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.

The Hereford Arms, Gloucester Road

This. Week’s. Re. View. Was. Go. Ing. To. Be. Writt. En. In. A. Ro. Bot .Ic. Form.

Alas, I did not get to go to the robot exhibition as planned. My accomplice messaged me at 5am advising that he would not make the exhibition but would make the roast. And then messaged me at 8am to advise that he would not make the roast. I was pretty pleased that I had more time to deal with my own hangover. And. That. I. Did. Not. Have. To. Write. A. Whole. Blog. In. Ro. Bot. Ic. Form. Though as a web developer, that would have been easy to make a little function to do it for me.

I also had the time to clean my bedroom, with the help of a “robot” – my Henry hoover. Well, a very good friend of mine called it a robot – though she clearly has as much knowledge of robots as she does football, having called Sunderland a good team.  Prior to surprisingly beating my football team. My Henry is barely a vacuum cleaner, let along a robot. Oh for a Dyson.

So, plan exterminated, all I needed to do was concentrate on getting a good roastbotic dinner.

The Hereford Arms on Gloucester Road was the roast dinner choice. In one of the more upper class areas of London – Kensington I think, but it could be Chelsea for all I know. And obviously full of northern twats like myself that are well out of place.

They had 4 options for meat-lovers such as myself: sirloin beef, corn-fed chicken, pork shoulder or lamb shoulder. Ranging between £14.50 and £18.50. It was a really tough choice between the chicken and beef, but as I had eaten out 3 times in the previous 2 days, I plumped for the plump cheaper cheep chicken. Just in case you are wondering, there were no vegetarian roasts (not that I remembered, I just double-checked The Hereford Arms’ menu).

Three of us sat there, nursing ours beers like we were nursing our respective hangovers. Our exceptionally fantastic waiter/bar person was a bit nonplussed as to why our estimated 4th hungover roastee was a non-attendee (let’s call her Madelaine for the sake of anonymity – it is the 10th anniversary – 10 reviews that is), until I blurted out as loudly as I could that she had been doing lots of ecstacy. I always like to make a scene in upper class places – like when I walk around Waitrose in a shirt, I like to ensure that only the bottom couple of buttons are done up, especially if I haven’t shaved my chest in recent months.

A reasonable 15-20 minutes passed before our rectangular plates turned up. I’m still yet to have a roast dinner served to me on a slate, deckchair, lego set or any of the “well cool” methods of east London, though I guess as I still haven’t had a roast east of King’s Cross, that will be the reason. Rectangular plates are as funky as Kensington gets.

Good quality plates though. Would the roast dinner match?

Well it was nicely presented. My initial reaction was that it looked a bit poncey – I had some doubt as to whether the quality would match.

Let’s start, as normal, with the carrots. Wait – no carrots. Oh my word, some invention and vegetable creativity. Instead we had roasted beetroot, which was fun. Beetroot on a salad annoys me, but on a roast, roasted, works rather nicely. I wouldn’t want it every week, but the mild tang and curious taste is welcoming.

Then there were spring greens. Not much can be said for them, though the simplicity of what looks much suited for rabbits than humans, engenders a delicate yet earthy kind of mood. Definitely appreciated.

The cauliflower cheese was good, but no more. Creamy more than cheesey, quite low on the quantity.

Finally in terms of green stuff, there was a braised leek. Soft and almost a touch buttery – intelligently positioned under the chicken.

I was impressed with the choices of vegetables – they stayed away from the common ones as one might expect in posh Kensington.

There were three roast potatoes, although one was much larger than the others. They were a little tougher inside than I preferred and certainly could have been crispier on the outside. On the bright side, they were roasted in duck fat so were supremely tasty. Oh to be a duck.

Which does not segue at all into my next cutaway, but it’s as close as I can get. And this is the possibly not safe for work bit – but don’t worry – it isn’t human porn.

It can be quite interesting to wake up the next morning and see what I’ve posted on Facebook, or what my internet history includes, after I have had a few drinks.

