succulent piece of meat, with the crackling mixing a little chew and a little crunch. Alas, it had enforced condiment on it – with apple sauce plastered on top. Pretty much the only thing I’ve had to complain about so far…bar the roasties.
The best meat by some way was the rib of beef – I really wish I had gone for this instead of the trio, trieeeeeeo. A bit of crisp on the outside, beautiful rareness on the inside, some fatty bits to just add extra flavour – so sad that I only had one slice.
Finally the star of the show was the gravy. Well, hello. Proper, glorious, thick meat stock gravy in a large jug – the waiter suggested that he’d bring me a pint of gravy but he’d need to see me drink it.
This is exactly how gravy should be and one of the very best in London out of the 150 that I’ve had…and boy I’ve had some wank jus gravy shite over the last few years.
Goat home or go to The Grazing Goat?
There isn’t really anything significant to moan about from this roast dinner – sure the roasties weren’t great and I don’t like enforced condiments.
I do feel that for the price of £27.00, there perhaps could have at least been more thought on the vegetables. Broccoli and roasted carrots is something I’d expect from my mother’s respectably decent roast dinner (assuming she doesn’t attempt beef). Whilst nice, they were very ordinary and perhaps I’d hope for something a bit more cheffy for the price I was paying.
On the flip-side the roast beef was close to exquisite – yes I very much should have stuck to ordering roast beef instead of the trio, but I don’t regret it per say, I just would have enjoyed it more. And the gravy was seriously superb.
My accomplice rated her roast an 8.20. I’m a little behind with my score, which is a 7.98 out of 10. Very healthy scores, a very good roast dinner, really nice establishment, lots of space and it felt very safe like most venues that I’ve been to.
I think it’s worth a goat.
Urgh, sorry, I’ll get my…goat
I should be back this Sunday. Table is booked, it’s a lesser known venue so hopefully it won’t already be on the radar of 1,000 other roast dinner Instagrimmers.
Unless, of course…
This week’s review is of The Flask in Hampstead. Whoa…that’s a sober sounding introduction.
So I normally start writing my review on a Monday morning, at least I do now I work from home. Yet I didn’t get very far this Monday. I wrote only the title – mostly because I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know if it was another goodbye.
The drumbeat of lockdown is approaching, the “something must be done” brigade are getting ever louder. The government’s wheel of covid misfortune has been spun, and hospitality is the loser – though a 10pm curfew is also part relief, as it could have landed on something much worse. Like masks in pubs. Urgh.
Yet by time I finish writing this post, it might well be a goodbye post. More pronouncements from our esteemed Prime Minister to come and with one of the 3 worst London mayors ever, itching to castrate the hospitality industry further, who knows where we will be by time I get to the part about how shit the roast potatoes are.
By the way, I’m referring to Sadiq Khan as one of the 3 worst London mayors ever.
Ahhh back in the days when only the crazies wore masks. Why did I use one of my few remaining pre-lockdown Sundays to go to Sadiq Khan’s favourite, Poplar Cafe? Oh for hindsight as good as all the Covid experts on Facebook. Now I am living like every Sunday is my last roast dinner adventure until 2021. Fuck knows what it is like for those actually running pubs and restaurants right now, not knowing whether to order enough food and drink for the coming weekend. And for those working there. And for those growing the food.
Oh, to go back to those pre-covid days where all we had to moan about was Brexit, Tinder and the tube. Hell, even the much-touted Festival of Brexit line-up that I was so excited about will have to change.
Would Farage need a mask to bang the Thatcher mannequin?
Gosh is it Wednesday already?
Ahhh another day passes and now we have masks in pubs. FUCK THAT SHIT. I haven’t got to the carrots and already the rules have changed.
And why the masks or the curfew? What evidence is there that hospitality is causing the recent spike in cases?
Vote for lying bastards and eventually the lies will bite you in the backside. Not that I did vote Tory in 2019. First ever general election that I’ve not voted Tory – I even would have voted for them in 1997 had I been old enough, despite everyone else in Hull voting for Tone The Saviour.
It could be worse, I guess
Erm. So I was walking to The Flask from Finchley Road, which is about as far as I can manage on the Met line before I end up gasping for air…still absolutely fuck all chance of me making it to south London this year. Soz. Best roasts are mostly north of the river anyway. Aha.
