10 Worst Roast Dinners in London, 2019

Over recent weeks, it seems that my blog has become dedicated to reviewing shit roast dinners in London, so I thought that I might as well dedicate a whole post to the art of wasting 15 or so quid on some of the worst roast dinners in London. Plus service charge.

Before I start – you could find worse roast dinners than what I am about to list. It is not my intention to have a shit roast dinner – I am sure that I could find worse if I really tried.

Wetherspoons used to do exceptionally miserable roast dinners , even before Brexit. Step into pretty much any Greene King pub and you’ll see photographs of roast dinners on their menu that look so unappealing that you might consider becoming a pompous vegan on a bicycle. Harvester, Hungry Horse – those kind of places are pretty much guaranteed turd on a plate.

I do not frequent such places – and not only because I am a pretentious, evil remoaner.

10 Worst Roast Dinners in London

10. The Northcote, Clapham Junction

This was a solo-dining mission, whilst on detox, after going for a long walk along a very muddy path.

After being made to feel like a criminal by paying in advance at the table, in case I ran away without paying, I was served a gravy-less plate of trash.

Gravy came in a thimble – advertised as “real gravy” – it was so far removed from what “real gravy” was that I actually wrote to Trading Standards to complain, alas their response was “Unfortunately, Trading Standards wouldn’t be able to provide a description on what they believe is Real Gravy. We would recommend to bare in mind that it may be difficult to pursue as a description of real gravy is opinionated.”. Is it fuck a matter of opinion.

Worst Roast Dinners - The Northcote
Can you see the “real gravy”?

The carrots were hard, the roast potatoes were some of the worst that I’ve ever had, despite allegedly having been roasted in goose fat, and the chicken was dry. At least the waitress was hot – and there was no service charge.

9. The Grocer, Spitalfields

Another chicken roast dinner, though not through choice as they’d run out of both beef and lamb, by time I arrived.

Served on a child-sized plate, which immediately got my goat (is that actually a phrase?), it had tiny shreds of red cabbage scattered all over the roast so one couldn’t avoid tasting it – and it is my least favourite vegetable that I will actually eat.

Worst Roast Dinners - The Grocer, Spitalfields
Red cabbage everywhere, Sir. Everywhere.

The roast potatoes seemed like they had been cooked on the previous Thursday, the chicken leg seemed like it hadn’t grown and the gravy tasted odd – like the red cabbage.

Had the red cabbage been kept in a pile, this probably wouldn’t be on the list. But it was generally rather disappointing – one normally expects better from a Young’s establishment.

8. Heirloom, Crouch End

Another chicken one – there seems to be a theme here. My hangover and a rather large hill to walk on the way, didn’t set me in the right mood – however I’d just watched England win in the World Cup so maybe I was kind of balanced.

As beautifully presented as my Tinder profile

I had expected style over substance here, though this was easily one of the worst-presented roast dinners that I’d had.

The brown water masquerading as gravy (another theme) was disgustingly salty. No matter how good everything else was, there would be no getting over everything tasting like the North Sea.

The hispi was slimey, the courgette was salty (the owner messaged me on InstaTheGram to say they don’t serve courgettes), the Yorkshire pudding felt like I was eating a bald wig. The chicken was even more difficult to cut than walking up the hill was.

At least the roast potatoes were OK. It seems to have closed down recently – no surprise given my experience.

7. No 32 The Old Town, Clapham

Yet another chicken roast dinner, though the last of this list. The roast was almost as disturbing as the image of the bloke with his balls nailed to the floor outside the Kremlin that I used.

This was a busy restaurant and they were desperately trying to make as much of the space as possible – so much so that I could barely squeeze into the diner-style seating that we had – and had the table constantly digging into my belly. Not exactly comfortable. Then I paid £16.50 for half a plate of cabbage, and some small other bits.

Worst Roast Dinners - No 32 Old Town, Clapham
And the rest is where?

The vegetables were fine and we even had sprouts – a rare treat.

However, the roast potatoes were solid – one was even green, the yorkie was stale and over-cooked, and the chicken was just tiny.

The experience wasn’t a pleasant one, I felt like I had been taken for a ride, and it wasn’t a comfortable place to be dining in. The food, perhaps wasn’t as bad as some that didn’t make the list – I even liked the gravy, but I came out deeply unsatisfied.

6. The Three Jolly Wheelers, Chigwell

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go to Essex for a roast dinner, home to the two people arrested for fighting on a cruise ship recently. With a Brexiter that I’d met on a Tory debating forum.

At least it gave me an opportunity to use words like, “cushty”. Alas, this roast dinner was bang of out of order, mate – starting with having peas on the plate, despite the barman reassuring me that it didn’t come with peas but that he’d put “no peas” on the order anyway.

Worst Roast Dinners - Three Jolly Wheelers, Chigwell
Oi oi no saveloy, and not much food either

Rubbery, cheap potatoes, slightly odd-tasting, oily gravy – the whole thing seemed pre-prepared quite a while ago, with fairly cheap ingredients. Take me back to London.

5. Treehouse, Croydon

This was a bracing experience, in a part of London that I had never been to before. The main reason I went, was that I thought it would be a perfect place to review for a competition that I was entering in The Times.

