Osteria Wolf, Stoke Newington

Welcome to Fear And Loathing in the 1922 Committee. Yeah, it is a Tory Drug Off special – what the fuck else did you expect? Oh and a roast dinner review of Osteria Wolf in Stoke Newington…I would prefer not to reveal the location in the first paragraph but SEO demands it. Fuck you Google.

Waaaaaait a minute. Osteria Wolf is an Italian restaurant, I hear you say. Yes, I went for a roast dinner in an Italian restaurant. Am I on drugs? Are they on drugs? Is everyone on drugs?

I went to Osteria Wolf a couple of months ago, on a Saturday evening and had a very flavoursome dinner, and noticed that they did a Sunday roast, so thought I’d add it to my to-do list. Vote Tory.

The random number generator decided that it wanted me to go there this Sunday, so after a quick pit stop in Dalston Superstore to admire the drag queens (just one) and listen to Celine Dion’s crooning, we arrived at Osteria Wolf.

Shhhhhhhh.

It was quiet inside. Really quiet. This is an excellent restaurant, often fully-booked yet there were just a handful of tables occupied. Sunday is roast dinner day in this country (apparently Dominic Raab was having a chicken roast dinner in a pub) so I was hoping that was the reason why an excellent Italian restaurant was empty. I mean, what type of person goes an Italian restaurant for a Sunday roast? Also, are you #ReadyForRaab?

Yet maybe I imagined it. Maybe they don’t actually sell roast dinners. Maybe they did during winter but have stopped them. I had visions of us sitting down for dinner, them saying “why on earth would you expect a roast dinner at an Italian restaurant”, then us saying “vaffanculo” and fucking off to a pub. Are you…ready, are you ready for Raab?

They still did roast dinners, though you only have one option – porchetta, priced at £18. Which is a pretty damn excellent option to be stuck with.

So I wondered instead, maybe it wouldn’t come with roast potatoes? Maybe it wouldn’t come with gravy? That was a definite possibility. And I was pretty confident that there would be no Yorkshire pudding. And no cocaine.

Ready?

Osteria Wolf is a fairly small, independent restaurant with a bar along one side in the middle of the room, and the full width of both the front and the back taken up with tables. At the back of the room you could see the kitchen through a large serving hatch. Note for any future Conservative leaders that the gentlemen’s toilets was just one toilet with a lock on the door. Are you thinking what they’re thinking? Though they had the toilet roll the wrong way around, FFS.

On the menu was…oh yeah we’ve done that. Vegans – ha! Vegetarians – ha! Though I’m sure there were non-roast options for those “saving the environment” before booking their flight to Goa.

Hmmm, I didn’t take a photograph of the menu. Guess this will do.

Only two people seemed to be serving, an English lady and an Italian gentleman, the latter of which thankfully agreed (or amused me) when I said Peroni was shite, though then recommended me an Italian craft lager which was not much of a step up. Italians aren’t exactly known for their beer, are they? Interestingly when they asked me what I thought of it and I gave a “polite” answer, they offered to swap it for something else. I declined. Because I am English. I shall be utterly polite, then watch the football, jump on a car and piss in your garden. PASS ME THE COCAINE YOU FUCKING TWAT OR I’LL JOIN LABOUR.

Oh My Gove

20 minutes or so passed until our dinners arrived and it was an oh my fucking Gove moment.

Maybe I should post the re-arranged plate already.

Starting with the long, sliced carrots. These were so smooth that I barely noted that I was eating them. A hint of butter, otherwise soft and fairly sublime. Wait, are those carrots talking to me?

Tenderstem broccoli was spot on, elegant-looking (albeit not on my photograph) with the right balance between crunch and edibility.

Surely Italians cannot make better roast potatoes than the English? Granted, many English pubs are not difficult to better on the roast potato scale, there were three large roast potatoes, all properly crispy on the outside – if a little dry and slightly solid on the inside. Though not perfect, these were very good – and better than many an English pub. Possibly also worth noting that good potatoes perhaps not as easy to come by this time of year.

No Yorkshire pudding. Do I care about the lack of a lump of batter shaped like a bowl that has been sat under a heat lamp since dawn? No, no more than I care that Boris Johnson once snorted but didn’t inhale, honest, because we (including his ex-wife that he has cheated on several times and lied about) can trust everything that Boris Johnson says.

Meaty

Then the porchetta. The plate of porchetta. Do you want the good news, bad news or fake news first?

The flavour of the porchetta was pretty damn sublime. Heavy on the garlic (you won’t be snogging any Tories after), with plenty of other herbs involved, particularly sage and rosemary – at least to my underdeveloped taste buds. Way superior to ordinary pork belly.

In terms of texture, there could be improvements. Part of the crackling was crispy if a tad tough, the top part on the photograph was rather rubbery and crunch-free. Also the top part of the meat was arguably a tad under-cooked.

Overall the porchetta was very enjoyable, along with being exceptionally tasty. Oh yeah. Theresa May once was in a room where someone had smoked weed an hour ago.

Yes, there was gravy. Originally on the plate there was gravy and olive oil – arrivaderchi! More gravy was forthcoming upon request, in the restaurant’s only gravy jug. Tip if you are reading, Osteria Wolf – you might want to get a few more in…for some bizarre reason people actually read this blog and take my advice, so you might get a few extra customers eventually. Assume they like gravy.

Oh yeah, and the gravy was really good. It had a good consistency, was hearty and full of flavour – albeit I was probably more tasting the garlic from the porchetta. There was a little something extra to it, almost a minute hint of spice but I couldn’t work it out.

So did I enjoy the roast dinner at Osteria Wolf and make a good sub-heading for my SEO?

Maybe I was on drugs, but that was rather enjoyable.

So enjoyable that my accomplices rated it an 8.8 and a 9 out of 10, respectively, though the latter only has Hawksmoor to compare it to. And we all know what I thought of that.

I’m not so generous, there are some potential improvements yet everything was very, very good. Service was good, service was friendly – though I did have to turn around and stare at the barmaid for a while when she forgot my wine order, of which I made a schoolboy error and ordered the recommended glass, not knowing the price.

The wine was so nice, that I ordered a second glass – cue spending more on two glasses of wine than on the roast itself. I was going to argue that no deal was better than a bad deal and that I was going to withhold the money that the restaurant demanded from me for the wine until I got a better deal, but decided not to be a lying, cheating tosser.

And seriously (ish), I voted Tory several times and my wife hasn’t got bigger breasts. I don’t even have a wife. Yet again Boris lied to me.

Would you lie to me?

As I mentioned, all the food was very good and the portion very generous. Flavour was particularly enjoyable, though some minor imperfections on the roasties and the porchetta. Actually, I definitely have bigger breasts since voting Tory.

Overall Osteria Wolf does an excellent roast, as long as you can get over the idea that there is one meat and you don’t get a yorkie. I’m rating it an 8.45 out of 10 – which at the time of writing makes it the 8th best out of 108 roast dinners reviewed. I think you better get a table booked, no? Maybe leave the drugs at home too. Save them for the Tory hustings coming up.

If you know somewhere else non-traditional that does a Sunday roast, do let me know.

Next Sunday I’m going to an area of London that I’ve never been to, and one that I hope lives up to its name.

Go Rory!

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