Prince Of Wales, Putney

Did you notice last week that scientists have finally managed to teleport a photon?

Imagine the possibilities. You’ve had a very heavy weekend and the idea of 10 minutes on the Central Line is seemingly more torturous than listening to Nigel Mansell whilst waxing your legs, but you need a roast dinner – nothing else will suffice.

Yes, you will be able to teleport yourself to the pub. Either that or if you are concerned about the potential of recreating 1970’s shit movie, The Fly, you could have the roast dinner teleported to your table. On a plate.

Fuck Uber. Teleportation is the future.

And yes, I have checked Deliveroo and no I cannot get a roast dinner delivered to me. I even risked checking Uber Eats – is it just me or does everything on there look like plastic?

This being review number 20, I was intending on doing something special for it. Alas, I have vastly overspent so I decided to do something cheap and local. Then I got drunk, couldn’t find anywhere to book when drunk at 1am that was near enough my home that I could book so decided to plump for Putney, Prince Of Wales, to be exact. Refreshingly without the the. I cannot say I was amused about my decision when I awoke.

We sat outside upon arrival, with the view of this classic probably soon-to-be-listed office block, and accompanying traffic. Well, it was nearly sunny. The beer selection was very unimaginative, so much so that I briefly considered non-alcoholic options. I guess I could have had wine.

The pub itself was done with a touch of quality, some quite grand-looking chairs and a splashguard in the urinals – there was more thought put into the decoration than the limp-wristed beer selection.

Speaking of bo selections, beef, lamb and chicken were the offerings. I went for the cheapest option which was chicken at £15. I don’t recall the exact price of the lamb or beef, but they were around the £17 – £18 mark.

I then had quite the dilemma. Chorizo scotch eggs were on the starter menu. I don’t believe in starters before a roast dinner – a proper roast dinner should fill you up. Only for gluttony should there be a requirement for dessert, and there is no sensible reason to eat something prior to a roast dinner.

But I have even more of an obsession with chorizo than Spanish women. A sensible one was ordered for two very sensible people, which we shared. It was a worthwhile pursuit for sure. Anything with chorizo in gets me salivating – I would even consider eating peas if they had chorizo inside. Pea and chorizo sticks, anyone? Heaven and hell.

It took another 15 minutes or so for the roast dinners to arrive, with typically next to zero gravy. Surprise, surprise.

Starting, as is traditional, with the vegetables. A mixture of carrot, swede and parsnip batons. All quite soft, one assumes steamed – perhaps boiled. They were fine but utterly uninspiring.

The cabbage was a definite highlight. It sounds weird for cabbage to be a highlight, and it may just have been how the gravy interacted with it, but I really did enjoy the cabbage.

Three roast potatoes were supplied. They had been roasted, possibly even in goose fat – they had a nice, hearty taste to them. However they had been roasted as in past tense, and were more hard than crispy on the outside, and a little al dente in the middle. Not especially bad, but I didn’t feel like I had to go out and buy a postcard. Speaking of postcards, I told my parents when they went to Spain to hook me up with a hot Spanish woman if they ever had any intention of grandchildren (I’m busy – not ugly).

I’ve named her Pedrobelle Martinez-Fernández-González-Rodríguez-López-Sánchez-Pérez.

The top of the Yorkshire pudding was burnt. Not just dark, but actually tasting burnt. Once I had removed that, the rest was fine, but suffering from the general overcooking. Pretty yuck.

Thankfully the chicken was top-notch. It was a good-quality half a chicken, with plenty of succulent meat to stuff into my gob. A hint of garlic and a lesser hint of thyme gave it that added touch of elegance.

By the end, I was stuffed, barely able to move and screaming internally in desperation for a teleportation device.

So another mixed bag but overall a positive affair. Certainly more positive than Arthur Fowler’s affair. The Yorkshire pudding was distinctly crap by way of burntness, but the cabbage and chicken were top-notch. One of those roast dinners where I gave it a lower score the more I thought about it – it has balanced out now at a 7.04 out of 10.

Worth a try if you are in the area, and if you get a better Yorkie than I did and are a bit more southern than me, you’d probably rate it higher. The only other place in Putney on my list is The Jolly Gardener’s – let me know if I should be adding any others.

So I trudged off back to spend the next half a day or so in bed, and watch South Africa continue to pummel us in rather England-of-old-style cricket. But not before I had a completely un-teleporty 13 minutes to wait for a Piccalilli line train. 13 minutes for a tube?

This coming Sunday looks like another south-west affair, again I’ll be hampered by TFL and a general lack of teleportation devices. Fulham could be the location.

See, I managed a whole roast dinner review without mentioning politics, drugs, sex, lesbians or gravy.

Oh shit the gravy. It was particularly tasty, seemingly with a hint of red wine in it. It was good but thin, and bordering on the jus-like, though it did get a little tiring towards the end. Maybe that’s why southerners always provide such small amounts of gravy? It did particularly compliment the cabbage.

Fellatio.

The Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch

Gays. Originally they just wanted not to be put in jail. Kind of understandable.

But look at it now. They have a whole month to themselves.

I mean, whatever next? A gay prime minister?

Let’s face it, I’m just jealous. Black people have their own parade. Gay people have their own parade. Chinese people have their own parade. Toffs and desperate chavvy women have their own boaty parade. Racists have their own marches. But what about boring, obese, white, male virgins with large collections of string vests? What do we have? I’m not saying that I want anything up my bum but I don’t even have society’s permission to wear sequins.

Speaking of which, and I will get around to talking about lesbians at some point, oh and roast dinners, we warmed up our respective bellies yesterday with a quick trip to the wonderful Dalston Superstore, my favourite LGBTJDGENTOVHRTYGQ+ bar to watch a drag queen in a green sequin dress.

It was wonderfully dreadful, I was scared every time she walked past me, the music was the direst of dire – so bad that Spice Girls was the highlight, and we waited forever for table service for our beers – apparently service was amazing before your royal straightness turned up. Being straight is no fun any more.

It was, of course, ironically dreadful and jolly good fun.  I’ll definitely go back, and their brunch menu just looked homotastic. Maybe I should become a drag queen?

So then we went towards our roast dinner venue, The Princess Of Shoreditch, in…Shoreditch. East London, baby! Now I remember when Shoreditch was all shabby buildings, dodgy bars where anything goes, full of artists, musicians and kids rolling around the street off their head on ketamine. If you didn’t have a beard, 100 piercings and at least two drug habits, then you weren’t getting in anywhere.