Walking past 3 Wetherspoons to get to our venue, the venue looked like it had been decorated by my imaginary future alcoholic auntie-in-law, and the table reservation had the acronym “V.I.P” adorned on it. My eyes were rolling more than the first time I double-dropped ecstacy.

Once we’d finally been able to order, we had a plate of mushy broccoli, roast potatoes that seemed like they had been cooked in a different decade, a brittle and dead yorkie, and a salty brown water to pour over the food.

And no, my sacrificial efforts didn’t even get me into the final 25 of the competition.

4. The Red Lion, Westminster

This was a free roast dinner, offered because I’d been there with my parents a week before, had a pretty atrocious meal and then written a review on Facebook about it, and they wanted to make it up to me.

No Farage

This is one of the pubs that MPs allegedly visit during the week, and with food this bad, it isn’t a surprise that Brexit is a fucking disaster.

A huge pile of stale red cabbage, weak and wobbly parsnips, tough, rubbery and Farragey roast potatoes, and finally, tough and dry yorkies finished off a truly UKIP-style roast dinner. Utter turd on a plate.

The worst free meal ever. Just think, Nadine Dorries will probably get an MBE at some point.

3. The Bedford, Balham

We went here after watching my football team, Hull City AFC, get relegated with an impressive 4-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

Needing something to cheer us up, I’d managed to book somewhere close to a train station on the way back – and I do say manage as they made booking as difficult as possible in the modern era. Yeah, I had to telephone them.

Inside was a dark, tired and dead pub (it has since been refurbished) – and they provided us with an utterly miserable roast dinner, so bad that it made relegation seem more enjoyable.

Relegated to roast misery

The carrots were solid – the rest of the vegetables just merely undercooked. Rubbery roast potatoes, but then the piece de resistance – with an emphasis on resistance, was the beef – tough, chewy and way over-cooked. Yes it was every bit as crap as it looks. Oh yeah, and thin, watery gravy that seemed to be Bisto.

It is under new owners now, I believe, so maybe it has improved. It couldn’t get much worse.

2. London Business School, Baker Street

This one is not open to the public, but it was so dire that I am including it on the list. This was from when I was unemployed, and I was doing some mystery shopping which involved free food. And they had a roast dinner. On a Monday. Described as a “Sunday rollover”. I could have assessed my expectations from the description.

Worst Roast Dinners - London Business School, Baker Street
Look what a student loan will get you

It was just £5.85, so maybe I should have an element of forgiveness for how shite it was – but there were many basic errors that could have been avoided.

Salad on a roast dinner to start with. Huh? Some of the carrots were crunchier than an apple and the broccoli was yellowing. I complain a lot about roast potatoes but these were as bad as you could get – cold, hard and greasy.

The Yorkshire pudding was not only served upside-down – but it was rancid. It was possibly the second most disgusting thing I’d eaten on my adventures (the most disgusting is in the next review) – it seemed like it had been soaked in the North Sea. And the watery, brown “gravy” was pretty damn salty too.

Should you want to experience it, you could probably walk in and tailgate the students – security never checked my card.

1. The Islington Town House

This was one of the only places where enough gravy was actually on the plate in the first place – though if the chef had actually tasted it, he would have sent a bottle of ketchup instead.

Had there been no gravy at all, this roast possibly wouldn’t feature on the list – there were other issues, but the pork belly was pretty gorgeous…or would have been.

Other problems were there such as undercooked potatoes and the prepared long-ago yorkie.

Fancy some road resurfacing tar with your roast dinner?

But the story here was the gravy. It tasted like road resurfacing tar.

There is absolutely no way that had any member of staff tasted this gravy, this would have been served to paying customers. As a software engineer, I spend almost as much time testing my code, as writing it. Just 30 seconds of testing the gravy would have been sufficient.

How could this have gone out? This is something that should have ended with a sacking – interestingly Boris Johnson seems to have employed many very sackable MPs in his cabinet – the wise strategy of don’t let your underlings seem more competent than you.

I don’t normally make a fuss when in a venue, I prefer just to write a bad review and leave it at that. But I did ask to speak to a manager, who confirmed that he hadn’t tasted the gravy, and we did eventually get 50% off our meals.

To compound the misery, I then wrote the review when drunk, and it featured Las Ketchup. Heavily.

End of List. Rejoice.

I guess I can do something useful now I’ve finished this, like getting naked. Then having a shower so I can go for another roast dinner. You are looking forward to your next roast dinner, surely?

I must state that these reviews were valid at the time of my visit, and in some cases you’d expect things to have changed – or for me to have been unlucky on my visit. For example, The Bedford, I believe, has new owners. The Islington Town House just really fucked up that day – someone fairly recently recommended them to me. Things change – owners change, chefs change, people have bad days, we all have a lying tosser for PM (if you are reading post-Boris then this will probably still be true).

Can you beat any of these roast dinner experiences? Have you had a worse roast dinner than this? Do tell!

You can leave a comment below – do feel free to sign-up to the newsletter to get the latest reviews e-mailed to you. And maybe even follow my Twitter drivel.

Ragatanga.

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