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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.
Привет. I am Count Goulash, your new, sexy hero writing about your English roast goulash dinner. I went for the roast goulash dinner at The Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead. Inn in…oh my your English language is so funny. HA HA HA HA.
I am very sexy and intelligent which is why my dear president sent me on this mission, my first since visit to Cathedral – very nice. I am big fan of you English.
He’s very sexy also, no? I love him so much. Like, not in homosexual way as Vlad is not homosexual, but I would love to just cuddle him naked. Nothing homosexual though, as Vlad is not homosexual. OK?
Vlad is my hero. You like? He is very nice but not homosexual. You can be sure that he is not homosexual because he made new laws against being homosexual which proves he is not homosexual.
Maybe you English men find him sexy. I like goulash. Goulash is sexy. And my sexy president that is not homosexual sent me on a mission to England, I think it safe now for me to visit England because you have the Boris as your president and he is stupid. HA HA HA HA. You English vote for Boris. HA HA HA HA. Why you not want sexy president?
Anyway, Vlad called me to his office last week and said, “Anatoliy, I need you to do new super-secret mission in England for me. I know you love that stupid, dumbass country, and we are now looking to takeover its media institutions so we can be ready for the invasion”.
I was very interested. I like media, I thought maybe I would be working on television with my favourite man of English, Graham Norton.
He continued, “I need you to take over the most influential blog in the UK, Roast Dinners in London”. I stared at him. I was confused. What is a roast dinner, I asked. “It is the English goulash”. I LOVE GOULASH. I told him that I will need weapons and money, but he said that all I need was access to the Twitter account, something called Instagram and to write a load of “fucking bullshit“.
Well, that is easy, Vlad. You fancy me. I Fancy Bear. Now Count Goulash is in control of the UK’s foremost media institution, Roast Dinners in London. HA HA HA HA.
Goulash is Great, Long Live Goulash at The Spaniard’s Inn
So why The Spaniard’s Inn? Well, I make friends quickly and they trust me already HA HA HA HA. They tell me The Spaniard’s Inn is one of the best in London – they already tell me their secrets even before meeting them.
It was big pube, very big. I like all your pubes in England but this was very special. Because of social distancing and you backwards people, there was queue to enter pube. Why you not have vaccine yet? Because Russia is best country and you English are backward. YOUR EMPIRE IS OVER. But I like you English. HA HA HA HA.
So we queued to get in like English people, but then we found out that if you had already booked that you needed to enter through the “do not enter” door. Well, of course.
We had a choice of garden or inside. The garden was large and pretty, they also had a BBQ for those that did not want roast goulash dinner. We sat outside. We were attacked by wasps. I am hard and sexy Russian man but we had girls with us and they not like the wasps, so we did manly thing to protect the girls and asked for table inside.
The Spaniard’s Inn had big social distancing – it was a very big pube. Every other table seemed to be “do not use” and there was big space between each table already. I think The Spaniard’s Inn offers more social distancing than any other pub I have been to since lockdown – perhaps they could allow more in, or perhaps other pubs should be following their lead.
Russian Women Most Sexy
You know this fool, Lord Gravy. Well, I read that he likes Spanish women. And he needs stronger password than Gravy1234 HA HA HA HA. Big fool.
Anyway, he fool and he wrong. Look at the women of Spain:
And look at the women of Russia:
Spanish women top, Russian women bottom. Russia woman much more pretty, OK? I give you good price on wife. Very good at cleaning.
Gazprom is best gas
We had only one option for roast dinner goulash unless we wanted to share food. Share food? What kind of country is this? The only option was rib of beef with red wine jus for £19.50. Why do you put jus on roast dinner goulash?
If you are sharing people, you could have roast chicken dinner goulash to share for £39. Or rich sharing people, you could have Chateaubriand for £60. They also had nut roast goulash, but this confuse me because it does not say what meat. This was £17.
I think £19.50 is a normal price for roast goulash dinner in London? It does not matter as Gazprom pays for me. They sell best gas. I hope I buy best goulash.
Delivery was strange – like Russia Post in Perestroika. One new friend received her dinner 5-10 minutes before everyone else. Then we all received dinner. Then a few minutes later my friend who had first dinner received her extra gravy and horseradish. Then a few minutes later we had our side dishes of pigs in blankets and cauliflower cheese.
THIS IS NOT FUCKING GOULASH.
My new friends said that my president lie to me, that the English do not eat goulash. But I know my president does not lie. He is most honest man in world and I thank him for bringing Crimea home too.
The fake goulash also came with English spying devices, but I was very careful before ordering to ensure that they not have English spying devices on the plate.
My president said, “whatever you do, remember not to trust peas”. And the Mi5 tried to put peas on my plate, but I know their tricks, I read their e-mails HA HA HA HA. I write their e-mails too HA HA HA HA.
Starting with carrots, they were small and very roasted. Maybe too roasted and soft but I still like them.
Parsnips very good. A bit nutty, a bit soft.
The roast potatoes looked a bit like dumplings, however they were not good. They chewy and felt like from last week’s goulash. Not good roast potatoes. How did Lord Gravy eat the roast potatoes every week? Maybe they are normally much nicer?
I make you Brexit.
My English translator tells me Yorkshire is where the most sexy men are from in the England and that a pudding is like gateau. So I did not expect a ball of dried batter. This is strange thing that you English put on your dinner, I thought you were rich country? No, you not now thanks to Brexit…I hope you like…this my present to you…I work on Brexit project also. Kisses from Russia.
This Yorkshire pudding was dry until you put extra gravy on it, in which case it is a little soft and fluffy. I think pointless and stupid, but my other new friends like it more than me.
Speaking of which, one of my new friends does not like gravy on her roast dinner. I am told this is like treason in the England and very strange. In Russia, we send people to gulag for treason. Like Lord Gravy is in gulag HA HA HA HA though they say re-education facility. HA HA HA HA. He is fool.
I sell you wife that make you Breakfast.
HA HA HA HA
I like the beef. I think for £19.50 it was not too much beef, and you should have more. There was some nice fat and it was nice in my mouth, not rare but not well-done like my mama made me when we were growing up.
