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?

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.