Now, it’s, well…”nice”. In some parts anyway. That dreaded g-word – gentrified. And The Princess Of Shoreditch is the epitome of nice. It’s a nice pub, clean with working toilets, quite upmarket with an upmarket menu. It’s not designed for your average 2002-edition Shoreditch wreckhead. It’s for post drug-habit types, with regular 9-6 jobs, much-improved hygiene levels and for some crazy fools, steady relationships. You could even take your mum here.

The menu offered pork belly, lamb, beef or whole chicken (to be shared between two), at prices between £18 and £20. Slightly on the pricey side. I chose the cheapest option as I have vastly overspent on transsexual prostitutes this month, which was the pork belly at £18.00.

The Princess Of Shoreditch was a very welcoming venue, the modern, airy two-floor venue, clearly aimed at those wishing to eat. The welcome was replicated by the staff, who greeted us almost as if we were long-lost relatives, they genuinely seemed very pleased to see us, although my shit attempts at humour were lost on one of our servants.

Less than 10 minutes after our order was taken, our roast dinners arrived.

This blog rarely features anything weird, but I’m breaking a habit here with the parsnip, date & aged beef fat puree that was supplied. I don’t get the point of puree if you are over the age of 2 – but that’s just me being a bit simple (and too straight). At first, this was a curiosity to the taste buds, a pleasant challenge. But it quickly became very tiring and a little awkward. It tasted pretty close to toffee – a really weird start, but kudos for attempting something unusual.

I tried to sweep up the rest of the puree with my cabbage so nothing else on the plate would be affected but it didn’t help. The cabbage was a little softer than average and a little more nondescript than cabbage can be.

I won’t make a good lesbian either, will I? I was mulling the idea over the other week with one of my regular dining companions, but when I realised the genitalia amendments required, I decided against it. Of course, I could…shall I just get back to the roast dinner review?

There was one long carrot too, split vertically in half and roasted. Perfectly roasted too, with generous helpings of chives.   If you wanna be my lover.

Guess what else was roasted? Roast potatoes. They were actually crispy on the outside. They weren’t freshly cooked but seemed to have been cooked pretty recently, roasted in beef fat, really tasty, crunchily crispy on the outside and pretty fluffy on the inside. The best I have had for a while, perhaps the best I have had in London so far.

The Yorkshire pudding was sizeable, though a little more crispy than my personal tastes prefer. One of my accomplices, however, said it was perfect. Make of that what you will.

On the way to the establishment, we walked through Ravey Street. Which rhymes with gravy. So my hopes of good gravy were high, at least until I realised that it was a more upmarket joint. Yes, we received jus. And just a tiny bit. We asked for more, and received one tiny jug to share. We asked for more again.

I prefer vegetable Bisto to jus. I simply don’t get it. But I’m northern. And not homosexual enough. As far as jus goes, it was good – a deep-throated red wine jus. But I’d have much preferred a bog-standard gravy.  You can take the boy out of Hull…City Of Culture.

Maybe I could become a mermaid? Imagine living in a sea of gravy.  Zig a zig ahhh.

Apparently it’s a thing nowadays, people get dressed up as mermaids and enter mermaid competitions. Even men.

I hope you appreciate the educational aspects of my roast dinner reviews.

Last but definitely not least, the pork belly. Yes there is still food to talk about. Three slices around 7mm thick each, absolutely sumptuous. Perfectly crispy on top, with the pork itself a picture of succulence. This was pretty damn divine. I did also try a bite of the lamb, and the beef – both were good but not a patch on the belly. This was wow territory.

This is a tricky roast dinner to score. There were aspects that I was not keen on – namely the puree and the jus, but in other areas it was outstanding, particularly the roasties and the belly. I suspect that if you prefer your rugby without tries and think Pimm’s is an acceptable alcoholic beverage then you would enjoy this very good roast dinner even more than I did.

But I have to score it on my level of satisfaction, not on what I think someone else might feel, and so I am going to give it a very healthy 7.94 out of 10.

Next weekend will be a much cheaper affair as I have badly overspent. Unless anyone wants to sponsor my page? Maybe Asda do roast dinners?  Or maybe I should become a drag queen – anyone know if it pays well?

Actually, fuck becoming a drag queen – £48 a green sequin dress costs.  Maybe I could become a flamingo?

The Old Red Cow, Farringdon

Apparently, Pakistan is becoming a true centre of sex toy manufacturing. Oh crap, my search engine optimisation plugin doesn’t like me starting with that. Roast dinner review of The Old Red Cow in Farringdon. Yes, I know it isn’t in east London. Shut it.

So anyway, apparently there is a growing export market for anal beads, gimp masks and padlockable penis cages in Pakistan. Quite why you would padlock your penis in a cage is another matter. Kind of like Brexit sex I guess.

I should really give up on search engine optimisation.

Thanks again to the Economist for enlightening me. It was also in the Economist where I found out that there were two separate cocaine markets – one for common Colombian stuff (if my beautiful Colombian friend is reading, I hope you appreciate that I can now spell your country correctly), and a more expensive market for Peruvian cocaine – stuff cut 5 times instead of 50 times.

I remember being at a nightclub once and this Portuguese guy was trying to persuade me to buy his cocaine. I insisted that I was not interested. “But it’s 60% pure” he kept saying, kind of like Theresa May ahead of her time. Strong and stable. 60% pure. Not got much chance of the pub retweeting the shit out of this, have I?

So I went to The Old Red Cow in Farringdon this Sunday. Picked by random number generator and allegedly one of Time Out’s top 5 roast dinners. Pah, what do they know about roast dinners? Or anal beads.

The pub is a cosy two-floor venue, cosy as in the opposite to bubbly on a dating app. Fresh, modern and clean with a great choice of craft beers. Only around 12 or so tables so booking is definitely advised if you want to go. Roast dinners are only served between the hours of 12 and 5pm, with the four main meats on offer – chicken, beef, lamb (shoulder) and pork (belly). Chicken and pork were priced at £16.00 each, beef and lamb at £17.00. I chose the 6-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder – mainly because lamb is rarely on offer – the pork belly was very, very tempting too.

Our charming hostess, Karla, recommended ordering ahead – two of us did – two didn’t – those that didn’t had just pork and chicken to choose from. And in a galaxy-rearrangingly crazy turn of events, all 4 of us chose different roast dinners.

Dinner took a good 20 or so minutes to arrive (the longer the better, especially with regards to roast potatoes) which gave us plenty of time to enjoy our beers – of which there were a really good quality selection of IPAs, craft lagers and pale ales to choose from. Can you tell I am liking this place? Nearly as much as your boyfriend will enjoy anal beads. Look – if the Economist can talk about anal beads…

Now look at that presentation. Translated as, look at the size of that Yorkshire pudding. Bigger than my belly – and possibly sexier too.

