The Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch

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

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

I mean, whatever next? A gay prime minister?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Oxford, Kentish Town

Sunday was a special day.  A roast dinner day.  I had a few accomplices in tow and I wanted a good roast dinner.

The problem being is that nobody has yet done a truly informative blog about the best roast dinners in London.  Sure there are those lists of “20 best roast dinners in London” but I highly doubt whoever has written them has ever visited more than one or two of them.  So how do I know where to go to impress my Sugravy Hill Gang?

Thankfully for you, I am here now to solve all your roast dinner woes.  Except I don’t have a job and cannot afford to go for a roast dinner every week at the moment (hint hint if you know of any junior web developer roles or you need a website building, give me a nudge).  Until then you will be stuck with occasional reviews when I somehow have enough money.

Also thankfully for you, I managed to sell some paracetamol in a hardcore gabba rave the other night to be able to fund this roast dinner (he paid £10 a pill too – must have been some stonking headache) so with £30 in my sky rocket I set off to The Oxford in Kentish Town.  It had good reviews on Trip Advisor, ok?  Not that that means much.  You need a roast dinner expert like myself to know whether a place really does good roast dinners.

The pub itself is a smart boozer/dining room – immaculately laid-out and styled, a mixture of exposed brickwork and typical modern pub colours, with high quality seats and tables adorning their rest area.  It had warm, homely feel to it and we liked the place so much that we even came back in the evening.

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The photograph is stolen from the pub’s website, hopefully they won’t mind as I have been nice.  So far.  By the way, if you are reading and from the establishment (I mean the pub, not the 1% that control all the sheeple…yeah stop smoking weed and get a fucking job), you might want to take a look at the page that your newsletter sign-up sends you to as it takes you to page not found.  Should be a very simple fix.  The sign-up works, just the redirect page is not valid.

Beef, chicken, pork belly and nut roast were on the menu, priced at 17, 15, 15 and 14 – if you run the pub then you might want to update the increased prices on your website.  If you are a customer you might want to take advantage of this discretion and save yourself a quid or two.  Fucking Brexit.  Yeah I’m a remoaner, get over it.

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I chose the pork belly.  A risky choice as it can easily go very, very wrong indeed.  It can be amazing, it can be very good or it can be awful.  There is no average with pork belly.

It took a good 15 minutes or so to arrive, I cannot say I counted.  However one plate didn’t arrive as the cute waitress, really cute in fact, forgot to order it.  For the minor indiscretion we received a free meal – I wouldn’t have expected this , an apology would have sufficed, but credit where credit is due.

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Unfortunately credit was not due everywhere.  There was one strip of carrot on the plate – it looked like it had been roasted however not long enough for my preference, it hadn’t been cooked long enough to bring out the flavour.

And the two parsnips didn’t cut the imaginary mustard either, both a bit under-cooked, both a touch lacking in flavour.

Meanwhile the kale was a controversial addition on the table – even my vegetarian amigo wasn’t too amused.  I, however, being trendy enough to not only eat kale but avocado (when will avocado be on a roast dinner?) truly appreciated it.  Perfectly cooked with enough crunch and vitality to it.  Horses for courses but no k-holes.  Just kale-holes.  Shall I give up with the jokes?  It wasn’t even my joke.

Why are mountains so funny?  Because they are hill areas.

Get it?  Hill areas?  Hilarious?  I actually managed to get a date last week from using that joke.  She told me she loved gravy – I fell in temporary online dating love.  Though I think that was probably the only thing we had in common.

Where was I?  Potatoes.  Roast potatoes.  Or slightly roasted potatoes.  I guess the chef was expecting the bullshit announced yesterday from the FSA saying roast potatoes give you cancer, or something like that (first cigarettes, then alcohol, then drugs, then bacon…now fucking roast potatoes – am I not allowed any pleasures in life?).  As these were not crispy at all, if you can actually remember what I’m talking about given my mini-mid-sentence-rant, yeah screw you hyphen-nazi.  The potatoes were a bit anemic in looks, though cooked through enough.  Decently average but nothing more.

There was also a little pot of cauliflower cheese.  I really do not understand why this was in a separate pot.  Can anyone elude as to why this might be the case?  Surely only for reasons of presentation?  Like all non-kale vegetables, the quantity could have been higher, just three mouthfuls though I do have a big mouth.  A little squidgier than ideal but cheesier than the norm.  Pretty damn good.

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Things went up a notch with the Yorkshire pudding.  Sometimes they can be so tasteless – a good chef friend of mine believes that they are utterly pointless.  But this really was quite exquisite in terms of taste, soft, somewhat fluffy – a really good yorkie.

And the pork belly was in the very good category – not amazing but very good.  The top crackling layer was soft and chewy rather than crunchy but the meat was excellent – so succulent, rather quite gorgeous.  It was a relief!

My accomplices advised that the chicken was spot on, and the beef, though not rib-eye (I think) was as tasty as rib-eye.  So, whilst not everything in the roast dinner is good – the second most important part of a roast dinner, you are guaranteed near-excellence.

And for the most important part.  We were promised endless gravy, which to a Yorkshireman is the equivalent of offering a banker endless cocaine.  And I can understand why they can promise endless gravy because it was little more than what came out of the tap.  And a real schoolgirl error here in that I forgot to photograph the meal with the gravy added so you could see how weak it was.  Doh.

The gravy was utterly disappointing.  Taste-wise there was nothing wrong with it, absolutely fine, but the weakest, most watery gravy I have probably ever encountered.  Around the edges of the plate it would literally look like water.  Just imagine a banker buying a whole gram of bicarbonate soda.  That kind of disappointment.  I still had the gravy, of course.

At least it wasn’t jus.  Should I attempt an “I’m in North London so I’m surprised it wasn’t a jus” joke?  Yeah maybe not.  Dodgy territory – I might end up with the Labour Party trying to recruit me.

It isn’t a million miles away from being a very good roast dinner.  But clear improvements can and should be achieved – in my opinion anyway, and I am important for I am Lord Gravy.  For the roast dinner, it gets a 7.2 out of 10.

It is a really good pub, service was decent, it was clean, homely and welcoming – it has a lot going for it and I recommend a visit – I’d definitely eat there again (Monday to Saturday) if opportunity arose.

But the ‘gravy’ needs reporting to trading standards.

Next up…I have no idea.  I need a job first.  Or a lot of people clicking the adverts!  Maybe I should become an escort.  Yes – roast dinner escorts!  Surely there are some lonely women out there in London that need escorts so they can go for a roast dinner on a Sunday?  I’ll get started on the website this afternoon.  I am a genius.

Oh yeah, please can you share if you enjoyed reading.  It helps.