The Northcote, Clapham Junction

Whoa front-page news. I didn’t even get onto the front page of the Hull Daily Mail in my 1990’s teenage vandalism spree. And what did I do to get onto the front page?

I wrote a letter. Well, an e-mail…

Dear Londonist

I’d like to think that you are aware of my amazing Roast Dinners In London blog, if not my very own personal brilliance. Well my mum thinks I’m clever, anyway.

Anyway, just in case you have been living on Boris Johnson’s planet and have lost all concept of reality, my name is Lord Gravy, and I run Roast Dinners In London.

You can check the blog out at http://rdldn.co.uk/

It’s a fairly simple premise that even your average fat, ugly northern thicko like myself can grasp – every Sunday I go for a roast dinner somewhere in London, and then every Monday/Tuesday or whenever the genie sparkles in me I write paragraphs of garbage about how yet again another venue has been completely unable to grasp the concept of “roast potatoes”.

I have a league table, I have a map, and a to-do list.

And next weekend, Sunday 18th [March] is my 50th roast dinner review.

So I wondered if you would like to help me celebrate my special occasion with an article in your excellent publication? We could even go crazy and buy a big bag of crystal meth, and do some kind of joint research article – maybe one of your journalists would like to join me one Sunday?

What’s in it for me? Free publicity, of course. I’m not one of the blagging tossbags that goes around asking for free stuff in exchange for a good review (except I have just asked you for a free article in exchange of…erm…my friendship?). All my roast dinners are paid for by myself, and reviewed anonymously. I did once get a free Yorkshire pudding by a venue that was suspicious of me – and I don’t mean suspicious about the amount of time I spent in the toilet cubicle.

What’s in it for you? Well, probably fuck all but a naff bit of content, though you did an article about sculptures of hands around London (yes I actually read Londonist pretty religiously), so why not an article about London’s best roast dinner blog?

Plus you can also pretend it serves some form of moral purpose, like when the marketing team at work decided that we all had to stop doing our jobs and go hand flyers out – in the name of a fun team-based game in the freezing cold. Because handing out flyers is what I really want to do after many years of studying JavaScript, and ooh yeah that’ll be fun because I’m in a team.

In summary, please do an article on my brilliantly abominable roast dinner blog, and consider my roast dinner proposal. I promise not to send you any dick pics.

Kind regards
Lord Gravy

ps If my proposal is about as much interest to you as the next Daily Express headline about The Beast From The East II (yes I did say round 2) then at least send me some abuse in return so I can use it as copy – it’ll be more interesting that the crap I usually inflict on my 11 readers (11 and growing, may I add).

pps If you aren’t into crystal meth, then maybe ketamine instead?

ppps I have a small nob – hence no pics.

****

They said yes.

Maybe I should ask that hot girl out in the office, after all.

It was a fairly faithful replication of my post though with one or two of my more errant parts skipped – and I haven’t had any abuse yet either. I have even gained 3 new followers on Twitter.

Back to my job (because blogging is apparently a job according to half the fuckwits out there with blond extensions and a photo outside of a glorified Greggs in Notting Hill…no offence to most people with blonde hair, this just seems to be a thing…also I only really find brunettes sexually attractive…and mostly just from Mediterranean countries)…where was I? So yesterday I was back on the roast dinner trail and was pretty damn hungry after treating myself to a long country walk in the mud and destroying my newish trainers in the process. Sorry, mum.

The random number generator had chosen The Northcote near Clapham Junction. Again I have no idea why this was on my to-do list – I should probably start noting down who recommends these things to me. Though occasionally I do just randomly put somewhere on the list because it has a Twitter account.

Oh shit, that word again. I did get one bit of feedback following the article in The Londonist (great publication by the way, I hope you subscribed to their e-mails), and that was that I use the word “though” too much. 13 times, apparently in that article. Now despite going to the worst school in my local education authority and Hull’s local education authority being bottom of the league table at the time, I like to think that my English is half-decent. Why do I use this word so much? So I am going to try to restrict the use today. If I start writing it, I will finish it…there must be alternatives.

And it was a bloody foreigner that pointed out my linguistic repetitions too.

I was solo-dining yesterday. “Oh look at that weird guy having a roast dinner by himself, and not even having a pint, he must so boring and have no friends”. Somehow I haven’t completely annoyed the hell out of my friends and family, and normally have someone to accompany me, but not this time. I didn’t really try though. I mean, however.

Upon arrival at The Northcote, I went to the bar and advised that I had reserved a table for 4pm. There seemed to be some confusion, but after a few minutes I was led to a table for 4 reserved in another name.