And finally, the gravy. Well, it was red wine jus. I am told gravy is much better, more English. I think this is OK, but tastes strong of red wine. Maybe I would like gravy more. I would definitely like GOULASH more. Yes. And I had to ask for more red wine jus, because very little on plate and your weird pudding of Yorkshire was dry before jus. Not smooth.
I am sorry that my photographs not very good, I make better photograph outdoors, like cathedrals which I like very much.
Gazprom is sexy. You get best gas there.
Oh I nearly forgot. I ordered some cauliflower cheese for £4 a dish. It was nice. Someone on the Twitter said it does not belong on roast dinner. I can tell you it does not belong on goulash. I did not understand why you say cheese…it was more cauliflower with cream sauce, but it still nice.
My friends ordered pigs in blankets which look like little willy HA HA HA HA – I have very big willy. They also tasted nice, the best thing on the plate, wrapped in bacon. Quite sexy, like Russian woman taste.
Roast Dinner Is OK. Not Goulash.
I not know why you English have this every Sunday. You should have goulash every Sunday instead. You should have goulash every day, with sexy Russia woman make you. I sell you?
You English get very excited about Sunday roast and also “democracy”. But Sunday roast is lie and your democracy is lie. You will one day realise that you have Conservative dictatorship but cannot see it because your leaders not as strong or sexy as Putin. OK, Theresa May was quite sexy also. Quite sexy, not more.
Sometimes the fake goulash was nice. The beef was nice, but no more. The red wine jus was…nice for a jus. The parsnips were nice also. I think only bad thing was chewy roast potatoes and English spying devices.
The Spaniard’s Inn itself is very nice and big, staff were friendly and it did not have the feel of a hospital like some pubs do.
However, the Sunday roast at The Spaniard’s Inn is overrated, just like your democracy. And this is summary.
I give The Spaniard’s Inn a score of 7.05. Nice. No more than nice.
Next Sunday I am going back to Russia. I hope my mission is over because THIS IS NOT GOULASH. I know my president made a mistake. He doesn’t lie, he is most truthful and sexy man in the world.
I love you, Vlad. Can I come home now? There is no goulash in London.
As I am sure you are aware, my client, “Lord Gravy”, has been detained on a variety of spurious allegations, such as treason, disrespecting democracy and defamation of senior government advisors. These allegations are rejected forthright and wholesomely.
Having spoken to him in depth this week, he would like to make it clear that he fully understands the benefits of Brexit, and would like it stated on record that he regrets being duped by the liberal elite into voting for the expansion of the EUSSR.
Further to this, he regrets not voting Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election, and would like to clarify that Boris Johnson has his full support going forwards, and is positively enthused about the great glories ahead for the United Kingdom under the wise and enlightened leadership of Boris Johnson.
And of utmost importance, he would dearly like you all to understand his belief and understanding of the importance of Dominic Cummings as the driving force behind the United Kingdom government, and its success in going global.
Finally, he would also like to heartedly thank those who organised the “Free Lord Gravy” campaign. I am, however, not aware of such a campaign.
To the best of my knowledge, Lord Gravy is in good spirits and has been treated fairly whilst being in the re-education facility, though he does complain about the food. He looks forward to his re-education being complete and restarting his inspiring work (his words) whilst enjoying the excitement of Britain going global, and all the benefits that Brexit will bring.
We do not yet have a release date for Lord Gravy, though we are hoping that it will be before the end of 2020. You will all be pleased to know that he has committed to a much more positive appraisal of the government once he is released, whilst writing about the Sunday Roast options in London.
In the meantime, the government has kindly confirmed that they will allow this website to stay open to help encourage the re-opening of the economy, and have handed control of Roast Dinners in London to D & Goings Law.
D & Goings Law.
Firstly, if any of you are racist then fuck off. I’m generally desperate for followers – desperation goes with the territory of being a blogger, but if you are racist then you simply don’t deserve my blog.
Fuck off and block me. Same goes for anyone not racist that thinks violence is acceptable.
Aaaaaannnnnnnnddddd calm down. Why am I here? Oh yeah, Brexit…hang on…no its a roast dinner review. Or it will be. Another in the bring roast dinners to Lord Gravy series.
I do just want to say something else before we go on. DOMINIC CUMMINGS IS A WANKER.
Ahhhh it is currently Monday morning as I am writing this introduction, I should be on my way to go stand up on the Met Line for 45 minutes, plus the extra time it would be delayed on journey, plus time waiting for a tube that I can fit on. Alas, China has struck and 3 months later I am still sat at my slightly wobbly bedroom desk all day, every day. Even worse, I spend all day looking at desks online thanks to my job. Used to be lingerie models.
And, of course, I am still not permitted to use a tube train, pubs are still closed, restaurants are still closed. When pubs and restaurants do re-open then I’ll have to use a suffocation device to get there on the tube – and fuck doing that voluntarily. I’d rather stay in Harrow for the next year then wear a mask.
Actually…maybe there is a way…
Say No To The Mask Mafia
Of course, many of you probably have a plethora of good pubs within walking distance but many of you don’t live in Harrow. I do have one good pub within walking distance up a steep hill, one acceptable pub but with shit beer halfway up a steep hill, one under 18’s Irish bar and one Wetherspoons. I do have a bicycle, but I’m obese and can probably walk further than I can cycle…and my bicycle is currently in Luton.
And you thought it was difficult enough back in January for me to get a roast dinner.
Thankfully, my dearest and most regular accomplice has a car – and from this point forward will be known as Meals On Wheels.
Oh crap, I just realised that I searched for “gimp mask” without using private browsing. Going to get some odd looks on the tube when they see the adverts I’ll now get served…oh if only.
Shall we get on with the review? What? I cannot hear you?
I’m going to take that muffled bark as a “yes”. Then I’m probably going to go off at a tangent. I should probably have a “skip the crap” button at the top that takes people down to the score at the bottom, shouldn’t I?
Say No To China
I wonder if that heading counts as Britain “stepping out of line”? Fuck China…well fuck their government anyway. Chinese people, I like you – maybe one day you’ll be able to elect your own Boris Johnson. Dream of democracy.
