Ye Olde Rose And Crown Theatre Pub, Walthamstow

Ahhh Sunday. A day of roast dinners and going to church.

Without the church bit. As you may have worked out if you are mentally stable enough to cope with reading my ramblings more than once, I am not the world’s most religious person.

Fair play if you are that way inclined, horses for courses and all that, but I have enough difficulty in believing that I am going to get a crispy roast potato on a Sunday. Have I just compared God to a roast potato? Shit. Last week lying, this week blasphemy. Next week cheating on my wife with two hot Greek lesbians. Yeah, Greek – you read. Not Spanish. You’ve got to change your fantasies occasionally.

Moving on before the lynch mob, headed by my imaginary Catholic Spanish girlfriend, sets upon me.

Walthamstow. I really want to put an ‘e’ on the end. Walthamstowe. Doesn’t that look posher?  Speaking of posh, I have just discovered who Georgia Toffolo is.  I wonder if she wants to go on a roast dinner date with me?  She’s a Tory apparently, which is why I discovered her.  I shall have to instagram her.  Apparently she is famous for promoting watches on Instagram.  Yes, sister, I will eventually get around to opening an Instagram account, no you are not going to be an auntie any time soon.

Anyway, Walthamstowie is supposedly the next Peckham, or the next Brixton. Yesterday was my first visit. It seemed closer to the next Bracknell than Brixton, but what do I know? I even still go out in Shoreditch, on occasion – that’s how uncool I am.

It didn’t scream life to me. It didn’t scream joy. In fact, Walthamstowia looked almost entirely joyless.  Almost entirely…

So, back to God. God’s Own Junkyard – for what is a visit to Walfordstow, home of Eastenders, without going to see a warehouse full of what Pat Butcher’s earrings would look like if vomited back to life in neon lights. This was equal heaven and hell – a joyous celebration, with a bar and some sexy looking cakes to boot.  I reckon Georgia would be up for a date here, if she is into fat, ugly Tories.

Question now is, would our roast dinner be heaven or hell?

The venue this week was Ye Olde Rose And Crown Theatre Pub. As you may work out from the name, they have a theatre upstairs, and a proper 1990’s pub downstairs, replete with odious 1990’s soft rock faintly playing in the background. And 1990’s prices on the roast dinners – for £9.99. Or was it £9.95? I would recommend that you check the website but there is next to no information on there.

The menu had three options, beef, lamb, chicken or nut roast. We were advised chicken had run out when we arrived. Upon ordering and our barmaid having disappeared into thin air, we eventually found out that the lamb had run out too. So there was no option but to order beef, and our barmaid disappeared completely again. Ordering did seem a little confused – I wasn’t entirely convinced that we would get a roast dinner, another table seemed to have been waiting some time for theirs – we waited 20 minutes which I am most happy about. I really do despise it when one’s roast dinner arrives immediately after ordering.

I settled down to drink my bargainous pint of Camden Pils at just £3.50. Seriously. In London, near a tube station. £3.50 for a decent pint – and it tasted good too. This was clearly a real 1990’s pub that we were in – I could even add an award-winning pub, having won Regional Community Pub Of The Year either this year, or last. Or possibly 1995, as it is definitely in some kind of timewarp.

Yes I am banging on about money again. Time to bang on about carrots.

Carrots were thin batons – the kind that you get in mixed packets of vegetables from supermarkets. As of themselves, they tasted like carrots.

Little more I can say either about the green beans or broccoli. Both nice and fresh, both boiled/steamed to an appropriate degree, and both acceptable.

However, these were not only made more exciting by the gravy – more on that later, but also by the creamed leeks. Leeks are a rare and most welcome treat in a pub roast, especially when a little bit more effort has gone into them. The cream was slightly sweeter than you’d expect, I’m still trying to work out what else may have accompanied it – perhaps a hint of nutmeg?

Unusually for someone who likes to eat in order, leaving the best until last, there were still a fair portion of vegetables left by time I started the meat. In my cryptic service-charge denying tosser kind of way, that is a compliment.

The roast potatoes were not crispy. Not even a vague attempt to make them so. However, they were well-cooked, especially considering their large size – that would be 6 small (very crispy) roast potatoes if I were in charge, they seemed to be a good quality potato – I’d guess Maris Pipers or King Edwards, and were pleasantly soft yet stable inside.

Yes this is also a long-standing fantasy. Actually it is my life. Yeah. Honest. Would I lie to you, gravy?

The Yorkshire pudding was on the verge of being burnt…how many times does that happen? Thankfully, it was just on the good side, nicely crispy and well-structured. Small, but good.

Sadly the beef was fairly average, though taken in context of the price of the roast, it wasn’t something to overly complain about. One slice closer to medium, the other closer to well-done – it was tough and a fraction chewy in places. Acceptable, there was nothing wrong with it – just bog-standard topside of beef.

Possibly the cow I had just eaten.

