My original plan for this Sunday gone fell through, so a quick spin of the random number generator brought me, and only me, to Boxcar in Marylebone.
My housemate actually said to me on Saturday, “do you ever go out with friends?”. I replied quite defensively then started to realise that I am not only fat and ugly, with a small penis and a shit blog, but I don’t actually go out with friends any more. Maybe they don’t like sitting opposite whilst I bang on about Brexit. Maybe that is the reason nearly half my friends live in other countries…hmmm. Still, at least I get a good roast dinner
12th June was the last time that I had had a roast dinner worth writing about. Well, they are all worth writing about, but one that I enjoyed eating as much as I enjoyed writing.
A whole 8 weeks ago.
It seemed that it was getting to the point of requiring divine intervention in finding a good roast dinner, when I received this e-mail from ‘Medium Amanda’ into my inbox on Friday:
These revelations will change your life
I think it’s important to tell you a big secret. This is a sensitive information and I can’t communicate this with just anybody. The information I have for you is about wealth and happiness. With this information, you can make all your dreams come true very easily.
You are especially worried about money. It is not because you have nothing but you would love to have more, so you can lead the life that makes you happy.
I will be able to tell you which ritual is best for you to unlock the fortune which is waiting for you !
This is your chance to earn the money you want
Make sure you claim what you are entitled to on time. you have 3 days to be on the path towards a life full of wealth and happiness.
My curiosity was piqued. Financially I am reasonably secure, however I would be much happier if I could have a decent roast dinner, so I thought that I’d e-mail my new-found medium to ask her what my future held:
Actually I have quite a lot of money.
What I’m really interested in is whether I will have a good roast dinner on Sunday?
Alas, the e-mail was undelivered.
Not so medium
Boxcar came onto my radar relatively recently. Two venues – one a baker and deli – the other a butchers and restaurant. What? Sister venue to Percy & Founders where I went the other week? Maybe my luck isn’t due to change.
Boxcar was a small and likeable venue, in a quaint and cute area of westish centralish London. A few tables out the front, and a fairly cosy selection of tables inside – the tables out the front were fully occupied, the tables inside were almost fully unoccupied. The welcome was pleasant and they offered me a corner suitable for miserable fucks with more nipples than friends.
I did allow myself a butchers at their Instagram on the way, the food looked well-presented and I drooled at the steaks, in particular. Maybe once I have done the 145 places still on my to-do list, I might quit this and do a steak blog. Even if I received another disappointing roast dinner, I was expecting the best presented disappointing roast dinner.
On the menu was rump of beef, pork loin or lamb rump – all charged at the marginally forgivable price of £19.50, which isn’t that bad for central London [quickly checks sanity]. Meanwhile, my regular accomplice was paying £9.95 for a roast dinner near Hull.
I thought it was interesting that each roast dinner had different vegetables (my regular accomplice’s roast simply had all vegetables, 8 in total), and I chose the beef for the simple reason that the lamb had a double-header of evilness. P E A S. Do not give them a fucking chance.
Quicker than a wank
Dinner took little more than 10 minutes to arrive.
It looked a little different from what my accomplice received near Hull.
So, south vs north. Which would you prefer? And who had the best roast dinner?
That explains a few things.
Cut the crap, tell us about the grub
Unfortunately, everything was either served on top of the parsnip puree, or was on top of it by time I had poured everything on top. I say unfortunately, as I like to choose when I mix my foods – yes, I am a bit basic in places. That said, the puree had an appealing sweetness, even if I wasn’t overly keen. I would just prefer it to be on the side, controlled puree.
The carrots were plentiful, soft, a little buttery with a fair scattering of herbs. Quite decent.
I actually enjoyed the little beetroots. Not something I expect to enjoy on a roast dinner, but these were delightfully smoked bundles of joy.
Some spring greens were supplied – perfectly edible and a little oily, but no more exciting than my sex life has been this year. And last year. And the year before. And the year before. And the year before. I should add an ellipsis.
The roast potatoes were quite good.
No, seriously, I am telling you the truth. They were fluffy on the inside and actually seemed to have been cooked on the same day, which seems a minor miracle at the moment. Only quite good though, as they weren’t crispy on the outside. Maybe Medium Amanda did get my e-mail?
Death to yorkies
The Yorkshire pudding was…OK? A little crispy and pretty dry, though it was mercifully small – I am so fed up with ridiculously large yorkies. Calling it OK is possibly being too kind, but at least it didn’t seem like it had spent half a day under a heat lamp.
You’d expect the meat at a butchers to be on point, and I can confirm that it was. It came rare, though seemed to be a little less so by time I was eating it. On the first bite, I grimaced with joy at the flavour – this was quite a special piece of beef rump. Quite earthy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside…impressive enough for me to add it to the list of places that I really want to go back to on a non-Sunday and probably never will. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Sadly, we finish on another unfortunate note – I wasn’t keen on the gravy. I’m putting this down to personal tastes – as it was just a bit too sweet for my preferences. It was technically good gravy, it had some consistency to it, a bone marrow flavour and a splattering of bits floating on the top (which in the gravy world is a positive).
Give me a score, loner boy
This roast dinner was definitely a step up from recent weeks. The ingredient quality was very good – there was clearly a chef that knew what he/she was doing and was attempting to do something just a little different. I like the premise of the menu.
Also the service was good, always attentive when required though they didn’t have a huge amount of people to attend to. Pleasingly I didn’t feel self-conscious being a solo-diner, like can happen sometimes…I don’t think I was the only loner in there, though obviously I didn’t look at anyone weird enough to possibly be by themselves.
Some of the roast really impressed – well, OK, the beef really impressed. Oh and the smoky beetroot – how could I forget that?
The yorkie was probably the only disappointment – the gravy wasn’t to my tastes but there was nothing wrong with it, per se. Also I did get a tad frustrated with puree being on everything but there are greater problems in the world like people riding electric scooters on pavements. Oh and a small plate…but I get that it would have looked stupid presented like that on an adult-plate.
It is the best roast dinner that I’ve had in 8 weeks – that might not be saying much but I don’t think you’d be disappointed if you gave Boxcar’s roast a try and hopefully you are at least intrigued enough to consider it for a steak – it is walking distance from my office, so I think I might head back for a steak one evening…albeit to eat at home by myself.
I’m scoring it a respectable 7.26 out of 10. My accomplice rated her northern roast a 7.90 out of 10. Yes, I would have preferred the northern roast.
I don’t know what I’m doing yet next Sunday. I won’t be watching fucking cricket though.
Boxcar, Marylebone, Central London
Station: Baker Street
Tube Lines: Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Line
Fare Zone: Zone 1