We had options for a roast. Lots of pubs are doing collections and one that really tickled my fancy was Popup Emporium, based at W7 Emporium in Ealing. Who have subsequently just announced that they are taking a break from Sunday roasts after the coming Sunday. Great timing for a review then!
So maybe get your order in now.
Or maybe when you have finished reading this review.
Hmmm just finished writing the review and realised that I hadn’t mentioned the price or the menu so I hope this doesn’t spoil the flow too much – if you cannot read images then the options were loin & belly of pork, topside of beef, lamb rump steak or chicken – all at £12. I went for the pork. I’m out of practice at this reviewing malarky.
Sunday morning arrived and I spent it expanding my understanding of Webpack, Node modules and Babel because I am so fucking fun and enlightened. Oh and I also looked for some more shorts. What do you think of these beauties?
Then Meals On Wheels sent me this:
What? I have cooking instructions? Erm…this was not part of the plan. Different things have different times? Thankfully I had stayed alert and didn’t do a line of ketamine beforehand (or ever in my life, obviously).
FYI if the undercovers outside my house are reading, the only white powder in my house is flour. Is that an obvious lie? It could be flour from before lockdown? Have I told you about these people sat in the car near my house that look undercover Mi5 operatives? I left my house to go for a walk this morning and they drove off at the same time…way dodgy. Should I be more paranoid? I’m thankful that my drug of choice is LIFE. Shit choice though nowadays, ain’t it?
Anyway I’d not had a drink all weekend so I was as alert as I ever am, and was able to carry out the reheating instructions – it came cold so it definitely needed reheating.
Say No To Ketamine When You Have Vaguely Complex Instructions Like Crossing A Road
So alert, that I even remembered to enter their roast dinner presentation competition:
If that photograph of Maggie in a roast dinner doesn’t win the roast dinner presentation competition, then I clearly know absolutely nothing about presenting food.
12 or so minutes later I had a roast dinner.
There were quite selection of vegetables, all of which were limited in quantity so I didn’t get a particularly strong impression on any.
Roasted parsnips and carrots were nicely done, and there was a little cabbage and leek – too little to really comprehend that I was eating it.
A few cubes of swede had their flavour brought out well. All positive thoughts though.
Also it came with cauliflower and broccoli cheese – again small in volume, but perfect in terms of a marginal squish, a thick and creamy sauce that didn’t pollute, and a hint of cheese – though nothing overly notable. Reasonably impressed.
3 fairly small roast potatoes were supplied, and were heading in the right direction, but definitely needed a bit longer in the oven to crisp up properly. Above average, but average isn’t anything special in London!
Say No To Average
The Yorkshire pudding was really nicely done. Blissfully small – if anything good can come out of lockdown then I hope it is a shrinking of the average size of Yorkshire puddings. Soft and fluffy – yeah this was a victory. Let’s hope they don’t give it a statue then 75 years later call it a genocidal racist and then need to have the Democratic-My-Arse Hockey Lads & Lasses protect it. Corbyn used to claim everything was democratic also, didn’t he? Democratic Socialism. Democratic Football Lads. Hmmm…I’m seeing a problem with this adjective.
Also in victory was the pork belly. Delightfully plentiful, mostly soft and tender – a little squidgy around the fatty edge. Just really rather satisfying.
Meals On Wheels had the beef which is pictured above, I thought it really top notch in terms of beefy flavour – but a little tough to cut. Meals On Wheels blamed my knives, which in that case she needs to blame my mum who bought them. Meals On Wheels is my sister.
The stuffing was pretty good – in flavour it impressed more than in texture, where it felt a tad like cereal…more coarse than gooey.
The crackling was tough and needed soaking in the gravy to be edible, but once softened there was a satisfying element to making my way through it and that fatty flavouring resonated though with a desire for something easier to crunch.
Finally the gravy. The absolute star of the show. I know, it looks a little democratically thin on the photograph – probably mostly because the pork gravy was a rather translucent shade.
Sure, it wasn’t especially thick, but had a mellow yet complex flavour to it, and turned a good roast dinner, into a very good roast dinner. Gravy can make or break a roast – and this fucking well made it.
If every single “thin” gravy tasted as gorgeous as this did, I would be a huge fan of thin gravy. Arguably, the beef gravy was even sexier.
Say No To Mi5
And I could lick the plate afterwards without a care in the world…ahhhh. Granted I was sat in my front “garden” and all the neighbours could see and those undercover Mi5 types sat in the nearby car would have been able to see if they hadn’t driven off as soon as Meals On Wheels arrived.
I was well satisfied with this roast dinner. Remember – it was a takeaway roast that needed heating up, so things are never going to be perfect. Also remember that my scoring does not offer any compensation for this.
The item that could have been most improved were the roasties – above average for London but hadn’t quite reached their destination. Texture of the stuffing just a bit grainy for me…perhaps personal taste.
On the positive side, well, everything else was good but the gravy was absolutely special – and if there is anything that goes wrong nearly as much as roast potatoes, it is gravy. And this was bliss…I even had enough left over to eat with some bread the day after. Hmmm, cold gravy and bread, I should be a chef.
Also I ordered a tarte au citron which was divine – it just felt like luxury gliding through my mouth.
I’m scoring this an 8.25 out of 10 – Meals On Wheels gave hers an 8 out of 10. I suspect that in W7 Emporium itself instead of a takeaway, they could well score mid-upper 8’s.
So you’ve got one opportunity left before summer to get a roast from Popup Emporium – get crackling. Assuming you can get to Ealing, of course!
Before you go, just time to update you on my shorts shopping – look at these beauties:
That gives me an idea.
Yeah I’m writing sentences to build up the suspense.
Hopefully you haven’t scrolled too quickly.
You know, build up to the special moment.
Wear with this mask:
I’ll be back at some point. Sleep well. Love you.
Tapping The Admiral…in Kentish Town…a place that is many miles away from where I live. I see your stasi eyebrows raised wondering whether I have gone full on Dominic Cummings.
Welcome to the inaugural Roast Dinners In London Delivered To Lord Gravy review. My most regular accomplice took pity on me and decided seeing as that loathsome wanker controlling our pretend Prime Minister could do whatever he wanted, she would deliver me a roast dinner.
