The Dartmouth Arms, Gospel Oak

I’m not entirely sure why I end my roast dinner reviews with a suggestion as to what is planned for the next Sunday, as I seem ever so rarely to stick to my plans.

This Sunday I had planned to go to Tredwell’s in Soho, which would have been my second most expensive roast dinner so far. I was rather looking forward to it, but also fearing how much I might end up spending.

Alas/phew, my planned dining compatriot called in sick – and this is the kind of person that when he says he is ill – he actually is ill. And he’s a southerner too.

It didn’t seem a solo-dining venture to me, so I put my stomach into the hands of the random number generator. I have just realised that this introductory story is going to be pretty boring and pointless.

However, I’m going to continue. I don’t really care if you find it boring. It didn’t stop Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister.

So, the random number generator chose somewhere that I might be going to in a couple of weeks. So I span again, and got The Anglesea Arms in Kensington. I duly booked a table for 4pm, and got on with enjoying my hangover, doing the housework, and planning my bacon and egg sandwich.

Midday arrived and I still hadn’t eaten. At which point I came up with a genius idea: why don’t I skip breakfast and have an early Sunday roast?

I was already a little put off by the idea of spending nearly an hour on the Piccadilly Line on a hot day – to the point where I was considering catching the air-conditioned Metropolitan line for a 30 minute extra journey, plus long walk (long for a fat bloke on a hot day).

Then I checked Twitter and saw an update from the Piccadilly Line account – “severe delays”. Urgh.

What do you think of this top from ASOS? Sometimes I see women wearing similar silky tops and I just want to stroke them…though my desire not to be a fucking creep far outweighs my desire to stroke some smooth material. However, ASOS have made one for men…I could just sit there and stroke myself, just rub my belly and be like “ooooh, ahhhh”. Is that a bit weird? Shall I get back to my boring story?

Also on Twitter was this tweet from The Dartmouth Arms – not only did it feature a picture of a pretty decent looking roast, but it mentioned those magical two summer words – no, not “topless Spaniard”. AIR CONDITIONING.

And I could get the air conditioned Metropolitan Line, followed by the air cooled Overground. And some small walks.

I called and booked a table. Yes. On the telephone. And called the other place. Yes, I actually cancelled the other place. I am not a moron, I cancel restaurant bookings if I can no longer make them. Except once.

Though I then realised a problem. It wasn’t on my to-do list. Whoa. I thought it was. I meant it to be. Oh well, I was on my way.

Do you want more fashion tips? Or would you prefer to hear about how I was delayed on the Overground? I guess I could just get to the point where I arrive at the pub?

I got off at Gospel Oak, The Dartmouth Arms was a 10 minute walk away. At first the area seemed very unassuming, but on approach to the pub, it became rather quaint – almost like a chi-chi version of Burnley, even with an upmarket fish and chip shop, masquerading as a lounge.

The Dartmouth Arms itself was a bit, hmmm, weathered inside. Once I arrived, I remembered that this was one of the first places that I had put on my to-do list, but it had closed down – hence it had been removed. Re-opened at some point last year, the staff members seemed to have different ideas of when, it seemed quite like a community pub. It definitely needs some upkeep in places, but it had that rustic feel that other places spend loads of money on to get, and plenty of light coming on from the ceiling windows.

It was notably quiet inside when I arrived, just two people sat at the bar, and looking at me quite intently as I stumbled my way through working out what beer to have – there was quite a good selection. Only half-way through dinner did I realise that I didn’t actually want a beer. But the pressure was on…choose. Quick. I had a Hells. Inspiring. LOL. Would they have kept looking at me if I was wearing that satin t-shirt? ROLF.

BRB.

On offer was half a chicken, beef sirloin, lamb shank, and roast curried cauliflower. I’m going to say something weird here, but doesn’t the vegetarian option sound awesome? However, if I am going to do a veggie roast for the first time in my life…first time on purpose in my life (I’ve probably told you the story several times already), there has to be some kind of weird ceremony, or at the least I need to be accompanied by a gaggle of lesbians. How many is a gaggle? At least 3 apparently.

I chose the lamb shank at £16.00.

Dinner took a comfortable 10-15 minutes to arrive, whilst I listened to some disco-ish music on the surprisingly clear and punchy soundsystem. I do like a pub that understands that good quality speakers are ever so important. If you are going to play music in your pub, no matter how quiet – make sure you have good speakers. They also have vinyl DJs on some evenings, I noted, which appeals as an ugly, wannabe hipster – a pianist was threatened for Sundays but thankfully my shaky head was spared.

The first thing to note is that the vegetables were served separately to the rest of the roast. Thankfully in this case as some weird pink shit came in a little bowl. What is this weird pink shit, I hear you ask. Maybe I am imagining you ask that. Maybe nobody made it this far.

The weird pink shit was red cabbage coleslaw. I dislike red cabbage. I despise coleslaw. I can cope with red cabbage being on my plate, however coleslaw absolutely does not deserve to be anywhere near a roast dinner. For the sake of my readers, I tried two strands. And I didn’t like it. It was even more weird than my fashion taste.

Something that also should be on a roast dinner, is salad. Or should it? It was mainly rocket leaves, and they actually worked quite nicely in combination with the green beans, themselves also really good, perfectly balanced green beans, and a decent portion of them too.

Also on my plate was the lesser-spotted broccoli. Why is this so rarely served? I don’t recall having it since Regent’s Canal was frozen over, on that ghastly roast in the likeably abominable People’s Park Tavern. The broccoli was quite ordinary, nothing much I can say about it.

The carrots were in chunky slices, and tasted as though they had been buttered. Quite nicely done.


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Even the roast potatoes were reasonable. They seemed very much like summer roast potatoes – I think they were Maris Pipers, they certainly had a good flavour to them. No crispy edges, but hey. It’s London.

I’m pretty sure the Yorkshire pudding was from a packet. It seemed too perfectly circular, and was quite tough and inflexible to eat. The only thing that really disappointed me on the roast dinner. Maybe I should start a blog all about my various 10 to 15 minute delays on the underground network?

The lamb shank was very nice. A rather hearty and almost dirty kind of lamb – though I don’t mean that in a negative way. It came off the bone quite easily, there was still some fat to add to the taste, it was a little on the rare side too.

So finally, for those of you that made it this far, the gravy. It was a heartening, homemade and meaty affair. Too much salt for my preferences, but it was proper gravy.

This was definitely a good roast dinner. Only the yorkie disappointed – they may as well not have bothered. The lamb shank was the best part, as it should be. I liked the feel of the pub, and there was no service charge – as there shouldn’t be just for bringing me my meal.

I’m going to give it a healthy 7.61 out of 10.

Next week…oh why am I bothering to tell you this. Actually I don’t have a plan for next Sunday. To me. To you.


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