The Ship Tavern, Holborn

I don’t know where to start this review. Tits, bum, ass. Or maybe I should pretend to be a little more mature. Maybe I should do something crazy like just start talking about where I went and what I ate?

What do other bloggers do? You know, the professional ones who can write proper?

Oh, they tend to start with, “This post is published in partnership with…”. I don’t see any brands desperate or stupid enough to be associated with me, though I think I am one step closer to being published in the uber-cool London publication that I’ve been talking about, hopefully this week. Yes, you can be the proud ones that discovered me first. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel cooler than the white guy with dreadlocks skateboarding to his office job because he is so out there man?

I actually think they are not on a wind-up. I should probably scour my Twitter feed for offensive things I’ve said (mostly about vegans) before the press turn me into the next Jarod O’Mara. Oh, you’ve forgotten him already? Before we go on, I would just like to put it on record that Jews are cool.

Oh good, I’ve managed to write a load of bullshit as an introduction. Let’s get on with it shall we?

So this weekend I went for a visit to the motherland (Hull – not Israel, in case you were wondering). I was assuming that I wouldn’t fancy dragging my suitcase halfway across London to Tooting, Hackney or somewhere else so far from zone 1 that would scare my mother shitless, and was therefore looking for an easy place near King’s Cross station.

On my to-do list was a pub near Holborn, just two stops on the Pickawilly line (my maturity knows no limits) from my arrival point, called The Ship Tavern.

I didn’t really know anything about this place prior to going – I don’t think anyone recommended it to me, I think it was from reading Time Out, or the Evening Standard? It had been on the to-do list since I started this gracious mission. On the ground floor was a fairly smart pub, albeit one selling Foster’s and yes I am a judgemental, snobby post-hipster tosser.

Upstairs was more what we were interested in, which was purely a dining room, with around 15-20 tables – I guess you could fit 60-80 people in there. Fairly small and cosy, with dark wood panelling and not a hipster or modern pub touch in sight. They didn’t even sell apple juice. Apparently it is a Dickensian style dining room, but I don’t know what that means – something they teach at school? Think old, and a touch of well-worn elegance.

The Ship Tavern wasn’t that busy when we arrived around 2pm, but it did become fairly busy by time we left. I think you’d be seated without booking in advance…at least you will at the moment…I’ve sent at least two groups of people to my number 1 roast place in the last week – and they are the ones that have told me.

Despite the lack of business to start, it took longer than I’d expect for anyone to come and give us a menu, and even longer to be asked if we wanted a drink. Nothing excessively so – apparently we were hidden…though I don’t see how my fat, ugly face can easily hide in a small rectangular room, but hey. Service was good after the initial aberration. Not 12.5% service charge good, but good enough. Well, except for confusing my orange juice order for cranberry juice.

By the way, have you forgiven Nick Clegg yet?

There was an appealing menu, with chipotle rubbed chicken and pork belly being available for £17, sirloin of beef for £18, rosemary and garlic studded leg of lamb for £18, and a vegetarian wellington for £16. You could also have the chicken as a sharing board for £32, which for some reason 51 reviews in, I have never had a sharing board with anyone. We overheard someone else being offered a special, but that wasn’t offered to us – maybe it was a roast, maybe not.

I was struggling to decide between pork belly and leg of lamb, so an hour or so before I arrived, I thought I’d ask my wonderful followers what I should do. Alas, the vote split was 50/50. Who knew the British voting public could be so fucking useless? Oh yeah, when they voted out Jon and Federico in Big Brother 3. Or was it 4? Remember that Cameron bloke that won? No need to ejaculate – I don’t mean David Cameron…ahhh the glory days of 2015 when normal people were running the country.

Before I bore you all to death or worse, start banging on about Brexit again, I chose the leg of lamb, which was solidly endorsed by both members of staff that I asked. Incidentally, there was a nun having her dinner in there and she chose pie over having a roast dinner. On a Sunday. What would God say about that? She might not have been a nun exactly, but some female uniformed Christianish religious type. You may have worked out that my religious knowledge is as developed as my love life.

Dinner took around 15-20 minutes to arrive, with the necessary extra gravy requested coming shortly after.

The Ship Tavern decided to make things easy for me by making a vegetable medley, so I’m not going to describe the vegetables separately. They seemed buttered and were a pleasant mix, carrots, green beans, green cabbage, sugar snap peas (peas that behave themselves) and I think I even spied a mange tout. A decent accompaniment.

There were two pieces of cauliflower cheese which allegedly were cooked with three forms of cheese. My guest couldn’t notice the cheese, I did on one piece, and it was quite a strong taste – the other not at all. Unusual for cauliflower cheese to come without cream – this was baked-on cheese. Not quite sure what I made of it, but perhaps more miss than hit for me.

I once hit my religious education teacher on the forehead with a dice – it was a damn excellent shot. I was outside the school building, she was inside a first floor classroom – the dice sailed through the open window and bang. She later converted to Islam. My old school is now just grass. I believe these incidents to all be unconnected.

Unusually there was a large scoop of mash potato. I don’t recall anywhere ever serving me mash potato on a roast in London – were it in place of the roast potatoes then an eyebrow or three would certainly be raised. Is this a good moment to have a rant about people who paint their eyebrows on? Anyway, the mash potato was fine, a light hint of chive inside, but very light, soft and smooth.

Just two roast potatoes but they were on the crispy side. My accomplice’s looked much better than mine, mine had that kind of left there for a while feel, yet were at least crispy if a tiny bit stodgy. Above average.

Alas, the Yorkshire pudding was burnt and tasted of burnt too. At least the outer rim was. The bottom was fine, but didn’t really stand out in any way, other than a feel of having been a fair chunk overdone. Not a disaster, but I’ve had many better.

All very unremarkable so far, but then there was the garlic and rosemary lamb. This was exceptionally good – perhaps only one rung below sensational. A really strong taste of garlic which totally made the whole dish. There was plenty of it too, cooked medium-rare with the juicy fat left on – this could not really have been much better.

My accomplice was very pleased with her beef too. Very good, so I am advised.

The gravy was also very good. Nowhere near enough, not even with the top-up, but a good consistency and quite a peppered flavouring. If I had this quality every week, I’d be a happy man. Alas, I think I am being punished. I have no idea why.

A tricky one to score this, as a bit like the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition there is definitely some room for improvement with the less-important constituent parts, but the two most important parts really were top-drawer. Or top-draw? That schooling issue again.

If I were just rating on the meat and gravy, this would be a 9. If on the yorkie, then a 2. For the rest, somewhere between a 6 and a 7. So I’m going to give it a 7.75 out of 10. Definitely a good roast dinner and not one you’ll be disappointed with in any serious way.

I’ll be back next week. No idea where I am going yet – no excuses for not going for one as some places are serving roast dinners both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. If only I could afford to do both. Or if only I was a true social media influencer and had Harrods hammering my door to review their roast on da house. Yes you can get a roast dinner in Harrods. Who knew? I bet it’s poncey jus nonsense. Nah, I’m not adding it to the to-do list…I’ll wait for them.

Peace out. Love to all. Hate jus not Jews.

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