Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.
This is a long process, so please bear with me...it will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.
We are officially in drought – and no, I’m not talking about the fact that I had gone nearly a week without eating gravy – at least until I ended up at Number 90 in Hackney Wick.
And no, I’m not even talking about my sex life. Drought was declared years ago there.
Yes it is scorcharooney – or at least it was on the Sunday that I and many other sensible people were planning to eat a roast dinner on. Yes, I saw other people eating roast dinners. It isn’t just me. It might seem like that on Twitter sometimes but that’s because most people just talk about how desperately we need to nationalise everything, because our government is soooo competent that they should be in charge of running even more things.
Anyway, in my infinite wisdom I agreed to go for a walk with a friend, so she could explore some of London – she’s fairly new to town. And she likes roast dinners. Even in summer. Even when it is 34’C. And she’s European.
Did someone mention Brexit?
So we walked along Regent’s Canal, from Paddington, through Little Venice and up to Camden – not a long walk but after eating only an apple, and it being scorcharooney, I was even more ready for a roast dinner than the government is ready to run the electricity supply. Or maybe just a beer. We had a beer.
We then took the overground to Hackney Wick – to go to the Lord Napier Star. Yes, Lord Gravy going to the Lord Napier Star.
I Am Number 1
You may have noticed that the review is not titled, “Lord Napier Star”. They definitely sell roast dinners. They are on my to-do list. The random number generator picked it – though you cannot book a table for less than 10 people on a Sunday, so it was a tad risky.
At the bar, I asked that life-affirming question, “are you still doing roast dinners today?”.
DROUGHT. They were not serving roast dinners. Apparently, it was too hot. Too hot to serve a roast dinner to two people that really needed a roast dinner after a walk in the hot sunshine. What kind of country have we become?
Oh yeah, that kind of country where the Prime Minister attending a meeting is headline news. “Prime Minister Does Some Work”.
We had a beer at the Lord Napier Star anyway. It isn’t going off my to-do list – it does looks a very good pub.
Thankfully I had a back-up plan. And 3 different back-up plans to the back-up plan. We walked around the corner to Number 90. I feel like I should build up the suspense for you, but you’ll probably have noticed that Number 90 is the title of the review. And you’ll have seen the photograph at the top of the page.
But they did make us wait. There was a queue. We waited, hoping that they would say those magical words, “yes, we are serving roast dinners”.
Lord Gravy. London’s Number 1 Roast Dinner Reviewer.
“Yes, we are serving roast dinners”. We could have an outdoor table in the sun, or an outdoor table in the shade. It was still 34’C. Maybe 33’C. I didn’t have a thermometer on me so I’m guessing really. We chose to sit in the shade.
As a location, it is quite fantastic here. We were sat on a table right next to the River Lea, happily watching boats go by – sometimes rowing boats, sometimes canal boats – sometimes with people rowing into the canal boats. Plus there are all kinds of characters in Hackney Wick, so people-watching is great fun too.
Drinks were very ordinary at Number 90, though prices wonderful compared to central London – I had a pint of Camden Pale Ale – yeah, that kind of ordinary. Though they were serving jugs of sangria – which I only realised on the way out. It was definitely a sangria kind of day.
Food prices were also very much on the affordable side – £15.50 for a chicken roast or £16.90 for beef topside. Then again…maybe wait until you’ve seen the portion size of the chicken.
Our roasts took around 15-20 minutes to arrive:
We could start with the carrot but I don’t really remember eating it. It was roasted but lacked flavour.
I do remember the parsnip, again it was roasted, but it tasted really weak and watery. Both the parsnip and carrot were supposed to have been roasted in honey and cumin – I love the latter but didn’t detect any such flavour, honey perhaps so, but weakly so.
Lord Gravy. London’s Number 1 Roast Dinner Reviewer. There isn’t a Number 2.
The broccoli was damp and mushy – but I’m fine with that. If you desire a crunch, then it wasn’t for you.
And finally for the vegetables, the red cabbage. Again a bit damp and mushy – but I didn’t hate it as I often do red cabbage. It had none of that winter spice crap – just ordinary red cabbage, if somewhat over-blanched.
I appreciate that this doesn’t sound amazing so far – but the last time I had a roast dinner in Hackney Wick, I was served this:
Oh – there was a stray pea. It went in the river. Maybe the baby coots appreciated it.
The roast potatoes were more roasted potatoes – but they actually tasted good. Sure, you cannot rate them as good roast potatoes – no chuffing, no attempt at crispy sides, but they were edible, they had some thyme and were pleasant to eat. Unlike a lot of the “roast potatoes” that I have.
However, the Yorkshire pudding was back to standard, and in case you are new around here, standard isn’t good. Again, it had clearly been standing around for hours, quite possibly the Yorkshire puddings had been on the roof sunbathing all day – they were fully crispy and dried out. Sufficient gravy helped to an extent – and it wasn’t as bad as some, notably The Crown in Islington a couple of weeks back. But it was bad.
The drought is clearly affecting chicken sizes as this was the smallest piece of chicken I’d seen since I dreamt of working in a Nando’s factory. It was also quite dry, but I didn’t hate it. I guess getting any chicken in vegan-heavy Hackney I should be grateful for.
Finally, the gravy. It was good! So good that I drunk the remaining gravy from the mini-mug that it was served in. A fraction on the fruity side, reasonably thick consistency and a home-made meat-stock kind of feel to it. Even good enough for an exclamation mark.
Number 90’s Roast Dinner Is Review Number 218.
42% of people probably also thought that Number 90 do a great roast dinner. Seriously. Check the reviews on Google, if you don’t believe me.
However, it was alright ish – the gravy was very good, alas, the only thing to impress but my name isn’t Lord Gravy for nothing. I do rather like gravy.
Everything else was much of a muchness, the Yorkshire pudding was dried and tired from all the sunbathing, and the chicken was so small and quite dry too – everything else was kind of alright.
Service was decent enough, a friendly welcome at the door, drinks arrived fairly quickly and the guy taking our order was nice.
And I love the venue – it’s a great spot for people and boat watching, I could happily spend a long time here. I will be back. Would I eat here again? Possibly…I’d certainly try a burger if I was on a night out here.
My accomplice was unimpressed, bar the potatoes and her vegetarian wellington – her score was a 5.80 out of 10. I was slightly more contented by good gravy, though still not overly amused, and my score is a 6.36 out of 10.
No plan yet for next week. But I’ll be back.
Number 90, Hackney Wick
Station: Hackney Wick
Tube Lines: Overground
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: My kind of venue and my kind of gravy. Potatoes tasted nice...but weren't proper roast potatoes.
Loathed: Yorkshire pudding had been sunbathing all day - way too crispy. Chicken was puny - from a Nando's dream factory.