Florentine, Lambeth

Ahhh dining solo again.

It’s actually only the second time in 23 roast dinners that I’ve had to go by myself. Sure, I could have stayed in bed and ordered a Nando’s takeaway – but I don’t have any chicken gravy granules in the cupboard, so that one was out. Plus I’m doing a service for you all – like jury service but for roast dinners. Yes that does mean you should share and invite your friends to follow me on Facebook.

I do have two very excellent and reliable roast dinner devotees in my life, but they are not always around. I reckon that I just need one more close, reliable person in my life. NOT A GIRLFRIEND. Well, unless she is Spanish, either a C or D cup, doesn’t want children and enjoys ironing.

Actually, what am I on about? I work in a start-up, doing web development – I won’t ever need to iron anything ever again. Bar weddings and funerals. Maybe job interviews.

So do you remember when you first went into a pub by yourself? It was Trepidation Central. Eventually I matured (vaguely), and made it to the point where I could go in a pub, by myself, have a beer and read the Daily Sport (covered by the front page of the Daily Mail – both bought with my 5p in the quick-buy thing at WH Smith).

Eating by yourself is a whole different ball game. It helps if the venue is in the middle of nowhere. It helps if there is a corner in that you can inconspicuously place yourself (though there is little about me that is inconspicuous). It helps if it is reasonably busy. It helps if you feel comfortable in your surroundings.

It also helps if the waitress doesn’t bring too much attention to it. You know, let me feel that eating a roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon by myself is normal. Ideally, just don’t fucking ask if I am eating by myself – don’t rub it in. Yes, I’m alone. Yes, I’m a miserable bastard that nobody likes to spend time with. Yes, I’m ugly and completely undateable. Yes I am an old, obese, miserable bastard who cannot get his cock up. Maybe I should have pretended that I’ve been stood up. Though that would never happen in real life.

Florentine has a sophisticated feel to it. All clean, modern, smart and perpendicular inside – on the ground floor of the Park Plaza Hotel, and rather conspicuous in its elegance for Lambeth. Ooooh nearly put an apostrophe in ‘its’ then.

I am about as sophisticated as alphabet spaghetti. The venue was quiet, I was shown to a whole row of tables in the middle of the restaurant so it was nice and obvious that I was eating on my fucking tod. And yes, the waitress was only too happy to oblige in reminding me that I was eating on my fucking own. In a nice way, but in an obvious way. I didn’t feel good about it – I tried to tell her that I had no friends but she didn’t respond.

On the Florentine website, there is an offer of a free drink if you sign up to their newsletter. I signed up but did not receive any confirmation. I then brought this up with the waitress who advised that there was no such offer on their website. I tried to check on my anti-smartphone, but it takes forever to do anything. The waitress came back and advised that she had just checked the website and there was definitely no offer.

There was. Their website clearly states that you get a free drink if you sign up to their newsletter. This was half the reason I went – being a tight arse northern tosser.

Being a tight arse, I decided to order the cheapest meal on their menu, which was chicken, at a reasonable £14.00. Rib of beef was on offer at £17.00, and leg of lamb at £15.00. But I distinctly now wanted to spend as little money as possible, seeing that I was not getting the free drink that I was entitled to.

Less than 10 minutes passed and my dinner arrived. You cannot cook a roast dinner in less than 10 minutes. You can reheat one in a microwave, though.

You can probably tell where I am going with this.

Starting with the collection of fine green beans. They were numerous and rather squeeky – for me just a shade undercooked, though not everyone would agree.

The parsnips were much softer. There were a few batons – with quite a distinctive honey-roast taste, and a touch of oil. I’m not keen on honey – horses for courses.

Then there were 3 roast potatoes. The larger one was tougher than ideal, the other two were fine in terms of fluffiness. They did taste and look like they had been deep fried rather than roasted, even with the minor sprinkling of rosemary, as I could greatly taste oil, but the menu suggests they were roasted so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (though their website also suggests I was due a free beer). I’ll come back to the oil issue in a bit. And probably the free beer bit.

The Yorkshire pudding was fairly large. But that is as far as the compliments get. Now, I’m not that good at Yorkshire puddings, but at least mine are smooth and look like Yorkshire puddings. I am still to work out how this kind of speckled, tough Yorkie is made. I know I don’t like it – it was, tough and around the rim it tasted burnt. And oily.

