This Sunday I went to Hack & Hop in the City of London, which is pretty much a deserted wasteland of offices on a weekend – I could have stripped off naked and run down the road without anyone noticing. Alas, I had my mother with me.
I actually had big plans for this weekend.
On Saturday I was going to celebrate Brexit by smashing up every Wetherspoons in London, then on Sunday I was going to have the most miserable, cheapest roast dinner I could find in London to make a point about our wonderful future as we try to emulate the trading success of WTO-only Mauritania. Which would make us Mauritania+.
Then my plans were scuppered. My mum and dad were visiting London. Fucksticks – ruining all my best plans. I guess I did get caught trespassing on railway lines once as a kid, so maybe this is their way of getting revenge? Tip to anyone considering trespassing on railway lines – if the police are filming you, don’t then go closer to them and stick two fingers up.
Yes, my commitment to you, my beloved readers (you have shared my page recently, huh?) is so strong that I force my parents to visit me on Mother’s Day as opposed to the other way around. What did you say?
“ur reviews are shit anyway”.
Well, somebody, I think a chef, possibly one disgruntled about my criticism of their tepid roast potatoes threw this jibe at me on Twitter though deleted it before I could reply.
Yet I agree. This blog has a serious purpose in directing you to where the best (and worst) roast dinners are in London, yet I have no desire (or ability) to produce critically-acclaimed culinary insights.
I write linguistic vomit because there are only so many ways that you can describe eating almost exactly the same food every week. It’s shit and that is the way it is designed to be. If you don’t like it – go and read The Guardian.
Yes, Google, I went to the Hack & Hop
One would hope that going to a pub that is closed on a Saturday, yet open on a Sunday, would be all the guarantee you require for a good Sunday roast. On top of that, The Hack & Hop is related to one of my favourite ever roast dinner establishments, The Old Red Cow. And the last time my parents joined for roast club, we were at the very under-rated Leman Street Tavern. The omens were good.
Because we are all cultured and shit, being from Ull – City Of Culture – we started the day with a visit to the over-subscribed Van Gogh exhibition – a bloke that used to live in the UK, prior to Brexit but after the last major Conservative Party split – corn laws just in case you are not yet an expert because everyone seems to be an expert on democracy nowadays. One suspects that the reason he went crazy was that he couldn’t get a Sunday roast once he left the UK. Are you able to prove that I am wrong? Then I am right.
Slight lie in the previous paragraph, I actually started the day by writing about roast dinners (you’ll have seen my first post by now) then I went to Gregg’s for a vegan sausage roll after being sucked off by my lesbian yoga teacher girlfriend. Oh wait a minute, that was an April Fool’s. Shit, who’s bra and knickers am I wearing? Or is it whose? Fuck it, my reviews are shit anyway. And yeah, it was a normal sausage roll. Greasy, lickable meat (ish).
Hack & Hop was a very similarly structured pub to both the Dean Swift and The Old Red Cow – the other two pubs in the group that I have visited. Quite a small downstairs with a fairly unique choice of beers, with more of a restaurant vibe upstairs.
It wasn’t especially busy when we arrived but it was bloody hot inside. Thankfully sat next to the radiator and window, so we could switch off the radiator and open the window. Spot the northern family. A few tables were occupied – there weren’t exactly many tables upstairs, say 8, and it was very ably managed by just one member of staff.
Yes, he who knows everything about me, I went to the Hack & Hot
“You wouldn’t pay that much for a roast dinner up north”, said my mother, in northerner being surprised by the cost of living in London shocker. I feel immune to paying nearly £20 for a Sunday roast.
Options were the pork belly at £16.50, roast beef at £18.95 and half a chicken at £15.50. I was sorely tempted for the pork – it was the staff member’s recommendation, but I go for the pork belly far too often, so for the sake of variety I chose the beef. We all chose the beef. For the sake of variety.
Dinner took around 20-25 minutes to arrive, and as you can see, the beef didn’t look a bad choice.
Starting with the Chantenay carrot which you cannot see, but was whole, small and crunchy. Or if I were being rude, tough. I hesitate towards calling it tough – I prefer just a little more give.
There was just one broccoli head.
And a small scattering of kale, which I enjoyed and had a bit of an earthy flavour despite being soaked in the jus.
Decent enough in terms of quality but I would have liked a little more in the way of vegetable quantity on the plate, despite not actually having a vegan girlfriend (nearly wrote vagina). Except more tough carrots as one was definitely enough.
The standard 3 roast potatoes were supplied. They were pleasant enough, just about soft in the middle but lacking crispy outsides. Good quality spuds were used, perhaps King Edwards (though that is a guess because my reviews are shit) but they were no better than decent. REVOKE ARTICLE 50.
Oh my god what am I doing to democracy? And what did they do to this Yorkshire pudding? I think I know…left it under a heat lamp to dry. Nicely structured, but sadly it suffered the fate of many Instashire puddings in that it was just too dry and crispy. The base was just about soft enough. You know what this calls for? Yep another showing of my new friend.
The beef was by some measure the star of the show, and at £18.95 with nothing else being convincing, it bloody well needed to be. Quite a silky, buttery texture (not taste), cooked medium-rare – actually had quite a strong flavour to it too and was pretty glorious to chew. It was a little tough to cut in places – and my mother’s was more than a little tough. Happy Mother’s Day!
It was a jus – not a gravy, and regular future-lovers will know my Corbynesque thoughts on jus. Yet this was actually a good jus. Still a jus but a good jus. Jesus, imagine if you read this last sentence out loud near a Daily Mail reporter whilst wearing red. Though it is quite possible that I pronounce it incorrectly, being from up north.
So the jus was actually good. Very flavoursome – perhaps on the verge of fatiguing my tastebuds by the end of the meal, very much a full-bodied red wine, beef stock jus – with an oily texture to it. I’d always prefer a Christian, I mean a gravy, but as far as jews go I did enjoy this.
Hmmm I did accidentally write jews then, and I am going to keep it. My reviews are crap anyway. No I’m not over it. Or over Brexit. Hell, I’m still not over the girl from Essex that I pulled when I was 15 on holiday in France, who I then bought a triple-vodka for and then jumped on another bloke. Possibly why I am perenially single.
Come on, give us a score so I can close the tab and do something productive
Highlight was by some way the beef. It wasn’t a show-stopper but it was star of the show. Likewise, by some way the yorkie was the worst part of the dinner. I’m only going to give it a 7.14. Two of my accomplices scored it an 8.1 – my mother refused to give a score, which I take to mean that she wasn’t so enthused given that her beef was tougher than ours. Yet she did get a free glass of Prosecco. Just to clarify, the girl jumped on another bloke, not me.
I should mention the service charge (yes it is normal down here, Dad) of just 10%. Whoa. Crazy. But even more important – the service, as the person running the room really had a good way of dealing with customers. I enjoyed his mannerisms and grasp of language which made us welcome and feel involved. It may “only” be a good roast dinner, but the service made it feel very good.
Roast number 100 next week. Will it be Blacklock? Or will it be a vegan roast dinner? Or will I go to the cafe at Morrisons? Halal? Italian? Indian?
Or maybe I won’t even be in London? Gosh, the suspense. Please share, send me money or come round and lick my nipples.