The Laughing Gravy, Waterloo

Would I lie to you, gravy, would I lie to you?

OK, I lied to you last week.

Last year, Honest Burgers did a special range of roast dinner burgers, for a limited time. I was unemployed, this blog was just starting up and I was struggling for content without having any money. So I wrote to them:

Good evening

I note that you are selling a special roast dinner burger at the moment.

As you may know, or probably don’t yet know, I am the famous roast dinner reviewer of London. Well, I will be famous. I’ve only done 3 reviews, but I was must-read territory in Reading when I ran Roast Dinners Around Reading until I was shot.

You’re bored already, aren’t you? I shall get to the point then.

I was wondering if you would like to give me a free roast dinner burger in exchange for me reviewing it – it would be an honest and frank review, replete with sexual and drug-taking references, so if your roast dinner burger is not up to scratch, you may want to politely decline my special offer.

In fact, I would rudely reject my offer either way, but that is because I am a tight-arse Yorkshireman. Quite frankly I would tell myself to get f***ed.

But if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Which was my motto at Fresher’s Week when I approached almost every single girl in my halls of residence and just straight-out asked as an introduction if they wanted to have sex with me. And apparently one guy with long hair, such was my level of inebriation. Back in 1998. Ahhh, the 1990’s, when Sara Cox was thought of as the epitome of femininity.

Scary to think that I am probably more effeminate than her (I am a man, by the way).

Anyway, I look forward to hearing as to whether you find my offer more exciting than the girls at my halls of residence did.

If not, then just feel free to have a read of my blog anyway – http://rdldn.co.uk/.

All the best
Lord Gravy

ps I am still a virgin.

They wrote back and offered me a free burger but that night was the last night – and I wasn’t available. So there was no free burger. They obviously saw the potential in this big, beautiful blog.

So for this week’s adventure, I set my favourite non-imaginary sibling the challenge of deciding upon the location from my to-do list, as a way of apologising for missing my birthday roast due to buying some frozen vegetables, or something like that.

We were due at the world’s dampest theatre later in the afternoon for the Vault Festival in Waterloo – for which I neither realised was a drag show nor encompassed a lot of singing…though of course I was the person in the audience that said lady picked out for a very minor role. Why is it always me?

Anyway, I didn’t guess the location of Sunday’s roast, there are only 143 places on my to-do list too. But my eyes lit up as we approached and I could see that it was named after my favourite thing in the world – no, not Sex Dungeon UK, but The Laughing Gravy. Yes my number one sexual fantasy does include a swimming pool of gravy – and lesbians.

Though I’d take a paddling pool with my recent binary-female success rate. Maybe it’s my hair?

The Laughing Gravy is quite a small restaurant. A small bar area at the front, though it seemed mainly used for waiting prior to tables becoming available, then a variety of sized tables in a main restaurant area at the back. Perhaps the room felt smaller than it really was as we were in the back corner near the toilets, and the tables did seem a tad crammed together.

There were several roast options on the menu, chicken, lamb and beef. For me, leg of lamb is a meat choice that is so hard to resist, so that was my choice, at a slightly pricey £18.50 – the beef onglet was the same price, the chicken was priced at £17.95. The smoked haddock fishcake sounded appealing too – but I wouldn’t want to let you down.

Dinner (or lunch to you southern lot) didn’t take long to arrive, perhaps 15 minutes at a push.

Starting with carrots, and a few Chantenay carrots were supplied. Crunchy is the main description I’d have of these, but not too much. Some people prefer their vegetables crunchy – others soft – if you are in the former category then you would most definitely approve.

Then there were a few thin parsnips. For the first parsnip, I wasn’t entirely sure if it was actually a parsnip for it had no discernible taste. The others were tastier, and they had less crunch to them than the carrots.

A real highlight was the cabbage. It tasted quite buttery – as if it had been braised in butter. It felt quite silky and was very moreish – I was suitably impressed. Yes. Impressed with cabbage.

Alas I was not impressed with the roast potatoes. They looked pretty good and on the outside tasted good – a slight hint of beef dripping and a very slight hint of thyme. However they were too tough on the inside. I have to assume that they had skipped the par-boiling part and just got straight onto the roasting of them. A real shame as they were on their way to being good roast potatoes…job unfinished.

And I wasn’t the only one with that opinion. As we walked out (after dinner…we didn’t storm out due to some under-cooked roasties), almost every plate I looked at had left their roast potatoes – and trying to glance at them they seemed even more under-cooked than ours were…ours were at least edible. Sort it out!

Back on track with the Yorkshire pudding. Well I was anyway – my sibling’s was less impressive, flatter and slightly overcooked but still nice. Mine had risen decently, was fluffy and eggy.

Then the lamb was very good. Three slices of reasonably thick lamb, all very decent with delicate chunks of fat to emphasise the taste. This was really, really nice leg of lamb.

Alas, my sibling didn’t have such good luck. The beef was an onglet cut, which I don’t recall having eaten before – according to some website I read, it is a forgotten cut. This was forgettable – I had a few pieces as my sibling became disinterested in hers, and even I couldn’t be bothered to finish it. It was very rare – fine for me, but my issue was the complete lack of taste to it. It just seemed really bland.

So the gravy. Now a place that names itself after my favourite beverage should be good at gravy. Unless, of course, they are laughing at it, like all the jus chefs across the south – a ha ha ha ha ha we are giving you jus instead of gravy a ha ha ha screw you you northern tosser.

The gravy was very good. A combination of red wine and plentiful meat stock – a fair consistency, though quite oily. Not sure if the oiliness is a criticism or a compliment though.

Overall it wasn’t a world-beating roast dinner, but much of it was very good. Perhaps the thing that I will most remember is the buttery, braised cabbage – a dish I will try to replicate myself.

Service was perfunctory, they did at least ask how our meal was but by no means was the 12.5% service charge fully deserved. Meh.

My accomplice was somewhat disappointed with hers, and would only score it around a 7. Thankfully, I made a better choice with the lamb…it cannot quite have an 8 out of 10 due to the disappointingly undercooked roast potatoes…I’ll give it a 7.97 out of 10.

I’ll be back next week with roast number 44. No definite plan yet – not even a dining partner. Well…unless I find a spare £20…



But am I more sissy or piggy? Actually, don’t answer that.

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