Regular readers will have noted a different look and layout. Don’t worry, I’m still the same old, difficult, miserable bastard trying to find the best roast dinner in London. But I thought it was about time to have a refresh.
Just testing ideas at the moment, so you might see a few changes in the coming weeks.
Annoyingly, this current new theme which I am testing, and which I quite like, shows an excerpt of the blog post on the front page, which kind of means that I might have to start with sensible, SEO strategies.
This week, I went on an adventure to Islington. I’ve reviewed quite a few places in King’s Cross, yet never quite ventured up the road to the delights of Angel – at least not for the purposes of gravy worship.
There are quite a few places in Islington on the to-do list; Riverford at Duke of Cambridge, Smokehouse Islington, The Narrowboat, The Albion, Islington Townhouse (where I had an awesome banana-flavoured beer after my roast), The Drapers Arms – jeez even The Bedford Tavern, Jeremy Corbyn’s local is on the list.
But for this week, the random number generator had picked The Old Queen’s Head in Angel. A pub I have frequented before, it is a open-feeling pub with occasional snippets of odd decoration and taxidermy (though that could be my imagination). Aimed at hip, young things like me – on a weekend it can be rather festooned with rather nubile young ladies – at least on my visits. And a high beard ratio.
Ahh Rick Astley. If only there were still great musicians around like him.
On the way to the pub I was rather tempted by the idea of purchasing a mannequin that I found for sale on the cute, rickety street of market stalls on the Angel station side – £125 for a young lady with her breasts permanently on show, that would never say a word – at least outside of my imagination. This I deemed to be a bargain. Alas, that would mean going two months without a roast dinner to be able to pay for it – and I couldn’t let my very special readers down. I know that you are waiting every Monday (ish – very ish this week) for that special moment where the new roast dinner review arrives.
So onto the roast.
Beef, lamb and chicken were the available options. I went for chicken for a change, at £13.50 – lamb was £14.50 and beef was £15.50. I have to say that I didn’t have especially high expectations – it just felt like a pub that would overlook it’s food. No such overlooking on the beer choices, with a very tasty lager recommended to me by the barman, which was thoroughly tasty. Thanks for the upsell.
It took around 20 minutes to arrive for mine, though another 5 minutes for my accomplice’s lamb roast – inadvertently this delay worked as it was my accomplice’s round.
First up was the carrot. One long, orderly yet succelent stick. It was a horizontally quartered carrot – sweeter than average.
Then there was one large parsnip. It seemed to have been roasted, albeit a tad lightly. Also sweeter than usual – perhaps there was a little honey involved.
Finishing off the vegetable offering, was a rather sizeable pile of kale. A touch crispy on the edge, this held the gravy well, and was the highlight of the vegetables. Yes, I am really struggling for descriptions this week. You try reviewing the same thing every sodding week.
Actually this was not quite finishing off the vegetables, for I had a very disturbing invasion of a circular green alien invader.
I always check one thing at the bar and I did so again, as usual. “Are there any peas? As I have a severe, vaguely rational phobia of peas and their inbuilt lack of discipline”.
The barman told me that he was 90% sure that there were not any peas. I wasn’t too keen on 90% sure, so he checked, and it was confirmed to me that 100% there would be no peas.
Lo and behold – an ill-disciplined pea.
Roast potatoes. And they were properly roasted again. I’d like to think that the chefs of London have noted my most common complaint, and that Roast Dinners In London has become the great influence over the quality of roast dinners in London that I dream of.
I suspect that this is not yet the case (share, retweet, like, follow, hint hint). Three small roast potatoes were supplied – all a little squidgly ‘cooked earlier’ but a reasonable effort and I thank the Lord for the somewhat crispy edges.
I’ve been thinking about that mannequin that was for sale. Does anyone want to buy it for me as a thank you gift for my loyal roast dinner reviewing community service?
When you have such genius that I do, coming up with great ideas is just natural. And I have an exceptionally brilliant idea. I should dress the mannequin as Margaret Thatcher. I could get a dress, a pearl necklace, and some make-up. Oh and a wig. And I could have my own 3D, almost-real version of Margaret Thatcher in the dining room so I never had to dine alone again.
Might need some help on the make-up so if any hot Spanish or Romanian women are reading that are good at make-up and want to buy me a mannequin and sort out the make-up in exchange for a roast dinner and potential sexual favours if I am not too tired, then hit me up.
Still hungry? Where was I? By the way, I have never taken drugs.
Yorkshire pudding. It was definitely respectable. Reasonably large though just a tad longer cooked than perfect – but still a good Yorkie.
Then the chicken. Only a chicken breast, though cut up into slices to make it look like there was more. That said, it being corn-fed chicken, it was on the plump side, and of good quality. Nothing exciting but simply a good quality piece of chicken breast. My accomplice had the leg of lamb, and this was also unspectacular but very decent – cooked on the rare side of medium; tastier than the chicken. Check me out with the unexpected semi-colon.
Now, there are some things that should go on a roast dinner, and some things that shouldn’t. Last week, oooooop north, I had a stuffing ball with lamb. Posh prudes amongst you will wince, but stuffing should be as obligatory as a Yorkshire pudding on a roast dinner (hello, haterz).
At The Old Queens Head, they supply chicken roast dinners with a big splodge of garlic alioli, tucked right next to the chicken and under the Yorkshire pudding.
Now, if I want additional condiments on a roast dinner, I shall add them myself. Although I admire the attempt at creativity, I do have to question what the hell garlic alioli has got to do with the price of fish?
In itself, it was nice – were I eating a dish of patatas non-bravas, then I would be all over it, and it would probably be all over me. But DO NOT POLLUTE MY ROAST. Want to give me a funky condiment for my roast dinner? Then use a little side-dish so I can choose whether to have it on my food.
Sadly, the pollution did not stop there, for the gravy was also a form of mouth pollution. At first I liked it – advertised as a smoked gravy though I could tell no evidence of smokiness – and I hadn’t taken MDMA on the Friday night and destroyed my tastebuds or anything like that.
It was salty. Too salty. I didn’t really notice it at first, but the more gravy I consumed, the more the salt deposits built up inside my mouth – by the end of the meal, I could only taste salt. Otherwise it was a reasonable enough effort at gravy.
Punishment for always needing extra gravy?
Everything was around reasonable. Nothing stood out as excellent, yet, despite Brexit, nothing really stood out as dreadful either. I wouldn’t go out of your way to go here for a roast, but if you are in the area then it is respectable enough. And it is a pretty damn fine boozer for those of you as young, hip and sexy as I am.
I’m giving it an unexciting 7.07 out of 10. Anything about a 7 is a recommendation.
We did then head onto The Islington Townhouse, also on my to-do list where I had a most fabulous banana beer – definitely worth making the effort for. And then one final beer in the Lexington – a socialist dump with the most miserable barman that I’ve encountered in a long while. Possibly not helped by me trying to tell him that I was a Tory.
Never gonna give you up. Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you.
Never gonna make you cry. Never gonna say goodbye. Never gonna tell a lie about gravy.
I’ll be back next week with a review of somewhere in Clapham. I bet you cannot wait.
And yes I do have a life-sized cardboard cutout of Margaret Thatcher.
The Old Queen’s Head, Angel, North London
Tube Lines: Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 1