Starting with the carrots, these were roasted batons, on the soft side of average, also seemingly with some kind of slight glaze – my assumption was some kind of honey glaze.

Then there was a fair-sized portion of kale. My dining associates claimed that kale is the least flavoursome item of food around. They clearly haven’t eaten Quorn, actually it doesn’t deserve a capital letter – quorn. This was supreme kale, with small pieces of chopped garlic lovingly within.

Oh roast potatoes. This seemed a bit more pot luck. We each had 4 roast potatoes, but some were from a fairly good batch – others from a fairly bad batch. Just one of mine was in the good category – quite crispy, somewhat fluffy in the middle. The other three were large, but none were crispy on the outside and all a little under-cooked in the middle. It seems a long time since I’ve had good roast potatoes (apart from my own…I am quite tempted just to make myself a bowl of roast potatoes tonight for dinner – with gravy, of course).

The Yorkshire pudding was the largest I’ve been served in London, and was a good yorkie too. I’m probably being a tad harsh, but it was a tad too crispy on the outside – but we really are talking margins here, it was a substantially enjoyable Yorkshire pudding.

And the slow-cooked lamb shoulder? This was the definition of succulence. Every mouthful was pretty damn close to a veritable taste sensation – perfectly cooked. I also tried a mouthful of the beef, which was very good though not exceptional, and the pork belly which was pretty damn sensational too.

Topping off a top roast, was excellent gravy. A meat-stock gravy, nicely thick – exactly how a good northern chef would make their gravy. Gravy can destroy a roast dinner but this was just divine, proper, thick gravy. I wanted to drink the rest of the gravy from the boat, but perhaps I’ve lived in polite society for too fucking long. I’m one of them. One of you. A ha ha ha ha ha ha I am just like you. I no longer drink gravy from the gravy boats in a restaurant setting. I don’t even lick plates in public – well, rarely. Only if my mother is there as it really annoys her.

Sadly there is no photo of the gravy – I took one but it seems to have disappeared. I do however have a photograph of the bathroom tiles to compensate, a standard colour but a bevelled tile, with the odd stray dead insect and quite a bit of dust.  No, I cannot be bothered to rotate the photograph.

Overall this was an impressive roast dinner. Kale with garlic, one very large yorkie, sumptuous meat and top notch gravy – only really let down by roast potatoes. This is now the standard-bearer. When people ask me where the best roast dinner is, my answer will now be The Old Red Cow in Farringdon. An excellent 8.62 out of 10. Get booking.

Also worth mentioning as part of the experience was the imaginative ice cream selection – cornflakes being the main interest. I had a brownie, which was small and no better than quite good.

For some reason we gave our hostess a hug on the way out as if she was a long-lost friend – well she had to cope with serving me, and did an excellent job of doing so – service as proper as the gravy. I am feeling slight pangs of guilt as thinking with sobriety the bill seemed somewhat low – well, a round of drinks low.

So please, please, please go here for a roast dinner. You won’t regret it. It is now officially the best roast dinner in London. Get a table booked, get my review shared and make sure everyone knows how good this place is.

Next Sunday I desire a gay roast. Even better, a lesbian roast. But I cannot find anywhere in London offering a gay roast. Even a Google search for “gay roast in London” didn’t help. If anyone knows anywhere I can get my desperately required gay roast, I would be most proud to hear from you.

Or maybe I’ll just head to Soho and hang with some drag queens.

The Elgin, Maida Vale

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh big pile of vomit

Oh big pile of vomit

Oh big pile of vomit

So – roast dinners. I wasn’t really in the mood for much of an adventure on Sunday. It did originally look like that I might have been solo-dining but a companion was found in time. He was even less in the mood for an adventure, so we plumped for his local pub, The Elgin in Maida Vale.

The Elgin in Maida Vale is very much a middle-class pub in a middle-class area for middle-class people. Fuck knows what they think of me when I go. It is a very welcoming pub, with friendly staff – always pleasantly busy but never overly so.

I guess I should register a slight conflict of interests – I do go here roughly every month, I like the pub, I occasionally speak to the staff, who I like. I would be unhappy to give a bad review as it would not be representative of the enjoyable moments that I have spent here. That said, if a roast dinner is shit, a roast dinner is shit. I speak the truth unlike any website with the word “truth” in the name. Or Breitbart. Or Canary.

The roast dinner menu at The Elgin had three options – beef, chicken and lamb, between £13.50 and £15.50 – reasonable for London. I plumped for the chicken at £13.50. The menu on the website isn’t up to date.

Dinner took around a pint to arrive. Stupidly I had had breakfast not too long beforehand so it took me a good few pints of beer to be hungry enough. Aforementioned beer probably goes some way to explaining why I feel sick right now (writing this part at Monday lunchtime), or is that the photograph of Jesus Christ, above?

Upon arrival, I was disappointed to note that no Yorkshire pudding was supplied. Which is, of course, technically correct as Yorkshire puddings traditionally only were served with beef. If you are a tradition-subverting prole like myself, you can order a Yorkshire pudding for just 80p.

Easy now, Rob. Easy now, Hugo. Easy now, Anton. Big up to yourself, Martin. Easy now, JD, easy Net, shout out to Shed. Big up to all the cute ladies reading. Keep it locked – Roast Dinners In London, in da house.

The dinner itself was well-presented with lots of hidden carrots. The carrots themselves were fairly numerous, in the shape of pound coins – and approximately as easy to chew as pound coins. When I was at college, I had a mate who would eat money. Normally just 20p coins. Anyway, if you like very hard vegetables – these would have been to your tastes. I just like a little crunch, not a lot, like Jenny on t’ block.

Then came something called ‘hispi’. Yep, me neither. Though I never ate anything greener than sausage rolls until I was 25 years old. So hispi is apparently a form of cabbage, and a very sizable leaf – practically a whole ship keeping the rest of the dinner afloat. It was a touch sweeter than usual cabbage, and combined with the slight burnt, meaty taste from the grilling, made it very enjoyable – if perhaps the leaf was a tad too large. Top marks for introducing me to a new vegetable.

Inventiveness on a roast dinner? Whatever next? Crispy roast potatoes?

Alas, no. They probably were crispy at some point. But they were credible spuds, soft inside – previously crispy on the outside – they certainly had the look to them. My fault I guess – if I hadn’t had required several pints to be even vaguely hungry then I might have enjoyed freshly crispy spuds. Plus marks for some rosemary too.

The Yorkshire pudding was actually so dreadful that I actually want my actual 80p back. Which reminds me, I didn’t actually pay the bill. This was one seriously abominable yorkie – the texture of an egg-shell and drier than my tongue after a gram of MDMA. ACTUALLY.