Allegedly the chicken was corn-fed according to the website – though allegedly I was due a free beer. I’ve had plumper corn-fed chicken, but still it was a very good piece of chicken. Pleasingly generous on the lemon flavouring, with a hint of chargrill to the outside. The best part of the meal by some way.

The worst part was the gravy. Or should I say – jus. At least they state it is jus instead of pretending it is gravy. What kind of places do jus? Smart, sophisticated places – places that neanderthal northerners who just want a titwank and a bowl of thick gravy don’t tend to frequent. It was overbearingly oily, and it detracted from the whole meal. More men in corsets than horses for courses.

I am perhaps not being as subjective as I could be. It wasn’t their fault that I was on my own. I definitely had a minor downer and was feeling a tad awkward. It certainly isn’t a solo-dining place. Though neither is it a recommended roast dinner venue.

It wasn’t awful. But I didn’t enjoy my experience – 5.98 out of 10, is the highest that I feel I can justify.

And I definitely begrudged paying the £2.37 service charge. But like the free beer that I was entitled to according to their website, I was in no mood to argue about.

Then it was time to go inhale some graffiti fumes, bizarrely watched by a woman in a wedding dress showing her crotch to everyone by holding the skirt bit of her dress in her hand – possibly accidentally. I do love London. Is now a good time to tell you about the amazing sideboob view I had the other evening? Maybe I’ll leave it for when I am short of material…as she was.

Next week it’s my sister’s birthday and we are going north London. The pressure is on. It needs to be good.

Prince Of Wales, Putney

Did you notice last week that scientists have finally managed to teleport a photon?

Imagine the possibilities. You’ve had a very heavy weekend and the idea of 10 minutes on the Central Line is seemingly more torturous than listening to Nigel Mansell whilst waxing your legs, but you need a roast dinner – nothing else will suffice.

Yes, you will be able to teleport yourself to the pub. Either that or if you are concerned about the potential of recreating 1970’s shit movie, The Fly, you could have the roast dinner teleported to your table. On a plate.

Fuck Uber. Teleportation is the future.

And yes, I have checked Deliveroo and no I cannot get a roast dinner delivered to me. I even risked checking Uber Eats – is it just me or does everything on there look like plastic?

This being review number 20, I was intending on doing something special for it. Alas, I have vastly overspent so I decided to do something cheap and local. Then I got drunk, couldn’t find anywhere to book when drunk at 1am that was near enough my home that I could book so decided to plump for Putney, Prince Of Wales, to be exact. Refreshingly without the the. I cannot say I was amused about my decision when I awoke.

We sat outside upon arrival, with the view of this classic probably soon-to-be-listed office block, and accompanying traffic. Well, it was nearly sunny. The beer selection was very unimaginative, so much so that I briefly considered non-alcoholic options. I guess I could have had wine.

The pub itself was done with a touch of quality, some quite grand-looking chairs and a splashguard in the urinals – there was more thought put into the decoration than the limp-wristed beer selection.

Speaking of bo selections, beef, lamb and chicken were the offerings. I went for the cheapest option which was chicken at £15. I don’t recall the exact price of the lamb or beef, but they were around the £17 – £18 mark.

I then had quite the dilemma. Chorizo scotch eggs were on the starter menu. I don’t believe in starters before a roast dinner – a proper roast dinner should fill you up. Only for gluttony should there be a requirement for dessert, and there is no sensible reason to eat something prior to a roast dinner.

But I have even more of an obsession with chorizo than Spanish women. A sensible one was ordered for two very sensible people, which we shared. It was a worthwhile pursuit for sure. Anything with chorizo in gets me salivating – I would even consider eating peas if they had chorizo inside. Pea and chorizo sticks, anyone? Heaven and hell.

It took another 15 minutes or so for the roast dinners to arrive, with typically next to zero gravy. Surprise, surprise.

Starting, as is traditional, with the vegetables. A mixture of carrot, swede and parsnip batons. All quite soft, one assumes steamed – perhaps boiled. They were fine but utterly uninspiring.

The cabbage was a definite highlight. It sounds weird for cabbage to be a highlight, and it may just have been how the gravy interacted with it, but I really did enjoy the cabbage.

