Right. Let’s get you in the mood. Picture the sexiest person that you can think of. They are in your bed, wearing just a pair of frilly pink knickers (you can adjust this part if you need to). Hands tied to the headrest. Blindfold on. And then, in a sexy, smoky voice, they mutter the words, “Blacklock At Home“.
Jesus. I could be an erotic fiction writer. Famous erotic fiction writer. Maybe…maybe I already am? Maybe I am actually JK “50 shades” Rowling in disguise?
You know, I’ve always had a fantasy…this is getting into dangerous grounds as at least two members of my family will probably read this…but I’ve always fantasised about being in bed with a hot Spanish woman – yeah I know, but she really would have to be Spanish for this fantasy, or at least not from the British Empire. We still have the empire, right?
So it’s Boxing Day, I wake up next to her, make her breakfast in bed – with booze, of course, probably something girly like prosecco. Then get a little frisky, tying her to the bed at around 10:55am.
And then I switch the TV on. She says, “what are you doing, Lord Gravy?”.
My reply – “first day of the test match, love”.
A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. And she’ll have no choice but to watch the cricket all day with me. A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. ¿Vienes aquí a menudo?
Yeah, I am still single. But I’ve passed the first 3 levels on Duolingo. That’s a step in the direction of finding a Spanish wife, si?
One day I might actually move to Spain to find a wife. Hopefully one that likes roast dinners and dreams of living in London. As my to-do list isn’t getting any smaller, is it, Boris?
So Blacklock at Home. I was a little early and tweeted my excitement about the launch of them doing roasts at home the week before they launched, and instead had to order Hawksmoor At Home, for last Sunday. DO NOT COMPARE TO HAWKSMOOR. DO NOT COMPARE TO HAWKSMOOR. DO NOT COMPARE TO HAWKSMOOR.
Speaking of lazy journalism, there is a roast dinner reviewer in Birmingham. Well, their local clickbait rag reviewed a Morrison’s roast dinner. If ever my writing becomes this dull and pointless, please find me a wife. Any nationality. And ban me from the internet.
Anyway, Blacklock at Home. At least until the next tangent.
So, Blacklock at Home. Yeah the proportion of people thinking that Britain is wrong to leave the European Union is increasing. Who would have thought it?
Blacklock At Home
I’ll just show you the website then.
Yeah it’s great, get ordering now. Even better than the Brexit deal. Yeah it’s actually oven ready. What, you want a proper review? Urgh.
You know, I should always want perfection. But there was a little bit of me that hoped this wouldn’t be perfection. I didn’t want the Blacklock at Home roast dinner to be as good as the Blacklock at Blacklock roast dinner. My putting things in an oven shouldn’t match the near-perfection of Blacklock’s chefs cooking live.
Ordering was straight-forward, it’s almost like people have cracked this internet thing now – gosh imagine if this pandemic had struck when everyone was still on Internet Explorer 6. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
All I needed to do was select my delivery date, click “add to cart” then pay. Simples. Even my techphobic mother could manage this – though she’d probably end up with yet another Amazon Prime subscription. For £52.00 I received a roast dinner for two, along with a mini cocktail, the white chocolate cheesecake, toothpicks, a pair of menus and some salt. I probably missed something. Oh a candle. Oh and some horseradish cream.
I received my 2-hour delivery slot on the Saturday, delivered by a company I’ve never heard of – and exquisitely packaged. Thankfully I was home in those 2 hours. No I didn’t have anything better to do. Did you? Maybe you have a Spanish wife.
Instructions were detailed and lovingly-written, a bit like my introduction though without provoking such disturbing images – more 50 shades of gravy. Boom! Tell me you like that joke? Or are you one of those people that goes to Christmas markets and moans about over-priced hog roasts and warm beer? Actually, that’s me. Can you get a hog roast burger delivered to your home?
DO NOT COMPARE
The Blacklock At Home roast was a little easier than the Hawksmoor At Home roast dinner to…WHOA DO NOT COMPARE. Hola. Tienes una sonrisa muy bonita. Ahh thanks, I painted the sunrise myself.
Starting with frying the beef joint, which has a proper name to it, but hey, go ask Birmingham Live if you want something useful.
Beef joint in oven, roasties in oven, cauliflower cheese in oven, other vegetables in the oven – yeah I can handle this kind of cooking pretty easily. Gravy did need stirring – and was a bit of a mission to get out of the bottle, as it was even thicker then I’d make it, at least whilst in the bottle.
No, don’t be daft! I mean, there was just about enough to cope with, despite being northern, but we ended up adding a bit of hot water just to bulk it out a bit – my excuse was that we needed to get the last remaining bit of gravy out of the bottle.