I also had a side-order of cauliflower cheese at an additional £3.50 (if I recall correctly), something too hard to resist, especially when I saw how amazing some of those coming out from the kitchen looked. It didn’t disappoint, quite soft cauliflower, with a gorgeous creamy coating – the perfect texture too.

The half a chicken was pretty top-notch too. Plump and juicy, with plenty of it to tuck into. The skin slightly grilled and crispy. I don’t have much else to say about it – just pretend I made a couple of chicken noises. Hang on, why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the Jeremy Corbyn speech. When my modelling career is over, I am going to set my sights on becoming a comedian.

I wasn’t so enamoured by the gravy. It was one of those controversial gravies – very rich and flavoursome, yet also quite tiring. Kind of a horses for courses thing – absolutely nothing bad about it – some would love it, others not. I’m in the latter category.

A slightly difficult one to score, as different people would enjoy this quite a lot more than others. Some love their carrots solid, others don’t. Some love their gravy exceptionally rich, others don’t. Plus points for inventiveness on the hispi – massive negative on the yorkie.

I keep changing my mind but I’m settling on a…hang on. 7.28 out of 10. There. It’s in writing. I should sort out my league table so I have an easier comparison, now I am not far off 20 reviews.

Guess what I’m doing this coming Sunday? Actually going to east London to be with the hipsters. Time to go find my unicycle and grow my ironic Hitler moustache.

See you next week, comrades.

Mao, Lenin and Stalin

Mao, Lenin and Stalin

Mao, Lenin and Stalin.

Bar & Block, King’s Cross

Air conditioning.

You know when you do those Facebook word clouds at the end of the year to see which words you have most used? (and to give some dodgy app you have never heard of access to your whole timeline and then you wonder why you have offered friend requests to 50 ladyboys in Thailand).

I get the usual words that you all probably use lots – love, think, beer, lesbians, roast dinner, gravy, rimming, etc. But ‘air’ and ‘conditioning’ would also feature prominently. For I used to work in an office without air conditioning, which would reach 31’C in the summer – and sometimes 26’C even in the depths of winter. So I appreciate air conditioning.

Therefore when I walked into Bar & Block near King’s Cross yesterday, and was met by the cooling tones of their air conditioning on the hottest day of the year so far, my soul was filled with a church-like sense of deluded love.

Is now a good time for a Jimmy Savile joke?

So we sat down at a surprisingly quiet restaurant, especially given that it was Father’s Day. Maybe people don’t think about going to King’s Cross for a roast dinner on a Sunday, Bar & Block does seem arguably to be more of an evening venue – it specialising in steaks. Maybe I am about to change your world?

That said, I should have changed your world long ago, such is the depth of my intelligence, insight, writing ability, beauty and penis size. One assumes that you spend all week longing for my pearls of wisdom and the inebriation of my linguistic wonders – oh if only I could eat and review roast dinners every day and be paid for it. One day someone will see my talents.

Not complaining though. I have air conditioning in my new job. And loads of hot women. Now then, now then.

As Bar & Block specialises in steak, the only roast dinner offering they had was the steak roast dinner – and it comes for two people at a rather bargainous price of £13.50. Well, a bargain for London, anyway. You can look at the menu if you want, but surely you are only here for the gravy?

Dinner arrived around 20-25 minutes later, on a drool-inspiring wooden tray. It was immediately clear that we were onto a winner. Except that they gave us the world’s smallest plates. Perhaps not the world’s smallest, but too small to fit a roast dinner on sensibly. Heated plates though, so it was quickly forgiven.

Word of warning – the dinner comes with peas. Thankfully the waitress (yes she had a cute ass) understood my situation and brought the peas out separately in a pot so I didn’t have to go all Donald Trump on her #fakepeas.

So the carrots were roasted. Thin strips of roasted carrot, and pretty much spot on. Around 4-5 each though more for me as my crazy friend is allergic to carrots – of all the things.

The parsnips were tasty. A slightly more nutty taste to them than normal, again nicely roasted, and plentiful.

Also a generous helping of tenderstem broccoli was provided. There was a fair crunch upon delicately placing them within my gob – again expertly cooked.

Sadly not so generous was the excellent cauliflower cheese. So many times cauliflower cheese is just cauliflower cream, but this time there was actual cheddar involved, which was distinctly noticeable. Perhaps even a mature cheddar. Though with just two small florets worth each, it left me internally screaming for more.

The roast potatoes were not quite so up to standard. Shock horror. Pleasing that they had a scattering of herbs on top, and they seemed freshly cooked enough, however still somewhat too al dente inside, and absolutely no freaking trace of crispyness on the outside. Acceptable.

This was however a return to good Yorkshire puddings. Really soft and spongey – and very large too – perfect for sitting meat in. The only minor discretion was that they had not risen quite enough, with next to no crisp on the outside. But though not perfect, this was the best Yorkie….hmmm probably in London so far.

And the beef? Well, you’d expect it to be excellent. It was. Around 5 slices each of exceptionally tender sirloin, medium-rare on the inside with a gorgeously slightly burnt and crisp outside. Tastetastic.

The gravy…existed. A very thin and watery, slightly oily texture – it neither added to or subtracted from the dinner. More was forthcoming upon request, though I’m not entirely sure that there were not more suitable gravy receptacles than very hot metal pots with hot handles.

This was an excellent experience. Very well presented, enough food (I even left one piece of tenderstem broccoli), a charming yet professional waitress – and mostly top notch food, especially the cauliflower cheese and the sirloin beef.

And the price too – just £13.50 each which is truly excellent value when considering the quality. Perhaps it won’t be so quiet on Sundays going forwards!

I am going to give it an 8.34 out of 10. My second-best roast dinner in London so far. Definitely recommended.  I will be going back at some point.

I also had a fine pint of Brooklyn Lager, a reasonably good glass of merlot and a pretty storming brownie.

No definite plan for next weekend yet – I don’t even have a dining partner (so far), though my default pick if nothing/nobody else interesting turns up, reckons it is one of Time Out’s top 5 roast dinners.

The Crabtree, Fulham

I have something to admit to you.

One of my friends is a vegetarian.

Actually I’ve got an even more dishonourable tale to tell you. I once was invited for a roast dinner that a friend was cooking me. She had made onion gravy – freshly made too, and I was sat there eating a decent roast dinner thinking that a meat-stock gravy would have been preferable, but never mind.

Then whilst I was eating the assumed chicken breast, I realised that it was a bit tasteless, so I asked the host what kind of meat it was. Quorn, was the reply.

