Temper, Soho

Ahhh the Bank of Mum & Dad. To those of you down south, that likely means the people that paid the deposit on your house (oh, it’s a loan is it?). To those of us from up north, that means the occasional paid-for roast dinner. And I’d far rather have a bowl of delicious gravy than a whopping great big mortgage.

Thanks mum! Thanks dad! Yes my dad does read this. Yes he hasn’t disowned me – he knows most of the dodgy stuff is just an exaggerated lie to get followers. Obs.

Possibly could have disowned me when I was a miserable, rampaging dickhead of a teenager but alas, somehow I have turned out alright. I’d go so far to say that I am a very decent and very nice person. Yes I voted Tory – go live in Venezuela if you think socialism is all that great you fucking self-righteous tossbag. Oh but the right kind of socialism hasn’t be tried out yet? Oh please, spare me.

True outrage struck this week. No I am not talking about Jared O’Mara MP (except on Fridays as he is too hungover to be an MP, apparently). I love boobs, by the way. And gays. Gays are awesome. And yes, I love the Spanish. The real outrage this week was Time Out stepping onto MY territory with an article on roast dinners.

Did you see it?

They started with…you’ve guessed it. Hawksmoor. Yes, the picture they used included burnt Yorkshire puddings. And there was barely a plate’s worth of gravy between them all.

Clearly not written by a fat, ugly northerner like yours truly.

Not only was I outraged this week but I was also indecisive. Prior to the Bank of Mum & Dad making an appearance, priority was on finding something low budget – especially given just how much next Sunday is going to cost. Come Sunday morning, I still hadn’t booked anything, so had a look at the 10 places Time Out recommended. Alas, all fully booked.

I over-ruled the random number generator’s suggestion on several occasions before it picked Temper, in Soho – which was a recommendation given to me very recently. And it is Time Out’s number 3 restaurant in London. Quite an accolade, but receiving accolades from myself is far more of a challenge. It wasn’t far off fully booked either.

You enter at ground floor level, with a warm welcome from the hostess. We were quickly shown to our seats – the welcome was energetically effusive and added to the excitement.

The restaurant itself was in the basement – the kitchen was open plan and in the centre, so you can watch the manic activities of the chefs. Surrounding the kitchen is a counter, with bar-stool seats, with plenty of tables and booths surrounding this. It was lively, it was noisy, it was dark and it smelt beautiful.

There were two choices – picanha beef for £18, or smoked shoulder of lamb for £17. No vegetarian offer in terms of roast – this is a meat-lovers establishment. And I am a meat lover. I chose lamb – mainly because I had had beef last Sunday, but also because smoked lamb just sounded awesome.

It took around 20 minutes for dinner to arrive. I was a little surprised to see two portions of potato dauphinoise arrive, when I thought that I had seen roast potatoes not only advertised on the menu but also being cooked. I could be wrong. Though rarely am.

Starting with the vegetable offering and there was some controversy here too with half a large tomato. On a roast dinner. It wasn’t overly juicy – but that would have been problematic on a plate ‘full’ of gravy. Unusual but happily so. Gosh I cannot wait to tell you about the gravy.

Then there was some cabbage – I’m tempted to suggest hispi cabbage as it seemed just a touch sweeter than usual – and blended so well with the gravy, which I cannot wait to tell you about.

There were a couple of carrots – a tad on the tough side but not to the detriment of said orange sticks. They may have been chantenay carrots but it was far too dark to tell.

Finally on the vegetable offering, there was some kind of bright yellow thing. It tasted a little like pumpkin – one assumes it was some kind of squash. Again, it was a little on the tough side – I don’t think it added anything to the meal. For me, it was more miss than hit.

The biggest controversy was having potato dauphinoise instead of roast potatoes. Given how often I have to moan about unroasted roast potatoes, this could have been a clever substitution. In itself, it was an excellent dish – mixing small chunks of potato with glorious cream, and a hint of cheese on top.

Why were there two dishes between three people? Would two of us had to share one or would we have had one each? What if I had no friends, would I have had one whole dish to myself? These are questions that will never be answered satisfactorily, just like why the fuck did America vote for Donald Trump.

Would have preferred roast potatoes though.

The Yorkshire pudding was closer to average that good. They had all been pre-made and heated up, as you could clearly see. The outer rim was crispy and a tad burnt – the bum was soft and tasty. I’m starting to think burnt yorkies are the new unroasted roast potatoes. This was nothing special at all.

Specialness truly arrived in the form of meat. The lamb shoulder had beautifully slow-cooked – having the texture of pulled pork, and the burnt ends of it were just glorious. The smoked flavour was sensational, and by this point I was feeling pretty damn horny. Maybe there could have been a little bit more, but I’m probably only thinking this because it was so good.

And then we had the gravy. It wasn’t thick gravy. It was a smoked gravy – this could have gone wrong and ruined the whole meal. But this was perfect. The gravy was sexual. It counter-balanced any weaknesses elsewhere in the meal, made all of the vegetables sumptuous, and was just simply orgasmic. I haven’t had a better gravy in London. I’d go so far to say that it was one of the best gravies that I have ever had – and I have had a fair few in my life. A northern pedant – totally unlike me – might want something thicker. But occasionally you just need to shut up and enjoy the moment.

It was buying sex toys from Ann Summers kind of wow. Yes, you can call me sugar tits.

Given that I finished on the meat and the gravy, my first reaction was to make this roast dinner number one. I’ve calmed down now, and there were some imperfections.

Firstly, the it isn’t obligatory, honest, service charge of 12.5% tacked onto the end. The service was good, and in all likelihood, we would have left a similar-sized tip anyway. There was also a £1 charity charge. Is this a new thing? And then two charges for ‘charity water’. I appreciate that I am quibbling over £4 shared by 3 people, but this adding things to the bill thing is starting to get out of hand. Is there even any auditing of this? How do we know these ‘charity’ charges are all going to charity? How do we know the services charges go purely to the staff as additional earnings and are not just contributions to their wages?

Second, I have done some investigating and found that we should have received roast potatoes on our dinners. I said earlier that I thought I saw them being kept warm, and there is a tweet from just one week ago stating “ridiculous beef fat po…” (assuming they don’t mean po of Tellytubbies fame…maybe that was what the bright yellow thing was). And a bloody picture of them.

I WANT MY ROAST POTATOES BACK.

I cannot give top score for a roast dinner without roast potatoes, no matter how amazing the gravy was.

We shared a bottle of house red too, which was unspectacular – not a patch on the enjoyment of the Brewdog beer from around the corner – and we also had a starter of crab tacos, which were delicious. But neither booze nor starters count towards the score.

So I’m scoring it an 8.21 out of 10, which makes it my 5th best roast dinner in London at the time of writing. Improvements could be made, I am increasingly furious about being cheated out of 3 small roast potatoes. But the smoked lamb was divine – and you simply have to try their gravy. If you are a gravy fan – I am – then you must make a visit.

I really want to come back here. And not just for the 3 roast potatoes that I am owed. I must at some point find an excuse to go back.

Next week is the big one. The most expensive roast dinner so far. The most expensive roast dinner of my life. The most expensive dinner of my life?

It better be good.

And I will be getting high. Love you mum, love you dad.

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