Three roast potatoes were supplied. They had been roasted, possibly even in goose fat – they had a nice, hearty taste to them. However they had been roasted as in past tense, and were more hard than crispy on the outside, and a little al dente in the middle. Not especially bad, but I didn’t feel like I had to go out and buy a postcard. Speaking of postcards, I told my parents when they went to Spain to hook me up with a hot Spanish woman if they ever had any intention of grandchildren (I’m busy – not ugly).

I’ve named her Pedrobelle Martinez-Fernández-González-Rodríguez-López-Sánchez-Pérez.

The top of the Yorkshire pudding was burnt. Not just dark, but actually tasting burnt. Once I had removed that, the rest was fine, but suffering from the general overcooking. Pretty yuck.

Thankfully the chicken was top-notch. It was a good-quality half a chicken, with plenty of succulent meat to stuff into my gob. A hint of garlic and a lesser hint of thyme gave it that added touch of elegance.

By the end, I was stuffed, barely able to move and screaming internally in desperation for a teleportation device.

So another mixed bag but overall a positive affair. Certainly more positive than Arthur Fowler’s affair. The Yorkshire pudding was distinctly crap by way of burntness, but the cabbage and chicken were top-notch. One of those roast dinners where I gave it a lower score the more I thought about it – it has balanced out now at a 7.04 out of 10.

Worth a try if you are in the area, and if you get a better Yorkie than I did and are a bit more southern than me, you’d probably rate it higher. The only other place in Putney on my list is The Jolly Gardener’s – let me know if I should be adding any others.

So I trudged off back to spend the next half a day or so in bed, and watch South Africa continue to pummel us in rather England-of-old-style cricket. But not before I had a completely un-teleporty 13 minutes to wait for a Piccalilli line train. 13 minutes for a tube?

This coming Sunday looks like another south-west affair, again I’ll be hampered by TFL and a general lack of teleportation devices. Fulham could be the location.

See, I managed a whole roast dinner review without mentioning politics, drugs, sex, lesbians or gravy.

Oh shit the gravy. It was particularly tasty, seemingly with a hint of red wine in it. It was good but thin, and bordering on the jus-like, though it did get a little tiring towards the end. Maybe that’s why southerners always provide such small amounts of gravy? It did particularly compliment the cabbage.

Fellatio.

The Elgin, Maida Vale

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh Jeremy Corbyn

Oh big pile of vomit

Oh big pile of vomit

Oh big pile of vomit

So – roast dinners. I wasn’t really in the mood for much of an adventure on Sunday. It did originally look like that I might have been solo-dining but a companion was found in time. He was even less in the mood for an adventure, so we plumped for his local pub, The Elgin in Maida Vale.

The Elgin in Maida Vale is very much a middle-class pub in a middle-class area for middle-class people. Fuck knows what they think of me when I go. It is a very welcoming pub, with friendly staff – always pleasantly busy but never overly so.

I guess I should register a slight conflict of interests – I do go here roughly every month, I like the pub, I occasionally speak to the staff, who I like. I would be unhappy to give a bad review as it would not be representative of the enjoyable moments that I have spent here. That said, if a roast dinner is shit, a roast dinner is shit. I speak the truth unlike any website with the word “truth” in the name. Or Breitbart. Or Canary.

The roast dinner menu at The Elgin had three options – beef, chicken and lamb, between £13.50 and £15.50 – reasonable for London. I plumped for the chicken at £13.50. The menu on the website isn’t up to date.

Dinner took around a pint to arrive. Stupidly I had had breakfast not too long beforehand so it took me a good few pints of beer to be hungry enough. Aforementioned beer probably goes some way to explaining why I feel sick right now (writing this part at Monday lunchtime), or is that the photograph of Jesus Christ, above?

Upon arrival, I was disappointed to note that no Yorkshire pudding was supplied. Which is, of course, technically correct as Yorkshire puddings traditionally only were served with beef. If you are a tradition-subverting prole like myself, you can order a Yorkshire pudding for just 80p.

Easy now, Rob. Easy now, Hugo. Easy now, Anton. Big up to yourself, Martin. Easy now, JD, easy Net, shout out to Shed. Big up to all the cute ladies reading. Keep it locked – Roast Dinners In London, in da house.