Anyway, I passed someone that I recognised outside another pub and shouted over to him. Someone I used to work with until around 8 months ago, an absolute gent of a guy (northerner, so this stands to reason). Quick chat about roast dinners because that is all people want to talk to me about…I’m pretty up on Brexit too but people tend to swerve that subject nowadays for some reason.
By some minor miracle, he was also going to The Flask for a roast dinner. And ended up on the table next to us. Not that we could communicate with each other as we were both tables of 4.
Famous Four at The Flask
The Flask is a Young’s pub, and you may remember that during the middle of 2019, I had a string of disappointing roast dinners at Young’s pubs. So many that they unfollowed me on Twitter. The Bull & Gate in Kentish Town was one, The Grocer in Spitalfields another…I forget the rest but there was about 5 in fairly short succession. I definitely remember being unfollowed though.
Yet I’ve had a few people this year tell me that The Bull & Gate do great roast dinners…well that certainly wasn’t my experience. I’ve also seen some really damn good looking roast dinners on the social media channels of Young’s pubs recently – The Lion And Unicorn is one that I’ve added to my to-do list, for example.
And I just remembered, the first roast of the year was in The Wheatsheaf, which is also a Young’s pub, and scored an 8.03.
So this was going to be a test of my re-found optimism towards Young’s pubs. It seemed from social media (granted not always the best place to judge reality) that they have really upped their game this year.
Arriving at The Flask
We arrived a little early but our table was ready – the room itself was empty. We attempted to use the Young’s On Tap app, but we didn’t have any mobile signal, so signed onto the wi-fi – which required Track & Trace – and then the Young’s On Tap app still didn’t work.
A pint of Gamma Ray was soon forthcoming through traditional means of waving at staff until they see you, and another hangover could be soothed away.
On the menu was beef striploin with braised feather-blade, pork belly or half a chicken. My photography skills apparently deigned to include the prices – I remember the beef being £19.50 but I don’t remember the others. Just make it up. Prices will increase when Kent leaves the UK anyway.
I think I’m ready to move on to talking about the food…but I’m just not 100% sure that I’ve finished my rant from earlier. Have I? Then again, I need to stop writing and start work in a minute…so by time I pick up my metaphorical pen I’m sure I’ll have some new restrictions to rant about.
Our roasts took a good 30, maybe 40 minutes to arrive, which is longer than normal but perfectly acceptable when you are having a good time…I was far more interested in drinking beer than eating and had the honourable company of London Popups – second most important food blogger in London.
So starting with the red cabbage which I still do not appreciate. This was fruity and tangy – the flavour had been brought out really well. Except that I don’t like red cabbage, and of course, the little bits of red cabbage get everywhere.
There were two halves of carrot, nicely roasted and rather tender. Yet I still had some strands of red cabbage. There was a parsnip also, but I don’t really remember it. Sorry.
Then I got stuck into the chunky moon of good cabbage. This was charred on the outside, nicely soft as I was eating it, and I enjoyed it. Yet I could still taste the red cabbage – by this time from slight seepage into the gravy, and it did also become tougher to eat as I got to the core.
I need a flask of gravy
It was at this point that I started hearing murmurs of joy from my accomplices and I couldn’t quite understand why. I tend to eat the parts I like less first, especially something I really don’t appreciate like the red cabbage which I just get out of the way before anything else is even considered.
And now I was eating a roast potato. I don’t think I’ve had a good roast potato since China unleashed this virus on an unsuspecting and unprepared world. There will likely be a second pandemic before I get a good roast potato at this rate.
These were at least soft. They were edible. They just weren’t proper roast potatoes. You know when you just chop potatoes and stick them in the oven without boiling or chuffing them first? They were like that.
Roughly around this point I remembered that we had cauliflower cheese, which we had ordered as a side at around £4.50 a pot, but I don’t recall exactly.
This was unbridled joy. Easily one of the best cauliflower cheese dishes that I’ve had on my adventures – cooked with Beauvale blue cheese, this had a real impact on the taste buds, and had everything else you’d expect in terms of texture and creaminess. Rather exquisite and fabulously cheesy. Wow.
