Welcome to the first ever Roast Dinners in London review.
You tourists, immigrants, bankers and stray Londoners have some good shit going on in this town. But now things are about to go up another level in brilliance with the arrival of your new local blogging super-hero, finding you the best, and worst roast dinners in London.
You may know me from Roast Dinners Around Reading. In fact I probably don’t yet have any readers that live in London. I might not get any readers that live in London.
I got pretty bored doing in Roast Dinners Around Reading – you could say I had done them to death.
But London is a whole different level of adventure. I’m kind of hoping that I can get at least a few reviews in without having to resort to talking about drugs, politics or pointless self-defecating humour just to keep you interested. There are only so many ways that one can describe carrots.
I am also hoping that the big smoke (especially so in a south-easterly breeze) will attract a greater level of ingenuity when it comes culinary adventures.
My most frequent complaints in Royal Berkshire (Slough and Bracknell are particularly worth a visit, dear London folk), were near-inedible unroasted roast potatoes, microwaved roast dinners that were cooked many hours before, a lack of ingredient ingenuity, jus, and almost a total county-wide herb shortage.
Maybe, just maybe, London’s finest roast dinner establishments have heard of herbs.
For this very first Roast Dinner In London, I had the absolute pleasure to have my crazy Cumbrian friend joining me, whom accompanied me on my first ever Roast Dinner Around Reading. Ahhhhh isn’t that sweet? He managed a whole few hours drinking without showing anyone his penis.
I chose carefully from a list of three recommendations, one of which had been closed down, and decided to go to The Duke Of Wellington, in Notting Hill, on the Portobello Road nonetheless. A busy, bright modern pub, we were seated in the corner on a wonky table, replete with crackers for it was the Sunday before Christmas.
It being Christmas, there was only really one choice – turkey. Normally they have chicken instead, along with beef sirloin, pork belly, a meat trio and a vegetable wellington. All priced around £14 to £15, apart from the trio at £20.50 – check the menu here. All were tempting – even the vegetable wellington.
Got you! The frigging vegetarian didn’t really appeal, you dumbass. I’m from up north. We do meat for breakfast, lunch and tea. Yeah, tea. Stick your “dinner” up your arse you posh southerner.
It took a while to get the attention of the one young lady hosting upstairs for she was rather busy. But once in the groove, we ordered our beers and turkey dinners, sat back and had a long conversation about the civil rights movement in 1960’s America. Or something like that.
Again, dinner took a little while to arrive – which is normally a good sign as when a roast dinner turns up 5 minutes after ordering, you know that evil Japanese machine has been at work. Not talking about my sex robot. For she is not evil.
To look at it was impressive. Let’s start with the side-plate of vegetables.
There was a roasted medley of vegetables – carrots, swede and beetroot. Wait a minute. Beetroot? On a roast dinner? Never my favourite vegetable but it worked so well as an accompaniment – roasted is the only way to do carrots and these were very good – the swede was just fine. All topped with some herbs. Yes – some herbs. DO YOU HEAR THAT ROYAL HERB-FREE BERKSHIRE?
Also topped with some rosemary and thyme were the potatoes. Not traditional roast potatoes, in terms of size, but they were roasted, freshly too. Could have been crispier, but were soft enough in the middle and on the better side of average.
Slotted neatly underneath the turkey, were a few slices of cabbage. Delicately crispy and flavoursome.
The Yorkshire pudding was a reasonable size, crispy on the edges, soft on the bottom. Definitely a good pud.
The pig in blanket seemed slightly token and unremarkable – but pleasantly unremarkable.
I was disappointed with only one stuffing ball, but only because I could have quite happily have had a whole plate – and that isn’t just me being northern (though I probably could happily just have a bowl of stuffing and gravy). This was exquisite stuffing. Arguably the best ball of stuffing that I had ever had in my life – chorizo, pepper and I think, sausagemeat. So, so so good. Brilliant, in fact. Go here for the stuffing ball if nothing else.
Turkey is a meat that really can go wrong. Why do you think you have it once a year and then decide never to have it again? But this was top notch, succulent, good quality breast. Resisting the temptation for tacky jokes…
Finally, the most important part. The gravy. Oh yeah. Proper gravy, that matched the meat and actually accompanied what had been cooked. Not the thickest gravy ever, but sufficient enough to keep northern boy here happy. Of course there was virtually none on the plate upon arrival, as is standard, but extra was forthcoming on demand. Actually, on request. I was nice.
And this roast dinner was nice. Very, very nice in fact. So good that I am giving it a roaringly roasting 8.4 out of 10. I only ever had a handful of better roast dinners around Reading.
Proper gravy, roasted potatoes, no microwave, ingredient ingenuity and herbs. It seems moving to London was a good idea.
Reviews are probably going to be monthly or so for a while, temporary unemployment means that I am relying on jobseeker’s allowance and sadly this does not yet cover the costs of me going for a roast dinner every Sunday though I shall be writing to my MP to insist that this changes going forwards. You can always employ me as a web developer if you so wish.
Normally publishing date is a Monday. I very much welcome your suggestions of places to review – good or bad. A to-do list and a league table will be provided in due course.
Sorry for the caps lock earlier – very rude of me.
And you can find me on Brenda.