The dinner itself was well-presented with lots of hidden carrots. The carrots themselves were fairly numerous, in the shape of pound coins – and approximately as easy to chew as pound coins. When I was at college, I had a mate who would eat money. Normally just 20p coins. Anyway, if you like very hard vegetables – these would have been to your tastes. I just like a little crunch, not a lot, like Jenny on t’ block.

Then came something called ‘hispi’. Yep, me neither. Though I never ate anything greener than sausage rolls until I was 25 years old. So hispi is apparently a form of cabbage, and a very sizable leaf – practically a whole ship keeping the rest of the dinner afloat. It was a touch sweeter than usual cabbage, and combined with the slight burnt, meaty taste from the grilling, made it very enjoyable – if perhaps the leaf was a tad too large. Top marks for introducing me to a new vegetable.

Inventiveness on a roast dinner? Whatever next? Crispy roast potatoes?

Alas, no. They probably were crispy at some point. But they were credible spuds, soft inside – previously crispy on the outside – they certainly had the look to them. My fault I guess – if I hadn’t had required several pints to be even vaguely hungry then I might have enjoyed freshly crispy spuds. Plus marks for some rosemary too.

The Yorkshire pudding was actually so dreadful that I actually want my actual 80p back. Which reminds me, I didn’t actually pay the bill. This was one seriously abominable yorkie – the texture of an egg-shell and drier than my tongue after a gram of MDMA. ACTUALLY.

I also had a side-order of cauliflower cheese at an additional £3.50 (if I recall correctly), something too hard to resist, especially when I saw how amazing some of those coming out from the kitchen looked. It didn’t disappoint, quite soft cauliflower, with a gorgeous creamy coating – the perfect texture too.

The half a chicken was pretty top-notch too. Plump and juicy, with plenty of it to tuck into. The skin slightly grilled and crispy. I don’t have much else to say about it – just pretend I made a couple of chicken noises. Hang on, why did the chicken cross the road? To get away from the Jeremy Corbyn speech. When my modelling career is over, I am going to set my sights on becoming a comedian.

I wasn’t so enamoured by the gravy. It was one of those controversial gravies – very rich and flavoursome, yet also quite tiring. Kind of a horses for courses thing – absolutely nothing bad about it – some would love it, others not. I’m in the latter category.

A slightly difficult one to score, as different people would enjoy this quite a lot more than others. Some love their carrots solid, others don’t. Some love their gravy exceptionally rich, others don’t. Plus points for inventiveness on the hispi – massive negative on the yorkie.

I keep changing my mind but I’m settling on a…hang on. 7.28 out of 10. There. It’s in writing. I should sort out my league table so I have an easier comparison, now I am not far off 20 reviews.

Guess what I’m doing this coming Sunday? Actually going to east London to be with the hipsters. Time to go find my unicycle and grow my ironic Hitler moustache.

See you next week, comrades.

Mao, Lenin and Stalin

Mao, Lenin and Stalin

Mao, Lenin and Stalin.

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

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.

The Prince’s Head, Richmond

I’m back. After an enforced month off because my local council won’t pay enough housing benefit to cover my rent unless I was living in a more expensive 1 bedroom flat/because I am selfish enough to insist on doing a job that I have trained for and for which there is lots of demand instead of working in MacDonalds – delete as appropriate.

And before you think I’m being all snobbish, I used to work in MacDonalds AND – this is very important, I have all 5 stars.  I still have the badge somewhere.  I would share a picture but it has my name on and you know, anonymity and all that.  Not that anyone other than a handful of friends/people I met in a nightclub off my tits years ago, is reading.  Though if you are, share it!

So this week’s edition is proudly sponsored by the beautiful Spanish “country” of Galicia.  Yeah nobody else has actually heard of it either – think of it as a cross between Scotland and proper Spain, minus the shit bits like Magaluf, Costa Del Sol, Malaga, Marbella, Gibraltar…

Galicia has hills and lots of rain – well, more than London anyway.  And very nice people, most of whom own some kind of farm animals and have less armpit hair than the average Spaniard.  Oh yeah and bagpipes.  Yes – they actually have bagpipes in Galicia.

If you or your organisation would like to sponsor Roast Dinners in London, please do drop me a line.  I have some very competitive deals available.

Anyway, Sunday just gone, I donned my Kappa tracksuit and headed south of the river, replete with body armour and knife (and fork), into the gangster badlands of Richmond.