On Friday night, I apparently tried to argue on Facebook that the Conservative Party had been disbanded, and also wrote to Tinder.

On Saturday night I went one better and searched for Peppa Pig porn when I got home.

And yes, it being the internet, I can confirm that it exists.

I don’t even remember being drunk. I checked with Diane Abbott and she confirmed that I had only had two beers each night.

May I also take a moment to congratulate Leeds United on not getting into the play-offs – on truly fucking up their promotion chances at the end of the season. I am most amused.

Speaking of Yorkshire (much better segue), the Yorkshire pudding was excellent. Homemade, and of a decent size – crispy on the outside, soft on it’s bum. Exactly what one would expect.

And still speaking of Yorkshire, our bar person/waiter/advisor was truly excellent. This is, of course, because he is from Yorkshire, but he displayed all the characteristics of excellent service – warm, helpful, welcoming, funny – the most impressed I have been in terms of service in any review so far.

You may be recalling that I had a difficult choice in working out which meat to choose, so much so that Tom (he looked like a Tom anyway), sat down in amused exasperation as I dillied and dallied and generally was as decisive as transvestite remainer with a bag of mixed nuts on polling day.  I chose chicken.

It was the wrong choice. But it was still a very good choice. It being corn-fed, it was particularly plump and juicy – just the meaty part of the half of the chicken with bone minimised. Skin on, which almost seemed to have some kind of hint of paprika or similar to it.

Thankfully one of my accomplices was so hungover that she couldn’t finish her beef (her: “that bit is the fat”, me: “yeah and…?”). It was close to phenomenal. It was a sirloin steak, cooked to preference, with a smoky flavour to it. If you go and you like beef – you must have the beef.

Sadly the gravy was a bit of a let-down. I do stress the word ‘bit’. Rather gloopy and overtly salty – it did detract from the whole experience just a tad.

I’m going to give it an 8.03 out of 10. Which means that it is the second best roast that I have reviewed so far in London. Had I had the beef, and were the gravy and roasties to the standard of the rest of the dinner, it would have scored close to a 9 – and I have never in my life had a roast dinner served to me that deserved a 9.

A rather excellent effort from a cracking, friendly pub.

Next Sunday I’m going to be in south London, at a venue more well known for it’s band than it’s food. And I might be very upset.  And possibly

The Harrison, King’s Cross

Dining partners. It is good to have them. I thought I had a dining partner/nutcase for this Sunday but alas, he couldn’t make it (and for the first time ever had a forgivable excuse). I could not find a replacement either. Not that I tried any harder than a tweet and a Facebook post.

So then I had to decide, does one go by oneself, or does one cancel and let down my 17 readers? Yes, 17 readers – my readership is growing exponentially. Ish. Go on, tell all your friends.

I don’t mind eating by myself and I quite like the mission, especially if it involves a bit of an adventure. And I definitely had an adventure, thanks to Google Maps.

I got the tube to St John’s Wood – it saves me £1.60 by not going into evil zone 1 and I am a tight bastard. From there I walked through Regent’s Park. Wonderful, just like goose fat roast potatoes in gorgeous, thick gravy, over and over and over.

And then, past some absolutely gorgeous housing, just like the most magnificent rare rib of beef.

And then, someone gave me peas – Wetherspoon’s peas at that. Google took me through this council estate. Thanks, Google. Picture courtesy of Google as I was…too scared…actually no I’m a hard Northerner…I was…hmmm, aware of my surroundings.

Thankfully, I then made it into London’s most polluted street and all was good. Or is that the UK’s most polluted street? Europe’s? All by myself.

I arrived into my destination – The Harrison at King’s Cross, again on the edge of an interesting estate – part pub – part hotel. Also a live music venue – my fears were raised when some kind of musicians plonked themselves and some equipment on the table next to me.

And it claims to have the “Best Sunday roast in town”. Quite a claim. Was this going to be my best roast dinner so far in London? Though being the 9th roast dinner I have reviewed, it wouldn’t be so difficult.