Now, I say that I am not religious, but when it comes to gravy, there is little I worship more. Pleasingly, this gravy was worshippable. A very nice, thick consistency – it is a rare event that gravy in London meets a northerner’s approval but I was roastingly happy with the gravy – for a second week in a row, not only in terms of consistency but also in terms of a very nice, homemade meat stock flavour. I came very close to drinking the remainder of the extra gravy out of the jug – had I been on a date with Georgia then I would have done so.

I enjoyed this. I certainly wasn’t over-awed by it and the beef was a little disappointing compared to the overall quality – and meat is pretty damn important (unless you like tofu and similar anti-food). On the plus side, most of it was good or very good, and I doubt that I will ever find a cheaper roast dinner within London. And probably not a cheaper pint of decent lager.

This gets a very respectable 7.48 out of 10. You hopefully don’t need advising that it is out of 10, but a friend of mine runs South Coast Roasts and rates them out of 25. WTF?

So onto next weekend. There might not be a roast dinner review. I know I keep saying this but I am almost out of budget – though if TFL oblige with enough 15 minute delays for me to reclaim some more journey fees – and they have been very obliging with their delays recently, then maybe I can scrape enough money together.

If not, then I’ll be back the Sunday after. And that is going to be the most expensive roast dinner that I have ever eaten. I might even put a pair of fucking shoes on. Hell, I might even buy some shoe polish. I did message them to ask if I could wear sequin hotpants.

But I don’t have any. Yet.

Don’t forget – follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And when I can be arsed to set it up, Instagram. Or possibly Insta0.7ofagram if the hooker I last shared a gram with is anything to go by.

Only joking. I’m a virgin. I only hired her to shave my back.  It gets a bit hairy as I’m a bit neanderthal.

I need to stop writing.  What the fuck have I even been going on about?

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 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 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.

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.

London Business School, Baker Street

You wait ages for a review then two come along at once.  A bit like buses, eh?  Well, a bit like waiting at a bus stop for ages then two buses come along going on a totally different route than the one you require.  But, hey, maybe pop on board anyway?  It’s late, it’s dark and there might be an old tranny flashing his stockings and suspenders for you to perv at.

By the way, that is not a metaphor.  I’m not that old.  And I’m wearing tights, not stockings.

Shit I really need to rescue this now.

So for reasons that I cannot allude to…let’s call it a rehearsal for my mi5 practical application (by the way, I am most certainly not applying to work for mi5), I was inside London Business School last week.  And I was forced to use their canteen.  The choice was salad, make your own pizza, lasagna or a roast dinner – presciently advertised as a Sunday Rollover.

There was only one real choice.  Yes the God’s have conspired to allow you to have yet another roast dinner review.

Now unfortunately, unless you study there, visit someone there or just simply confidently walk past security pretending to be a student to get a cheap dinner (ahem), then this will not be the most useful review to you.  On the off-chance that you do visit there, you can check today’s menu here.

Once I paid my £5.85, I sat down at one of the school canteen style tables and took one for the team.

The first thing to note is that at the top, hidden away, is a portion of salad.  Yes, salad.  On a roast dinner.  There is nothing wrong with salad in the same way that there is (probably) nothing wrong with Timmy Mallet, but neither belong anywhere near the table when there is a roast dinner involved.

Surely tantamount to blasphemy?

The Chantenay carrots were a mixed bunch.  The smaller ones had been cooked enough to class as edible, the larger ones were crunchier than your average apple.

Then there were a few florets of broccoli.  A little yellow in places and somewhat over-blanched (doesn’t show up too well).  They looked like they had a touch of manflu but they were edible enough.

Edibility then took a turn downhill with the roast potatoes.  Given that many full-price dining establishments struggle to get roast potatoes to a vaguely acceptable standard, my expectations were low.  My expectations, however, were not even met as these were truly some of the worst roast potatoes I have had in a long time.  Cold, hard in the middle, rather greasy – I’m not even sure they were actually roasted.  Not even one redeemable feature.  But it gets worse.

Now I’ve made Yorkshire puddings before that were flat. I’ve burnt Yorkshire puddings. I’ve made them too soggy and also too crispy. But I’ve never made them taste like someone has poured a bucket of the North Sea down my throat before.  This was quite the most rancid Yorkshire pudding possible, the saltiest accompaniment to any roast dinner I have ever attempted.  I finished it but I have no idea why.  It was even served upside down.

The beef was OK.  I have had worse – at least it was pink in the middle.  But it wasn’t as nice as it looked prior to carving, perhaps the gravy was part to blame, perhaps my attempts at diluting the disgustingness of the Yorkshire pudding by mixing them was partly to blame.  But also was the occasional gristle and general lower quality product I was served.

Yes I know I paid just £5.85.

And then the gravy.  Basically water, with a few drops of oil and something to make it brown.  Oh yeah, don’t forget the salt.  Definitely do not forget the salt and maybe put a bit more in for a laugh?  The antithesis of good gravy…maybe it actually was the North Sea?  Same kind of colour.

