Barge East, Hackney Wick

Welcome to British Roast Dinners In London. Time for one of the lesser-spotted British traditions, that of a British roast dinner on a British Bank Holiday Monday, at Barge East in Hackney Brit, sorry, Hackney Wick.

On a British boat too! Well, it might have been British. It was on a British river. Actually the boat is Dutch, but let’s pretend.

Yes, I upset the Buy British types on Sunday, by posting a photograph of the lamb I was cooking.

You are reading that correctly – I have not transported myself back in time to the early 1940’s and bought lamb from Nazi Germany, nor have I ordered this directly from Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, nor did ISIS raise this lamb – it is indeed from that well-known enemy land called New Zealand.

OMG, I bought meat from New Zealand. I deserved to be ostracised on that British social media network.

The original commenter is actually sound, even if I might not have worded it quite so accusingly. But:

Oh no. How am I going to cope without you following me, R0LLSY? Good time to mention that I got a few extra followers from this? British followers too.

Ironically, it was my British Auntie that gave the portion of not-British lamb that she’d bought at a…yep…British supermarket, to my British mother to cook, same British mother that buys most of her meat from a British butchers. Not to mention, that there is a…British cost of living crisis – not everyone can afford to pay top dollar (British dollars, of course) for their meat.

Barge Off

I’m banging on too much about this, aren’t I? Let’s just say that I’m purposefully going to buy some more New Zealand lamb just because I’ve been told that I’m a disgrace for doing so.

Anyway, it was Monday Funday time! All aboard!

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Alas, a bit too much Funday, as I write this on Tuesday morning. But at least I’ve kept another pledge to you all – to have a roast dinner on a small (ish) boat. How’s your pledges going, Rishi?

Hackney Wick is probably my favourite area of London – with zero apologies to all the too cool types being infected by a middle-age roast dinner reviewer wearing boring jeans and a boring t-shirt. Yet I’ve had three bad roast dinners in the area.

And I really wanted to like Barge East. Firstly – it is on a boat. Well, not just on a boat, as they have gardens too alongside the canal.

They also grow some of their own food – yep, that means British food.

And it is a really nice story about childhood friends sailing a boat from Holland to Hackney to set up the restaurant. There’s a video worth 5 minutes on your time on their website about their journey.

Barge A Roast Dinner Into Your Mouth

There’s an upstairs and a downstairs to the boat – also some seating on the deck too. The boat seems to be moored – it doesn’t even vaguely sway.

I think roast dinners are only available on the boat itself – which works as a proper restaurant, with chefs and stuff. The gardens, which you can also book, seems to be more aimed at street food

Barge East is pretty much my perfect venue – a boat, some gardens for when the sun comes out, good beer (I really enjoyed the Signature IPA they offered), friendly staff, I’m pretty sure they have DJs and musicians at times, plus they have mindful plant drawing classes. What more could I want?

Oh. A good roast dinner.

Barge East, Hackney Wick, Roast Dinner Menu
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On the menu was beef topside (topside is always a no from me) for £25.00, leg of lamb (which I was very tempted by) for £24.00 or porchetta for £23.00 (don’t forget to pronounce the “ch” if you are British).

My regular accomplice went for the porchetta, and I didn’t want to risk food envy, so I joined her in her choice.

15 or so minutes later:

Barge East, Hackney Wick, Porchetta Roast Dinner
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Barge Into You Like Dominic Raab

Starting with the British carrot, which was rather carroty in flavour – which I feel always sounds odd but sometimes they can steamed out of flavour. Probably roasted. Probably not in a British oven.

Then there was a fair amount of kale…or maybe it was spring greens? No particular flavour to it, though there was a little salt.

Fancy playing a game? A game of spot the difference:

My roast dinner on the left. My accomplice’s roast dinner on the right. This keeps happening, but a 5 to 3 ratio is a bit unfair. Thicker slice of porchetta too.

There was more than a hint of a deep fat fryer to them – they had that chip-like crisp to them, and inside they that chip-like softness to them, but I’m kind of willing to forgive, as they were preferable to many I’ve had – and it being on a boat means that they likely have notably kitchen constraints.

I’m also willing to forgive the flat Yorkshire pudding, as long as they used British eggs, British milk and British flour. The Yorkshire pudding sure is not a looker, however it was freshly cooked, soft and somewhat fluffy. Far better than many.

Barge East, Hackney Wick, Porchetta Sunday Roast
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Barge British

I guess before we talk British styles of cooking pork, we should hear again from my sponsor:

The porchetta (remember the “ch” or your British passport is invalidated) was as charming as the young Italian lady in my dream last night.

Tender pork, stuffed with herbs (seemed to be quite a bit of thyme going on in particular), some nice chunks of fat along with crispy, gooey crackling – this was damn excellent stuff, if perhaps quite salty.

And finally, the gravy. Well…Barge East never looked like the kind of place that was going to serve a bucket of thick gravy, and it didn’t. We had a thimble of thin and bitty gravy, yet it had quite a strong flavour to it, and a certain richness. It worked with what they were doing – and complimented the roast.

You wouldn’t want to eat it without. Well…one accomplice would. Can you believe that I know someone who doesn’t like gravy?

Barge East

Yay – finally had a good roast dinner in Hackney Wick. Yes, looking at you, Grow. And you, Number 90. And you, Lord Napier Star.

Simply put – Barge East should be on your radar. Whether it is for a Sunday roast, pre-Abba dining or a Saturday afternoon in the sunshine, with some beers and street food.

The porchetta was excellent, the lamb looked even better – the Yorkshire pudding didn’t look good but was soft and freshly cooked.

There wasn’t really anything to complain about – gravy could have been more to my tastes and the roast potatoes could have been roast potatoes, but they both could have been much worse.

My regular accomplice scored it an 8.20 out of 10 and my gravy-eschewing accomplice (who was very impressed that they made her a British White Russian without it being on the cocktail menu) an 8.05 out of 10.

My score is a 7.93 out of 10. I so want to go back here. I so will be back here.

It’s the big celebration next weekend – roast dinner 250. Am I doing something special? Am I going somewhere that could beat Blacklock? Am I going somewhere expensive? Or am I going somewhere distinctly average just because?

Ooooh the mystery.

A Talking Basket Telling You To Buy British
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Barge East, Hackney Wick

Station: Hackney Wick

Tube Lines: Overground

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £23.00

Rating: 7.93

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: The porchetta was excellent, the lamb looked even better, good beer, the service was relatable - and it is on a boat.

Loathed: Roast potatoes seemed to have seen a deep fat fryer - but they were still reasonable.

2 responses to “Barge East, Hackney Wick

  1. I suspect that your regular accomplice is getting special attention from the serving or kitchen staff. That has to be the reason they’re shorting the Lord Gravy and bestowing the riches of extra potatoes upon her. Plus she’s a really cool person. Either or.

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