Smokey Tails @ The Star Of Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green

Don’t you love Pride weekend? It is the one weekend of the year where manly heterosexual men like myself are allowed by society to pretend to be gay, maybe put on some nail varnish and wave a feather boa around – and then deny anything of the sort occurred.

It always comes home, I mean comes around quite suddenly, and I find myself ill-prepared. In other words, without a bra and knickers. At least I’m without ones that would be suitable for wearing in public.

It even says that it is for men – look.

And look at these – both made especially for men.

Who would have thought it, lingerie for men with a pocket to fit your tail inside.

This week, the random number generator picked Smokey Tails. Tell me you are impressed with that segue?

I reckon that the best way for you to get to understand Smokey Tails, is probably to watch this explanation from one of the owners, Seth Troxler.



He’s kind of similar to me, except I shout ‘it’s coming home’ ‘rectum’ instead of ‘bats’.

So, Smokey Tails used to have their own BBQ restaurant in Shoreditch, and it was somewhere that I was meaning to go for years. And, of course, never did. It closed late last year, presumably to become a wanky up-market tosspot gastro hotel or something. Or another nail bar.

Now they have taken up residence at The Star of Bethnal Green.

Bethnal Green is an interesting part of London. Interesting as in a bit ugly, full of weird people and a severe lack of hot women. It also has some rough-looking pubs.

The Star is not one of them – in fact it has recently had a makeover, and is all brand-new teal-coloured walls with little sparkly bits. It being pride weekend there were still some rainbow flags around that the staff were trying to take down – I did offer to burn them, to help take them down quicker – only later recalling that burning flags tends to have symbolism. Ooops. I have a gay friend, anyway. And he’s awesome.

I do love gays. Not in a penis being stuck up my bum kind of way though.

I actually love lesbians even more – so much so that all of my Pornhub searches feature the word ‘lesbian’.

Erm…how do I rescue this?

The Star of Bethnal Green was quiet upon arrival. A small handful of people inside, with occasional characters joining us on the outdoor smoking table. In fact it was quiet all the time that we were there – which due to the fact that I was putting off the return journey on the Central line was quite some hours.

Inside was pretty hot at times too – though occasional blasts of air conditioning made it pleasant prior to eating.

The staff also made it pleasant inside, just two of them working but they made it feel welcoming – chatty and willing to put up with my rambling bullshit – vaguely even encouraging it. Actually they were pretty damn engaging.

I was feeling like I was…coming home (I’ve had to do a fair bit of editing now I’m finishing this post semi-final). I was feeling at home at The Star after just a few minutes, this was my kind of pub and the roast dinner menu looked divine.

No mashed swede on offer (I see your eyes rolling…might actually have been funny had I written the review on Sunday), but they had all 4 meats on offer – beef, chicken, pork and lamb – or there was a vegetarian offering of mushroom and spinach wellington. The vegetarian offering at £14, the meat offerings at between £14.50 and £16.50. Yes, I did actually write about the vegetarian offering. I think the 15 minutes I spent at pride has affected me.

I chose the beef, mainly because it was a rib-eye, which is my go-to cut for when I want a steak, and I was expecting Smokey Tails to do something pretty damn special with it. Ahhhhhhh expectations.

Though I seriously considered all of the options (well, bar the vegetarian option – Smokey Tails is not the place for my first ever vegetarian meal – yes I even wrapped a banana in bacon the other day), the garlic and rosemary lamb was a close second choice – and I was also tempted by the pork just so I could have asparagus on a roast dinner, you know, something different to talk about.

There was a brief panic when the bell rang after just 5 minutes, but thankfully the dinners went to another table. Our food arrived after around 20-25 minutes at a guess.

Upon arrival, my reaction was, “that’s a lot of food”. It doesn’t show well on the photograph, but there was about half a plate of mash hidden underneath.

Along with a lot of food, there was also a potential major problem. Beetroot.

Now I like beetroot in small quantities, once a year, and this seemed to have been briefly roasted – yet this was leaking purple juice into the gravy and turning my gravy pink. Pink gravy? I really was about to burn some rainbow flags at this point. I managed to fashion some kind of dam out of the horseradish to keep the purple juice at bay once the beetroot had been eaten.

I’m never keen on condiments being already on the plate – however, I managed to forgive Smokey Tails for this aberration given that it was useful dam construction material.

