Oval, Oval. I’m never sure about doing that with the title when the area name is in the name of the restaurant, 24 The Oval, Oval.
Yet if I didn’t opt for the second Oval I’d be going against my titling precedent.
Well, that was a great way to hook people into deciding whether to read my latest roast dinner review.
I was intending on going to 24 The Oval a couple of weeks ago, but Storm Keeeerrraaaahhhhhhhh put me off the idea of having to use more tube trains than strictly necessary, so I changed plans.
But it seems that the random number generator was actually really keen for me to go to 24 The Oval, and picked it out again. So I booked it again. And got soaking wet again – yes the only 5 minutes that it rained for the whole day started about 2 minutes after I left my front door.
I feel like I’m kind of scratching around for some nonsense to include but nothing much has really happened recently. Normally I can look to our esteemed government for some inspiration but even they have a semblance of dull competence at the moment. I do mean that in relative terms.
So I guess I’ll just crack on. Oh I miss alcohol.
I didn’t realise that 24 The Oval was the sister restaurant to Knife until fairly recently, and I wondered whether they might just be too similar – Knife did mini yorkies prior to the meal, and so does 24 The Oval. Was there going to be enough to distinguish them?
Knife did a very good roast dinner that was let down by southerner’s piss water masquerading as gravy. I was under no illusion that I would get anything other than watery piss here too.
The restaurant itself was very different in feel to Knife. Large open windows at the front allowed for huge amounts of light – Knife I recall being rather on the dark and atmospheric side. They still had the attractive planters attached to iron railings giving a fairly abundant sense of green life and a rather gorgeous little gardens, both front and back, for al fresco dining – alas it is February. Has the government really done nothing totally thumb-knuckle dumb this week?
As I approached, I concluded that it had that “I could take my mum here” vibe.
Our welcome was warm – service throughout was good, in fact, one of the rare places with staff actually serving with a smile, some personality and earning their 12.5% service charge. What’s Mark Francois up to?
Just like at Knife, some in-house bread was served with some, I think, garlic butter, not long after we arrived. If I was doing a bread and butter blog, it would have scored fairly highly. Maybe when I retire, assuming I have made my millions or perhaps more likely, Brexit has made the UK so ridiculously rich, I will be able to do a different food blog every day. From Marbs OBS babes with my gold-plated pension from our new British empire. Oh and can I make a point here – stop shortening words. Ridiculous is not ridic. Come back next week for more examples.
More extra calories you don’t need?
I was tempted to say no to the mini-yorkies that they serve before the roast, like Knife do – I’ve had so many burnt, pointless yorkies since starting this blog that I barely desire them on the roast, let alone as a pre-dinner thing that probably has a posh name that northern grunts like me don’t know. Woe betide any restaurant that dares to serve roast dinners without a pointless, burnt, dry, naff lump of batter though.
I had one – the lightest-coloured one, which scooped up watery gravy. The waitress did try to take the remaining watery piss away (it didn’t taste like piss FYI) but I wasn’t having any of it.
Unusually we ordered a starter too. My accomplice was hoping to have enough food to not require eating again later in the day, and I’ve actually lost some weight thanks to not drinking so I can now eat whatever I like for the rest of the year as a reward.
Beef croquettes with alioli – and they were almost as sexy as they looked. A crispy shell with flaky, possibly cured beef inside – the alioli was on point though not quite as strong-flavoured as I’m used to.
Everything was going smoothly and then our roasts arrived.
We were expecting poncey.
We received poncey.
The sides were to share so it wasn’t only the beef that didn’t look generous. Oh yeah, the menu. Well it had all the usual choices, beef rump, lamb leg & shoulder, pork belly and chicken breast.
I was tempted by chicken breast – beef rump isn’t my favourite cut but I had a feeling that 24 The Oval, Oval, Oval would do a fine job of the beef – so I chose the beef at 19 of currency. Though I guess that is pretty obvious given that I have already posted a photograph of our anti-feast. Chris Grayling?
The vegetables were a mixed affair – most came in very limited amounts so I’m not going to honour them with a separate paragraph each.
One chunk of orange carrot each – too crunchy for me, the purple chunk had marginally more give and marginally more flavour. The carrots at Knife were way nicer.