The options were beef, chicken and lamb – with two vegetarian options for short-haired lesbians (which actually sounded really appealing, in a “if they didn’t have any meat left” kind of way). The meat priced at a reasonable (for London) £13.95, vegetarian at £13.00. Menus can be viewed here. I ordered the lamb, a beer and went for a piss.

As soon as I came back from urinating, my dinner arrived. Now, I do not have the largest bladder in the world, but that was quick. Which could only mean one thing…

HELLO MICROWAVE.

Well, I was not expecting that to come up on a Google search. Maybe Corbyn is onto something after all – down with capitalism.  Down with choice.  Down with being well-off.  Down with having to work.  Down with having a strong and stable economy.  Let’s make every day a fucking bank holiday if that really is the solution.

I digress.

Despite the microwaving, the roast dinner looked…strong and stable.  So I tucked into the carrots first.  Only a few of them but really, really good, soft carrots – plenty of herbs and garlic, possibly a hint of honey too though I’m no taste-magnet.

There were two little bits of broccoli – rather strong and stable – spot on in terms of texture.

Hidden away under the meat was one tiny piece of roasted parsnip, though so small that…

Whoa…peas.  Peas on my fucking dinner.  But there is no need to worry – these were peas locked inside a strong and stable safety case so they couldn’t go wandering like I did as a 5 year old on holiday, worrying my parents sick.  I really was not a well-behaved child.  I still am not.  My mother wants to be a grandmother.  I do not want children, or even a girlfriend.  I find it difficult enough to have a relationship with a cardboard cutout.

Though having a girlfriend would mean no more solo-dining.  So there are advantages of having your freedom to fart in public curtailed, but I’m not sure I have a particularly good offer.  “Hi, I’m, fat, ugly with a very small penis, I like farting in public and I am obsessed with lesbians.  I offer you my love in exchange for occasional blow jobs – oh and very importantly, you must join me for a roast dinner every single Sunday”.

Any takers?  Despite being happily single, I would quite like a European immigrant wife as my way of saying FUCK YOU to everyone that voted for Brexit.

Any European takers?

Shall I just get back on with talking about peas?  Oh, I haven’t even put a photo of the roast in, here goes.

So, peas.  Sugarsnap peas -strong, stable and crunchy with that alien-splicing pea taste.

So far good, the opposite of my sex life.

And then I had the roast potatoes.  The microwaved roast potatoes.  No matter what you do, roast potatoes will always be fairly crap at best once microwaved, and these were no exception.  A shame, as they were arguably the best microwaved roast potatoes ever – delicately crispy on the outside, but cold and quite hard on the inside.

I accept that if you are a small pub, doing roast dinners for 9 hours, you are not always going to have freshly cooked roast potatoes.  It is what it is.

Thankfully the Yorkshire pudding was back on standard, a fluffy, slightly sponge-like creature.  Not perfect, but very good, strong and…you’ve got it…stable.

And the lamb was excellent.  Leg of lamb, nonetheless – probably my favourite cut – either that or a good ol’ shank, this was tender, plump and a touch juicy.  But, and this is a fair-sized but – not quite Beyonce size but reasonable.

There was just one slice of lamb.  Now I know I have “only” paid £13.95 for my strong and stable roast dinner.  I know, I know, zone 1 yadda yadda.  I get it.  But it just felt a bit 0.7 gram dealer stingy.  It was really good coke, I mean, lamb, but a little more really would have made me happy.

Finally, the gravy.  Predictably top-notch, a mint-infused thick gravy – better than most I have ever had, I was really, really impressed.  Very strong.  Very stable.  Long term gravy plan.

Overall I am very disappointed.  Because this could have been the best roast dinner in town.  Well, the best I have reviewed so far.  If there was more meat and the roast potatoes had not been microwaved (or I had booked a table for shortly after they had come out of the oven) then this would have been in the mid to high 8’s.

