Hanger, Fulham

Simplicity and sobriety. Two things I desire. Two things I greatly admire. Two things that I am pretty shit at.

Friday I didn’t drink – I even turned down free beer. Saturday I didn’t drink. Now I’m sat at work, eating my lunchtime salad whilst starting to pen my thoughts. And whilst hungover. This is unnecessary complexity that I really do not require on a Monday.

One of the main perils of life is the abundance of choice. Am I the only one that goes into my local shop for a chocolate bar and spends 10 minutes evaluating the options available, only to wonder upon consumption as to whether I made the optimal decision? Am I the only one that flicks through all 900 channels on Sky TV before deciding to watch nothing due to indecision? Am I the only one that searches for “Saudi Arabian lesbian slave sex” on Pornhub, clicking through screen after screen, watching about 5 seconds of each video trying to find which video is most suitable?

It isn’t just me is it?

That is why I use the random number generator in as many aspects of my life as possible. Often including picking where to have a roast dinner on a Sunday.

This week it picked Hanger, in Fulham. A steak restaurant. A very, very quiet steak restaurant on a Sunday. Ominously so? Do the allegedly beautiful people of Fulham know something we didn’t? This added unnecessary complexity – which table to sit on? We had a choice of…every single table.

Simplicity was restored with the menu choice. In terms of roast dinners, there was an option of steak or steak. A 200g steak for £15.00, or a more complex 800g Côte de Boeuf for 4 people at £75. We chose simplicity on the basis of saving £3.75 each. The first and last time I chose the cost-effective option that day.

Dinner took a while to arrive, a good 30-40 minutes at a guess, though I wasn’t counting. The longer I wait for a roast dinner, the more likely that I am to get proper roast potatoes. Take as long as you like, baby.

Beer was forthcoming and the choice was simple with just one choice of lager on tap – a very nice, simple, crisp beer that went down too nicely. Is it bedtime yet? #FM’#FOMO’L. I am so down with the kids that I am practically inventing my own #hashtags.

Dinner (still don’t understand why people call it Sunday lunch down here – it isn’t fucking banana and salt & vinegar crisp sandwiches – yeah that is a thing…City Of Culture, I know where I’m from), where was I? Oh yeah, it arrived on one of those wooden boards to share between two people, and we each had a tiny plate – no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no, to place our dinner upon.

What is wrong with having a large plate? #FFS. #FOMOOAPPHCT.

I decided against the complex challenge of creating a vertical food tower on my tiny little saucer, keeping things simple with my share of vegetables.

Starting with the chicory. What is the meaning of chicory? I appreciate something new, but I didn’t enjoy it. It seemed to have quite a bitter taste to it, almost like coffee-flavoured onion. Weird.

I had one green bean. I am not really in a position to review one solitary green bean.

Moving onto the carrots. 3 vertically-sliced half-carrots were provided, all roasted and all succulent. Juicy with a hint of herbs, these were top notch.

Then the cauliflower cheese was also excellent. What I really liked about it was that it had seemingly been grilled (or similar) on top, to give it a crispy coating. The cauliflower itself was the perfect midway between soft and crunchy, and the cheese flavouring was evident, though not overbearing.

And then we had some magic. Crispy roast potatoes. Seriously crispy on the outside. Soft and fluffy on the inside. Apparently making proper roast potatoes is a skill far too complex for most places. Easily the best roast potatoes in London so far – 21 reviews and counting.

Sadly the Yorkshire pudding was a bit, umm. A bit overcooked and stale, not at all matching the quality of the rest of the roast.

Unsurprisingly for somewhere that specialises in steak, the steak was top-notch. We ordered medium-rare, it was definitely medium-rare – perhaps verging on the rare, though perhaps I’ve had too many medium-rare steaks that are not medium-rare. A nice grilled texture on the outside – very enjoyable moments.

Gravy. For me, it was too complex. I like a simple gravy. This was a red wine gravy (I think), with definitely added complexity. It didn’t taste burnt but it almost had a hint of it. Yet my 3 companions thought it was excellent. Horses for courses. Perhaps I should have asked for peppercorn sauce instead.

It’s another difficult one to score. The best roast potatoes so far in London. Excellent carrots and cauliflower cheese. Very good steak. Disappointing yorkie. Gravy that I didn’t appreciate.

The natural comparison is with Bar & Block, another steak place in King’s Cross (also very quiet on a Sunday). Personally, I preferred Bar & Block – but one of my accomplices went to both and preferred here. All of us rated this place, though I am giving it a lower score than my accomplices, at 7.86.

Service at first was a little baffling, it didn’t seem to flow – took quite a while to be able to order a beer, then when he did take our drinks order it was when one of us was in the loo (which could have done with some toilet roll). But after that it was spot on – humouring my attempted jokes about putting MDMA in ice cream (I don’t like ice cream), being attentive and trying to advise on the impossible.

Once we paid, we each received a 25% off voucher. For the next time we come. There won’t be a next time. Not because this isn’t a very good restaurant, but because life is short, I have another 119 places on my roast dinner to-do list and there are so many other places in London to experience. So if anyone wants my 25% off voucher, then drop me a line and I’ll stick it in the post to you. First come, first served. I don’t have that many readers so I’ll probably still have it come November.

All that was left was to enjoy the pharmaceutical stimulants and find some not-so-beautiful people in Fulham.