Whoa did you just draw a line under that?
Granted, this is now in the rules so I’m not as cool as I like to think that I am, but I did used to smoke weed at university occasionally and read the life story of Howard Marks, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
In fact, the rules are now so relaxed that I can chillax and toke a doobie with 5 other people in my local area, Harrow. Except I don’t know anyone in the local area, apart from my housemate, my landlady, my landlady’s brother and my landlady’s elderly mother. One of them does smoke weed though.
There have been some dark times in Casa Gravy – at some points I never thought I’d get to see a burnt Yorkshire pudding desperate for triple the amount of “extra” gravy that I’d just paid £2 for ever again.
And it’s one thing not being able to get a roast, but I’m also starved of cute waitresses. I went for a walk to M&S the other day, and saw a fabulous bum wiggle on the way home – all the more glorious for being possibly the first vaguely attractive woman that I’ve seen not on Pornhub/Tinder in over two months. It really was a damn fine bum wiggle, even my homosexual friends might have appreciated it or at least understood my perspective.
There have even been moments where I had considered giving up completely. Closing the blog and transferring my effort and talent onto something else – that could still happen depending on how onerous the logistics around roast dinners become.
After all, it is very easy to see a situation where pubs with beer gardens reopen, but how many pubs do you know in London with sufficiently large beer gardens to meet the expected demand? And with use of public transport still socially unacceptable for social use, I could be stuck in Harrow for some time. And fuck wearing a mask for 1.5 hours on 18 different tubes each way.
So when my most regular and effective accomplice offered to go to Tapping The Admiral to pick up a roast, and then drive 40 minutes to my house for an eye-test and a socially distanced roast dinner, I jumped at the opportunity quicker than you can say Dominic Cummings is a wanker and the reason I want him sacked is absolutely nothing to do with Brexit because I am totally over that.
Oh there’s that line drawn under it again. Hmmm.
OK it does have a lot to do with Brexit.
So for the sum of £12, you could either have a lamb roast, a chicken roast or…nah you wouldn’t be interested.
I should possibly elaborate, lamb shoulder and stuffed lamb breast, or chicken with lemon, thyme and bacon stuffing. Oh yeah. And for just £12 – in the whole years that I have been reviewing roast dinners in London, I’ve had just 4 roasts for that price or less – two of which were abominable.
Collection was smooth – I should probably apologise to anyone without access to the area between Harrow and Kentish Town as you won’t be getting any reviews of roasts in other areas of London for some time! And who knows whether this will ever be repeated anyway…every time I write a review I wonder if I’ll ever write one again.
The roast was actually still warm upon arrival, despite the 40 minute drive. This doesn’t always happen on the walk from pub kitchen to pub table.
There were even two sizeable tubs of gravy – the majority of one tub is in the freezer, which may perhaps give you a clue as to whether I appreciated it.
Except the parsnips were undercooked and rather tough to cut and chew – they were so white that they really should be apologising for their priviledge.
Despite nearly 3 months without going to a pub, I haven’t thought of any new ways to describe carrots. They were carrots. They were fine, a bit of a crunch to them but nothing off-putting. Allegedly honey-roasted but I didn’t notice it, though this could be user error.
Courgettes on a roast doesn’t go down too well on Twitter, but I was comfortable.
Most importantly, it is wonderful to see some appreciation for my taste in crockery. I did think about buying this plate off Ebay but I missed my opportunity. Gutted.
Licking the gravy off the plate would take on a new dimension of concupiscence.
Anyway, courgette on a roast. Not everyone approves and they probably wouldn’t approve of the spring onion either, but I was content and it provided a nice summer-like balance. There were a couple of small broccoli florets for those less open to new opportunities.
From a takeaway roast dinner, I would have expected the cauliflower cheese to be the part that fell apart easier than a eye-test alabi. Yet it was good – cauliflower not too soft, sauce nicely thickened with a hint of cheese.
The roast potatoes were a respectable effort though arguably the most diminished item from 40+ minutes in a takeaway carton. Kinda crispy on the outside and kinda soft on the inside, though the larger of the 3 roasties definitely needed a few more minutes in the oven.
Respectable – verging on the good, though would have been much nicer with another 5-10 minutes in the oven AND IN A PUB. What’s the odds Boris opens the pubs this weekend when I’m fucking on call? We know what happens when I try to go for a roast dinner when on call.
I was expecting a Yorkshire pudding – alas this did not arrive, though I’m sure many were expecting £350m a week for the NHS that Dominic Cummings promised them on the side of a fucking bus. Who knew that Dominic Cummings was such a lying, conniving, cheating wanker? Well, I did. I predicted it on my blog. Who’s the fucking genius now Dom?
Nothing had massively hit the spot so far, it was just an enjoyable roast dinner, made all the better given the long drought. However, the star of the show was the lamb.
Loads of it, for a start. Both shoulder which was arguably marginally overdone for personal preferences but was hearty and soft, and also rolled breast, stuffed with…stuffing, which itself was glorious.
Lamb breast is normally a tad fatty – on the chewy fat side, and there was some evidence of this, but it is to be expected, and was really quite minimal. The crispy outside had gone a bit tough and tearable – but one assumes the journey did for that.
I also enjoyed the gravy. More than sufficient gravy, a little watery – the journey unfortunately didn’t thicken it, but otherwise a proper meat stock kinda gravy, the type that even a leftie would lick off a Margaret Thatcher plate.
It’s good to be back, isn’t it?
Takeaway roasts are not going to be easy to score and keep in context with all the pub/restaurant roasts, but I have decided not to compensate and to stick to scoring as if this is exactly what I would receive if dining at Tapping The Admiral. Yet if I had received exactly this, on a plate in the pub, then I’d still be pretty satisfied. Easily one of the most generous portions of meat and I loved the effort that went into it.
Only the parsnips were disappointing – sure, there are other improvements available but broadly this was pretty damn decent.
I’m scoring it a 7.45 out of 10. I guess that Tapping The Admiral would probably score in the high 7’s or low 8’s were it a proper roast in a pub.
This might happen again. I’m not quite ready to draw a line under roast dinner reviews in London just yet. We are vaguely alive.