I’m going to give it a 7.99 out of 10.  Just to show how it has missed out on greatness – just how close this came to being a great roast dinner.  Which I guess means I have to mark all roast dinners to 2 decimal places now.

Ahhhhhh.  Such is life.  So I do very highly recommend The Harrison for a roast dinner, if you are in or around King’s Cross.  Speaking of which, there is a little Italian place called Casa Tua just around the corner (they have one in Camden too) which you must, must visit.  Not for a roast dinner, sadly.

Next weekend is review number 10.  My two most reliable accomplices are in place and I might just go somewhere special.  Though I might not.

Oh – bathroom tiles.  Pretty ordinary.  Yet strong and stable.  I’ll get my coat.

 

Bunch Of Grapes, London Bridge

You know when you start a new job and you try your hardest to show that you are sensible and you blurt out in a meeting something like “I have a big cock and I love coloured birds”? Well, I may have told one or two of my new work colleagues about this blog.

So I’m afraid from now on there will be no drug references, no bad fake-racist jokes about jus, no swearing, no lesbians, no slagging off Brexit voters, no transsexual references, no sexy women and no breasts. I shall just be talking about carrots in a very serious and predictable manner.

There were 11 carrots.

The first carrot was quite soft, approximately 12mm wide and 46mm long.

The second carrot was soft, approximately 9mm wide and 33mm long.

The third carrot was soft, approximately 8mm wide and32mm long.

The fourth carrot was soft, approximately 7mm wide and 20mm long.

The fifth carrot was soft, approximately 8mm wide and 25mm long.

The sixth carrot was soft, approximately 6mm wide and 28mm long.

The seventh carrot was soft, approximately 10mm wide and 40mm long.

The eigth carrot was quite soft, approximately 11mm wide and 38mm long.

The ninth carrot was soft, approximately 6mm wide and 16mm long.

The tenth carrot was a touch too crunchy, approximately 14mm wide and 46mm long.

The eleventh carrot was farirly soft, approximately 12mm wide and 41mm long.

Sunday was St George’s Day so I woke up, did lots of studying for my new job, went to church, cleaned my already immaculate kitchen, finished a DIY project for my neighbour, worked in a charity shop, gave lots of money to charity causes, helped old ladies cross the road, smoked a crack pipe and then did a bit more studying for my new job.

Oh shit.

As it was St George’s Day, we tried our best, in a kind of Jeremy Corbyn trying ‘best’, to find some Morris dancers. We failed. However we found some kind of weird dancing in Borough Market, which was having some kind of joint English-Catalonian celebration of some bloke who slayed dozens of dragons in the 1970’s that we revere so highly. Well, it’s better than a fucking daffodil.

One assumes that the Catalonian tourist information centre was there as part of Michael Howard’s war with Spain over the fact that Spain have not even vaguely threatened military action over Gibraltar so we must do whatever the Daily Mail say. I might marry a Spanish woman just to piss off the government.

I was exceptionally disappointed about the lack of free chorizo in the market and just wandered round marveling at the exceptionally high prices of everything – £4.00 for a scone. £3.50 for a slice of cake. £2.00 for a gingerbread man. £5.50 for a small lump of cheese – albeit apparently the second oldest cheese recipe in England. But still bloody £5.50. I am so northern sometimes. At least I had a free piss by crawling under the barriers. So classy. Like that time where I got on stage on all fours and pulled my dress up so everyone could see my cute ass.

Only joking – as cute as my ass is, that isn’t me. I’m actually the exceptionally tall blonde woman to the left. I am a woman. Honest. Any lesbians out there want to come and shave my chest?

I am sooooooooooo getting sacked on Tuesday. Although maybe I could put it down as discrimination against…hmmm…any lawyers out there? I hope you are sharing this with all of your friends so I can increase my total advertising revenue. I could double it. Though last month I earnt negative commission.

Anyway, my desperation to find something relevant to do took us to Borough Market for a very half-arsed celebration of St George’s Day (apparently the official London celebration was held the day before), and then onto the Bunch Of Grapes.

