We all have the same 24 hours. Yes, I’ve been inspired by Molly-Mae and decided this Sunday to go to (the) Job Centre in Deptford.
You know what? I’m not going to hate on her. Yes, this is partly because some people on the internet decided that she was Margaret Thatcher re-incarnated (oh, if only) after her comments, but also, you know, I think she was kind of saying to follow your dreams, just not with the greatest amount of tact ever.
She was probably referring to people like me. I once had a dream – and I don’t mean the Spanish lesbians kind of dream. A few years back I was so committed to working hard and following my dream, that I moved to Bracknell so I could be closer to work and spend more time studying. Bracknell. Bracknell. It’s actually worse than Deptford.
And look at me now. Yes. London’s number 1 roast dinner reviewer. I look shit in a bikini though.
Alas, I didn’t do it, and now every company is so desperate for software engineers that I could probably tell prospective employers that I worked for ISIS and I’d still get job offers. Less than 5 years later I’m somehow a senior software engineer and they keep giving me pay rises. I WORKED HARD, OK? Yeah they are desperate.
Anyway, so Job Centre. A place I shouldn’t need ever to visit again, but this one serves roast dinners.
It was worryingly quiet when we entered, after a long walk along the Thames and a trip on the DLR. Quite dimly lit and very rustic – in the photographs online, it looks brightly lit and colourful but I can assure you that wasn’t the reality.
Further to that, the photographs online suggest pretty solid and stylish furniture – but again, in reality that good-looking furniture wasn’t there – and there was an abundance of ordinary (and empty) tables and chairs. Job Centre had a vibe when we walked in – and it was a vibe of low expectations.
I asked at the bar about our booking, and he walked off. I followed him for a while before I realised that he was going into the office. They hadn’t set us a table as per the booking. Clearly they didn’t need to. For some reason that I would later regret, we sat near the open kitchen, trying to eke out the tiniest bit of atmosphere in this desperately trying to be quirky pub. Or at least it tried at some point in the past before quirky just became tatty.
The menu almost had a bit of a Christmas theme to it, with pigs in blankets for the chicken – and…ok well maybe just the pigs in blankets but that was enough to persuade me to order the chicken. Other options were pork belly and topside, all meat roasts were priced at £16.00.
One of my accomplices wanted the vegan roast as she’s doing…ah I cannot really tell you as you might think differently of me. Same accomplice that had a burger last Sunday on ROAST DINNER CLUB, before she started doing the thing I won’t mention. Somehow, despite having only slightly above zero customers, Job Centre had run out of vegan roasts.
10-15 minutes after ordering (and paying), our roast dinners arrived.
Not In My Gob Centre
Let’s start with what I enjoyed. The kale. It was nice.
And it goes further than that – the roasted carrots were good, I didn’t especially detect the maple, but that might be more to do with the red wine gravy. Yeah the gravy definitely gets a mention later.
There was a little roasted parsnip too along with a ton of parsnip crisps, which I’d love to say were the ingenuity of the chef, who would definitely have been able to hear us talking about the roast. Also, American Beauty is 20 years old. WTF? Anyway, the parsnip was acceptable, if a little tired – but the crisps were kind of good.
Right, let’s get properly into things. I don’t like red cabbage. But this was worse than normal – somehow almost black, quite gooey in consistency and somewhat pungent to taste. A full on yuck.
Then the roast potatoes. Need a close up?
You know when I said that the menu had a bit of a Christmas theme to it?
I’m assuming that the roast potatoes were leftover from Christmas Day. It’s as if they had been cooked multiple times since then. They were also impossible to cut – though at least I managed to get some frustration out whilst bashing away at them, and I ended up spitting it out on the first attempt to chew. The only way to glean some sustenance was to treat them like artichoke heart leaves – scraping some potato out with my teeth, leaving the inedible quintuple-cooked, thick crispy sides. Fucking abominable roast potatoes.
At least they weren’t undercooked, I suppose.
For some reason we had ordered a side of cauliflower cheese at a cost of £4.50, despite this being a total rip-off. There is visual evidence of cheese, but I didn’t taste any – and the cauliflower was exceptionally mushy – it just fell apart – like really nicely cooked meat should – and just like all vegetables shouldn’t.
I sold double glazing once. “Hiya, it’s Molly from Walker’s Windows, I’m just wondering if you are looking to upgrade to double-glazed windows?”. “Fuck off, I’m eating me tea”. “How about a conservatory?”.
By this point I was lost in a what the fuck am I doing in Deptford haze, and the yorkie didn’t improve matters. Crispy and dry, as if it had been standing around in the kitchen for hours, which it almost certainly had. I’ve had worse – it was edible at a push though I only ate half of it and I
never hardly-ever leave food.
The chicken had both thigh and leg, but I’ve had larger and healthier chickens at 2am from Chicken Cottage. Dry and almost certainly cooked quite some time ago – however there was a redeeming feature in that the flavour on the outside was enjoyable, with something like a chargrilled BBQish taste to it. Got to take your enjoyment whilst you can, preferably with 100 other guests at a BYOB party during lockdown that clearly wasn’t a party.
Finally, the gravy. The red wine jus gravy – though I couldn’t really tell the difference between this and the red cabbage in terms of taste. I hated the red cabbage but I hated the “gravy” more. There was some consistency, it was at least relatively thick – but it tasted disgusting, and left a nasty after-taste.
It somehow made the whole roast dinner even worse.
OMG I just thought…maybe I could get some publicity for this blog (about fucking time after 5 years of HARD WORDS) by posing naked with gravy boats scattered over my privates?
Hang on, the pig in blanket was good. Fairly soft and succulent.
You Ate Our Roast Which Made You Sob Centre
Well I ended on a positive.
But don’t be under any delusions of hard work – this roast dinner was shite.
The red wine gravy simply made everything on the plate worse – rarely have I had nastier gravy, though I have. The cauliflower cheese WHICH I PAID EXTRA FOR was mushy and bland, the yorkie dry, chicken dry and small.
Oh and those roast potatoes. A total abomination.
Positives? Well the flavour of the chicken was nice and some of the vegetables were good.
Service was indifferent if I’m being kind, mardy and unwelcoming if I’m not. The whole vibe at Job Centre was one of not wanting any customers. Maybe the beer is good, but I’m doing fucking Dry January Plus.
Afterwards I did a little more research and found that Job Centre is part of the Antic Pubs chain – I’ve previously reviewed two of their pubs – East Dulwich Tavern and Balham Bowls Club, which respectively scored a 5.05 and 5.88 out of 10.
There Could Be A Lynch Mob Centre
This was worse.
Scores in the group were a 1.90, 2.00 and 2.50 out of 10. I’m scoring it a 2.81 out of 10. Which, at the time of writing, makes it the 3rd worst roast dinner in London, out of 190 reviewed. And the worst roast dinner I’ve had for nearly 5 years. Impressive.
Awkwardly, the chef/cook/guy in the kitchen warming things up, came to ask me what I thought of the food when all my friends had gone to the bathroom. “Erm…it was ok…but…erm…the roast potatoes were…erm…a bit over-cooked”.
Don’t you love being British? Sigh. At least we had a nice walk beforehand.
I’ll be back next week and I can almost guarantee that it will be a much nicer roast dinner. There is no plan yet, which normally wouldn’t concern me in January, but I had no plan at this point last week and look what happened.
I ain’t gonna get those 24 hours back, am I, Molly?
Job Centre, Deptford
Tube Lines: National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Erm...the kale was nice
Loathed: Octuple-cooked roasties from weeks ago, dry everything, disgusting gravy. Don't eat here.