The Yorkshire pudding was decent. Thankfully not too large (I will lead the trend back to small yorkies), quite crispy but softenable by gravy.
Have I used the flask of gravy heading yet?
I think it’s time to talk about the gravy. At the beginning, the gravy was infected by red cabbage, but ample extra gravy arrived – and once this was added, the flavour of the gravy shone through and my appreciation of the roast dinner greatly improved. Sure, it could have been thicker but the gravy increased the enjoyment of the whole roast, as it should, and as it too often doesn’t.
Finally, the beef. This came in two parts, the striploin was generous in volume – two large and relatively thick slices, bordering on the medium-rare. Really nice.
And then the braised feather-blade – wow. This was melt in your mouth kinda beef, so hearty and flavoursome. Two wow’s in one roast.
By this point, I understood the murmurs of joy from my accomplices – it went from a bit whatever, to really, really enjoying the roast dinner. Every bite I just enjoyed more than the previous.
Yet I cannot forget the parts which were imperfect – the roast potatoes, of course, the gravy could have been thicker and my dislike of red cabbage. Though it isn’t really fair to penalise much on scoring them for a personal dislike.
On the flip side, both the cauliflower cheese and feather-blade were wow. The gravy tasted nice, non red-cabbage veg was good and the rest of the beef was tasty – and notably generous in portion size.
Summary, scoring and a bit more coronamoaning
My accomplices who all succumbed to joyous soundings before I did scored it very highly. Scores of 8.10, 8.52 and 8.58 across the table. I messaged my friend on the next table (is that still legal?) and he said a “strong 7”. He doesn’t quite know my scoring system.
I’m scoring it a 7.88. It was a very good roast dinner with two wow moments dragging the score close to an 8. And I don’t think I can justify an 8 without crispy roast potatoes.
I will be back this coming Sunday. Well, I will be attempting to get into the place that I have booked without making a complete dick of myself trying to explain to people just doing their job that masks don’t work, whilst doing my best Piers Corbyn impression. Do you think he gets laid more than me?
I have a plan anyway. Urinate on the street outside so I don’t need to go to the toilet – or just get so drunk the night before that I am so dehydrated and don’t need the toilet.
Snort drugs on the table instead of going to a toilet cubicle. Gosh maybe a mask could even come in useful there to hide it.
Finally, always be 10 minutes late so that whoever I am meeting arranges the table and orders drinks in time for my arrival. I’m sure I can handle 30 seconds of being dehumanised as I walk to my table where my drink is ready for me.
And if it is all too much of a ballache then sorry, I’ll be calling time out until after the rules are relaxed…though I’m starting to think that I’ll cope. Fingers crossed that this isn’t the death of hospitality as many suggest it will be.
Though it might not be in my hands anyway, with 45% of the British public thinking these changes do not go far enough – which can only mean closing pubs at best, or lockdown at worst.
Since when did around half the UK population think it a good idea to fuck the economy over? Oh yeah, 2016.
Sorry for being so ranty and less funny than normal. Even less funny than normal. Not easy this week…no idea how I’ve made it to Thursday without drinking.
At least it’s raining again.
Word. Welcome to another roast dinner review by your sexually limited and linguistically totally fucking unspecific host, Lord Gravy. This week I ended up going to The Express Tavern in Brentford.
Why the fuck would I want to go for a roast dinner in Brentford, I hear you ask.
Well, I had guests driving up from Basingstoke so I needed to find somewhere convenient for them, yet not a total mission for my maskphobic self. They suggested Harrow, where I live. I said “fuck no”. I also had no Metropolitan line so was stuck with the pick your willy line.
Looking at the to-do map on my maps page, the most sensible option seemed for me to get the tube to Acton Town, pushing the limits of suffocation and walk from there to Brentford. So I booked The Express Tavern in Brentford. It seemed like quite a nice pub from what I read about it, and I had hope that it might be a hidden gem.
Hidden gem, or a roast of crud. I wasn’t expecting anything middling.
Hang on, I cannot possible go any further on a review of of The Express Tavern without sharing this extraordinary live rendition of the track that influenced me so much as an 8 year old.
Wow. What a performance.