I have not had too many worse roast dinners in my life, and boy I have had quite a few roast dinners in my time.  I’m going to give it a 2.3 out of 10.

But at least it did only cost me £5.85.

Which I guess is the moral that London Business School were trying to teach – keep your prices low and your quality lower.  Well, it works for McDonald’s.

If you are lucky (ie I have someone to go to dinner with) then I might be back next week.

The Castle, Harrow

For my first roast dinner of 2017, I decided to head to my local, The Castle, in Harrow. On the hill. Harrow-On-The-Hill. You know, the posh bit where everyone is still complaining that they are surrounded by London.

It really is very nice up there, walking up the hill you are suddenly teleported out of London and into a quaint Berkshire village. The Castle itself fits well into the area, with 18th Century features inside and several rooms, including the bar area, where you can sit.  I chose the clock room.  It has lots of clocks.  None of them work.

I say it is my local. There are probably about 10-20 pubs within closer walking distance to me, including a bloody Wetherspoons. It isn’t exactly as if it was worth risking an adventure into central London on Sunday with the tube strike about to commence. Does anyone know what they are actually striking for this time? Apart from “oh my word aren’t the Tory government evil, lets cause chaos so everyone rises up and causes a communist revolution – all hail Mao & Stalin”. The phrase where I come from is “get to fuck”. Getting to work would do (says the unemployed web developer – anyone need a website?!).

I digress. You’ll get used to me – assuming that there is someone reading who isn’t a long-suffering friend/follower/ex-lover of mine. Do feel free to share. Please. I’m desperate.

So I’ve been to my local twice now, and I shall shortly give it my 3rd visit. And this paragraph is absolutely not suitable for anyone who works for a trade union – please skip to the next paragraph as I am about to become very offensive and you don’t want to read this part. Right, non-trade union folk, you can get 20% off your bill at The Castle this January if you follow this link – and they even sent me a voucher for a free drink (after my visit) so hence my 3rd trip coming up. At least sign up and get your free beer. You might not want a roast dinner there…my review is still to come.

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Yeah I know.  I cannot be arsed to rotate it.  Do you want a fight or something?

Let’s talk food.

Table service was offered, polite and perfunctory, quite cute too, though probably laughing at my attempted humour in a customer service kind of way as opposed to actually enjoying my attempts at making her afternoon more pleasant.

The menu offered beef, lamb, chicken and a butternut squash, feta and spinach wellington.  I spent a princely sum of £16 on the beef.

It didn’t take too long for the food to arrive – never a particularly good sign. Maybe 10 minutes at the most.

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The presentation was ok – the meat covered the vegetables with a burnt yorkie at the side. Hmmm.

I started with the red cabbage as it really is not something I’m keen on. However it was tasty, sweet and a touch nutty, shredded and not too copious an amount – enough for me not to get fed up.

Then there were two forms of roasted vegetables – carrots and parsnips. Dry roasted I believe, both pretty tasty – and roasted, as how both carrots and parsnips should come in my venerable King of roasts opinion.

However the cauliflower cheese was a bit limp. Soggy is the most appropriate description. The complete lack of structure failed what was a reasonable cheesy taste.

And then we went downhill further. The roast potatoes were simply not cooked enough. Not particularly crispy on the outside and quite tough on the inside – one potato seemed closer to uncooked than cooked. I’ve had worse, but these really were not great.

And why did I get a burnt Yorkshire pudding? One of my accomplices had a nice one, myself and my other accomplice both had dry, burnt Yorkshire puddings. Again, I’ve had worse, but nah. Not good.

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Thankfully the beef was good. Striploin, whatever that is. 4 reasonably sized slices around 3mm thick each, a tiny bit of pink – I’d prefer rarer but I guess this is safer. And it had a really strong taste of beef – it seemed very hearty.  Quality beef.

The gravy was pretty decent too. A red wine gravy, enough consistency for a southerner, and more was forthcoming upon request – there is rarely enough gravy on a plate. Red wine gravy really can go horribly wrong, but this wasn’t too strong – more of a unsubtle hint. Good gravy.

Overall a fairly mixed roast. Some good parts – some bad parts. It wasn’t far off being a really good roast – and I’ve eaten here before, albeit only a sausage roll – but a rather immense wild boar sausage roll nonetheless. Hmmm boobs….I mean hmmm sausage roll.

I’d like to rate what is quite a very nice little pub higher. But it is what it is. A 6.8 out of 10 – which is higher than average so shouldn’t be sniffed at. I’ll be back in for my free beer soon. And maybe a sausage roll.

I might be back in a couple of weeks with a review of wherever I go for my birthday roast. Though I’m currently having a little “I’m not celebrating my birthday because I’m a miserable, unemployed tosser” strop.

Either way, I’ll be back before winter is out.  Keep it gravy.  And feel free to add to my to-do list.