It wasn’t especially busy though there were some rather loud and screechy young ladies near our table. Quite a few tables were booked for later. The pub itself wasn’t the largest, a tiny bit scruffy (though that tends to be a good thing in London) with a small downstairs and a smaller upstairs where we were seated – annoyingly with the TV on showing those running people (I later tried to join the marathon stragglers but nobody would applaud me for some reason).

Disappointingly there were just two options for a roast – beef or chicken. As I had chicken last time, I could only choose beef. Sometimes a lack of options is a good thing – last weekend I was in a pub in the UK’s city of culture, Hull – a truly great city that you should all experience (still quite easy to get glue to sniff too), and there were so many good options on the menu. I decided to be different to all of my family who ordered the fish sandwich, and had pork belly. It was crap. And their fish sandwiches looked, and apparently, tasted amazing. Last year Brexit happened, this year I had crap pork belly. Next year – circumcision? Oh wait a minute…

Anyway, I digress. Badly. This is becoming one of my longest reductions (I meant introductions but reductions kind of works in an I’ve had 5 beers and 6 minutes of sunshine kind of way) and I haven’t even started talking about the carrots yet. But please, please, please can any pubs and chefs reading this, just be a tiny little bit more imaginative. Think of all those hipsters desperate for pigeon, haddock, kudu or kangaroo on their roast. You’d be the talk of London’s roast dinner scene. It is a scene. Especially when I get my nipples out.

So £15.00 and 15-20 minutes later our dinners arrived. Although one was missing a Yorkshire pudding – and one very sad, lonely, upset, floppy Yorkshire pudding, a bit like my penis when I’m drunk, arrived all by itself shortly later.

It wasn’t the largest ever meal and the vegetables were particularly lacking in quantity.

Let’s start with the carrots.

The first carrot was cut horizontally, around 70mm long, 18mm wide, quite tough though.

The second carrot was also cut horizontally, probably the other half, around 70mm long, 17mm wide and again quite tough.

The third carrot was smaller, around 40mm long, 12mm wide, also cut horizontally and again on the tough side.

Thankfully there were only three carrots.

Moving on. I probably could do a line for each piece of kale (HELLO HIPSTERS!), there was that small an amount. It was rather soggy too, but a nice touch.

Then we had bobby beans. Now I have no idea what the difference is between bobby beans and green beans (anyone?). As far as I am aware, these were green beans. Maybe marginally wider. The few that were on my plate were perfectly cooked and tasty.

However the parsnips were anything but. There were closer to uncooked than cooked – very tough and a touch cool on the inside (some may say al dente). One of my accomplices even left one. The lowlight of the dinner. They did have an interesting taste though – my simple northern palette would suggest tarragon but I could be wrong.

Two large and one small roast potatoes were supplied. Cooked in goose fat, and you could tell, though they could have done with roasting a bit longer. Only a hint of being crispy on the outside, and the inner core was a touch, hmmm, al dente (yeah it’s a new saying, all the cool kids are saying it, booyakasha innit). The outer core was super fluffy though. They were good roasties, but quite a way away from perfection.  10 minutes away.

The Yorkshire pudding was probably the best that I’ve had in London so far. Well constructed (mine was anyway), fluffy – that could have been the double egg, and just really spot on.

Then the beef, which I don’t normally order unless I know it is going to be good. It was a decent cut of beef, cooked on the medium side, perhaps verging on slightly well done. Sufficient quantity, a little fat and a tiny bit of gristle, but all good in my book – thinly cut too. I prefer my beef rare, and I wouldn’t write home about it (my mother is not allowed to read this). But like most of the roast, it was good.

Good gravy too. Quite thick, a meat stock based affair. Not enough on the plate and arguably not enough in the extra gravy pots that were forthcoming.

Overall , it was pretty damn good. I’m going to give it a healthy 7.5 out of 10.

Next time I might actually get to east London for a change. Or even south London. Technically this was south of the river, but as there were tourists and nobody looked like they wanted my wallet, I’m still classing it as central London.