So where were we? Oh yeah I arrived at The Express Tavern…S-Express Tavern.
Split into two as you walk in, it wasn’t obvious which side to head to, so I went right, reported my attendance and asked for an IPA. At which point I was shown to the left side of the bar, and they did have rather an interesting and wide selection of beers – the kind that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in Brentford. Though maybe Brentford is the new Peckham?
Over the course of the afternoon, service wasn’t exactly great. It was always friendly, yet I’ve become very used to having table service for almost everything in a pub except for requesting a pot to piss in. Yet at The Express Tavern we even had to go ask for menus, let alone going to the bar to order beer and food. Drop that ghetto blaster.
And somehow despite a vague queuing system someone still managed to push in whilst I was ordering. She was hot, but otherwise I couldn’t quite understand how the guy in the process of serving me asked what I wanted to order, she then shouted from behind me what she wanted, he prepared her drinks order for the next few minutes, then came and took my money. Like, maybe finish serving your current customer first?
We were at least allowed to change our designated table from being seated outside to seated inside – though as inside was almost completely empty, it wasn’t exactly an issue.
So strange seeing pubs in London that empty, though the garden had a fair buzz about it, I do wonder how many pubs and restaurants will survive the coming winter, and possible hospitality apocalypse. Whilst I’m comfortable getting back out and eating – covid cases are rising pretty sharply, and I’ve seen a news story in the local online rag (and I emphasise “rag”) suggesting that a local lockdown is possible for my hood of Harrow.
There’s a balance between wanting to get out and support pubs and restaurants but also as a very limited and specific form of influencer, not being too reckless and encouraging reckless behaviour. I’m sure the social media hysteria will tell me when to stop going out, and given that our government seems to be governed by said hysteria, this would be the closing of the pubs again anyway.
It is starting to feel a bit like early March where every Sunday roast could be the last one that I have for a while. Gosh that went a bit dark, didn’t it? I know how to get things back in shape:
So on the menu at The Express Tavern was a choice of sirloin of beef, lamb, chicken, Brexiters on Question Time or a trio of meats.
I know what you are thinking. TRIO OF MEATS. Which sounds appealing, yet I always find that it confuses me and I get the flavours mixed up.
I’ve also long wanted to have a gammon roast so I can spend a whole blog post putting pictures up of red-faced fat old men who are so angry about “immigrunts tekin their joabs”, and this was nearly my first ever opportunity to do so – what is it with London and a lack of gammon roasts? Yet the menu states that it comes with parsley sauce – the other roasts come with gravy. A roast dinner without gravy?
So I ended up choosing the lamb at £14.95. Except that I got charged £15.95. I know this is a sign of my clearly opulent lifestyle, but I didn’t even bother going back to the bar to complain. My two accomplices both went for the trio.
10 minutes passed and our roast dinners arrived.
Oh, sorry, my mistake. That’s a picture of our greatest Prime Minister of 2020 so far, in admiration of a musician in a specific and limited way that has absolutely nothing at all to do with her vagina. Nothing to see here and she has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the Russian government.
This is the roast dinner:
Which seemed like it was missing something in a similar way to which Boris Johnson’s penis is missing something, then a couple of minutes later the rest of the vegetables arrived and a few months after that another illegitimate child arrives.
I don’t want to directly compare a head of broccoli to our current Prime Minister, however the broccoli was a bit soft and ordinary – kind of there but not really an awful lot of use.
Before we go any further, I would just like to remind all readers that as per the terms and conditions of my release from the Brexit re-education facility, I am fully in support of the government and Brexit itself, and my criticism is only in a specific and limited way about the total incompetence of our Prime Minister.
Express journey back to the gulag
Carrots. Apparently butter roasted, shaped in the form of batons and fairly soft. Ordinary but acceptable.
There is nothing that I can really say about the bits of cabbage or green beans. Seemingly boiled or steamed – they were edible, they were fine, they were absolutely damn average.
I had parsnips for the first time since I last remember having them, which could be February or could be last Sunday. They weren’t amazing, lacking flavour like most of the vegetables – a bit soft and cruddy. Oh that’s bad. No that’s good…actually no it isn’t.