Who knows whether I’ll be back next Sunday…actually I do know because it is already next Sunday now as it has taken me a week to find the motivation to finish this and I can confirm that I had seabass for lunch. What you going to do about it?
My destiny is out of my hands, though a repeat should happen at some point. You could say that I am unable to take back control. But at least I can carry on this sorry enterprise for a little while longer. One final line?
Ahhh Sainsburys. We used to have a bit of a customer-corporate love affair back before Theresa May became Prime Minister.
I’d write to them and express my love for them such as:
It’s been a while. I just wanted to drop you a note to say how happy I am that we have re-kindled our relationship, and that I was wise to give you another chance.
I did at first notice a few things were not the same. Your gorgeous Sainsbury’s Tomato Ketchup Smile was not quite tasting the same as before. I wasn’t the only one to notice as my ex-housemate that always did his washing up, every single time, honestly, (a good soul otherwise) also thought there was a difference – another Sainsbury’s Tomato Ketchup convert thanks to yours truly. Now I’m not sure if we were imagining it, I don’t notice it any more so many just in one batch?
I am not keen on the Sainsbury’s spices either. The spices themselves are fine, but now there is just one large hole in the lid, which makes it harder to use sparingly.
Finally, your pitta bread eyes have changed too. At first I didn’t like them. But now I actually prefer them. Though as I am trying to get my body even sexier for you my love, I have had to cut out my bacon and egg pitta bread sandwiches on the evenings.
Also during the summer, I had some disappointing strawberries and avocados. I didn’t want to say anything at first, as I didn’t want to jeopardise our tentative reunion.
Thankfully I don’t have to worry so much as I have moved away from the soulless hole that is Bracknell, to the centre of the universe. No, not Slough – London.
I note that though I still don’t get chicken that lasts a whole week, I have yet to register any displeasure until this week. And even better – I have a Sainsbury’s Local just 7 minutes walk away so I don’t have to get all my fresh food on a Saturday. Oh and they are always crazily friendly and happy – as if they have some MDMA in their water supply but I highly (pardon the pun) doubt that.
So this week I ordered some ripe and ready mangoes and some ripe and ready pears (blooming expensive ones!). Neither are ripe. Neither are ready. Which is better than having gone off, I will leave them in my bowl and eat them next week, albeit I spent a day yesterday trying to eat rock hard pear that I had cut up.
But things should be more as they are advertised. It’s like dating a girl and finding out she is only 15. Not cool at all. Not even in the 1970’s, stripey boob tubes and all. You know, when I was a teenager I really wanted to know what a boob tube was – it sounded erotic. We had no internet so the mystery went on for many years. Then I found out it was just a strapless top. For girls. Don’t worry – I have way too much manly chest hair to wear one.
So on those images I bid my dearest farewell and look forward to many more years of joy and happiness together.
Do keep in touch.
By the way, are you going to Hull next year? City Of Culture 2017.
And they’d write back:
So good to hear your voice again, I’d just like you to know that whatever we did, whatever we said we didn’t mean it, we just want you back for good.
I realise we had to endure a rocky patch in our relationship back in Bracknell but let’s put that behind us. I’m glad my colleagues you have encountered in your local store have been friendly, helpful and generally high on life. What a credit to the company.
I’m disappointed however that you’ve been catfished by the mango’s and pears online. No-one likes to be duped by an online description and I’d like to assure you this was never our intention. I hope this hasn’t been as much of a disappointed as the anti-climactic 70’s boob tube discovery.
I’ve sent you an evoucher as a gesture of goodwill for the various issues recently. Simply enter this code at checkout and you can have £5 deducted from your next online shop. Perhaps you can use it towards ordering a little treat on us.
We appreciate the time you’ve taken to contact us and we too hope for a long and fruitful relationship.
Alas, customer service is sooooo 2016. I don’t think you can e-mail them now – even my Twitter message from 22nd April remains unanswered, “Will I ever be able to get a food delivery again? I’m so fed up of having to go food shopping every day!”.
I’ve noted during this crisis that some companies have been predictably shite – Wetherspoons take a bow. Others, like Sainsburys, were less predictable – zero customer service, fruit and veg aisles being blocked, no online delivery for people that have been having online deliveries for about 15 years. SOME OF US HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THE FUTURE.
I know I’m being harsh on Sainsburys as it isn’t their fault that older people keep insisting that we can go back to a time when neither the EU or the internet existed and they do amazing ketchup. Try their ketchup – you’ll never buy Heinz again. You trust me, right? You know, maybe we can fight Coronavirus with Spitfires.
And don’t get me started on British Airways who have £572 of my money and who are refusing to give it back to me, however I can exchange this for a flight which will be far more expensive than what I originally paid – £572 will probably get me to Newquay in 2021, not Tokyo.
Anyway I logged in last week on the off-chance of a delivery slot, and I was successful for the first time in over two months. Finally I could start rebuilding my Brexit stockpile. Have you noticed that Brexit is starting to creep back into our lives? Behold the joy – and it is useful to have a reminder that Boris Johnson is terminally fucking useless.
Well, at least I’d get some head from Boris.
Brief serious point – maybe the public will now realise the value of serious people being involved in politics. Or maybe we’ll just go all native, destroy globalisation, have worldwide food shortages and then another fucking world war. Maybe I should buy a 3D printer so I can help print Spitfires for the war effort.
Have I ever told you about the time that me and a friend got talking to two German girls in a pub, and my friend mentioned that his Grandad went to Germany once…and then started making aeroplane and bomb noises, followed by “Spitfire”. There are multiple reasons for my lack of sex life over the years and not all of them down to my resembling John Prescott.
Fuck, if we did start electing serious politicians, what would I write about?
Perfect place for heading when you think of one
On that note, maybe I should start talking about the roast dinner.
So this is the latest and probably last in the series of roasts from supermarkets – where I bought the constituent roast dinner items from the same supermarket which required the most minimal of effort – in other words something anyone can replicate. Well, except people without ovens…if having only one oven is a sign of being a pleb then I don’t know what having no ovens is like.