I liked the cabbage – but it was just stringy ordinary cabbage.
I always struggle to think of headings.
OK, each vegetable seems to be getting it’s own paragraph, after all. I liked the parsnips – sweet, which will be the honey they were cooked in, and a little softer than the carrots.
There was a little yellow splodge. You know I’m not a proper food critic – some Sundays I’m so hungover that I cannot even taste the food. So hands up – I don’t know what this little yellow splodge was. It was kind of grainy, like I’d imagine chickpea puree to be. Oh wait, that’s hummus isn’t it? It wasn’t mustard, does that help? And I wasn’t keen on it.
The cauliflower cheese was texturally gash – I guess you could say mush, but it actually had quite a rich and creamy cheese flavour to it. Ogleshield cheese apparently – never heard of it, shock horror. Probably the highlight of the roast, without wanting to give away the ending.
Also a bit of red onion, meh, and some weird thing which I think was the Jerusalem artichoke – well, that can fuck off back to Palestine. Oh wait, its called Israel nowadays isn’t it. Jeez, Corbyn has been quiet recently, hasn’t he? Just to clarify, I thought the artichoke was disgusting, but I’m not putting that at the feet of 24 The Oval – more my lack of appreciation of it.
Give me more dry, pointless batter
The main Yorkshire pudding was just shite. I cannot really dress it up any other way – dry and a bit burnt. I barely ate any of it. Were there enough gravy to soak into it, it might have had more life.
I cannot say that I was impressed with the roasties either. Kind of edging on the crispy outside but quite chewy and yesterdayish on the inside. My accomplice was more satisfied with hers than I was, so perhaps I got unlucky.
And the beef? Well, it wasn’t exactly generous – I swear the French couple on the table next to us (very much next to us) had 3 times the amount on their plates.
It was rare to the point of almost being raw – my accomplice had the wisdom to ask for it medium, and I think enjoyed hers more than I.
That said, it was a nice cut of beef, it was juicy, it was – well I don’t have anything else to add.
Ain’t no gravy
Ain’t no gravy, love me batter, makes me happy, makes me feel this way.
Well there was some gravy, but it was all watery piss nonsense in a mini-saucepan. Fuck off. In terms of flavour, it was good – some red wine bone marrow kinda shit going on. Had it even the vaguest of consistency I’d have been delighted.
This wasn’t my kind of roast dinner.
They got things wrong – the roasties were a bit yesterday, the portion was stingey, the yorkie was just dreadful.
Yet the ingredients were good quality, and at times the flavours had been brought out nicely.
For some people, and apparently according to TripAdvisor (just searched for Tit Advisor which apparently is not a thing…oh come back 1990’s internet) everyone but me, thinks 24 The Oval do one of the best roast dinners in London.
That wasn’t my experience – even taking into account my disdain towards poncey roast dinners – and I definitely like my roast dinners a bit more Brexity than some of my readers do.
I even had a message off a friend afterwards, “Where the fuck was that roast?!”. He’d been here just last Sunday and said it scored in the 8’s (though dreadful yorkie).
So you can conclude one of three things here. One, I was unlucky and their standards weren’t up to normal this Sunday. Two, everyone else that has been has very different expectations of a roast dinner to me. Three, I’m a miserable bastard.
I’m concluding that I didn’t really like their roast dinner. It just didn’t perform like it should have done. Highlights were the sexy beef croquettes that I had for starters – lowlights were the roast potatoes, portion size, “gravy”…well, you can see for yourself. Service was good, the cauliflower cheese tasted cheesy – I guess the cabbage was quite enjoyable. Yeah, I’m struggling here.
I’m scoring it a 6.24 out of 10 – my accomplice was around a 6.6. I don’t like scoring independents so low, so this is with a heavy heart. If I have put you off from eating here, then maybe go a different day to a Sunday, after all the beef croquettes I had were so good that I could put them down my pants and actually attract a young lady. And definitely check Knife out.
Alas, I don’t think I’ll be taking my mum here.
Before I go, a visual explanation of why I much prefer Twitter to Instagram:
Next Sunday, well…fuck knows. I have nothing planned, I have nobody to go with and my tube station is closed all weekend.