This was a good 15 years or so ago so I’d like to think that I have eaten enough meat to make up for this major indiscretion. We all make mistakes. We all do things we regret. Like voting Labour. Londoners, seriously, wtf?

What, you’re bored of politics? You are only here for the gravy? Ahhh but you still want to stab me for voting Tory? Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t admit to voting Tory whilst living in London, my readership figures are low enough as it is.

Anyway, so I needed to find somewhere with a good vegetarian roast for my aforementioned filly affiliate, and The Crabtree in Fulham seemed to fit the bill with a spinach, leek & ricotta wellington that would almost be tempted for a manly man like me – thankfully the offer of weird pea gravy was enough to cancel out any temptation.

The Crabtree’s Sunday lunch menu had chicken, beef, lamb and, confit porchetta…huh…something different on a roast dinner? Shit the bed.

Given that I’ve spent the last 80 reviews (from both this and my previous Reading site) whinging about the lack of inventiveness with roast dinners, my choice had to be the confit porchetta. Prices of the roast dinners were between £13.50 and £19.50 – the porchetta being £16.00.

The Crabtree itself is a fine pub, sat on the river Thames between Hammersmith and Fulham, in a residential area, with the riverbank of discarded plastic bottle and plastic glasses from fuckwits that don’t dispose of their waste correctly. Seriously, people, is it really that hard to wait until you see a bin?

It has a very pleasant, well-manicured and large outdoor area, with separate BBQ menu – and a bar and restaurant area inside. The only downside was that it was quite difficult to hear one another inside with quite a din of noise – one assumes caused by the low level music on likely very poor quality speakers.

Dinner took around 5 or so minutes to arrive. Sigh. Never a great sign unless you are at a fast food joint.

There were 4 different vegetables supplied, though all in low quantities.

Two small florets of broccoli were quite tough but pleasantly so. One carrot was chopped in half lengthways and roasted, which is always good to see.

Then we had a very small handful of green beans, slightly stringy in structure with a good amount of bite to them. The only downside was that they were mixed up with the swede, of which I am simply not really keen on. The swede was somewhere between mash and puree – inoffensive enough and in this case, thankfully limited in supply. There was more apple sauce than swede.

Just two roast potatoes were supplied. Two. I used to moan back in Berkshire about the “Berkshire Three” standard of roast potatoes. Where I am from, any less than 6 roast potatoes is almost as guaranteed permission to enact some basic, swift violence as suggesting that Margaret Thatcher was any less evil than Hitler. The potatoes themselves were less evil than Hitler but not exactly inspiring. Not crispy on the outside and certainly not fluffy on the inside. They did seem to have been cooked in either goose or duck fat, so whilst the texture was unappealing, the taste was pleasant.

The Yorkshire pudding looked impressive. A very tall Yorkshire, impressively so. Personally I prefer mine a little fluffier to bum – it was a tad too crispy in my view, but overall a good Yorkshire.

So far so very unspectacular. But then the pork. Or the confit porchetta. Wow. You know those moments when you put something in your mouth and it is so orgasmically tasty that you have to close your eyes and enjoy the moment ever so slowly?

Yep. Doesn’t happen often. Perhaps it only happens when you are dining with a vegetarian – the last time I enjoyed a piece of meat this much I was also dining with a vegetarian – though that was a very fine piece of rabbit at Ma Cuisine in Kew – a highly recommended French bistro.

Onto the meat itself, and porchetta is suckling pig, without the bone, wrapped in crackling with added herbs and normally garlic. It was just sensational. Literally every bite was ‘wow’. If only the rest of the roast dinner had matched up to these standards.

My vegetarian friend was very happy with her spinach thing (I even took a photograph of it), and my other accomplice said that her beef was the best she had ever had on a roast dinner.

Onto the gravy. Unsurprisingly not enough on the plate and the extra gravy didn’t suffice either. A fairly inoffensive, thin, gravy, which seemed somewhat to be meat-stock based. Decent enough.

Overall this was clearly rescued by some absolutely amazing meat. Quantity was lacking throughout which was the main drawback, especially on a roast dinner – but that meat, wow. I’m giving it a 7.32 out of 10.

I did try asking for another slice of porchetta for dessert – I’m not entirely sure that they took my request seriously. I was still hungry and really wanted another slice of porchetta.

Service was a little slow and a tad confused – a little difficult to get someone’s attention when required, but quite attentive when not required. Not entirely sure it was worth the 12.5% added to the bill, but certainly not poor enough to refuse to pay it.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day so I will be avoiding anywhere with families. I do keep meaning to go to Hackney, maybe it will finally happen. Oh yeah, and aren’t ducklings cute? Even cuter than me.

Don’t forget to share – “Tory scum” addendum optional.

The Red Lion, Westminster

I was half-tempted to sack off going to central London yesterday. Due to my severe hangover – nothing to do with any murderous scumbags, or ‘losers’ as America’s most powerful manchild would have it. I was definitely feeling weak and wobbly.

I had long planned to go to politico’s hangout, The Red Lion in Westminster, on the Sunday before a general election. I wasn’t quite expecting it this year, but hey ho.

Then I came here for dinner one Friday evening a few weeks back. And was thoroughly disappointed with their pies, with their scrappy crappy chips – and my mother’s fish was more batter than cod (though she should have know better than to order the devil’s fish).

I gave them a 2 star review on Facebook, and the manager got in touch and offered me a free dinner. They say never go back (are you listening Tony Blair?), but just like fellow northern twat, John Prescott, I was not going to turn down a free dinner.  Sorry, I mean Lord Prescott.  Lord.  Yes, seriously.

I actually really like most politicians, except for a few – Corbyn, May, Nuttall, Farron, Lucas, Sturgeon and that Welsh woman, what’s her name? Natalie Wood? Oh and there is a special place in hell reserved for Nigel Farage. Yes, this review is going to be stuffed full of pathetic political references, in an even less competent manner than Diane Abbott’s counting.

The options on the menu were beef, pork or chicken. There was some kind of vegetarian option but there ain’t a cat in hell’s chance of any of us voting Green Party. Prices ranged from £14.95 to £18.95, not helped by Brexit inflation and one wonders how much extra roast dinners would cost if Corbyn got his opportunity to increase corporation tax and minimum wage. Does the Labour Party not think of the ordinary working man and his gravy requirements?

I ordered the beef, at £18.95 – it being a free dinner I was only going to choose the most expensive option, though not anywhere near as expensive as a Labour government especially with the amount of free dinners they are bribing, sorry, promising every man and his chihuahua with. Chill out lefties, I’m going to slag off the Tories too at some point.

