For my first roast dinner of 2017, I decided to head to my local, The Castle, in Harrow. On the hill. Harrow-On-The-Hill. You know, the posh bit where everyone is still complaining that they are surrounded by London.
It really is very nice up there, walking up the hill you are suddenly teleported out of London and into a quaint Berkshire village. The Castle itself fits well into the area, with 18th Century features inside and several rooms, including the bar area, where you can sit. I chose the clock room. It has lots of clocks. None of them work.
I say it is my local. There are probably about 10-20 pubs within closer walking distance to me, including a bloody Wetherspoons. It isn’t exactly as if it was worth risking an adventure into central London on Sunday with the tube strike about to commence. Does anyone know what they are actually striking for this time? Apart from “oh my word aren’t the Tory government evil, lets cause chaos so everyone rises up and causes a communist revolution – all hail Mao & Stalin”. The phrase where I come from is “get to fuck”. Getting to work would do (says the unemployed web developer – anyone need a website?!).
I digress. You’ll get used to me – assuming that there is someone reading who isn’t a long-suffering friend/follower/ex-lover of mine. Do feel free to share. Please. I’m desperate.
So I’ve been to my local twice now, and I shall shortly give it my 3rd visit. And this paragraph is absolutely not suitable for anyone who works for a trade union – please skip to the next paragraph as I am about to become very offensive and you don’t want to read this part. Right, non-trade union folk, you can get 20% off your bill at The Castle this January if you follow this link – and they even sent me a voucher for a free drink (after my visit) so hence my 3rd trip coming up. At least sign up and get your free beer. You might not want a roast dinner there…my review is still to come.
Yeah I know. I cannot be arsed to rotate it. Do you want a fight or something?
Let’s talk food.
Table service was offered, polite and perfunctory, quite cute too, though probably laughing at my attempted humour in a customer service kind of way as opposed to actually enjoying my attempts at making her afternoon more pleasant.
The menu offered beef, lamb, chicken and a butternut squash, feta and spinach wellington. I spent a princely sum of £16 on the beef.
It didn’t take too long for the food to arrive – never a particularly good sign. Maybe 10 minutes at the most.
The presentation was ok – the meat covered the vegetables with a burnt yorkie at the side. Hmmm.
I started with the red cabbage as it really is not something I’m keen on. However it was tasty, sweet and a touch nutty, shredded and not too copious an amount – enough for me not to get fed up.
Then there were two forms of roasted vegetables – carrots and parsnips. Dry roasted I believe, both pretty tasty – and roasted, as how both carrots and parsnips should come in my venerable King of roasts opinion.
However the cauliflower cheese was a bit limp. Soggy is the most appropriate description. The complete lack of structure failed what was a reasonable cheesy taste.
And then we went downhill further. The roast potatoes were simply not cooked enough. Not particularly crispy on the outside and quite tough on the inside – one potato seemed closer to uncooked than cooked. I’ve had worse, but these really were not great.
And why did I get a burnt Yorkshire pudding? One of my accomplices had a nice one, myself and my other accomplice both had dry, burnt Yorkshire puddings. Again, I’ve had worse, but nah. Not good.
Thankfully the beef was good. Striploin, whatever that is. 4 reasonably sized slices around 3mm thick each, a tiny bit of pink – I’d prefer rarer but I guess this is safer. And it had a really strong taste of beef – it seemed very hearty. Quality beef.
The gravy was pretty decent too. A red wine gravy, enough consistency for a southerner, and more was forthcoming upon request – there is rarely enough gravy on a plate. Red wine gravy really can go horribly wrong, but this wasn’t too strong – more of a unsubtle hint. Good gravy.
Overall a fairly mixed roast. Some good parts – some bad parts. It wasn’t far off being a really good roast – and I’ve eaten here before, albeit only a sausage roll – but a rather immense wild boar sausage roll nonetheless. Hmmm boobs….I mean hmmm sausage roll.
I’d like to rate what is quite a very nice little pub higher. But it is what it is. A 6.8 out of 10 – which is higher than average so shouldn’t be sniffed at. I’ll be back in for my free beer soon. And maybe a sausage roll.
I might be back in a couple of weeks with a review of wherever I go for my birthday roast. Though I’m currently having a little “I’m not celebrating my birthday because I’m a miserable, unemployed tosser” strop.
Either way, I’ll be back before winter is out. Keep it gravy. And feel free to add to my to-do list.