I’m actually getting pretty fed up of reviewing places that are pretty good. Where are the pretty terrible roast dinners? Where are the pretty awesome roast dinners? Answers on tweet, or something, pretty please.

Love life. Vote Gravy. See you next week homosapiens.

Buckingham Arms, Westminster

Why on earth would you advertise Sunday roasts and not be open on a Sunday?

I do not expect my life to be easy. I certainly do not make it easy for myself. But when you turn up to a pub that advertises Sunday roasts, talks about Easter Sunday plans and has nothing on the website saying that it is not open on a Sunday, you kind of expect that it will be open – looking at you Adam & Eve in Westminster.  I normally call ahead and book too.

Thankfully, it being the centre of London – nay, the centre of the Universe (Paris?  Yeah right), there was a different pub a few doors down.

So totally unplanned, we found ourselves at the Buckingham Arms instead. No expectations, no preconceptions – just a pub with a Chinese family of 3 next to us sharing one roast dinner between them – I admired their frugality. Though I’m sure Nigel Farage promised that Brexit would increase sales from tourism.

You will be delighted to know that I will also be spending more money in public houses, and therefore also providing you with more regular roast reviews. Yes I have a job. At least until they discover this blog and the enclosed various excuses to sack me.

So onto the main course. The options were chicken for £13.00 and beef for £16.00. The Buckingham Arms itself was just an ordinary pub pub. Nothing at all stood out about it – one imagines that it is a popular place to have a beer on a weekday.

Though it did have some funky bronze shiny effect on the bathroom tiles. Bathroom tiles could become a regular feature.

The roast dinner took around 15 minutes to arrive and was well-presented.  Service was at the bar, and was perfunctory.

Firstly I tackled the red cabbage. Quite dark, and decently cooked. I still am not keen on red cabbage but it wasn’t off-putting.

Then came a gaggle of small carrots, very small in fact. Perfectly edible, with a little bit of a crunch, especially on the larger ones.

Spring greens were also provided, and were excellent. A vegetable that I have only recently discovered, and a rare one on a roast dinner plate, this was very enjoyable.

Not very funny this review is it? I seem to have lost my sense of humour. I blame Brexit.

Three roast potatoes were provided and were very, very good. Soft in the inside, quite crispy on the outside – one certainly approved.

The Yorkshire pudding wasn’t quite so good. Over-cooked and a touch rubbery. At least it was homemade.

Half a chicken was provided, and it was plump, nicely cooked – still on the juicy side, and flavoursome too. Definitely a good piece of chicken.  One of my accomplices had the beef and was very happy with hers – 3, maybe 4 slices, only a hint of pink, but I am told very tasty.

Oh, did you hear about the magic tractor? It went down the road and turned into a field.

The gravy was slightly more miss than hit. Thin, watery – yet complimentary to the dinner. But I’m northern. And I like it thick. There was virtually nothing on the plate but more was eventually coming upon request, albeit I had finished over half of my dinner by then.  And the cute Venezuelan refugee was very confused by our request for horse radish.  I can just imagine her thinking “horse what?”.

Still not very funny this review is it?

This was a solidly decent roast dinner. Some good parts, some average parts. A bit like my review, albeit I don’t really have any good parts. Unless you like my photography – but lets be honest, I am more likely to become a model than a photographer.  Edit – forgot to give it a score.  This is my worst review ever.  I am hating every minute of writing this.  7.4 out of 10.

We resisted the temptation of a sausage platter for dessert (listed as a starter – it was very much an ordinary pub – like this is a very ordinary review).

I’m just going to give up and post this turd of a review. Next time I’ll smoke some crystal meth to get me into the mood – one of the many sacrifices of the first week in a new job. Or maybe I will just post photographs of various tiles.

No review next weekend due to Easter travels, but I reckon I’ll be back on duty the Sunday after.  And maybe I will finally dare to venture east…or gosh…even south. Any suggestions welcomed.