I say last because I have reviewed Waitrose and Morrisons already – Tesco and Asda remain, but I think I’ve had enough misery already. M&S I refuse to do because I’m a shareholder and don’t believe I could review fairly. Yeah, my worst-performing stock by some distance. Good pants though.
The first task is to see what own-brand gravy is available – not helped by a non-performing filter on the website which thought Bisto was a Sainsburys brand – maybe that was a sign? Sainsburys did their own chicken or beef gravy. They had beef joints but I couldn’t envisage myself not doing any preparation to it – I’d had chicken for the first two supermarket roasts yet I could feasibly do chicken gravy with pork or lamb.
After a short browse I discovered the existence of a Sainsbury’s British Pork Shoulder Joint, Stuffed with Sage & Onion that I have just copied the name of. Perfect – already had herbs on, namely sage and parsley I think, and had stuffing inside. Always good not to have to do the stuffing yourself. Oh and rated a 2.7 on the Sainsburys website, which seems to be a good score – relatively.
Coupled that with Sainsburys Yorkshire puddings, a green vegetable medley and some Taste The Difference roast potatoes – and we could have a…dinner.
Dinner took around 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive – as this is how long Sainsburys advised to cook the pork for. In hindsight I should have allowed it to cook a little longer but it was approaching 8pm, I only had one glass of wine left and other things were in progress.
Starting with the tender green medley which required either microwaving or steaming. The latter is beyond my neanderthal means so I used the trusty…well…rusty microwave. Yet what happened when I opened up the bag?
Yes, ladies, gentlemen and fill in the rest depending on the level of your transphobia – PEAS. And, of course, as per their feared lack of discipline, they have got everywhere – bursting out of the bag and scattering all over the kitchen shelf for when my housemate cleans the kitchen this weekend. And no doubt still for when I clean the kitchen the weekend after.
For microwaved vegetables, they were fine. The tenderstem broccoli was a little crunchy, the runner beans rather mushy. The peas are still under the microwave.
Next up were the Taste The Difference Roast Potatoes with Goose Fat…wait a minute…
DO NOT BLAME ME.
A BIT LIKE ONLINE DATING.
I STILL HAVEN’T MESSAGED MY SPANISH MATCH BACK.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I AM TYPING IN CAPS LOCK.
So the chips were damn fine chips. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside – you could tell these were not from Iceland. You could also tell that they were not goose fat roast potatoes. You could say that I could taste the difference…sigh.
And if you think chips are bad, you should see what one of my favourite followers put on her roast dinner the other day:
Damn, I’m hungry right now and it is barely 7am. Anyway the frozen yorkie was kind of fine. Better than an Aunt Bessie, but still felt a bit tearable.
You know, I went to Sainsburys yesterday to get some air conditioning, which I feel is within the rules now. I also attempted to buy some food – queued up for ages to use the self-scanning machines, then realised that I have downloaded a self-scan app. So used that, went to go scan the QR code at the checkout and nothing happened. Had I paid? Who knows.
So I went to the queuing area and asked someone who told me I hadn’t and that I had to get to the back of the queue which was now twice as long. I walked out and went to Waitrose instead. Boring story, but a perfectly timed annoyance – its as if Sainsburys knew I was writing about them.
The pork would have been much better had I cooked it longer, but it was a decent enough lump of meat. The stuffing had a crispness where it had been exposed to the elements – though a slightly gooey softness inside.
There was plenty of flavour to the pork, particularly coming through from the herbs so this was decently enjoyable.
Alas the gravy had little more flavour than it had viscosity. It did have some flavour to be fair, but more of nutmeg. Why? Mostly I noted it for being transparent and watery – a pretty miserable affair. Also when it was being microwaved (hey, that’s what the instructions said), it made a noise similar to a car going over speed bumps, which was slightly disconcerting.
I’ve had worse roast dinners…from Waitrose and Morrisons, and also those old normal places when we were allowed to venture across London without wearing a gas mask and an NHS identity card.
The chips were probably the highlight, which isn’t the greatest compliment for a roast dinner, but only really the gravy was substandard.
Maybe a 6 out of 10.
As I mentioned earlier, this is probably my last supermarket roast dinner – I don’t feel willing to demean myself further with a visit to either Tesco or Asda.
There are still options. There’s at least one place left on Uber Eats and I heard a rumour of a nearish pub doing roasts on collection – though it would be cold by time I had walked back home. Maybe I’ll branch out. Maybe I’ll take requests. Or maybe I will just stop writing.
Even when pubs and restaurants open up, this is almost certainly going to be with social distancing, so much less table availability – and favouring large pubs with beer gardens. How many of them do you know in central London?! That is also assuming that I’d be allowed to travel by tube to get there…and only in a suffocating mask to stop me spreading one of the 14 new cases a day in a city of 9 million people, all of which are probably in hospitals and care homes, neither of which I visit. Also it is going to piss it down all July.
There are many logistical challenges ahead. There is probably a point of hopelessness at which I just give up and furlough this blog…I hope it doesn’t come to that but I’ve gone from having a to-do list of 122 places to a to-do list of 2 places and I’m fucking fed up of being stuck in the same radius that I can walk until my bladder is half-full.
Let’s end with a happy memory.
I won’t be back next week.
It happened. I moaned about it for ages and it finally happened. No I’m not talking about Brexit, but about the lack of roast dinners available in Harrow, or anything that isn’t trashy food for basic types. This week, I ordered a roast dinner from Cafe Express on Uber Eats.
Two months have gone by since my last proper roast dinner outing. I keep seeing pubs and restaurants across London offering roast dinners, and once I got over the heartbreak, I started collating them on their own page.
Yet I live in Harrow. A true foodie black hole where the only places that deliver are fried chicken shops, fried chicken shops and fried chicken shops. Prior to this Sunday, I had never actually used Uber Eats or Deliveroo – that is the paucity of edibility around here.
A bit like trying to get a shag on Tinder whilst being obese with an unfashionable hairstyle – I had given up all hope.
Yet last Sunday, I had a quick “you never know swipe” with my location set to Madrid. Oh and I had a quick “you never know look” through Deliveroo – nada, Just Eat – nothing, Uber Eats – 4 places. 4 whole places. Eh? Albeit two were “sold out” and still are this week.