Dinner took around 20 minutes to arrive. The service from our waiter was exceptional throughout – this effervescent eastern European excellence – conversational, prompt and a real desire that we would enjoy our meals. But would we? Though if UKIP had their own way, we wouldn’t even have good service – we’d be stuck with some miserable British workshy twat, fresh from national service. Because our professional armed forces need loads of kids that don’t want to be there for when the Germans invade.

Where to start? Red cabbage. I’m not especially a fan at the best of times, but here there was far too much red cabbage, a bit like Ken Livingstone talking about Hitler, not knowing when to stop. It was tiring and didn’t seem especially fresh. Not a good start.

Then we had a plethora of parsnips. Easily more parsnips than Liberal Democrat MPs, not quite sure which are more unnecessary in said quantities. They were rather weak and wobbly, seemingly either roasted too close to each other, or just boiled. They still had quite a strong UKIP-like nutty taste but they were just far too numerous.

The cauliflower cheese was somewhat redeeming. A coalition between cauliflower and cream – with a hint of cheese, a bit of a relief after what had gone before.

Sadly, things couldn’t only get better. The potatoes looked strong and stable, but a bit like the average Theresa May policy they seemed to have been cooked up some decades ago. One of the four fairly small roast potatoes was just about acceptable, but the remainder were quite tough, rubbery and generally unacceptable – looking at you Farage.

It’s the meat, stupid. Everything really does depend on the meat. You can have the best vegetables in the world (we didn’t), but if the meat is in recession then it all goes to pot. Hmmm, pot – oooh there’s a reason to vote liberal democrat. This was a solid piece of beef sirloin – pretty unspectacular but decent enough. Cooked medium, maybe a tad left of centre, one assumes it was a pre prepared sirloin steak.

Sadly the Yorkshire puddings were poor. One of the dinners was originally missing a yorkie, so we received 3 replacements. But 1 of those went around the plates in a pass-the-unwanted-parcel kind of way. They were especially tough and dry – more comparable to cardboard boxes than decent Yorkshire puddings – some of the worst I have had on my travels.

Ask not what gravy can do for you, but what you can do for gravy. Now, we were promised a rich gravy – which is the only thing that will be possible to be rich if Corbyn gets chance to implement his 21st Century Socialism. This wasn’t rich – which is not a problem as unless you are really good at making gravy, then simple and inoffensive is probably the best plan. This was simple and inoffensive. Similar in texture and straight-talking flavour as Bisto. Nothing special, but thankfully nothing bad.

Given that the manager of The Red Lion had been concerned enough about my previous disappointment to offer me a free dinner, I didn’t want to be writing a poor review. I guess I’m like the poor man’s Iain Duncan Smith – there is a heart there somewhere but I have to do what I do (especially if you are on benefits). And this was a disappointing roast dinner – if I called it average, then that would probably be kind.

I’m going to give it a 4.38 out of 10. Well at least it gets more points than UKIP will have MPs. And quite possibly the Liberal Democrats. And about the same amount of points as the Conservative majority.

Annoyingly I had a pretty awesome dessert. A chocolate brownie with a mixture of white and normal chocolate chips – the best brownie that I’ve had in years. So they clearly can do good food.  It’s a shame for them that my score ignores any starters, desserts or drinks.  But it’s all about purity.  Not in a BNP kind of way.

I guess you want to know who I’m voting for.

So specifically in terms of roast dinners, my analysis is as follows:

Green Party might end up banning meat, and there is no way that I would be venturing out to review a nut roast every weekend. So they can be struck off immediately.

Labour want to make roast dinners more expensive through corporation tax increases and minimum wage increases. On the one hand, that would make my task of reviewing every single roast dinner in London easier as some pubs would close down. But prices are already high enough without Labour adding to them. And why is Corbyn promising giveaways to everyone for everything but yet no free roast dinners to me? Clearly Corbyn is a danger to roast dinners.  Plus he’s a vegetarian, I think.

Liberal Democrats will decriminalise weed, which might help with the munchies but I have a feeling that I wouldn’t actually ever get out to review them. So a nice tempting idea, but no.

UKIP would probably reduce my choice of meats and by reducing immigrant numbers, would likely reduce quality of service.

So I guess I’m left with voting Conservative. Right now, I can go for a roast dinner. They are quite often rather expensive but I can afford them. It’s not a particularly edifying choice, but sometimes it is just better the devil you know.

No plan for next weekend, but if Corbyn is somehow in government then I could easily be in jail by then.

And finally, a quick moment for toilet tile watch – cracked pattern white tiles with the occasional dried bogey. I wonder if it belongs to an MP?

The Three Jolly Wheelers, Chigwell

Oi Oi Saveloy!

Basically, mate, this Sunday I went into deepest, darkest Essex in search of Sharon, Tracey and some gravy. Oh yeah and Doreen. Well I didn’t get into any fitty’s noo yesterday at the Spanish thing I went to, so I kind of thought that I might pull if I went to Essex. Mate.

As regular readers will know, I am trying to expand my cultural understanding – plus I have a sexual fascination with leather-clad lesbian slave hardcore bondage porn, erm, I mean, I find Spanish women beautiful. So I went to this Spanish thing near Tower Bridge yesterday to fall in love every 2 seconds, and to queue. I queued for drinks, then queued for drink tokens, then queued again for drinks, then queued for the toilet, then queued for drinks, then queued for food (like a whole hour), then queued a bit more. It really was very mañana, mate.

I also had a similarly cultured welcome to Essex – the first people I heard speaking once I took my earphones out were talking about their upcoming evening imbibations, “ahhhhhm gonna get fucked off me face, innit”. Mate.

We arrived at a very ordinary indentikit, personality-free pub, The Three Jolly Wheelers, somewhere between Woodford and Chigwell. There was quite a lot of choice on the roast dinner menu – beef, lamb, turkey, pork, veggie and beef duo, priced between £10.50 and £14.50. I am increasingly becoming fatter since I gained employment, so I concluded to continue to be greedy and have the beef duo – both sirloin and short rib. I also paid 50p for an extra Yorkshire pudding.

The menu said ‘seasonal vegetables’, so I checked that there would not be any peas, and the barman said that there were no peas, but he’d put “no peas” on my order just in case. I explained my phobia and the likelihood that said peas would end up everywhere, including probably thrown at his face.

So we sat in the Essex sunshine and awaited our dinner – surrounded by some of the various stereotypes that you expect in Essex – from the group of wideboys all talking over each other, to the slightly fake-tanned women on another table. I am such a fucking snob sometimes. Yet most snobbish people would stay well away from me, just as most women do (except the really fat ones).

Vote Tory.