Don’t remember the lyrics to S’Express saying “suck me off” on Top Of The Pops. Guess it might have depended on the presenter. Oh that’s bad.
Another photograph of the roast dinner at The Express Tavern to move things on like an express train
Getting proper crispy roast potatoes seems to be a bit of a moonshot – even the really good dinner venues like last week’s serve crudtastic roasties. These were no different. Not bad enough to remember them well, a bit rubbery and a bit whatever.
The Yorkshire pudding was reasonable – the outer rim a bit too crispy for my preferences, but the bottom was soggy upon a gravy soaking.
The lamb was quite thinly sliced and quite overcooked too. It wasn’t bad, I’ve had much better but I’ve also had worse. Mixed with the gravy and a bit of soggy yorkie it was a pleasant eat, but no more.
Finally, the gravy. Yes, actually gravy and it had a bit of consistency. Probably the highlight of the meal thinking about it, light on flavour but enough of a hint of meat stock shebang to give it the power to improve a fairly ordinary roast dinner.
Express averageness at The Express Tavern
The roast dinner at The Express Tavern was one of those roast dinners where there was a lot more food than thought. And for some people, roast dinners are more about quantity than flavour.
So it certainly ticked the quantity box. The gravy was good – proper gravy, but everything else was distinctly ordinary, bar the crudtastic roasties but that is nothing new for London.
You could say it was a very average roast dinner. Which was exactly what I didn’t expect.
Yeah that didn’t happen as I planned either.
I’m going to score it a 6.82 out of 10. My accomplices scored it around a 7 and a 7.5 – the latter arguably being even more difficult to please than I am.
I did like The Express Tavern as a pub, and if I’m in the area then I’d be very happy to pop in for a beer – and I very much wish I had a pub like that in my local area.
The roast dinner didn’t offend me – though I think it would appeal more to people who value quantity of food above flavour. And there are plenty who fit that box when it comes to roast dinners.
Not very express goodbye
Hopefully I’ll be back next week – and it should be a good roast dinner too. But who knows, maybe I’ll be under a local lockdown.
Maybe I’ll have covid symptoms.
Maybe they’ll close pubs on a Sunday.
Maybe they’ll close pubs.
Maybe they’ll make you wear a mask at the pub (and that would be the end of the blog – fuck that for a laugh).
Or maybe I’ll be back in the
gulag Brexit re-education facility.
You’ve heard of this one, right? This week’s review is of The Bull & Last in Dartmouth Park…which to make it a bit less confusing is between Kentish Town and Highgate. And next to Hampstead Heath. The bit near Dartmouth Park.
The Bull & Last has been on my to-do list for ages. Ever since I launched this blog nearly 4 years ago.
The random number generator picked it a couple of years back, at which point I realised that it was closed for refurbishment until autumn 2019. Autumn 2019 came and went, and it was still closed for refurbishment. When did they finally re-open?
The end of February. Great timing, huh?!
Speaking of great timing, I feel that we should now dedicate this roast dinner review to Wayne Lineker.
Yeah I’ve no idea how that fits in either.
So the refurbishment has been worth the wait and it is quite magnificent inside. Not in an overtly posh way, but definitely in a relaxed yet somewhat upmarket kind of way. The whole place feels spacious, which is handy in a pandemic, but also gives you that feeling of being that bit more special that you would in a grotty low-ceiling pub (of which I do love).
Yet I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. I’ve been to these kind of places before, all beautifully decorated with a lauded roast reputation – then come away utterly unimpressed. I repeatedly heard prior to refurbishment how good the roasts are at The Bull And Last, yet I keep a skeptical mind.
Speaking of decoration, how about a bit more Wayne Lineker?
One of my followers is guaranteed to comment on those see-through trousers.
Wayne Lineker at last
Yeah, I’m just jealous. There are no women in bikinis in Harrow. And yes I have finally started looking for somewhere less shit to live. Though when I say started looking, I actually mean that I’ve looked at hundreds of adverts on SpareRoom and decided that nowhere meets my expectations. I’m sure my regular readers would be surprised to hear that I am difficult to please.
