I seem to have little runs of form with roast dinners. I was on a good run of form, with many good or very good roast dinners – which followed a bad run.
Seemingly I am back on a bad run at the moment, with 3 disappointing roast dinners in a row, even Hawksmoor disappointed. So when I ran the random number generator, and it picked the Crown & Anchor in Brixton, and I looked at the pictures on their website, my heart sank.
It looked like turd. It was going to be a 4th disappointing roast dinner in a row. No FOMO.
After punishing myself with an hour or so of emergency shopping down Oxford Street, trying to dodge the exceptionally slow walkers and overweight woman in just their underwear, I made my way to Stockwell tube station.
Do you remember how you used to find places prior to having Google Maps on your phone? Me neither. Upon arrival in this unexplored district of London, I had no navigation tools. I took a punt on the direction, sticking to main roads, and hoped my telephone would once again resemble the modern piece of equipment it was in the good old days when Nick Clegg was still vaguely important.
15 minutes walk later, I was still exactly the same distance away from my destination. Maybe I should have done more than throw wet toilet roll onto the ceiling of the church when I was at cubs. Yes, I got thrown out.
The pub itself seemed like a little golden charm in a less than salubrious neighbourhood. It had a main room which was open, bright and airy, exposed brickwork on one wall, old-fashioned wallpaper on another, with lashings of pub-grey paint around the bar – you know the colour – there are two colours that modern, funky pubs use – either pub-grey or pub-blue. Think about it.
The Crown & Anchor also had a sizeable outdoor seating area.
Three roast dinner options were available, beef, pork and chicken. I chose the chicken as it was the one that sounded most interesting, it being paprika-spiced, at the almost bargain of a price at £11.95. The most expensive option was beef at £12.95. Have I ever had a cheaper roast dinner in a pub in London? I don’t think so.
Price is only one aspect though, and after paying £20.00 for a disappointing roast dinner at Hawksmoor last weekend (I’m still banging on about Brexit so don’t expect me to stop complaining about Hawksmoor any time soon), it is all about the food quality, the taste and can they actually make a roast potato which looks like it has been roasted?
I had around 15-20 minutes to wait to find out.
It certainly looked better than what was on their website.
Four vegetables were supplied – one of which was one tiny head of broccoli so you’ll understand that I’m not really able to pass comment. Like most of the vegetables, it seemed to have been steamed, or similar.
There was a fair handful of green beans, cooked pretty much perfectly in terms of time – just a hint of crunch and just past that squeaky stage.
3 pieces of carrot were supplied – cut vertically into quarters. Again I assume steamed, they were a tad more crunchy than for my personal preferences, but perfectly acceptable.
All decent so far, although entirely unspectacular.
Then there was a fair-sized portion of red cabbage. I don’t really like red cabbage so always difficult for me to judge it too much (unless it is really, really good), this was quite tangy and had a pretty strong, fruity taste to it – perhaps also due to how it combined with the gravy.
As usual, 3 roast potatoes came, and as usual they were not crispy on the outside. They were acceptable, I have had far worse recently but definitely nothing to write home about. Also a little touch of thyme.
Mixing things up and going onto the paprika-spiced chicken. It wasn’t strongly spiced as such (though I use paprika every day so I’m probably immune to it), it gave it a pleasant glaze and more of a hint of paprika. Despite it being half a chicken, I wasn’t overloaded with meat – it wasn’t an especially large or plump chicken. Like most of the dinner, just respectably average.
I say most, as the Yorkshire pudding (or yorkie as our Stockport-born waitress deightfully advised), was dreadful, brittle and hollow – reminding me of Diane Abbott. Oh wait a minute, sorry, I just remembered that we aren’t allowed to criticise her any more because some Twitter troll called her a “ni…”…actually let’s not go there. I’m not black and this isn’t daytime TV.
Or maybe I am black. Maybe I am Beyonce’s long-lost British sister. Or maybe I am Linford Christie – think about it, do you ever hear about Linford Christie any more? How do you know that isn’t me? Do you even know who Linford Christie is?
Shit, I’ve just realised that I made you think of the n-word. I am so racist. Get me a column on Breitbart quick sharp.
Gravy. Oh yes, gravy. It was a red wine gravy, again not my personal favourite but it was a pretty good gravy. Quite a good consistency, it was an actual gravy, the red wine taste wasn’t overly strong, and it worked. And for possibly the first time ever in London, I didn’t need to ask for more.
Overall it was very average. I would say I couldn’t complain considering the low price of £11.95, but I can complain – the Yorkshire pudding was an abomination (unlike Diane Abbott who is great). It was a reasonable roast dinner, in a very nice pub, full of Australians, young people and people that voted to remain in the EU (yes still banging on about it).
My accomplice was more impressed than me but he thinks Iceland does good quality food.
I’m going to give it a 6.98 out of 10. Better than Hawksmoor (yes still banging on about it).
Wait. Hold your horses. Keep that line of ketamine on the toilet seat. I just remembered that I had a stuffing ball. It was unremarkable, just a small sage and onion stuffing ball, but a delightful treat nonetheless. That bumps it up to a 7.02 out of 10. Neigh.
That’s me. I am finished. Until next week. The random number generator has picked somewhere in a posh area (probably full of tossers), but it is fully booked according to their website so I’m going to call them and pretend to be a Tory. That should free up a table.
Oh to be famous enough for some Twitter abuse.
Crown And Anchor, Brixton, South London
Tube Lines: Victoria
Fare Zone: Zone 2