It’s been a whole week since I’ve had a roast dinner. It seems like forever. A week in which I’ve had the best fish and chips in years, and the most miserable chicken tikka wrap imaginable. Though at least it didn’t give me the shits like a passer-by suggested whilst I was waiting.
You don’t care, do you?
You only care about my roast dinner adventures.
In fact, you barely care about them. Especially now we are tentatively approaching summer, in a kind of still raining and not at all warm kind of way (well it was when I started writing this review). You are over your roast dinner fetishism until the autumn, aren’t you?
I’m almost tempted to pack my bags and go live in Spain, start a blog called Roast Dinners In Benidorm.
This week was about roast dinners in Barbican – similar to Benidorm in absolutely zero ways. The random number generator had picked the Fox And Anchor, roughly halfway between Farringdon and Barbican train stations – situated near two of the very best roast dinners in London, both The Old Red Cow and Smiths Of Smithfield. We all hate Leeds.
As tempted as we were to snort a line of sherbet dip and head to the family rave at fabric (good to see that it isn’t just northern council estate types that introduce their kids to a life of drugs early on), we stumbled along with our suitcases to the quite possibly even darker venue that the random number generator had picked…albeit after I had over-ruled its first 15 choices. Scum.
Once we’d navigated a pushchair/pram assault course near the entrance – albeit not quite the difficulty of going for a wee on a train rammed full of fat people earlier that day, I announced my arrival and was shown to our seating area.
The Fox And Anchor is a proper pub. None of this gastro shit, no chairs that feel like they are going to collapse under your weight (well, they do at my weight), it has furniture that matches and not even a scrap of teal paint. And no – not a single fairy light. Though perhaps it could do with a little more light…it took a few minutes to adjust to it being darker than an old person’s jokes about the new royal baby.
We were sat in the back of the pub, which felt like our own room with a couple of secluded areas, perfect for some hidden groping or coked-up City meetings.
Switch the lights off
It was quiet inside. I wasn’t especially expecting this – the reason it went on my to-do list was because it reached the final of my People’s Roast vote a while back (time for another one?) so I assumed therefore it was popular. Which caused me some concern. And the social media output wasn’t exactly inspiring – at first glance there appeared to be a swastika on the burger – had I skipped forward to a time of Nigel “Not Racist At All” Farage being Prime Minister?
Though perhaps I mistakenly looked at a Fox News anchor’s Instagram account.
Drinks were a little slow to arrive, at least the first beer was – otherwise service was friendly and prompt throughout, willing to tolerate my nonsense and try to help with questions we had about where we could find the maximum amount of fake bin dippers in the local area to laugh at when they lost the league title, without getting glassed.
Beef striploin, half a chicken, pork belly and green lentil vegetarian pasty were the options on the menu. My choice was a fairly simple process of elimination – I had beef last week, I saw a dead baby bird on my father’s windscreen that morning and a green lentil vegetarian pasty is a green lentil vegetarian pasty. Normally I wouldn’t even bother talking about the vegetarian but that needs some deriding. A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha says the tosser that has agreed to go to a vegan restaurant. Not for a roast may I add – not even a blow job from Anna Soubry would persuade me to review a vegan roast dinner.
Dinner took around 20 or so minutes to arrive – arguably not the best presented but the look of the food gave me hope. Barely any gravy was in our respective gravy jugs, so we immediately ordered more (FFS London chefs – get a grip, people want gravy).
Starting with a disappointment, and what I assume were the crushed seasonal roots – these seemed mostly swede though definitely not all, and had a consistency somewhere in the middle of coleslaw and mash. Yet it was cold. Cold as if it had not long before been taken out of the fridge. The idea was good, the flavour was fine – but why cold? Very odd.
Colder than your nipples
There was a small collection of honey-roasted carrots. Nicely roasted and the honey flavouring worked – despite me not being a fan of honey. The honey-roasted parsnips were also good, although I didn’t detect much honey.
We were supplied with a relatively humongous mound of seasonal greens. I thought that I could sense a touch of aniseed in the flavouring but my accomplices thought I was being mad, including a professional chef who should actually have a good sense of taste. So maybe just ignore me. Maybe I shouldn’t have written that in the first place. I did originally say something vaguely funny but WordPress seems to have lost my previous draft so there isn’t even that to go on. Hey, at least we still have Chris Grayling in government. 250-1 to be next Conservative leader. Worth a punt?
Four small roast potatoes were supplied, though they certainly weren’t Maris Pipers, and I didn’t need a chef with me to realise that. Though he did realise it. They were decent enough potatoes, even if quite a way away from what a roast potato should be – due to the type of potato used.
The Yorkshire pudding was pretty good. Not too large, it nicely held the gravy yet allowed some to soak in. Actually it was good, not just pretty good.
Get in my belly
The pork belly was the best part of the meal. Cut into three chunks – perhaps not the largest portion possible but it was certainly very enjoyable. It couldn’t have been done much better, the crackling was crunchy yet not overwhelming, the fat and the meat parts melded together very nicely. I’ve had better – but not by much.
Finally, the gravy. We each had unique gravy, which was a pleasant touch – chicken, beef and pork were different gravies. Baby. We all hate Leeds.
That said, there was nothing outstanding in the flavour, just a good solid gravy, a little thinner than I’d prefer but certainly not water. Nowhere near enough supplied originally but extra was forthcoming.
This was a solid roast dinner from the Fox And Anchor. Mostly on the good side, but with improvements possible. I particularly enjoyed the pork belly – I made the best choice, though my accomplices enjoyed their beef and chicken too. The cold roots were utterly forgettable, and just wrong.
Service was good – not quite to the extent of hugging a long lost friend on departure like at The Old Red Cow, but not too far off. And no service charge – to be awkward I ensured that I tipped higher than 12.5%.
I’m thinking 7.72 out of 10 for a score. Well worth a visit if you are in the area and you won’t need to book in advance. Plus it’s a great proper pub too. My accomplices were generally happy with their too.
Stay woke, bitch.
Next weekend I’m in Spain. So go fuck yourself.
I still have my secret review to release once I’ve found out that I’ve definitely lost the food reviewing competition that I entered it in – so you might have that, or you might just have to suck my hairy black cock.