Anyway, if anyone does know of a very large double room with lots of kitchen storage within 45 minutes walk of Paddington, let me know. Or maybe towards Hampstead or Kentish Town at a push. You’d get to live with a fat ugly tosser that loves roast dinners. I’m annoying but I’m also an expert on trade.
Speaking of experts on trade…
At least you learnt one new Spanish word now, si? More than you managed on that Duolingo course that you signed up for during lockdown with all your new-found spare time that you proceeded to waste.
The menu at last
Let’s talk fish and chips. When walking into any pub for a Sunday roast, I always have a sneaky glance at any tables who have received their meals, to see if I can work out which meat looks tastiest. And my thoughts were that the fish and chips looked amazing. Put me in a fucking gulag, I might have had the fish and chips on a Sunday were it not for you lot. I did vaguely consider it…well at least more than I considered the vegetarian thing.
Why would you order a pea?
For me, the roast options were either beef or pork belly, priced at a slightly uncomfortable £23 and £20 respectively. Ahhh the new normal. Yet I’d rather pay £20 for a good roast than £10 for a shit one…so bring it on. I chose the pork belly…pretty much a toss of a coin in my head.
And I just want to give a shout out to the size of the fork. Look at the length of those prongs.
Yeah I’m going to say it…
More Wayne Lineker?
Oh crap, wrong photo. Well, I do have gay followers, so that one is for you. Don’t say I don’t do anything for you. Not like that…though that has been said to me before. I certainly attract more gay men on a night out than women. Well, the count of women attracted to me over the last few years is around zero so that isn’t too difficult.
Oh there weren’t any. Not on my plate – carrots and parsnips were for those having beef. I made do with seasonal greens. I don’t actually remember eating them…ooh maybe I should share a photograph of the roast?
Yes! Kale. Garlicky kale – it was really rather nice, I definitely remember this.
Need to think of heading name
Also for those eating pork came Choucroute. The what? I assumed cabbage with a bit of onion and also some form of sausage whilst eating – it turns out that Choucroute is actually sauerkraut with sausage. I assume they used sauerkraut, but I’m not sure I’m yet to the culinary expertise of detecting the difference between cabbage and sauerkraut.
The Choucroute was really tasty, the small chunks of sausage seemed along the lines of Frankfurters in terms of texture and flavour, though probably a more refined sausage in reality. Massive props to the kitchen for showing some imagination on a roast dinner…imagination on a roast dinner is almost as rare as good roast potatoes.
Also a first time for black pudding on a roast dinner. I don’t really understand black pudding (surprised 2020 hasn’t cancelled something called “black pudding”) and I didn’t get the point of it being here. I was fine with eating it but it just added nothing for me – my other pork-eating accomplice really liked it.
Roast potatoes were predictably repugnante (did you forget your Spanish from earlier?). Seemingly cooked before the pub closed for refurbishment, these were small, rubbery things featuring zero joy. A bit like my nob after taking drugs. Or a bit like my nob without taking drugs.
Cauliflower cheese was £5.00 per dish and was quite the delight. Guess what it tasted of? No, you are wrong. It tasted of cheese. Another rarity – cauliflower cheese that actually tasted of cheese. Golden on top with a sprinkling of herbs, cauliflower cooked to the perfect balance and a thick, cheesy sauce. I’ve had better, but not many.
Gosh even my photographs are actually half decent this week. And I can go one step further – so was the Yorkshire pudding. It was one of those big flowering pot jobs – the outside was a tad dry, but the inside had that fluffy pancake-like texture which seems so rare nowadays. Again, I’ve had better, but it definitely ranked “good”.
Getting meaty at last
I did try some of the beef, it was silky smooth kinda nice and very much on the rare side. However I made the correct choice in ordering the pork belly.
The crackling came separated as slightly twisted chunks of crispy, gluttonous fatty nonsense. Softened with a bit of gravy this was very satisfying.
Around 4 slices of pork belly were provided – the roast may have been priced at £20 but it felt like we really got our money from the quantity of food provided. I should add that a bottle of red wine was only £22 (I think…maybe it was £25 but I think £22) which seemed really good value for a gastropub. Gosh I hate that word but The Bull And Last really is a gastropub par excellence.
So the pork belly was super tasty and also so succullent too. I could have eaten this forever – and eaten with little chunks of the crackling ripped apart, along with the flavour of the gravy was just a delight.