And then dinner arrived. With fucking peas, mate. Absolutely not fucking cushty, I did not need the agg is it mate. I mean, innit, mate. Should they be a question mark there, bruv?

Bang out of order.

So I had no option but to start throwing the fuckers around, to the left, to the right, on the table, in the flower pots, at the window. I decided against throwing them at the other diners in case I got into a fight.  Or even worse, a conversation.

For some reason only a relative thimble of gravy was supplied, in a hot ceramic object which became even hotter as the sun shone on it. I asked for more gravy and looked at my dinner as I continued to check everything for peas. I say looked, as one cannot eat a dinner with just a knife.  I was well jel of those with a fork.

Eventually some extra gravy turned up and some cutlery. Don’t get me wrong, but a serviette would have been useful given that I’d been man-handling my food, but alas. Shut up, mate.

A pretty minging start – would the food make up for it?

First I had two very ordinary wide carrots. They were fine but I cannot say much more than that. There was a tiny bit of thyme on there, though I struggled to detect it.

The cabbage was exceptionally innocuous – tasteless and overly pointless.  Just like an Essex…don’t say it…don’t say it, I am not a snob, I am not a snob.  Repeat, I am not a snob.  Essex women are notorious for being exceptionally stylish, fashionable and naturally tanned.  Especially those on Made In Essex.

Oh If only there was a third vegetable. Maybe I was starting to regret not ordering a side dish of cauliflower cheese.

Or maybe not. The roast potatoes were absolutely not crispy, quite rubbery and just felt and tasted cheap – no maris pipers, here. Poor but not dreadful.

The parsnip was a little undercooked – seemingly not roasted, at least from the lack of taste.

The Yorkshire puddings were fine. A little tough and a little chewy – and like much of the dinner, seemed rather pre-prepared. Though maybe that is the cynic in me.  Acceptable.

One slice of sirloin beef was provided, which somehow has come out much pinker on the photograph than on my plate. Again it was fine – a little tougher to cut and chew than preferred.

I liked the slow-cooked short-rib of beef. By no means was it particularly cushty, but it was decent enough in a very-average-pub kind of way, mate. It did fall apart, it was a little enjoyably burnt in places, and had enough fat but not too much, to add to the relative flavour. I’ve had miles better beef rib – but compared to the rest of the dinner, this was the highlight.

Finally, I guess we should talk about the gravy. It was a rather shiny, oily affair – not the most pleasing taste, seemingly some kind of effort at a red wine gravy – it did detract more from the dinner than add to it. No wonder they didn’t want to give me much.

Don’t get me wrong, but I cannot say that I enjoyed this at all. It was distinctly average, at best, with a very pre-prepared feel and often below-par ingredients. My first roast dinner in Essex is only a 4.79 out of 10, a score that my companion would agree with. I won’t be rushing back. Mate.

Next Sunday, unless I feel the need to show off my new fake boobs in Marbella, I shall be going all political on you. Well, there is an election coming up.

The Old Brewery, Greenwich

Sometimes I like to make an entrance. I like people to know that I have arrived, or that I am coming. Spread a little warmth, spread a little humour and spread a little love (or I would if the only girls that found me sexy were not on a lifelong audition for the part of a beached whale).

By the way, did anyone see that video of the girl being pulled into the water by a sea lion? How hilarious was that?

I hope they send it into You’ve Been Framed.

Anyway, so I booked a table at The Old Brewery, in Greenwich, just around the corner from some boat called the Cutty Sark.

And in the additional information section, I announced myself:

GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY. GRAVY.

I may not have remembered exactly how many times I put gravy down, so do forgive me. The above is not an exact replication.

Apparently this had them in stitches, and the little blackboard on our table said “Betty loves gravy” (not my real name).

A nice touch – I felt very welcomed. Plus the waitress blew me a kiss and called me ‘darling’. I was enchanted. Feeling the love – or maybe it was just the sunshine. Let’s give them a 9.9 out of 10 and be done with it. Have a good day – see you next week.

Yeah, as if a tight bastard northerner would give someone a score over 9.

There was a bit of an odd moment when ordering, when my accomplice tried asking for a Pimm’s. She was informed that they don’t sell it, even though the outside bar was specifically advertising it. The waitress then advised her to go outside to buy it. Hmmm. Not quite what you would imagine waitress service to be – though her supervisor overheard and a glass of Pimm’s was brought over.

Now I accept that northerners should not be drinking southern trash like Pimm’s, and were my accomplice not my most reliable roast dinner partner, then I may have disowned her for southernising too much. But still, it was an odd moment in what was, overall, very good service.

I guess I should talk about the venue. The restaurant part was impressive – huge ceilings giving this open, expansive feel. There was a substantial outdoor seating area – much of which was covered by umbrellas because, obviously, they don’t want to scare their customers away with that horrid sunshine thing in the sky. A beer in the sun? Not me, I’m British, give me some shade now. Why the hell do pubs insist on hiding the sun from their customers – aaaaarrrrgggh. There were no seats outside anyway so we sat inside. But in a city generally lacking in beer gardens – Greenwich has plenty – let it be noted.

Oh yeah, and if you are a woman and are a fan of urinating – this is probably not the venue for you. Just two ladies’ toilets. Two. Maybe they had some more hidden away, but there was a permanent queue and it wasn’t mega-busy.

The menu offered beef at £18, chicken or pork belly at £16, or the vegetarian Wellington at £14. I chose the pork belly – partly because it seems that anything other than chicken or beef is classed as an exotic meat in London. And partly because I love pork belly – when done right!

It took around 25 minutes or so to arrive – longer than normal but that suggests a freshly cooked roast. It was quite impressively presented too – but presentation means jack.

Firstly I tucked into the carrot and swede mini-cubes. It was a touch mushy and I thought more could have been done in terms of flavour, but overly a positive vibe.

There was just one fairly small floret of broccoli. Cannot really enlighten any more upon this.

The cabbage was perfectly cooked – a little crunch but not too much – this was spot on.

Then the roast potatoes. Only two, but on the large size, both cooked in goose fat and on the face of it, really quite tasty. However, it was a tale of two spuds – one good, one bad. The good spud was more rubbery than crispy on the outside, and a little too al dente on the inside, but was enjoyable due to being roasted in goose fat. The bad spud was rubbery on the outside, and tough – even a little cool, on the inside. There was a hint of rosemary, which always goes down well.

The Yorkshire pudding was on the large size, soft-bottomed and crispy on the outside. The double egg did give it slightly more a taste of a pancake – this was a good Yorkie.

So onto the pork belly. I had 4 slices of juicy, plump pork, with the fat on top. It actually seemed like pork loin to me – which is what the online menu states – but I swear it was pork belly on the menu. Hmmm. No crackling though. But the pork was definitely good quality.