Next Sunday I should be back, and I am going anywhere but south-west London.

The Crabtree, Fulham

I have something to admit to you.

One of my friends is a vegetarian.

Actually I’ve got an even more dishonourable tale to tell you. I once was invited for a roast dinner that a friend was cooking me. She had made onion gravy – freshly made too, and I was sat there eating a decent roast dinner thinking that a meat-stock gravy would have been preferable, but never mind.

Then whilst I was eating the assumed chicken breast, I realised that it was a bit tasteless, so I asked the host what kind of meat it was. Quorn, was the reply.

This was a good 15 years or so ago so I’d like to think that I have eaten enough meat to make up for this major indiscretion. We all make mistakes. We all do things we regret. Like voting Labour. Londoners, seriously, wtf?

What, you’re bored of politics? You are only here for the gravy? Ahhh but you still want to stab me for voting Tory? Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t admit to voting Tory whilst living in London, my readership figures are low enough as it is.

Anyway, so I needed to find somewhere with a good vegetarian roast for my aforementioned filly affiliate, and The Crabtree in Fulham seemed to fit the bill with a spinach, leek & ricotta wellington that would almost be tempted for a manly man like me – thankfully the offer of weird pea gravy was enough to cancel out any temptation.

The Crabtree’s Sunday lunch menu had chicken, beef, lamb and, confit porchetta…huh…something different on a roast dinner? Shit the bed.

Given that I’ve spent the last 80 reviews (from both this and my previous Reading site) whinging about the lack of inventiveness with roast dinners, my choice had to be the confit porchetta. Prices of the roast dinners were between £13.50 and £19.50 – the porchetta being £16.00.

The Crabtree itself is a fine pub, sat on the river Thames between Hammersmith and Fulham, in a residential area, with the riverbank of discarded plastic bottle and plastic glasses from fuckwits that don’t dispose of their waste correctly. Seriously, people, is it really that hard to wait until you see a bin?

It has a very pleasant, well-manicured and large outdoor area, with separate BBQ menu – and a bar and restaurant area inside. The only downside was that it was quite difficult to hear one another inside with quite a din of noise – one assumes caused by the low level music on likely very poor quality speakers.

Dinner took around 5 or so minutes to arrive. Sigh. Never a great sign unless you are at a fast food joint.

There were 4 different vegetables supplied, though all in low quantities.

Two small florets of broccoli were quite tough but pleasantly so. One carrot was chopped in half lengthways and roasted, which is always good to see.

Then we had a very small handful of green beans, slightly stringy in structure with a good amount of bite to them. The only downside was that they were mixed up with the swede, of which I am simply not really keen on. The swede was somewhere between mash and puree – inoffensive enough and in this case, thankfully limited in supply. There was more apple sauce than swede.

Just two roast potatoes were supplied. Two. I used to moan back in Berkshire about the “Berkshire Three” standard of roast potatoes. Where I am from, any less than 6 roast potatoes is almost as guaranteed permission to enact some basic, swift violence as suggesting that Margaret Thatcher was any less evil than Hitler. The potatoes themselves were less evil than Hitler but not exactly inspiring. Not crispy on the outside and certainly not fluffy on the inside. They did seem to have been cooked in either goose or duck fat, so whilst the texture was unappealing, the taste was pleasant.

The Yorkshire pudding looked impressive. A very tall Yorkshire, impressively so. Personally I prefer mine a little fluffier to bum – it was a tad too crispy in my view, but overall a good Yorkshire.

So far so very unspectacular. But then the pork. Or the confit porchetta. Wow. You know those moments when you put something in your mouth and it is so orgasmically tasty that you have to close your eyes and enjoy the moment ever so slowly?

Yep. Doesn’t happen often. Perhaps it only happens when you are dining with a vegetarian – the last time I enjoyed a piece of meat this much I was also dining with a vegetarian – though that was a very fine piece of rabbit at Ma Cuisine in Kew – a highly recommended French bistro.

Onto the meat itself, and porchetta is suckling pig, without the bone, wrapped in crackling with added herbs and normally garlic. It was just sensational. Literally every bite was ‘wow’. If only the rest of the roast dinner had matched up to these standards.

My vegetarian friend was very happy with her spinach thing (I even took a photograph of it), and my other accomplice said that her beef was the best she had ever had on a roast dinner.

Onto the gravy. Unsurprisingly not enough on the plate and the extra gravy didn’t suffice either. A fairly inoffensive, thin, gravy, which seemed somewhat to be meat-stock based. Decent enough.

Overall this was clearly rescued by some absolutely amazing meat. Quantity was lacking throughout which was the main drawback, especially on a roast dinner – but that meat, wow. I’m giving it a 7.32 out of 10.

I did try asking for another slice of porchetta for dessert – I’m not entirely sure that they took my request seriously. I was still hungry and really wanted another slice of porchetta.

Service was a little slow and a tad confused – a little difficult to get someone’s attention when required, but quite attentive when not required. Not entirely sure it was worth the 12.5% added to the bill, but certainly not poor enough to refuse to pay it.

Next Sunday is Father’s Day so I will be avoiding anywhere with families. I do keep meaning to go to Hackney, maybe it will finally happen. Oh yeah, and aren’t ducklings cute? Even cuter than me.

Don’t forget to share – “Tory scum” addendum optional.