Finally, the gravy. It was quite thin and watery – not every box has been ticked on this roast dinner. Yet it was very flavoursome in a meat stock kinda way and perfectly complimented the rest of the roast dinner.
Summarize The Bull And Last at last
Overall this was a really good experience. A classy pub without being inaccessible, good service from our waitress who did seem to have a lot to do (masked, alas, but I’m sure that is a reassurance to others).
Good beer, albeit at £6.80 a pint it did make my eyes water – yet as I mentioned earlier the Tempranillo seemed good value. I think I paid £47.00 in total which for a top notch roast dinner, half a bottle of wine, a beer and service didn’t seem too bad. Especially when you compare it to the £22 I paid for Eggs Royale and a fucking orange juice the other week in Marylebone…with just one egg too.
I say top notch, yet there was one moment of true crud which were the roast potatoes. Week after week I get crap roast potatoes and this was no exception. Yet it was the exception to the rule, I loved the succulent pork belly and the imagination shown, especially for the Choucroute.
One of our group, Chicken Boo, scored it around the 7, as she really wanted chicken which wasn’t available, and isn’t keen on beef being rare. The others scored 8 or slightly above.
I’m scoring it an 8.14 out of 10, which at the time of writing makes it the 20th best roast dinner out of 147 reviewed, and the 3rd best of 2020. With good roast potatoes it would have been in the mid to high 8’s.
I’ll be back next week. Well, probably. From me, Wayne and lots of young women in bikinis, keep on roasting. And maybe share my blog.
And…action. Welcome back to Roast Dinners In And Around Harrow and anywhere I dare risk the mask stasi whilst wearing a chin strap that does fuck all even if I wear it properly. This week featuring The Bridge Hotel in Greenford. Greenford is near Harrow. And is a shithole.
Chill out, I wore a mask, but I’m damn well going to moan about it.
Now, where were we?
Oh yeah, Brexit. I know I’ve been against leaving the European Union for years, but thanks to the assistance provided to me at the re-education facility over recent months, I am now fully aware of all the benefits of Brexit and am ready to participate in ensuring a world-beating, smooth and easy Brexit that we will all appreciate even more than a bowl of peas. And who doesn’t love peas?
I’m excited about the Brexit dividend, I’m excited about Britain finally holding all the cards. The NHS will get £350m extra every single year, we will be a major part of the World Trade Organisation – we get their deals which as the name suggests, will be world-beating.
We are going to be so world-beating, that you could even say that we are going global.
Not everyone is going global
I didn’t go global on Sunday. There was little global about Greenford.
Yeah I know I could have picked somewhere more popular for my comeback than a pub in an area of London that you didn’t even know existed, but I’m sure you are really here for me as the Free Lord Gravy campaign proves, and you simply want to read the beautiful words that come out of my unique level of genius.
Besides, I loathe masks (I did originally put “mosks” which would really have taken this post to another level) and find it impossible to breathe in them. However whilst I may now fully appreciate the value that our Independence from the EUSSR will bring to us, I still don’t have the balls to get a tube without a mask for my fear of the mask stasi. Therefore two stops of the tube was quite enough before I felt the shame of my dehumanisation.
Ahhhhh it always worries me when I agree with a Corbyn, even if it is Piers this time. Well I don’t think I ever agreed with Jezza. Ever. Jezza. Wow. Yeah that doesn’t actually thyme, does it?
You missed me, right?
Anyway, so it is game on. I am back, fully re-educated and ready to support our world-beatingly competent government. Oh and nearly as important, keep on finding the best and worst roast dinners in London.
Given the difficulties over masks, for the time being I’ll only be reviewing roasts in central or north London – basically anywhere where I can get to with only 10-15 minutes on a tube/train. Maybe my lungs will get used to them, but I’m hoping that Piers Corbyn persuades enough people not to wear them so I feel that I can also break the rules. Anyone else think that there is a gap in the market for people who think masks are bullshit yet are very excited about 5G?
On my way to The Bridge Hotel
Sunday I was hungover to fuck. Seriously hungover. I don’t remember getting home, or whether I wore my mask…I probably did because I wanted to offend people by that point.