Finally the gravy, which was rather thin and oily. In terms of texture, it wasn’t my favourite, but it was a meat-stock based gravy. But oily.

In fact, there really was quite an oily aftertaste.

This was a good experience overall. A great venue, good outdoor area, good though occasionally imperfect food, good service – and we left with a smile on our faces. There are better roast dinners out there, but I think you’d be very happy if you had a roast here.

I’m giving it a respectable 7.25 out of 10. My accomplice was even more satisfied than myself – with excellent beef and no dodgy spud, and she rated it an 8 out of 10.

We continued our cultural exchange afterwards, with a pleasant walk along the Thames Path and past this wonderful industrial building – they don’t construct buildings like this nowadays.

Then through an estate, down some main roads before coming out into Greenwich Village fete – and spent the next few hours admiring the colour-coordination of these pastel cranes. And maybe a drink. Or three. Oops.

I’ve had easier Mondays.

Next week I’m off to see Sharon and Tracey.

The Bedford, Balham

Regular readers will know that I am trying to combine culture with dining. Being, from Hull, the UK’s official City Of Culture, my cultural leanings should come as no surprise to you.

So this week’s attempt at pre-roast culture, was going to watch my football team, Hull City AFC (don’t forget the AFC), in south London. See – I told you I would make it to proper south London one day (Richmond doesn’t quite count). And yes, football is culture, you poncey Tate Modern twats.

Selhurst didn’t seem to have an over-abundance of dining establishments, and I thought it quite possible that we may need to escape the area, given that the last time I went to an away game in London I had a glass bottle thrown at me (ahhh the culture) – one can only assume due to my earlier mastication of a battered jumbo sausage (and you go to the ballet every week, do you?).

So I found a place in Balham, a few stops from Selhurst. Balham is apparently an up-and-coming area of London – our establishment of choice was The Bedford, in Balham – a venue with several floors and a beer garden that resembled a prison cell (the barman’s description and I certainly agreed). Apparently it does music, theatre, comedy and food, along with beer.  Overall it was rather ramshackle and apparently still celebrating being “pub of the year”.  In 2002.

Booking was not easy. No ability to do so on the very slow and glitchy website – I tried e-mailing but had no response. Telephone it was.  Ahhh, 2002, the days before the internet arrived.  At least in Hull.

I was a little apprehensive about going to both the football and the roast. I don’t normally check Trip Advisor as I don’t want to cloud my judgement/expectations, but I was drunk on Friday night from playing beer pong (told you I am cultured) and decided to have a gander. The reviews were mixed – though next to no mention of what the food was like.

Possibly because nobody eats there. Upon arrival, we had the pick of all but one table. Ominous.

Signs were similarly ominous prior to the football. There were two games left of the season. We had to win both of our last games – firstly this one against Crystal Palace (we hadn’t won away since September), then against Tottenham who are second in the league. Oh yeah, and hope one of our relegation rivals lost on the last day of the season.

Hmmmm.

I got to the bar and ordered a pint of beer. There were two options for a roast – beef or chicken. Unless I wanted to truly punish myself with a nut roast, then the only available option was the beef – for I had had chicken the week before. For £15.00.  They brought over some ketchup and mayonnaise for us.

Yep.

And at the football, once the stewards had confirmed that I did not have any weapons on me, I made my way to the bar and ordered a beer. Actually, that’s a lie. I ordered a bottle of Carlsberg – without the lid, of course, for it would be likely that I would throw it at someone. Clearly I was not the only one disapproving of Carlsberg being the only beer available as many of the younger supporters deemed it necessary to throw much of it in the air and over each other.

The game kicked off. Our reliable Italian defender fucked up, they scored. Losing 1-0 after 3 minutes. Great start.

Our roast dinners arrived. Well, two of the three. It looked crap. I stabbed a carrot and it flew onto the rather stickytable. An equally good start.

The carrots were pretty solid. Either boiled or steamed, they were boring, plain and solid. Unlike our defence.

Then I moved onto the cauliflower. Nothing was wrong with it. But it really wasn’t spectacular or interesting. Just very, very ordinary. A bit like the game – we passed the ball around to very little effect, as if we were playing a pre-season friendly – or perhaps as if we were already down.

The Bedford did at least oblige with tenderstem broccoli. Again a bit too undercooked for my preferences.

Things got worse. We let in a second goal. And then I tucked into the roast potatoes. Only 3 small roast potatoes were supplied but this was more than enough. They were rubbery on the outside, lukewarm on the inside and generally rather anaemic. You could say stillborn – like my football team.

Half-time arrived and I was resigned to relegation. Half-way through the roast and I was resigned to finishing off a crap season, I mean, dinner.

There was some hope. The Yorkshire pudding was half-decent – homemade, and slightly larger than small – I was kind of expecting the ignominy of an Aunt Bessie to add to my misery, but it was a half-decent Yorkie – not quite a shot on target, but a shot, nonetheless. And yes, we had a shot. Not on target.

Then, bang. Goal number 3. A poor challenge and a clear penalty. Fuck. Which was my same reaction when I started eating the beef. Fuck. Well-done, tough, chewy. I was enjoying how shit it was in a kind of masochistic way. Just like I enjoyed the tonking at the football.  At least the beef had cracked pepper seasoning on it, whereas our season had just cracked up.

Just to top things off, the gravy was crap too. Thin, watery and virtually non-existent. Marginally preferable to Bisto but that says little. It might even have been Bisto. More arrived upon request – though barely enough for one, let alone three of us.

Oh yeah, and we let in a 4th goal.

All in all, a shit day. Enjoyably so though.

I can recommend not ever being a football fan. You are paying good money out for misery. We finished the season on 34 points and are relegated.

I also recommend not eating a roast dinner at The Bedford in Balham. You are paying good money for misery. I am giving this roast dinner a rating of 3.4 out of 10.

It could have been worse. We could have finished bottom. I have had worst roast dinners in my life, but this is the worst roast dinner that I have had in a London pub so far. I feel short-changed and would have been very angry were I already not so disillusioned after the football.

Having a shit roast dinner just felt appropriate.

However, I recommend that you avoid this place for roast dinners. I was going to scratch an abbreviated version of this review on the toilet wall, but didn’t feel it could compete linguistically with “FUCK MILLWALL”.  We left in search of dessert – as we certainly were not giving that place any more of our money.

Next week I’ll be having a better roast dinner. I assume. It doesn’t get too much worse than this.

ps If you are the really hot Portuguese woman in the confused bar near Victoria station with the cracking pair of boobs, then thank you for making sure I had some good memories from yesterday.