The Prince’s Head is the name and a popular little bugger it is too. I originally tried to book two weeks ago but it was fully booked. Which is normally a good sign.

Just 5 or so minute’s walk from Richmond station, within gorgeous surroundings, some wonderful housing and what appears to be a cricket pitch in the grass outside.

There’s actually a shopping centre in Hull, called Princes Quay. No apostrophe. And no second s, despite most of the locals called it Princess Quay. City of Culture 2017.

Myself and the most wonderful princes from the whole of beautiful, inspirational, historic, world-leading Galicia (don’t forget to book your holiday) had a table reserved around the back, hidden and slightly dark – atmospheric you may call it.

The options on the menu were the standard 4 – beef, lamb, chicken and pork. Plus I’m pretty sure they had a vegetarian option (nut roast) but I suffer from dubious eyesight when I see the word ‘vegetarian’. Prices varied from £14.00 to £18.00, depending on your selection.

I chose the chicken, replete with apricot and chestnut stuffing, which came to £15.00.

Have you booked your holiday to Galicia yet?

It took around 15 minutes to arrive. My initial judgement was positive – there seemed to be quite a healthy portion of chicken.

20170305_153640_1489501438612

There was a mercifully small portion of red cabbage – enough to appreciate without getting tired. A little on the gloopy side, but I mean that in a good way.

Also a small gathering of Spring Greens. Unremarkable but pleasantly so.

There are only so many ways that you can describe carrots – these came as a handful, well a small child’s handful…hmm maybe a toddler’s handful.

A small portion of cauliflower cheese was also provided. Like the rest of their vegetables, it was pleasant but unremarkable.

What now? The roast potatoes. Sadly only 3 of them and all rather small. But what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality, perfectly crispy on the outside, a hint of thyme and soft in the middle. You could call them perfect, though I won’t because they can always be better.

The Yorkshire pudding was good. Homemade and medium-sized, perhaps a tad too crispy around the edges.

Speaking of Yorkshire, you are going to Hull this year for the City of Culture celebrations, aren’t you? After you have been to visit Galicia, thanks once again to my wonderful sponsor.

Stuff me? Stuff you. Stuffing. It was an unusual flavour, apricot and chestnut. I personally didn’t diggity dig it, as it just didn’t work for me with the chicken. More of a personal taste thing – I admire the attempt at something off-centre and I’m sure other visitors of which there will be many once they have been to both Galicia and Hull, will appreciate it even more than the Dead Bod graffiti.

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Near the end now, don’t worry, not too much culinary speak before I ramble on about nothing to close it.

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The chicken was the second best part. You’d kind of expect that but not always with chicken as it can be rather plain. This was plump – proper chicken like my friend would grow in her bedroom in Galicia, not these shabby Portuguese crack-addict types in Nando’s.

Supremely tasty.

And the best part? Well, the part that makes the whole dinner. The gravy. So tasty, with a decent consistency that even your royal highness, Lord Gravy, here appreciated. None of this Berkshire jus crap. Just proper tasty, meat-stock gravy.

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This was a very good roast dinner. Room for improvement, nothing really hit the wow-factor but I doubt I will review too many better this year. I’m scoring it an 8.0 out of 10.

Service was adequately perfunctory. Nothing for me to cheer, but nothing for me to moan about and boy do I enjoy a moan. Maybe I’ve spent too long dealing with recruitment consultants recently and I’m all moaned out about their general utter incompetence and lies. Some are good. OK. I get that. But the amount of times that they ring me up, blatantly fishing for information about companies hiring and they don’t actually have a job for me is ridiculous. I actually ended up in a fairly heated argument with one the other day when I refused to tell him who I had interviewed with. Prick.

Well, you’ve waited so long for a review that I already have another for you.  And it is going to be a linguistic treat.  Which, those of you that know me will understand how good that means the roast dinner was.

Shall we finish off with a game? It’s called Scotland/Galicia/Hull.   Basically you have to guess which photographs are from which places.  Answers on a roast potato.  Oh and apologies for the shit photograph quality – blame WordPress as they automatically reduce the quality of uploaded photographs (I’ll get around to over-riding their code at some point).

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Hull Carnival and Lord Mayors Parade, June 1, 2013. Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
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Ready for the answers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top 3 were Scotland, next 3 were Hull, the final 3 were Galicia.

Booked your holiday yet?