Don’t you just love it?
I thought it would be a good idea to take 3 months off drinking this year. Well…my doctor thought it would be a good idea. I wonder if Tinder sells my liver status in the same way that Grindr sells your HIV status data? You didn’t know that? Oooh, you might want to check your Grindr privacy settings (ps Dad, I don’t have an account and you definitely don’t need one).
I missed beer so much that I wanted my whole roast dinner cooked in beer. What else was there to do but go see the chaps at Malt & Pepper, currently based in Simon The Tanner, not far from London Bridge.
A little welcome to my new readers first. Yes some days there are over 20 people reading this regurgitated shite now. I hope you enjoy my adventure whilst I find the best, and worst roast dinners in London – and perhaps you might even share it? You can be that “cool” person amongst your friends that discovers things first, like Sony minidisc. Hopefully you’ll also find this blog helpful, if occasionally irritating and offensive, and I look forward to subtly taking control of your mind so that you all vote Conservative in the next election.
Ha! Mind control. Made you spit out your drink.
Speaking of drinks, I’ve been eager to try Malt & Pepper since the efficacious (look it up) London Pop-ups (look him up) mentioned them some time ago. At least I think it was him that recommended it – I would look it up but I’m also too lazy. I mean, I’m too efficient (if you are a socialist – look it up).
The basic premise of Malt & Pepper is that they cook their food in beer. Previously and currently at temporary homes, Simon The Tanner in Bermondsey being their current home – they have signed an agreement on a semi-permanent home (until Network Rail want it back) which is in the process of being readied.
They even had a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to improve the venue before it opened – for some reason the crowdfunding campaign failed despite what I thought were generous offers in return. Is this a good moment to say a big fuck off to Donald Trump for costing me several hundred pounds over the last couple of weeks in lost share value? On the off-chance that you have a pension (I hope that you are not relying on the increasingly indebted state for a pension if you class yourself as young – Gordon Brown spent it on votes) then Donald Trump has also cost you money this last few weeks.
Oooh that was quite a tangent.
Anyway, so if enough of you had invested in Malt & Pepper when you had a chance, you would have received beer, food and beery food in return. I was considering it but, erm…Brexit. And now they won’t have sequinned tablecloths.
For now, you can catch Malt & Pepper in Simon The Tanner, in Bermondsey – the part of Bermondsey where Corbyn-loving Instagram Influencers don’t dare go…yeah the bit with the socialist council estate blocks. Though probably soon to be knocked down and replaced with beautiful new-builds for rich people, that you can hear your neighbours having sex in.
Simon The Tanner had the feel of a proper local’s pub – stray dogs and lonely men reading newspapers, pretending they are not drunk at 2pm. Yet had a modern and clean feel to it, apart from the sticky floor…though that could have been my old, smelly and wet trainers that I refuse to throw away (reason I don’t have a girlfriend #349) giving that effect. And a great range of beer – a full-on beer menu, in fact. What a perfect place to enjoy my first beer-filled roast dinner of 2018.
It was also a small pub; a few tables at the front, a few tables at the back, and one or two cubby-holes to hide in with your dog (or the one you found on the way in). If you like beer, this should be on your list. Though if you like roast dinners…well…read on. You could just scroll to the score and be done with it, I guess. But you wouldn’t do that, would you?
Chicken, pork belly and topside of beef were all offered. Chicken and pork at £13.95, beef at £14.95. Very keenly priced for post-Brexit London standards, though they only had one member of staff out front to pay for. There was a vegetarian offering; roast butternut squash stuffed with leeks, Stilton and cashews which I am sure would have been excellent if you like that kind of thing.
Someone actually commented/complained the other day that I don’t review enough vegan roasts (or any vegan roasts).
That ain’t gonna change any time soon – the veggie amongst you should feel privileged that I even mention the vegetables on a proper roast.
Though if veganism is your shtickyting, I have heard good things about the “roast” that Cafe Van Gogh in Brixton does, though they cannot spell “available” correctly. Not that I’m inferring anything about the educational abilities of vegans.
I have invited said feature suggester to join me for a roast. It will be a normal place that sadly also does vegan food #obs. If she dares. Maybe the company she works for could “sponsor” it? Though maybe she has now stopped reading…though I don’t think I was too rude to her.
