Yes, I have finally been somewhere that you might have been, seen or at least heard of. This week the random number generator chose Paternoster Chop House, near some big church thing at the tube station called St Pauls. Also known as the “First Dates” restaurant.
For some reason I had somewhat higher expectations for the Paternoster Chop House – I certainly expected it to be more upmarket than many places, even if I did see someone eating a Yorkshire pudding by hand not long after being seated.
Guess what? It took me about 5 seconds to fall in love once I entered the door, being greeted by a super-cute Latino lady.
Guess what? I applied to First Dates a couple of years back, on the insistence of my token black friend, also known as my spiritual advisor. Yeah, I didn’t get on the show.
Guess what? Erm…
Guess what? I wanted to watch the cricket.
Guess what? Apparently the cricket was on the TV screen earlier but my future Latino stalkee didn’t know why it wasn’t on any more.
Guess what? It never came back on.
Guess what? The couple on a date next to us said “ahhh romance isn’t dead” when I had asked for the cricket to be put on.
Guess…who I thought would be the perfect accomplice to take to the First Dates restaurant for a roast dinner? Erm…my sister. Though I did also invite a homosexual to make it a threesome. Alas he declined.
I guess you are bored of me introducing paragraphs like that. My SEO plugin is gonna hate me too. Shall I introduce the restaurant?
For it was a proper restaurant. One with waiters and waitresses, proper tables, proper chairs – serviettes all folded up nicely, wine glasses awaiting your instructions. That kind of place.
Though not stuffy, it felt modern and relaxed – despite having a table of two people almost right next to us, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like there was more space than the environs of central London normally proffers.
I forgot to take a photograph of the menu, so you’ll have to suffice with a link to their online offering. They don’t advertise their roast dinner prices – suggesting that you should have two courses for £25, or three for £30. Neither of us wanted a starter or dessert, and we were granted the option of just having the roast dinner.
Options were pork loin, leg of lamb or beef sirloin. I went for the leg of lamb – mainly because lamb often comes from New Zealand and I was looking forward to thrashing them in the cricket so England could become the first country in the world to have won both the football and cricket world cups. Stick that up your encule, France. And Spain. And Italy. And Germany.
We also had the option between pink and well done for our respective meats (beef and lamb) – and we both chose pink.
We sat there on our mobile devices for around 15 minutes before our dinners arrived.
Yeah it was one of those kind of places where a whole roast dinner cannot be served on one plate.
Yeah it was one of those places where there was almost zero gravy on the plate, and the request for extra gravy was fulfilled with a tiny gravy jug.
Starting with the carrots which were roasted and whole, how I like them, though I’d argue a bit over-roasted, especially the smaller ones which were closer to black than orange. Kind of meeting my approval.
The parsnips, however, fell short of my expectations, and again were roasted a bit too much. Appeared orange on the over-roasted side and almost had the texture of a large oat throughout. Not appealing but edible.
Spring greens were spring greens. I liked them but they were just spring greens.
You’re bored already aren’t you? Wanna see my application for First Dates?
My alleged spiritual advisor required me to complete this form so consider this application as being under duress.Lord Gravy, 2017
I am a fat, ugly, smelly grunt with a ***redacted as it would identify me***.
I am useless with women, I once turned up to a date on horse tranquilizer and my Tinder profile simply says “big heart, small penis”. Except that’s also a lie because I’m a Tory.
There are next to no redeemable qualities about me, however I do not have any sexual diseases, I still have some of my own teeth and I am one of the best roast dinner reviewers in London.
One or two people think I’m funny but most think I’m even more of a twat than Jeremy Corbyn.
Please note that I work underground (keeps me hidden from public view) and my telephone barely works at the best of times, so please either text or e-mail me if you are really desperate enough for contenders.
Finally, I own shiny green meggings and I am not homosexual. Gays are great, I have gay friends and everything – but I love boobs. I would just get breast implants but my mother keeps nagging me just to find a girlfriend. Actually that’s a lie – she’s given up hope.
Guess what? They were shit. Again.
A variety of sizes and they had been roasted. Had they been roasted this week? Or maybe roasted last year and stuck in a large freezer? I guess not, but you get the point – they were quite solid, and notably dry – the gravy drought not helping matters. Oh for potato waffles.
The Yorkshire pudding was even worse. Burnt and in muffin-style instead of being a proper Yorkshire pudding. This was tough and tearable – not even the bottom of the yorkie was appealing, though the gravy drought again meant there was no way of softening it up.
Sadly the lamb wasn’t quite to my liking either. Perhaps it was my fault for requesting pink instead of well done, but it really didn’t seem like it had been cooked enough. Very much on the edge of whether it had actually been cooked – I really didn’t expect it this pink. Maybe this is actually perfect and I’m just a simple, single, fat fucker from up north. But it seemed undercooked to me – not to mention also lacking in flavour. I actually spat some of it out as I couldn’t process it in my mouth. Ahhh, romance isn’t dead.
My accomplice’s beef was much nicer than my lamb.
Finally, the gravy. Once I’d poured it from the ridiculously hot and ridiculously small jug that I could only hold for a couple of seconds, I found a hearty, silky jus-like gravy. It had some consistency and some good flavour to it. Not a proper northern gravy, but a tasty jus-like gravy. It helped rather than hindered, though I’d always prefer a proper northern gravy.
Many restaurants and pubs have to put a lot of effort in nowadays to attract enough punters to be able to balance the books and stay open.
Yet the Paternoster Chop House doesn’t need to – it has both a prime location on the edge of a gorgeous little square, right next to a major tourist attraction, and it has the luck of having been chosen as the “First Dates” restaurant.
Was this the reason why the Sunday roast was nowhere near up to scratch? Maybe they don’t need to put the effort in to keep standards high any more?
There were more redeeming features than last week’s festival of dullness, however there were also more points of failure too – with the lamb, roasties and yorkie all failing to meet expectations. £19.00 worth of expectations, plus service charge, minus falling in love.
Originally, I thought it was better than last weeks, but the more I think about it, the lower I want to score it. I mean, if you cannot get the roasties, yorkies or meat right, and the veg is a tad overcooked…this calls for a score of 5.66 out of 10. My accomplice, who enjoyed her beef and had a less burnt yorkie, gave it a 6.5 out of 10.
I did get a mint as a consolation prize though. Oh, and we won the World Cup!
I should say that service was good throughout (though took a while to take our money). It was the kind of service that you’d expect at 12.5% service charge, but still it was fitting of what I’d expect at a proper restaurant. Just a shame that the roast was so poor.
Next Sunday I have the annual inspection from the oldies. Yes I do have a job. No I am not addicted to crystal meth. No I am still not gay. Yes I will come to visit soon.
We are going somewhere central again. And somewhere upmarket again. And please, please, please – somewhere good?