A fair-sized handful of green beans were on the side of the plate, and these were cooked pretty much perfectly, with the right balance of crunch and edibility, quite an oily flavour too.

I’m jumping the usual order a bit now – as the carrots and parsnip were semi-submerged within the mashed potato, so you need to know what the mashed potato was like. And you really do need to know – this was as nice and creamy a portion of mashed potato that I’ve ever had. Top marks – even if mashed potato is a tad controversial on a roast.

The carrots themselves had probably been roasted, two fairly thin horizontal strands – but high in juice and quality. It was becoming clear by this point that Smokey Tails doesn’t scrimp on the quality of inputs.

Also the parsnip seemed to have been roasted – difficult to tell for sure, mine half a parsnip was nice, but I wasn’t like totally in love with it. Just nice.

We had also ordered a couple of sides of cauliflower cheese, at a price of £4.00 each. Also up to standard, the cauliflower was cooked perfectly with the cheese sauce actually tasting of cheese, and being quite thick.

Not only did we have half a plate of mashed potato, but there were several roast potatoes too. Guess what? It’s comin…oh yeah they weren’t crispy on the outside. They were reasonable enough, soft enough inside and tasted nice – perhaps cooked in goose fat. Crispy roast potatoes are the holy grail, but well, so is a threesome with two hot Spanish lesbians and how often does that happen?

The Yorkshire pudding was a failure – more closely resembling a cross between a pancake and UFO. I’m going to let you into a little secret here, as not only can I not get any further than a semi without wearing my ex-girlfriend’s knickers on my head (I am so fucking English), but also my Yorkshire puddings can similarly also struggle to rise. And at least it still tasted good, and worked as a compliment to the beef.

Speaking of which. The beef was rather well-done – thankfully not to the point of drying it out or anything, it was still on the succulent side. It was most definitely tasty – I enjoyed it more than most beef roast dinners, but I did just perhaps expect something sensational from Smokey Tails – and it was just very good. A tad smoky and rather hearty. Some nice, soft juicy fat bits too, where it should be for rib-eye. One of my accomplices had the pork and wasn’t overly sold on it – nor was he amused at just one asparagus stick.


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Finally, the gravy was good. Again nothing exceptional – I was hoping for something sexual like when I went to Temper – a BBQ restaurant really should be able to make both amazing meat and gravy. But it was a good standard stock gravy, with sufficient consistency, albeit with perhaps a tad too much salt.

We were pretty damn happy come the end of our meals and absolutely stuffed. So stuffed that we had to resort to jagerbombs to keep us going. It was either that or bed – and there was no way that I was about to descend back onto the Central line in a heatwave still sweating from my dinner.

This was probably the largest roast dinner that I’ve reviewed in terms of quantity. The highlight was probably the creamy mashed potato, which was a delight – the only disappointment was the shape of the yorkie.

There was supposed to be a service charge of 12.5%, but by time we had added around 250 drinks to the bill, they decided against adding it. You’d have thought that we would be able to tip by card, but alas that was not possible. I then asked if they would change a tenner at which point I was told that they don’t change notes. I AM TRYING TO GIVE YOU A TIP HERE.

By this point, our excellent two service staff had been replaced, and it did leave a tiny sour note that it was so difficult to leave a tip, but hey. When I pointed out, in frustration, that I wanted change so I could tip, suddenly the no change rule didn’t apply.

I’m struggling to score this, as we had a really fun afternoon there and were made to feel very welcome, not only by the staff but also the slightly off-kilter locals including the person who is apparently going to be the next London mayor – like the next Zac Goldsmith but abusing everyone – not just Muslims.

8.08 is my score. Which at the time of writing makes it the best roast dinner that I’ve had in east London, and the 12th in London overall. Out of 65 roast dinners.

Which means this coming Sunday is roast dinner 66. How appropriate given that we won our last World Cup in 66. It most be an omen. In fact, if we win the World Cup, I am going to wear this Men’s One Piece Lingerie Thong Sissy Pouch Panties Xdress Nightwear at the next roast dinner.

[edit] Oh. Phew.

Well, at least it makes logistics a hell of a lot simpler for organising a roast dinner this coming Sunday. Not that I yet have any idea where I am going.

Don’t forget to share this with your mum.


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