The Dove, Hammersmith

Did you miss me?

You had to go two weeks without being able to read my beautiful, witty, enlightening roast dinner reviews. More importantly, I went two Sundays in a row without gravy. I love gravy. I love beer. I am in love with gravy. I am in love with beer. And I love roast dinners. And I love London. But I especially love gravy.

Two whole weeks without. All was not lost, as I was able to enact one of my fantasies last weekend, which was to prance around a major European city in bright green stilettos.

Ahhhh feel the love. Feel the tolerance. Feel the peace.

Which leads me nicely (craply?) onto this week’s establishment, chosen by the random number generator, The Dove, in Hammersmith.

Walking into this cute riverside pub reminded me of when human beings used to be smaller. A cosy, old feel to the inside, with a small two-level terrace out back – a busy pub with very few free tables on a Sunday. My hopes were high for a good roasting.

Given that quite a few Sunday roasts have ended up with rather far too much fun occurring recently, I decided that I would order soft drinks. This was the most difficult part of my day – I had to order a beer for my friend, and then investigate the soft drink options whilst staring at the pump for one of my favourite craft lagers, Frontier, all the while the demons in my head were hammering away, the beer pump kept staring me – occasionally dancing around in the most stylist manner. Come to me. Drink me. All the soft drinks sounded boring, whilst all of these beautiful alcoholic drinks sounded so interesting, looked so shiny, were singing to me and offering me peace, love and an end to my virginity.

I bought an apple juice.

Another challenge was what to choose from the menu. The main four of beef, chicken, lamb and pork were on offer, priced between £16.00 and £18.50. I’d had beef last time – I do love pork belly but I decided to go for lamb. It isn’t often lamb is available, it was a shoulder shank, and I was confident of a good roast dinner.

Oh there was also a nut roast for £13.50, if you are that way inclined. Diversity, and all.

I sat with my accomplice and discussed discussions over some foccacia and oil, whilst awaiting our roast dinners.

Shortly after, a pot of tea arrived. We didn’t order a pot of tea.

Then two roast dinners arrived, “vegetarian?”. Yeah, as if – I was tempted to roll around the floor in some kind of crazy laughing fit and once everyone was looking at me, I’d announce that the waitress thought I had ordered vegetarian.

[Deleted due to being an insensitive fuckwit].

Another serving of foccacia bread arrived. Which we also hadn’t ordered.

And finally, our correct roast dinners arrived – beef for the bender and lamb for the lesbian. Our waitress asked if I wanted anything extra. I stated that I did, and asked her if she could guess what it was. I gave her a clue, that I was northern. Can you guess what I asked for?

It took her 5-10 seconds, but she worked it out – surely it cannot have been that hard with virtually no gravy on the plate (it did of course take a while to arrive too).

I fell in love. With the waitress. She understood my most important needs. What more can you want in a woman? Very cute too, but most importantly she understood.

But would I love the roast?

It looked good, even with the invisible gravy.

Unusually for me, I actually liked the swede mash. It was rather buttery in taste, melding slightly with the cauliflower cheese. And not too much of it.

All the vegetables were in fairly limited quantities (though the 5 types together were easily a good amount), bar the carrot which was one long carrot cut in half.

There were nibblings of butternut squash – a rare treat on a roast and in soft format here.

The cabbage was truly excellent. Stringy strands of salacious…stuff. It worked perfectly with the very limited gravy.

Finally in the world of vegetables, the cauliflower cheese. Again not a huge amount in itself, quite soft with limited cream. Tasty though.

Then we entered the world of legumes, kind of vaguely, perhaps roasted potatoes. My only disappointment of the day, they were acceptable but kind of under-cooked and anaemic. Not badly so, but a world away from crispy roast potatoes.

The Yorkshire pudding was absolutely perfect. Crispy on the outside, soft and a little soggy on the bum. A large-sized yorkie are the king of things we dream about up north. It would take some endeavour to improve upon this.

Awwww baby lambs. Hmmmm baby lambs. I wonder how many vegans read this? The lamb shoulder shank was exceptional. Loads of super-succulent lamb, it fell off the bone without hesitation. Some juicy fat in places which just added to the extravagance. This was so, so, so, so, so, so good. Eezer goode, eezer goode, whoa, Eberneezer Goode. I wonder if this pub was named after the famous ecstacy pills in the late 1980’s of the same name?

This was one seriously excellent lamb shoulder shank, replete with hints of fennel too. Close to orgasmic.

The gravy complimented the roast well. A decent meat stock gravy – not thick enough for my northern preferences or references but that’s life, I’m down here stealing your money, I’ve just got to accept thin gravy. Though I’ve had much thinner.

So, I was well impressed. Perfect yorkie, sensational lamb, mostly excellent vegetables. The only thing that really let it down was the unroasted potatoes. Perhaps I’m blinkered by being temporarily in love (she understood my needs), but this is oh so close to being the best roast dinner that I have reviewed so far in London. I’m giving it an 8.51 out of 10.

2nd out of 22 reviews so far.

Next weekend I’m heading somewhere a bit too expensive for my liking – well, about £2 more than the £18 I paid here. North too. A kind of posh area. I look forward to urinating in the street and getting my arse out.

Peace out man.

The Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch

Gays. Originally they just wanted not to be put in jail. Kind of understandable.

But look at it now. They have a whole month to themselves.

I mean, whatever next? A gay prime minister?

