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Two weeks ago I went to The York & Albany. Last week I went to The Albany. So this week, I was relieved when the random number generator picked Black Dog Beerhouse in Brentford.
The same Black Dog Beerhouse that is situated on…yes…Albany Road.
What the fuck is going on? This Albany stuff is weirder than Matt Hancock’s hands whilst snogging, or England beating Germany on penalties. Given that there is no chance that I’ll finish writing this before the end of the game, my prediction of England beating Germany on penalties might look dishonestly prescient. Edit – it just looks wrong. Cool.
I’ll leave the dishonesty to the politicians, though I’m sure that the NHS contracts that Gina Coladangelo’s brother are perfectly appropriate and totally co-incidental. And I’ll mention Matt Hancock snogging no more – I don’t want to put you off eating, and I had enough to deal with by going for a roast dinner with a Trump-supporting anti-vaxxer…hashtag care in the community. This blog really is a community service in more ways than one.
The one with the waggly tail
Black Dog Beerhouse isn’t in the most salubrious area ever. I chose to walk from Acton Town, cutting through the surprisingly somewhat dishevelled Gunnersbury Park, then along a concrete jungle, though sensibly ignoring Google Maps when she insisted that I walked towards Brentford Towers.
To either side of Black Dog Beerhouse there are council estate blocks, council estate garages then a little further along a weirdly pastel-coloured multi-storey carpark just behind the Morrisons. Yet Black Dog Beerhouse looks eminently like the middle class beer-focused pub that attracts nobheads like me.
Not only did they have a really interesting beer menu, including the temptations of rhubarb cider, but they also had a tinned seafood menu.
Of course, I have no interest in tinned fish but I was in love with the idea that a pub might specialise in doing so. As my Trump-supporting anti-vaxxer friend pointed out, it wasn’t very MeToo. I then explained the modern meaning of MeToo to him.
Black Dog Beerhouse also, I think sensibly, offers their roast dinners in set time slots. We’d booked for 2:15pm – the next slot would be 4:30pm, I guess there might be midday and evening slots too – but you’d have to ask them. My hopes were that this might increase the possibility of freshly-cooked roast potatoes. Then again, I hoped that England might beat Germany on penalties. They won’t sing “10 German bombers” at the hipster place in East London I’m going to tonight will they? Edit – they didn’t.
There was already a lot to like about this pub, and then there was the roast dinner menu:
Tricky call. I love pork belly, though dislike red cabbage. I love ribeye but cannot say I’m keen on mushrooms on a roast. I love chicken gravy – but SALAD? On a roast? Well, choice of two then, but in the end I went for the pork belly at a reasonable price of £17.50.
How much is that pork belly on the menu
Dinner took around 15-20 minutes to arrive.
So starting with the red cabbage, which was nice for something I’m not keen on – a tad too bitty so it was a tad out of control on the plate and infecting other food and notably the gravy, but it was properly fruity and if you like red cabbage, you’d be impressed.
And the carrots…what…oh right, I see.
That better? Well you can barely see the carrots still because of my dubious photography skills, but they were of the purple and yellow variety (my accomplice assumed the purple carrot was just very badly burnt), had plenty of flavour in them, a bit of crunch, and were decent.
Then we had what my accomplice insisted was sweet potato (and what was in reality butternut squash). We do disagree on everything and I mean everything, even factual matters like what a vegetable actually is – though when I mentioned that we currently have the most corrupt government of my lifetime, he didn’t actually disagree. Softly roasted though they’d left the skin on and I’m not sure that butternut squash skin is edible though I’m yet to go to hospital so I’m going to assume that it is.
Green beans were ordinary, there is nothing to say about them, but the tenderstem broccoli was really nice – soft enough with a bit of crunch, for my preferences that was spot on, and enough flavour.
So we didn’t need penalties then. Woohoo! The roast potatoes were a bit odd. Seemingly freshly cooked (as I had hoped), soft enough inside, but with a soft coating too – they had an oily texture and taste to them and felt like they had been at least partly deep fried.
I do hope that doggings for sale
The Yorkshire pudding was pretty decent, if not especially rememberable, especially by Thursday morning, especially a Thursday morning after a midweek football-related piss-up. It was notably crispy – but not in a having been left under a heat lamp all day kind of way – you know, freshly made but crispy.
The man of the match, sorry, star of the match as UEFA no longer let you use the word “man” in men’s football but it’s totally fine to award the hosting of matches to countries with anti-homosexual laws, was the pork belly. I’d asked the waitress for her recommendation and actually took notice of it – this was pretty close to perfect. The pork was tender, the crackling glistened with moisture and joyful stickiness, and the fennel flavouring came through nicely – yet didn’t overpower the flavour of the pork itself. Really rather top notch stuff.
And then we talk about the gravy. It seemed to me like they’d made a good gravy, this one being a cider gravy which isn’t massively my preference – but then diluted it with water. Maybe that isn’t what actually happened, I’m no chef or capable of being one (you mean there is no air conditioning in the kitchen?) but I basically had nicely flavoured, slightly gloopy water on the plate.
My accomplice also noted something similar with the chicken gravy – and his chicken was very small, almost like a poussin – too much effort for the enjoyment received, according to him. Let’s hope he thinks the effort over Brexit worth the dividends that are still yet to appear.
Woof or waff at Black Dog Beerhouse. Yeah that makes no sense but I’m still hungover.
It’s easy to conclude that Black Dog Beerhouse is a really good pub – and the kind of pub that people should be giving their hard-earned money to (or furlough money). Unlike The Garden in Kentish Town who are cunttastically asking for £30 entrance to watch the England game on some fake grass on an industrial wasteland – oh and you must buy a £300 case of beer/bottle of spirits. You know I’m a proud capitalist, but that’s calling out for a taste of Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction (he’s nothing to do with World War 2 before you ask).
The pork belly was fabulous, and I guess I would have come away a tad disappointed were it along the lines of the rest of the roast dinner. The vegetables were pretty good, especially the tenderstem broccoli, though potatoes that felt fried and gravy that seemed very diluted offered the disappointments.
My accomplice who had the chicken scored it a 7.00. The quality of the pork belly takes me to a healthy score of 7.36 out of 10 – there are definitely improvements available to turn this from a fairly good roast dinner to an excellent roast dinner – sort out the roasties and the gravy, and this would be excellent. It’s worth a visit in my opinion if you are anyway west London based – or further away and a tinned seafood connoisseur.
The only other down note was that there was a rush to get us to leave, ready for the next sitting. I totally know the game and it is my bad not theirs, but I still had the majority of a pint of very nice beer when they asked us the first time to leave – and I didn’t want to waste it. Alas, rules…but I was happy there.
This weekend I’ll be hoping that my train from Taunton on Sunday morning gets to London without a problem, as I really don’t want to miss what is booked. I’ve been to a couple of roasts this year that didn’t come close to my high expectations – well, this Sunday’s roast could be almost as special as when England win Euro 2020.
Yeah, I know not to get my expectations too high. It’s coming home though, right? Edit – the booking has been cancelled due to a fire. Oh well, I’ve now no idea what and where this Sunday’s roast will be. But we will beat Ukraine, right?
Also I lied to you about no more Matt Hancock snogging. Ah well.
Black Dog Beerhouse, Brentford
Tube Lines: National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 4
Loved & Loathed
Loved: The pork belly was spectacular - close to perfection and that crackling too...wow
Loathed: Potatoes felt fried, gravy felt very diluted (though tasty)
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: Black Star Kitchen @ The Star by Hackney Downs, Hackney