Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Covent Garden

I’m writing to you from the year 2029 – I have suddenly realised that I forgot to write my roast dinner review of Mr Fogg’s Tavern from August bank holiday in 2019 – quiant and peaceful times when we only had 9 or so bank holidays a year – we are currently on out 58th bank holiday of the year, thanks to Saint Jeremy. Though there are no banks any more, thanks also to Saint Jeremy. Who needs banks when you have communism?

Yes I’ve found myself stuck in the leftover rump of the Communist Republic of London & Surrounding Areas (CRLSA) following the civil war. For years I threatened to leave the country if Brexit ruined the UK. For even more years I threatened to leave if Corbyn took over. Now I cannot leave. I still love irony though.

See, I was so obsessed with reviewing the final roast dinners on my to-do list that I kept putting off the obvious – which was to leave the country. And then it was too late. As a remainer, I’m not welcome in any of the 8 other countries that used to make up the United Kingdom – except Scotland, which has become almost the de facto leader of the EU. Of course, there is no way to get to even Scotland from the CRLSA.

So it’s nice to be able to look back at happier times, when we could protest outdoors in groups, when the Metropolitan line sometimes run, when we had sufficient food – when meat was legal. What I wouldn’t give right now for an overpriced plate of watery gravy and uncooked roast potatoes. Sigh.

Heil Saint Jeremy

I’ve even kept a copy of the e-mail I received from Mr Fogg’s Tavern, after I enquired about a table:

Hello Duckie, Ta ever so for your lovely little note, delighted to be of assistance.

Our Roast is, without doubt a very staple of civilization in this modern day of 1885! I would be delighted to book you a table for it at Mr Fogg’s Tavern, for 2 guests from 1.45pm exactly, on Monday 26th August.

If you could also be so kind as to send me the hour at which you will be arriving and departing I shall happily check availability for you.

Our delicious Roast is a top notch Victorian menu offering piles of beef dripping roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, the butteriest of butter greens and a selection of roasted root veggies that Queen Victoria herself would be sure to take a fancy to. In order to confirm your reservation we do require credit card details. In the interest of security, we are unable to accept your card details over email.

If you could be so kind as to let me know your phone number I’d be happy to give you a call or you can reach me on 0207 581 3992, let me know what’s easier for you. This is simply to secure your table, no deposit will be taken.

In the unfortunate instance that you were unable to attend we would require 23 hours’ and 59 minutes’ notice otherwise the landlady Miss Fanny Mcgee would be forced to retain the amount of £10 per person. I do hope that you shall grace us with your presence very soon. Your ever so humble servant, Miss Tanya Cleere Scullery Maid

Back then, I remember wanting to vomit on my laptop. Now it seems so wonderous to have not had to fill out reems of paperwork to apply to have a meal out, several months in advance, approved by the communist party. Oh, by the way, if you are reading in the past – don’t worry, this won’t get me in trouble with my hallowed leaders, as I’m posting it via the nointernet network, so there is no way for anyone to see this in current times. Possibly shouldn’t mention that we used to have a Royal Family though, as that has been scrubbed out of our history nearly as well as a little incident in Tiananmen Square was in China’s history.

What is a Queen?

Mr Fogg’s Tavern is (forgive the present tense as this is a message to the past) a kind of saloon bar – a quirky venture, of which there are multiple venues through the city of London. I think this is their only venue that serves roast dinners, though feel free to correct me from the past if I am wrong. I cannot remember everything from this morning, let alone 2019.

The high chairs and tables were not especially designed for eating a roast dinner – this was not the most comfortable that I had ever been on my adventures – similar to the chairs I had to sit on when the regime interrogated me for having a non-vegan sausage roll.

On the menu was pork belly, sirloin steak or baby chicken – which sounded like a tremendous faff in a hot pub on the hottest August bank holiday ever.

I chose the steak, in fact all three of us chose the steak, all asking for it to be cooked medium-rare, and we sat there nursing our hangovers and waiting for the magical shaft to open. Ahh the days when you’d wait minutes for a meal, instead of months for the right to go to a government-controlled restaurant.

Got to love a good shaft

Dinner was the sum of £19.50 – which seems really weird writing that. I guess that would be the equivalent of 15,000,000 Jezcoins now. Joke! There is no such thing as money in the Communist Republic of London & Surrounding Areas. No, Bracknell isn’t one of the surrounding areas. Yes, Bracknell is the capital of Farageland. Yes Nigel Farage is head of the Royal Family in Farageland.

And here is my medium-rare steak:

Sunday roast at Mr Fogg's Tavern
Seems like a very 2029 amount of gravy

Yes. I might be from the culinary back-water of Hull (part of Real England – not Farageland, believe it or not) and my mother may have cremated more than the odd joint of beef in her life, but I do realise that this is not medium-rare.

What to do? Be British (ha!) and just accept it? Or point out to the sweet waitress that she has fucked up?