Let’s face it, I’m just jealous. Black people have their own parade. Gay people have their own parade. Chinese people have their own parade. Toffs and desperate chavvy women have their own boaty parade. Racists have their own marches. But what about boring, obese, white, male virgins with large collections of string vests? What do we have? I’m not saying that I want anything up my bum but I don’t even have society’s permission to wear sequins.

Speaking of which, and I will get around to talking about lesbians at some point, oh and roast dinners, we warmed up our respective bellies yesterday with a quick trip to the wonderful Dalston Superstore, my favourite LGBTJDGENTOVHRTYGQ+ bar to watch a drag queen in a green sequin dress.

It was wonderfully dreadful, I was scared every time she walked past me, the music was the direst of dire – so bad that Spice Girls was the highlight, and we waited forever for table service for our beers – apparently service was amazing before your royal straightness turned up. Being straight is no fun any more.

It was, of course, ironically dreadful and jolly good fun.  I’ll definitely go back, and their brunch menu just looked homotastic. Maybe I should become a drag queen?

So then we went towards our roast dinner venue, The Princess Of Shoreditch, in…Shoreditch. East London, baby! Now I remember when Shoreditch was all shabby buildings, dodgy bars where anything goes, full of artists, musicians and kids rolling around the street off their head on ketamine. If you didn’t have a beard, 100 piercings and at least two drug habits, then you weren’t getting in anywhere.

Now, it’s, well…”nice”. In some parts anyway. That dreaded g-word – gentrified. And The Princess Of Shoreditch is the epitome of nice. It’s a nice pub, clean with working toilets, quite upmarket with an upmarket menu. It’s not designed for your average 2002-edition Shoreditch wreckhead. It’s for post drug-habit types, with regular 9-6 jobs, much-improved hygiene levels and for some crazy fools, steady relationships. You could even take your mum here.

The menu offered pork belly, lamb, beef or whole chicken (to be shared between two), at prices between £18 and £20. Slightly on the pricey side. I chose the cheapest option as I have vastly overspent on transsexual prostitutes this month, which was the pork belly at £18.00.

The Princess Of Shoreditch was a very welcoming venue, the modern, airy two-floor venue, clearly aimed at those wishing to eat. The welcome was replicated by the staff, who greeted us almost as if we were long-lost relatives, they genuinely seemed very pleased to see us, although my shit attempts at humour were lost on one of our servants.

Less than 10 minutes after our order was taken, our roast dinners arrived.

This blog rarely features anything weird, but I’m breaking a habit here with the parsnip, date & aged beef fat puree that was supplied. I don’t get the point of puree if you are over the age of 2 – but that’s just me being a bit simple (and too straight). At first, this was a curiosity to the taste buds, a pleasant challenge. But it quickly became very tiring and a little awkward. It tasted pretty close to toffee – a really weird start, but kudos for attempting something unusual.

I tried to sweep up the rest of the puree with my cabbage so nothing else on the plate would be affected but it didn’t help. The cabbage was a little softer than average and a little more nondescript than cabbage can be.

I won’t make a good lesbian either, will I? I was mulling the idea over the other week with one of my regular dining companions, but when I realised the genitalia amendments required, I decided against it. Of course, I could…shall I just get back to the roast dinner review?

There was one long carrot too, split vertically in half and roasted. Perfectly roasted too, with generous helpings of chives.   If you wanna be my lover.

Guess what else was roasted? Roast potatoes. They were actually crispy on the outside. They weren’t freshly cooked but seemed to have been cooked pretty recently, roasted in beef fat, really tasty, crunchily crispy on the outside and pretty fluffy on the inside. The best I have had for a while, perhaps the best I have had in London so far.

The Yorkshire pudding was sizeable, though a little more crispy than my personal tastes prefer. One of my accomplices, however, said it was perfect. Make of that what you will.

On the way to the establishment, we walked through Ravey Street. Which rhymes with gravy. So my hopes of good gravy were high, at least until I realised that it was a more upmarket joint. Yes, we received jus. And just a tiny bit. We asked for more, and received one tiny jug to share. We asked for more again.

I prefer vegetable Bisto to jus. I simply don’t get it. But I’m northern. And not homosexual enough. As far as jus goes, it was good – a deep-throated red wine jus. But I’d have much preferred a bog-standard gravy.  You can take the boy out of Hull…City Of Culture.

Maybe I could become a mermaid? Imagine living in a sea of gravy.  Zig a zig ahhh.

Apparently it’s a thing nowadays, people get dressed up as mermaids and enter mermaid competitions. Even men.

I hope you appreciate the educational aspects of my roast dinner reviews.

Last but definitely not least, the pork belly. Yes there is still food to talk about. Three slices around 7mm thick each, absolutely sumptuous. Perfectly crispy on top, with the pork itself a picture of succulence. This was pretty damn divine. I did also try a bite of the lamb, and the beef – both were good but not a patch on the belly. This was wow territory.

This is a tricky roast dinner to score. There were aspects that I was not keen on – namely the puree and the jus, but in other areas it was outstanding, particularly the roasties and the belly. I suspect that if you prefer your rugby without tries and think Pimm’s is an acceptable alcoholic beverage then you would enjoy this very good roast dinner even more than I did.

But I have to score it on my level of satisfaction, not on what I think someone else might feel, and so I am going to give it a very healthy 7.94 out of 10.

Next weekend will be a much cheaper affair as I have badly overspent. Unless anyone wants to sponsor my page? Maybe Asda do roast dinners?  Or maybe I should become a drag queen – anyone know if it pays well?

Actually, fuck becoming a drag queen – £48 a green sequin dress costs.  Maybe I could become a flamingo?