GAME FUCKING ON. I didn’t even have to use a neutral ground.
You know, this writing blog malarkey is weird. Sometimes I think that I have a genius idea for an article but then it falls flat on its face – like my recent Help Me Write post with a grand total of zero contributions. Other times I know that I’m writing a load of shit and then it predictably also falls flat on its face.
I knew this roast dinner was going to fail in every respect. I knew the food would be dire. I knew that nobody would be interested in a review of Cafe Express in Harrow. And I knew this would fall flat on its face. Maybe I need a slogan?
So it got to around 1:30pm and I placed my order. It took a worryingly short amount of time in the preparation stage before Mansoor was on his way to Cafe Express. Not sure why I’ve chosen Cafe Express as my SEO keyphrase given that absolutely nobody will be searching for it, but hey I never cared about SEO before. CAFE EXPRESS.
CAFE EXPRESS HEADING
Just Googled it and they don’t seem to have a website, however they do have a 4.7 rating on Google so it must be really good. Or at least the best in the area.
It does look quite classy from the photo I stole from Google. At least compared to most places in or near Harrow. There isn’t even that much litter outside and no dirty mattresses.
They even have 3 out of 5 on some points thing.
I decided to make a meal of it, and had some freshly-cooked bread for starters from Sainsburys, which tasted somewhat of vinegar.
And I poured myself a glass of cheap Rioja, also from Sainsburys, into my exceptionally oversized wine glass – so large that I can only fit two glasses from the pack of four in my cupboard. However they are from Morrisons so they’ll smash at some point.
Regular readers – probably everyone right now as I doubt there is anyone stumbling across this on the internet thinking “ooh I’m really interested in Cafe Express I might have a read of this blog” – will note that I have a fair disdain for presentation.
So many times I’ve had really well-presented roast dinners that are lacking in flavour and substance. But look pretty.
I dearly hope that I have roast dinners delivered like this to me in a restaurant next year.
Let’s make the wait even more enticing.
Yep, plastic cutlery and gravy in a polystyrene cup – at least I didn’t have to ask for extra gravy.
Now part of me thinks I should be a little kinder for delivery/takeaway – even Blacklock might struggle to score above an 8 were they to deliver roast dinners.
I don’t really do takeaway food of any kind unless I’m drunk and it is too late to risk the smoke alarm going off, and the subsequent rath of my neighbours/housemate. So my experience and understanding of takeaway establishments is roughly comparable to my experience and understanding of clitorises.
So my heart suggests that I should be a little more forgiving, especially to any pubs in the local area that are attempting takeaway roast dinners.
I’m not sure my forgiveness stretches to this though:
£12.49 I paid for this, including the £3.50 service charge.
The carrot slices were stuck together in linear formation as if they had been sliced on the way to my house. They were soft and acceptable, though it is particularly difficult to fuck up carrots. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe.
Alas the cabbage probably could not have been more fucked up. Soggy to the point of mulch, again all clumped together with even less thought than a government slogan. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe, but worse.
Roast potatoes were sadly numerous and clearly not roasted. I counted 6 though it felt like 26 as I counted the almost as numerous amount of ways to remove any appeal they might have had before cooking. Some were quite solid inside, all had that deep-fried coating – occasionally I’d get a hint of something a tad crispy. It reminded me of Poplar Cafe, but even worse.
Does it look better on a plate?
The Yorkshire pudding was like an Aunt Bessie but worse. It existed but provided no joy.
Had the rest of the roast been decent, then the meagre amount of lamb would have fucked me off. However nothing had even approached acceptable on the plate so far.
So I wasn’t too worried about the ungenerous nature of shriveled lamb. It even tasted like lamb. However – whilst at my base for comparison, Poplar Cafe, the lamb was not shit, this was shit. Tired, occasionally cold, overcooked. You can see for yourself how shit it looks and like the rest of the meal, it tasted every bit as bad.
Finally the gravy. Well, at least I didn’t have to worry about not getting enough gravy thanks to the polystyrene cup filled of gravy. And it was thick! Sufficient, thick gravy – about as close to forgiveness as I can offer. Alas, it tasted a bit cheap and nasty, like pound shop onion gravy granules.
How Much Forgiveness?
Well, I was going to be more forgiving about delivered roast dinners, seeing as I imagine that they are so difficult to produce and deliver successfully.
Yet my kindness ran out after I opened the box.
The highlight was taking the plate downstairs and doing the washing up. I guess if I had to pick the more forgivable aspect of the food then it would be the carrots. Everything else was almost equally as turdtastic, tough the cabbage was really quite venomous.
I’m scoring it a 2 out of 10. That may sound generous, but nothing was burnt, nothing was truly inedible. It could have been worse.
Just realised that I didn’t show you the menu. Is there any point now? Is there any point in any of this?
Time to get back to pretending to be Spanish on Tinder.
I’ll be back soon. Maybe next weekend if I can face another dose of misery.
I needed a roast dinner. So given the limited opportunities available to me, I went to Morrisons.
Actually that isn’t really true. I didn’t need a roast dinner. But I did feel some compulsion and desire to write a review of a roast dinner – and I know that you need me. And then I spent two weeks with an unfinished article…
I do sometimes feel that I am misunderstood. Not only in terms of my gender – we had a “guess the baby” competition at work the other
day week and nearly half my colleagues thought I was a girl as a baby, but also in terms of my real being, my real persona, Lord Gravy.
You should all understand my mission by now, and that is to find the best, and worst roast dinners in London. My long-standing fans should definitely appreciate this.
There is no point in me cooking a roast dinner and putting it up for review – as you cannot replicate that. Also…I’d get a roasting…let’s just say that I look more like Delia Smith than cook like her.
However, if I go to a supermarket, and choose the pre-prepared roasting options then you can replicate this yourself.
So last Friday (well, 3 Fridays ago now), I went on a long walk to Morrisons before I started work – yeah I’m not one of you lazy fuckers on furlough getting almost full pay in exchange for maybe mowing your lawn once a day, and yes I did intend that to refer to my neighbour’s joy of noisy gardening instead of it being innuendo. There could be worse images in my head right now.