Mine is in a lighter shade of blue though.
I had to bring my booking forward just to get the whole mission over and done with. Two stops on a tube and a 30 minute walk – which was uphill on the way back. Yeah, that hurt.
The Bridge Hotel restaurant was empty when I arrived. I couldn’t see any other customers, though I think there was one in the other room. Greenford isn’t exactly a destination location. Good access to a big road but I’m not interested enough to work out which road.
Though it says on the sign if you care. My expectations were already low. This or the various stabby looking types staring at me didn’t improve my expectations.
However, I did get a pleasant welcome – perhaps because the solitary member of staff was excited to have something to do.
A beer arrived quickly, Camden Pale Ale was about as interesting as it got, and there was a choice of two roasts.
Chicken at £14.50 or sirloin of beef with ox cheek croquette for £16.50. In Greenford. Sounds good, no? Also the vegetarian sounded interesting until I got to the chickpea bit and also realised that I was in a pub and 2020 has already offered enough dehumanisation.
Feeling some inspiration from my Morrison’s roast dinner back in central lockdown when it wasn’t too dangerous to visit a supermarket without a mask, I did consider ordering a side of chunky chips. But I just went for the chicken – it felt like the easiest option for my extreme hangover, though I had forgotten about the knife and fork bit.
A bridge to the next paragraph
My roast took around 15 minutes to arrive, time enough for me to just about drink two sips of my beer.
Starting with the carrots. Oh the carrots. How I’ve missed being able to think of yet another way of describing carrots to you. These were plump and juicy, almost fruity. Chunky too. I approved.
Then there was this concoction of “crushed roots” which tasted more of swede than anything else, and seemed like it was part of another winter warmer type of dish altogether, say Shepherd’s Pie but not Shepherd’s Pie if you know what I mean. No, probably not. But I liked it also.
Some cabbage was supplied. A little crunchy. I don’t have anything else to say except to take the opportunity to thank those behind the “Free Lord Gravy” campaign, though I cannot find the website or the petition or the social media accounts, I am most appreciative of your support. My lawyer was fucking useless, for sure.
Also there was a tiny amount of creamed leeks. Joy, but mixed up with the cabbage and not easy to disentangle, and not much – yet the limited cream still managed to pollute the gravy.
Roast potatoes…a bridge too far?
Three roast potatoes were supplied, all large. These were definitely cooked after lockdown and not before, but were still reassuringly crap. Too large, too undercooked in the middle, though at least one was properly crispy on the outside – albeit “yesterday” kinda crispy.
I’ve had worse, and I almost certainly will have worse again. The only part of the roast that let the side down. Ahhhh normality really has resumed.
Despite not having had a Yorkshire pudding not made in a factory since March, I cannot say I have missed them. Heresy, I know. This was fine, a little crunchy but not overly, and softened somewhat with gravy.
The chicken was really good. The breast was cut into chunks, hence the weird white thing near the top of my plate, but all really juicy and succulent. The drumstick fine, whatever, the thigh nice and juicy too.
And finally the jus…oh wait…the gravy. Yes, an attempt at actual gravy. It had some consistency – nothing mega thick but pleasing. An inoffensive taste, which is exactly what I required.
Though you’ll be relieved to know that extra gravy arrived in a thimble. Ahhhh, normality.
Overall, my expectations were bettered. Sure, the roast potatoes were crud and nothing was especially stand-out, perhaps the juicy chicken I’ll remember with most fondness.
I cannot give it a strong enough recommendation for you to travel from say Crystal Palace to The Bridge Hotel in Greenford for a roast even without a mask, but if you are in the local area its worth checking out. And they have a big road nearby. Maybe you could drive there?
I’m scoring it a very respectable 7.20 out of 10. Sort the roasties out, and it would have been high 7’s. No service charge and I couldn’t pay a tip because tips could only be in cash and I’m from the 21st century.
And then I had the 30 minute walk back up the hill. And masks. Have I moaned enough about masks? At least I am now a reformed Brexiteer. Let’s go global. GLOBAL.
I will be back next week. Yes, I will.
So how was that for you?
Missed me, right?
Feels good inside, huh?
You love me, right?
See you next week. Gravy.