Dinner took around one pint of Schiehallion (yep, had to check spelling on google) to arrive, one of the nicest Scottish beers outside of a can of Super T. We had both chosen pork belly, with a side-portion of cauliflower cheese at the bargainous price of £1.50 to accompany it.
I shall start with the cauliflower cheese. Or cauliflower mush as it would be better described as. I struggled to discern any significant flavouring of cheese and the cauliflower had been boiled/blanched/whatevered to death. Even a Diane Abbott speech has more structure to it. Alas it being on top of the red cabbage didn’t help in cheese-detection.
Then onto the carrots. It was International Carrot Day last week but I decided against marking it. I don’t think I even tweeted anything. These carrots were too thinly sliced and hence had quite a burnt BBQ taste to them. Not for me.
The kale was portioned minimalistically and exceptionally average in taste.
But then, behold, the red cabbage. Regular readers will know that I get very tired of red cabbage and that it is one of my least favourite vegetables. But Malt & Pepper had nailed this – supremely tasty, quite possibly beer-soaked red cabbage. Consistency was perfect and taste was supreme – it was my first mouthful of the roast and my hopes were high after that.
Craziness occurred with 4 roast potatoes being supplied rather than the London-standard 3 of most places. Though not exceptional, a couple were quite crispy on the outside, they were all fluffy on the inside, and were good roast potatoes. Bravo.
The Yorkshire pudding was more a hollow Yorkshire muffin. A tad overcooked, fairly pointless and disinteresting.
The stout-braised pork belly was cooked perfectly. It fell apart so easily and was just so tender. Brilliantly cooked. But I expected more in the way of taste – it was unexpectedly bland. Not totally bland – but I expected more flavour than I received. Also it would have been nice if the crackling was crispy rather than squidgy, but one cannot have everything in life.
Moving into the 4th day of writing this review. A lot of work goes into this, don’t you know? This piece of literary genius takes time.
A ha ha ha you doubted my mind control abilities. I just made you roll your eyes.
Finally, the gravy. I asked for extra gravy though my accomplices plate wasn’t lacking and mine had a healthy amount. And look how much extra came out! Yes a proper jug and not a thimble. Take notice poncey southern chefs and sexy immigrant waitresses. I even had enough left to pour into my mouth at the end.
Also, it was thick gravy. Thick gravy! A proper consistency and tasted meatily beerily divine. I’ve had a handful of better gravies but not many. In terms of consistency it was absolutely spot on – thick enough for an ugly northern tosser like me.
As you may appreciate, this roast causes quite some difficulties in scoring. I really want to give Malt & Pepper an excellent score, but there was too much averageness involved. Yet with significant moments of excellence.
Clearly there is potential for this roast to be even better, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year or two, Malt & Pepper have cracked the whole shebang. There is still some work to do.
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So for the bit that you scrolled down for, 4.44, I 8.39 guess it is 3.96 time to 5.72 reveal what my score 8.97 is 4.57 or maybe 3.90 isn’t. 9.38 – a ha ha 4.67 you so 5.98 know I wouldn’t 4.56 give a 9.38 8.76 for 4.36 this. It didn’t 3.48 score 6.58 either 9.67 and certainly 4.67 didn’t score 8.75 nothing 4.65 are you 4.57 still looking 7.71 for the score. Oooh yeah, 7.71 that 5.90 should 5.42 be 7.98 the 9.35 5.48 2.97 score 4.37. Just fucking scroll back up and read my review.
Highlight was the red cabbage – unexpectedly. Lowlight was the guy on the table next to me spilling at least 1cm of beer. Just in case you still don’t understand, I rated it seven point seven one out of ten. Next time – just read the whole post properly – don’t make me mess with your mind, Tory Boy.
Malt & Pepper do a respectably good roast and you could do far worse. Anyone else been?
We then followed that up with a visit to The Woolpack around the corner, back in Instagrammer territory (some bloody noisy people in there too) and then The Horniman. Ooooooh it was almost a pub crawl.
Next weekend I’ll be going somewhere that I’ve mentioned to you quite recently. Unless we over-rule the random number generator.
Malt & Pepper @ Simon The Tanner, Bermondsey
Station: London Bridge
Tube Lines: Jubilee, National Rail, Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 1