Overall the Blacklock at Home roast dinner took around 30 minutes to “cook”.
Where shall we start? How about the carrots? Nicely sliced (can I have a job at Birmingham Live please?), they were slightly crusted, slightly charred and very nice indeed.
Parsnips came a little soft, but pretty damn gorgeous.
Finally from the vegetable medley were the charred sprouts – notably charred both visually and flavour wise – these were pretty much the bomb and I know my mother won’t be providing sprouts this nice on Christmas Day. They’ll be steamed. Maybe I will need to take control? So far, so very, very good – not a surprise though, is it?
Oh to be a professional
Shit, that Birmingham Live description of roast potatoes could have come from almost any of my posts. Thankfully, that wasn’t quite the case for Blacklock.
An illegal 4 roast potatoes each were supplied – the maximum allowed by law in London is 3 (I should probably clarify that this isn’t actually a law, I made this up, but it does sound realistic in 2020, doesn’t it?). Quite fluffy inside, a little crispy on the outside and tasting damn duck fatty fabulous. They would have been better in the restaurant, but they were better than most pubs or restaurants manage in house. You could tell that they were pre-prepared but it was disguised about as much as possible.
The Yorkshire pudding was cold, though you cannot really blame Blacklock for that. We did follow instructions and put it in the oven for 1 minute, but for some reason my oven didn’t manage to translate any heat to the yorkie despite having been on for ages at 220’C. I once lived in a house with two ovens. Oh to have such luxury again. Two ovens…hmmm…maybe I should re-write the introduction?
Anyway, so the yorkie was arguably a tad overdone on the outside – thankfully inside was soft, fluffy and eggy. It was good, but weird being cold.
Thankfully not working for Birmingham Live means that I don’t quite have to get this desperate to create content:
Both meats were perfectly cooked? Really? Perfect? Got anything to say about this, Blacklock?
Oh how about:
Granted not the best photograph ever to show off the beef – the joint made about 3 slices each of beef, around 1cm of thickness – yes I cut against the grain – one of the many additional details of the instructions to perfect the roast. Didn’t know that was a thing.
It was very tender beef. I haven’t got much else to add. It was nicely crispy on the outside thanks to the salt that was added – as per instructions again.
Shit, nearly forgot about the cauliflower cheese. This was superb – quite gooey, very cheesy – the cauliflower was soft but made up by how gooey the whole thing was. Breadcrumbs on top gave it a crunchy texture – perhaps could have done with another 5 minutes in the oven but everything else was ready – especially my belly.
Finally, the Blacklock gravy. Oh yeah, it tasted every bit as wondrous as in the restaurant. As it should. Not really enough, at least for northerners like myself, but I didn’t go short either. An option to order extra gravy would be appreciated – but also risky as you’d have people like me buy 10 bottles. I would actually happily just buy Blacklock gravy and never make it myself ever again.
49 shades of gravy
This was a faithful replica of the Blacklock experience. The vegetables were charred as they should have been, the cauliflower cheese tasted just like the cauliflower cheese in Blacklock, the gravy was exactly the same as in the restaurant – hell, even the smell of my house replicated the gorgeous smoky smell of Blacklock, as we noted when we came back from our post roast walk.
I did kind of hope that this wouldn’t be quite as exceptional as the restaurant, and that proved so. It was excellent – but for the added brilliance you have to be there – you have to have the chefs cooking for you, the wonderful service, the smell. And the ability to order extra gravy.
Also when we came back from the walk, we had the cheesecake.
I think the fruit on top was mandarin, which was slightly odd – I would have preferred the summer fruits like the last time I went, but I guess it isn’t summer. Otherwise, it was every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect – the flakes of white chocolate mixing with the frosting and crumbletastic biscuit. And made for a superb breakfast the next morning.
My score is an 8.60 out of 10 – my accomplice scored it an 8.80 out of 10. Shockingly high scores, only a few actual dine-in places have scored higher – but what would you expect from a restaurant that has perfected the roast dinner?
The only way to make this better, apart from extra gravy, or the option of adding extra gravy – is to go to the restaurant itself. I look forward to visiting in 2021. And I am not just saying that.
I’ll be back next week. I’m going to a pub. Oh yes. A rather popular pub and seemingly beloved establishment – but will I have a good roast dinner? I’ll find out on Sunday. ¿Donde estan las putas?
Blacklock At Home,
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Everything. This is a Blacklock roast dinner. But especially the gorgeous gravy and gooey cauliflower cheese.
Loathed: Nothing. This is a Blacklock roast dinner. But there could have been more gravy. As standard for London, but I couldn't ask for extra at home.
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: The Woolpack, Bermondsey