The Northcote was unusual in that it was a sport-showing pub that I was having a roast dinner at. Normally, although for no particular reason, I don’t end up eating roast dinners in sports pubs. I don’t really expect to get good food in a sports pub – though calling The Northcote a sports pub wouldn’t be a fair classification. For my brief time in there, it seemed to be trying to be a sports pub, trying to be a foodie pub, and trying to be a beer pub. And playing music too. It was a confused pub. Oh and the disabled toilet had no soap. No I wasn’t taking drugs – it was just next to my table.

Also unusual was that I was asked to pay upfront for my meal. Was I looking particularly dishevvelled? Did I smell more than usual? Or was it because I was eating alone? Apparently it is policy of The Northcote. I duly paid my £20.20 for a roast dinner and a pint of apple juice – no service charge for a change.

I guess I should talk about the menu. It was quite an interesting sounding menu, with mustard-glazed beef, slow-cooked pork loin or lemon and thyme chicken, priced between £15.00 and £17.00. I even vaguely considered the spinach, mushroom and chestnut wellington. I went for chicken at £16.00.

Interestingly there were some very appealing sides, from pigs in blanket, pork stuffing balls, cauliflower cheese – and Yorkshire pudding with “real gravy”. Real gravy, eh?

At which point Chelsea scored. Which means nothing to me as I really couldn’t give a fuck who finishes 3rd in the Premier League. Or is it 4th? Although the pub wasn’t full of football fans, there were enough people to make enough noise over the sound of my earphones (a Craig Richards mix, if you are curious) to alert me to the fact that a goal had been scored.

It took around 25 minutes for my dinner to arrive – I immediately asked for some gravy. Not some extra gravy, just some gravy as it seemed as though it had been forgotten. A thimble duly arrived. Ahhhhhhhhhh bloody foreigners. I forgave her very quickly as she was very attractive. Despite the blonde highlights.

I started with the carrots. Quite hard and undercooked – the whole meal had some herbs scattered over so that improved matters, but I did find this a little tough going. Not good.

Then there was a significant clump of savoy cabbage. It certainly had more toughness again to it, and was again pretty hard work to eat – the foodie equivalent of a season ticket to a side managed by Tony Pulis. Savoy cabbage does work nicely with gravy, though alas (damn my linguistics again), erm however there wasn’t much gravy. And there was a lot of savoy cabbage.

4 roast potatoes adorned my plate, roasted in goose fat, wouldn’t you know? Sadly the goose fat (tho…although it tasted more of vegetable oil) was wasted here, as the roast potatoes were anything buttplug. Hmmm curious spellcheckersuggestion there. The roast potatoes were not crispy on the outside, and they were hard on the inside. There wasn’t too much resistance towards the knife, but these were some of the crappest roast potatoes that I have reviewed. And I have had my fair share of crap roast potatoes.

The Yorkshire pudding was gracefully medium-sized, for I was pretty fed up by now and wishing the whole thing to be over. It was fine, unsurprisingly eggy given that it was a double egg – it seemed thicker and stodgier too.

By the way, did you notice the editing by The Londonist? They removed “Vote Tory” and the bit about Corbyn being a tosser. Do you think some lefties are working in the media?

The half a chicken was quite a small half a chicken – perhaps shrunk from time spent under a heat lamp. Quite a long time. I didn’t detect any lemon nor any thyme – and it had a taste closer to paprika than lemon and thyme (though it wasn’t paprika either). The thigh portion was quite juicy, though the leg had been overheated, and the breast was quite tiresomely dry. I considered not finishing it, but I wanted to get my £16.00’s worth. Did I really spend £16.00 on this meal? Fucking Tories and their higher minimum wage.

Now then. Calling this “real gravy” is breaking the trade descriptions act. In fact, I am going to report them to Trading Standards. Hang on…

Sign me up, gravy!

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Right, that’s done. So this was pretty much gravy-flavoured water – so thin in viscosity yet so sparse in volume, had there been enough flavoured water then I may not have been so frustrated. It tasted reasonably decent but this was not fucking gravy in my book – even the poncey twats behind the chav-protection fencing at Henley Regatta wouldn’t class this as gravy.

And my suffering was complete.

You may have worked out that this is going to score quite low down. I do wonder if there is a correlation between how many people I dine with and how much I enjoy the food – this reminds me of a similarly dreary experience at Florentine some time back, when I was all by myself.

I’m giving it a fairly disrespectable 4.96 out of 10.

Thankfully I didn’t have to wait around to pay the bill. I forgot to leave a tip, I’m sure karma will get me at some point – though (ffs) maybe karma already has. And I’m not just talking about my love life.

Highlight was the stupidly hot young lady taking my order (can you tell I haven’t had much human communication this weekend?). Lowlight was the dreadful roast potatoes – though it wasn’t short of competition.

I’ll be back on my adventures next weekend with a long-lost friend. Beer! Yes I shall be back on the sauce after a 3 month hiatus, and next Sunday could be very beery indeed. Sorry, boss.


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Oh shit, I forgot to mention the celeriac mash. Oh well.

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