This was just after the Trump revelation regarding disinfectant and I was delighted to breath the vast quantities of disinfectant fumes within Morrisons.
You may remember my trip to Waitrose a couple of weeks back, which was the first in this lockdown roast series. It was far worse than I expected – I scored it a 4.5 out of 10 for it really was tasteless and miserable. I don’t expect any supermarket pre-prepared roast dinner to score even as “high” as a 7 out of 10, but I certainly thought Waitrose would score higher than a 4.5.
You’d expect Morrisons to score lower, wouldn’t you? Snobs.
The first challenge was to scout for the pre-prepared gravy pouches. I could only find beef gravy at first, and I could only then only find either pre-prepared beef joints with their own gravy, or normal topside…and that would involve me doing something of my own volition.
I stumbled around looking for vegetables whilst I considered my options. Pre-prepared vegetables were thin on the ground too, though I found some cauliflower cheese – so that was ticked off the list.
Pre-prepared roast potatoes were not possible to find – I could have bought a minging bag of 90p frozen roast potatoes but I wasn’t willing to stoop quite so low and I have a fantastic excuse in that my freezer is full of pie and sausage rolls. Thanks to MyPie. Yeah I recommend.
Hmmm, Chips On A Roast Dinner
So I went for chips instead. Don’t look at me like that. They were Maris Piper chunky chips – and part of Morrisons’ The Best range. So must be the best, right? Certainly the best decision I could make, perhaps bar closing this blog and not feeling compelled to review such shite.
Not long after, I discovered a pouch of chicken gravy, located nowhere near the beef gravy and other sauce pouches – I turned around to find a chicken in a bag – a new concept to me and it came with it’s own stuffing.
Oh and a frozen giant yorkie, again because of a lack of freezer space and perhaps more importantly I didn’t want a fucking bag of the things – they were not from The Best range and quite frankly looked like they were from The Rather Nasty range.
All that cost…actually I don’t know. £22.55 in total, but that included wine which was £7, cheesecake which was £2 I think…£13.55 at a guess. Oh and some chicken too for a sandwich, so about £10. Cheaper than Waitrose which was £12.98.
The big day came around and I was suitably inspired by our leader returning to his duty as were surprisingly so many lefties on Twitter who seem to keep calling “Where’s Boris”, to my surprise. Yes I was raring to go.
Hmmm, Food In A Bag.
I’m glad I read the instructions as chicken in a bag needed to stay in the bag. My assumption was that I would need to remove it. 1 hour and 50 minutes in total – it required the bag cutting open with 30 minutes to go to brown it up (should I desire) – before I did that it had a few large brown spots which was slightly disturbing.
At first I thought it looked like it had taken a large dump whilst in the process of cooking – thankfully I realised the stuffing had actually squeezed out of its head so looked more like a turtle. The skin doesn’t look right, does it?
The gravy was a microwave job – woohoo that qualifies me to be a chef at Wetherspoons…and a few of the places I’ve eaten roast dinners at too, especially in Balham. Otherwise everything was a stick in the oven job – my favourite kind of cooking.
All easy enough for you to replicate, you will be overjoyed to hear.
Not quite strong enough for Rate My Plate but I’d certainly be a bit disturbed if that was served to me in a restaurant.
Starting with the cauliflower cheese and this was…kind of decent. Decent enough, anyway. A little cheesy, the sauce thickened a bit but we did have some gravy pollution issues. Cauliflower was quite soft. Not amazing, but you aren’t expecting amazing, are you? I certainly wasn’t. It ticked a box of satisfaction if not overwhelming joy.
I’m sure I’ve told you this story before, but I regurgitate plenty of my pithy anecdotes and I still somehow have readers – and I review the same fucking meal every week, or used to prior to 5G being installed.
Anyway, when I was young I used to go watch Hull City AFC – in the days before 5G cancelled football. We used to sit in the Best Stand. Paint was peeling off, the wood was rotten, it stank of piss – if you were sat in the wrong area you’d get a shower of rust if the ball hit the roof. But it was the Best Stand. You know, this is probably someone else’s story that I’ve stolen.
I didn’t want to put chips on a roast dinner, to the point where I seriously considered the frozen smiley face potatoes – alas, no freezer space. These The Best chips from Morrisons were the worst chips that I’ve had in a long time. Miserable, dry, a bit chewy – even with gravy on. Even worse – there was enough left for the next day’s meal.
The Yorkshire pudding was predictably cardboardy. I felt like I was ripping strips off it, and it added zero value to the meal whatsoever. Then again, you could say that about many Yorkshire puddings at expensive restaurants in London.
Believe it or not, the chicken was actually quite good. It was plump and didn’t feel especially cheap – the chicken drumstick seemed tough and overdone, but the breast was relatively juicy.
The stuffing could have been better but likewise it could have been worse. It was tasty – being a mix of pork, sage and onion you’d bloody well hope so, and the texture was quite soft on the inside, a little crispy on the outside.
I took a sniff of the gravy once it had been microwaved and it smelt like a 1990’s football ground concourse. It didn’t taste like that and had enough resemblance to a chicken gravy to assist with the appeal of the roast dinner, even if it was weirdly transparent for a brown, gloopy liquid. Don’t take this as a resounding compliment – but it had flavour unlike the Waitrose gravy and improved the roast dinner a bit. Albeit perhaps less than crappy cheap granules might have.
Hmmm, Summarise This And Lick Me All Over
A roast dinner from pre-prepared ingredients at Morrisons was actually better than similar at Waitrose.
Whereas at Waitrose, I encountered zero joy through the whole meal – I at least enjoyed most of the chicken, and the stuffing.
The chips and yorkie were dire, but it isn’t exactly as if I never have to complain about anything on a plate when I go out for a roast.
I wouldn’t choose to repeat this experience. I don’t recommend it. But it could have been much worse. A score of 5.75 out of 10 will suffice.
Next up in the series could be Asda. It could be Sainsburys. It won’t be M&S because I’m a shareholder and I will have to give them 10/10 as I don’t want the share price to fall any further. Tesco is too far away.
Unless, Boris…maybe…open restaurants first?