Stoke Newington. Why does this place not have a tube station? How can you expect wise and beautiful bloggers like myself to discover somewhere without a tube station?
This week I had a bona fide London food legend with me – the guy behind London Popups. There isn’t any point in telling you about his website as 99% of my followers come from when he retweets me.
Actually, I’m a Tory. Screw the 99%. London Popups is a blog/website dedicated to erm, popup style foodie things in London – such as Malt & Pepper who’s roast I reviewed a couple of months back, or the wonderful-sounding Crafty Pies. It’s worth a follow – I’ve had some good dining experiences thanks to his blog.
And thanks to him, I discovered another roast to add to the list under the acronym PFGT, who are currently decamped at The Star in Hackney Downs. Pretty Fucking Good Toast to you and me.
Alas, we called to book a table – no roasts as they are doing a BBQ instead. Pah. I hope you had a Pretty Fucking Good Torrential Thunderstorm.
And then we called somewhere else…same story. It might be 27’C and humid, but I NEED A ROAST DINNER.
Random number generator it was. Lady Mildmay in Stoke Newington came out. But just just to throw a potential spanner in the works, when I called to book a table, I was advised that I couldn’t book a table for less than 6 people. Because they are a pub. Yeah… [open mouth in astonished style]
Though on the morning itself, numbers grew to a table-booking quantity – a total of 4 roast club virgins too. Nearly even had a Brexit-voting 7th person, but he was demanding that we all ate 4 hours later than planned…erm…will of the people, my friend. I’m surprised that there wasn’t a campaign in Europe to kick us out.
Despite not being able to book a table, there were quite a plethora of empty tables. It wasn’t the busiest pub ever – a scattering of what looked like locals in the front of the bar, a large seating area at the back. The kitchen was open-plan, so you could see what was being cooked up whilst walking to the back of the pub.
This is the point where I need to remember the menu. I mean, I’m doing a food blog – you might even be interested in this part. On offer was lamb shoulder, chicken, some vegetarian thing that I really cannot remember…that was it, I think. I cannot remember the prices either. I think the lamb shoulder was £16. The chicken might have been £14.50 but also I could be making that up.
Dinner took around 15-20 minutes to arrive and my first thoughts were “why are you even trying to make roast potatoes that large?”. London Popup’s thoughts were, “very nice crockery”.
One long vertical slice of carrot, it seemed roasted but still quite on the crunchy side.
A tiny portion of wilted kale (well we were in Stokey) which I thought was spinach at first, but what would I know, I don’t have a beard or a lifestyle blog. Well, roast dinners are a lifestyle to me – but not most people. There wasn’t enough kale to form an opinion.
And also a small portion of red cabbage. Nicely done, not too soft – no horrid purple juice infecting the gravy.
There were also a couple of small parsnips. Like the carrot, these were a little on the crunchy side, and also seemingly roasted.
We had some small cauliflower cheese dishes to share, though the cauliflower was minimal and the cheese was very mild. There seemed to be more water than anything else. Not the best ever cauliflower cheese.
Oddly a couple of my guests commented that there should have been more types of vegetables – for some reason 5 types of vegetables wasn’t enough for them. The vegetable portions were all small, but personally I thought there was enough. And I do actually like vegetables – I just don’t like vegans. Isn’t it annoying when you meet a hot girl, she’s single, she’s flashing her boobs, she hasn’t yet bored you to death about Celebrity Love Island and she might even be interested in sticking her index finger up your bum – then she announces that she’s a vegan.
At this point (of the roast dinner) – yes I am one of those weird people that eats food in order of what they think they will like most, leaving the best until last – I was fairly nonplussed. It was all kind of respectable but ordinary. Pretty much what I was expecting when the dinner arrived on the very nice, respectable crockery. When I had a roast dinner at Wetherspoons in a past life, the one and only compliment I had was for their crockery.
The roast potatoes didn’t particularly help the cause – though one of my guests reported a crispy side to one of her roast potatoes, both of my very large roast potatoes had no evidence of crispiness. However the were reasonably soft inside and they tasted really good too – these were not Tesco White Potatoes. They were good roast potatoes, possibly even roasted in duck/goose fat.
The Yorkshire pudding was on the small side, but fluffy, very respectable and worked well when combined with the lamb and gravy.
Once I started eating the lamb, I started to enjoy things more. The lamb shoulder had clearly been slow-cooked for some time – it was close to pulled lamb. Soft and delicate, with a hearty taste to it.
And the gravy was good. Consistency-wise, it was barely thicker than water, however it had a good taste to it – hints of gravy…I mean garlic, possibly onion too, and certainly some meat stock. Like the meat, effort had gone into this.
In fact, quite a bit of thought and effort had gone into the roast overall. It isn’t a winning roast, it is never going to stand out in the memory. It was one of those kind of solid, respectable roasts. And the more I ate, the more I came to enjoy and appreciate it.
Sign me up, gravy!
The cauliflower cheese was the least enjoyable part – the highlight was the lamb by some way.
No service charge – ordering was at the bar once you had climbed over one of the world’s largest dogs who’s owner decided it was acceptable for it to be in the way of anyone wanting to reach the main part of the pub. The kind of person that doesn’t have his Oyster card ready for the ticket barriers in the morning. Then again, if he lived in Stoat Newington, he probably doesn’t catch a tube. Speaking of which, I caught the bus back (insert shudder) and there was a Diane Abbott lookalike – except twice her size. Like, wow. Also someone talking to himself, and another man gurning. I couldn’t cope and ended up getting off and walking, after 67 stops.
Buses are not for me. Steak Newington is nice, but therefore also not for me. Oh yeah, and when stepping outside a gelato shop later, this crackhead saw me and just screamed at me, full volume, “aaaarrrrrgggghhhh” several times. Like as if she had seen a ghost…or maybe thought she owed me money.
That’s what you get for going somewhere without a tube station, I guess.
Time to kill this review. It isn’t an especially engaging, funny or disrespectful review, is it? Sometimes I’m feeling it…today I just need a bacon sandwich. And maybe a Monday Roast?
Scores are 7.64 out of 10. Respectable.
Next weekend is review number 60. And it is going to be a controversial one.