We were waiting for our gravy anyway, and I plucked up the courage to mention that it didn’t look medium-rare.

The waitress thought I had asked for medium-well, but offered me a new dinner if I was willing to wait 5-10 minutes. I asked what the inner-vegan in me would do, and decided to accept it as it was, instead of wasting any food – I was offered a free beer instead, which I gladly accepted.

We continued to wait for our gravy.

Whilst we are waiting…

Maybe a good point to tell you about the civil war. It started after the 3rd Brexit deal delay in mid-2020. A prominent anti-Brexit campaigner was stabbed to death outside parliament – which caused remainers to smash up several Wetherspoons within the bounds of London. Violence escalated – though deaths remained thankfully minimal. Over the course of a couple of years, much of the country was Brexitly-cleansed – Brexit supporters forced out of London – sometimes from violence, but more often from a lack of jobs available to those that supported Brexit, for example, and more subtle means such as teachers expelling children of Brexiters from schools. By the way, we are still waiting for our gravy.

In Brexity areas, there was more violence, though much came in the way of intimidating behaviour – those that “looked like remoaners” would be hounded by drunken gangs in Brexity towns like Stoke – the violence occurred on both sides, though was more commonplace in Brexity areas. Within a few years, most people had moved to areas with like-minded folk – the fewer of your side left in an area, the more dangerous life became.

So, a very ex-British civil war, which was quite civil by international standards – if still entirely unpleasant. Things became so bad that the Boris Johnson months seem like a high point of politics. Also, communism has not increased the size of my willy.

Still awake?

Our gravy finally arrived – at least a five minute wait, perhaps even close to ten minutes. Of course, not enough gravy for three people, though in the Communist Republic of London & Surrounding Areas in 2029, that is enough for the whole commune.

Yes you see cherry tomatoes…

Come 2029, you would be absolutely delighted to see them on a roast dinner. You’d be delighted to see anything on a plate, to be fair. And these tomatoes were seriosuly sexy, really wholesome – proper fresh tomatoes from your grandad’s greenhouse.

A few thin slices of carrot had been nicely roasted – they were soft.

The butternut squash was particularly good – chunky and again soft.

The parsnips had a healthy flavour to them, however they definitely needed a little more roasting – they were a tad on the tough side.

Cabbage. Come on, don’t expect to write anything about cabbage from a meal that I had back in 2019.

We were allowed some gravy back in 2019

Believe it or not, the roast potatoes were actually decent. The lesser-spotted accomplice thought they weren’t crispy enough – which, of course, they weren’t, however they were far closer to good roasties than we’ve had for a while. Alas, mine were one bite only – so barely a potato’s worth. Meh, just like 2029.

Mr Fogg’s Tavern, back in 2019

We’d taken a moment to discuss the missing yorkie from the roast that I’d had the day before, and when I mentioned that I wasn’t bothered – that yorkies are so over-rated, my lesser-spotted accomplice thought that as sacrilege. Maybe after this flat, thin and rather tough example, she might have more understanding.

The steak was a love/not love affair. I wasn’t amused by it being medium-well instead of my requested medium-rare. Yes I know I could have had a new portion cooked for me, but I was too woke to want to waste food even back in 2019. Yeah…

I also wasn’t especially amused by the amount of steak on the plate – just six fairly thin slices. It was the kind of amount that I’d expect in a steak sandwich at lunch (in 2019) – not a £19.50 roast dinner.

However, the garlic and rosemary seasoning was gorgeous, particularly the garlic, of which there was no shortage. Yummy.

When the gravy finally arrived, we had a rich and thick gravy. It seemed like a red wine based gravy – a tad syrup-like too. The extra gravy (which didn’t take quite as long to arrive…but didn’t arrive before we’d run out) was much thinner. Perhaps because it wasn’t hanging around long enough?

How good were roasts back in 2019?

Broadly speaking I enjoyed this roast dinner. The gravy was good, the vegetables mostly so – even the roast potatoes weren’t that bad.

The major downfall was the quantity of meat for the price paid – and of course, the error in how I wanted it cooked.

Only a 10% service charge though. I think I remember what service charges were.

Service itself was far from perfect, but she admitted that she was having “one of those days” – don’t we all? Though I had the wrong steak and things took their time to arrive it still felt like good service. In other restaurants, everything can go right yet the service feels inhuman.

I even saw her going to Sainsburys to get some chocolate brownies because they had run out…I took that as ingenuity.

I’m scoring it a 7.52 out of 10.

Next year I hope to have permission to have a roast dinner in one of Saint Jeremy’s working men’s clubs, and will revert back to you then – though permission may take a couple of years to be granted. I’ve decided that I need to stop being so stubborn, and be willing to work for the regime. I miss my roast dinners. Oh what has become of the United Kingdom?

For those reading back in 2019…maybe a bit less hatred? You can change your destiny, unless…

YOU ARE ALL HITLER.

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