Edit 14/01/2018 – Have been advised that The Oxford has closed. #Sad.
Sunday was a special day. A roast dinner day. I had a few accomplices in tow and I wanted a good roast dinner.
The problem being is that nobody has yet done a truly informative blog about the best roast dinners in London. Sure there are those lists of “20 best roast dinners in London” but I highly doubt whoever has written them has ever visited more than one or two of them. So how do I know where to go to impress my Sugravy Hill Gang?
Thankfully for you, I am here now to solve all your roast dinner woes. Except I don’t have a job and cannot afford to go for a roast dinner every week at the moment (hint hint if you know of any junior web developer roles or you need a website building, give me a nudge). Until then you will be stuck with occasional reviews when I somehow have enough money.
Also thankfully for you, I managed to sell some paracetamol in a hardcore gabba rave the other night to be able to fund this roast dinner (he paid £10 a pill too – must have been some stonking headache) so with £30 in my sky rocket I set off to The Oxford in Kentish Town. It had good reviews on Trip Advisor, ok? Not that that means much. You need a roast dinner expert like myself to know whether a place really does good roast dinners.
The pub itself is a smart boozer/dining room – immaculately laid-out and styled, a mixture of exposed brickwork and typical modern pub colours, with high quality seats and tables adorning their rest area. It had warm, homely feel to it and we liked the place so much that we even came back in the evening.
The photograph is stolen from the pub’s website, hopefully they won’t mind as I have been nice. So far. By the way, if you are reading and from the establishment (I mean the pub, not the 1% that control all the sheeple…yeah stop smoking weed and get a fucking job), you might want to take a look at the page that your newsletter sign-up sends you to as it takes you to page not found. Should be a very simple fix. The sign-up works, just the redirect page is not valid.
Beef, chicken, pork belly and nut roast were on the menu, priced at 17, 15, 15 and 14 – if you run the pub then you might want to update the increased prices on your website. If you are a customer you might want to take advantage of this discretion and save yourself a quid or two. Fucking Brexit. Yeah I’m a remoaner, get over it.
I chose the pork belly. A risky choice as it can easily go very, very wrong indeed. It can be amazing, it can be very good or it can be awful. There is no average with pork belly.
It took a good 15 minutes or so to arrive, I cannot say I counted. However one plate didn’t arrive as the cute waitress, really cute in fact, forgot to order it. For the minor indiscretion we received a free meal – I wouldn’t have expected this , an apology would have sufficed, but credit where credit is due.
Unfortunately credit was not due everywhere. There was one strip of carrot on the plate – it looked like it had been roasted however not long enough for my preference, it hadn’t been cooked long enough to bring out the flavour.
And the two parsnips didn’t cut the imaginary mustard either, both a bit under-cooked, both a touch lacking in flavour.
Meanwhile the kale was a controversial addition on the table – even my vegetarian amigo wasn’t too amused. I, however, being trendy enough to not only eat kale but avocado (when will avocado be on a roast dinner?) truly appreciated it. Perfectly cooked with enough crunch and vitality to it. Horses for courses but no k-holes. Just kale-holes. Shall I give up with the jokes? It wasn’t even my joke.
Why are mountains so funny? Because they are hill areas.
Get it? Hill areas? Hilarious? I actually managed to get a date last week from using that joke. She told me she loved gravy – I fell in temporary online dating love. Though I think that was probably the only thing we had in common.
Where was I? Potatoes. Roast potatoes. Or slightly roasted potatoes. I guess the chef was expecting the bullshit announced yesterday from the FSA saying roast potatoes give you cancer, or something like that (first cigarettes, then alcohol, then drugs, then bacon…now fucking roast potatoes – am I not allowed any pleasures in life?). As these were not crispy at all, if you can actually remember what I’m talking about given my mini-mid-sentence-rant, yeah screw you hyphen-nazi. The potatoes were a bit anemic in looks, though cooked through enough. Decently average but nothing more.
There was also a little pot of cauliflower cheese. I really do not understand why this was in a separate pot. Can anyone elude as to why this might be the case? Surely only for reasons of presentation? Like all non-kale vegetables, the quantity could have been higher, just three mouthfuls though I do have a big mouth. A little squidgier than ideal but cheesier than the norm. Pretty damn good.
Things went up a notch with the Yorkshire pudding. Sometimes they can be so tasteless – a good chef friend of mine believes that they are utterly pointless. But this really was quite exquisite in terms of taste, soft, somewhat fluffy – a really good yorkie.
And the pork belly was in the very good category – not amazing but very good. The top crackling layer was soft and chewy rather than crunchy but the meat was excellent – so succulent, rather quite gorgeous. It was a relief!
My accomplices advised that the chicken was spot on, and the beef, though not rib-eye (I think) was as tasty as rib-eye. So, whilst not everything in the roast dinner is good – the second most important part of a roast dinner, you are guaranteed near-excellence.
And for the most important part. We were promised endless gravy, which to a Yorkshireman is the equivalent of offering a banker endless cocaine. And I can understand why they can promise endless gravy because it was little more than what came out of the tap. And a real schoolgirl error here in that I forgot to photograph the meal with the gravy added so you could see how weak it was. Doh.
The gravy was utterly disappointing. Taste-wise there was nothing wrong with it, absolutely fine, but the weakest, most watery gravy I have probably ever encountered. Around the edges of the plate it would literally look like water. Just imagine a banker buying a whole gram of bicarbonate soda. That kind of disappointment. I still had the gravy, of course.
At least it wasn’t jus. Should I attempt an “I’m in North London so I’m surprised it wasn’t a jus” joke? Yeah maybe not. Dodgy territory – I might end up with the Labour Party trying to recruit me.
It isn’t a million miles away from being a very good roast dinner. But clear improvements can and should be achieved – in my opinion anyway, and I am important for I am Lord Gravy. For the roast dinner, it gets a 7.20 out of 10.
It is a really good pub, service was decent, it was clean, homely and welcoming – it has a lot going for it and I recommend a visit – I’d definitely eat there again (Monday to Saturday) if opportunity arose.
But the ‘gravy’ needs reporting to trading standards.
Next up…I have no idea. I need a job first. Or a lot of people clicking the adverts! Maybe I should become an escort. Yes – roast dinner escorts! Surely there are some lonely women out there in London that need escorts so they can go for a roast dinner on a Sunday? I’ll get started on the website this afternoon. I am a genius.
Oh yeah, please can you share if you enjoyed reading. It helps.
The Oxford, Kentish Town,
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: Mr Fogg’s Tavern, Covent Garden