Ponte Nuovo, Croydon

Welcome to your new favourite roast dinner blog, Roast Dinners in Croydon. Starting at Ponte Nuovo.

Yep, he’s back by absolutely zero demand, and in a new role.

Image from Number 10, Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0 license

You were the future once, London.

Now let’s all hail Croydon, with its very own roast dinner reviewer, Lord Gravy. Yes, I have finally left behind years of renting, and somehow despite the best efforts of our archaic, socialist planning system, army of NIMBYs and worsening governments, I actually own 10.7% of the right to live in a flat in someone else’s building for the next 110 years, assuming I live that long.

No more tip-toeing around housemates. No more having to listen to music in my earphones so I don’t offend a housemate. No more not being able to walk around in my imaginary ex-girlfriend’s panties, no more not being able to cook crystal meth in the kitchen, no more being able to blame other people for the kitchen being a mess.

My own home. And if you are reading, Camila Misery or whatever your name is in The Telegraph, I didn’t have to sacrifice my roast dinner habit for it.

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Sure, I only own a mattress and I don’t have anywhere to sit down and write a roast dinner review. Except in the shared workspace. With my earphones. But hey, as the next Tory leader will quite possibly sing, The only way is up. Gravy.

London Borough Of Culture

I bet some of you were worried that I’d never make it back from España. It’s true, that I tried not to come back, but Spanish Tinder was as successful for me as English Tinder, and I confirm no matches, let alone dates, let alone shotgun weddings or baby gravy.

So here I am. In Croydon. Ready to find the best roast dinners in Croydon for you. And maybe Purley if I feel really ambitious.

It nearly didn’t happen. The roast dinner I mean, not buying a flat – though the solicitors, management company, building landlord, council – everyone tried their hardest not to supply the required documentation for the sale. NIMBYs are right – you don’t want to attempt to buy a flat in this beaurocratic nonsense of a country. Let’s all go live in the EU.

What nearly didn’t happen was a roast dinner. Everywhere I tried to book in Croydon was full – there was a danger that I’d need to go into London proper for a roast like the good old days, but everywhere I tried to book there was fully booked too. Granted I left it until pretty much the last minute, and it seems that going for a Sunday roast seems to be a very popular thing nowadays. Especially when it is this cold. What even is this weather about FYI? I had graduated over my month in Spain from being the only person in shorts and t-shirt on an evening to the only person in jeans and t-shirt. I barely saw a cloud in the last two weeks. Confirm it is not Croydon Del Sol.

Speaking of darkness, Ponte Nuovo was dark inside. Not helped by being situated under Croydon flyover (ponte nuovo means new bridge apparently), but it maybe could benefit from some more lighting.

It also smelt like a dentist inside.

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It was busier than it looks here, though still around half-full, a couple of larger groups in more separate spaces. Ponte Nuovo is an Italian restaurant, in case you hadn’t worked that out – though you could work it out from the music, a mixture of Italian crooner songs, Italian adventure film music and a touch of the poppier side of Italo disco.

London Borough Of Roast Dinner Reviewers

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There wasn’t much choice on the menu if you wanted a roast dinner – beef or don’t have a roast dinner, the former priced at £17.95 – not quite Costa Del Sol prices, but also definitely not central London prices.

You could even get a pint of lager for £4.95 here, albeit you’d have to drink Peroni, because apparently they don’t sell any other beer in Italy. I wonder if that could be a road trip for Roast Dinners Around The World, next year?

I had a large Merlot for around £9.00, which was totally average – like a step above Tesco’s wine shelf, but nothing more. My accomplice had a cappuccino, and rated it around as highly as I rate Suella Braverman’s levels of compassion. Guess Italians aren’t really known for their coffee.

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Our roasts took less than 10 minutes to arrive – I’m not sure that I can be bothered to describe all the vegetables to you, though there was certainly some reminiscence of my roasts on the Costa Del Sol here, especially from the dank, soggy cabbage.

Carrots were fine, the piece of broccoli likewise – there were 3 green beans, and a lump of very soft cauliflower. There were a couple of parsnips – which were soft and squeakily tasty – yet anaemic to view.

Hardly inspiring.

London Borough Of Mushy Vegetables

Two very large roast potatoes were supplied – and they are never going to be much good being that size. I did like how peppery they were, and they were edibly soft inside. Though there was no evidence that they even wanted them to have a crispy side.

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The Yorkshire pudding was soft and nicely structured, but you could taste the flour a little, which took the edge off. Decent effort and at least it was made today, looking at you, you and you, dear London pubs.

My notes say “fine” next to the beef, and that is pretty much all I can say about it. It’s a mystery cut on the menu, but I’d guess something like topside – there was no fat (boo) or gristle (phew), it was reasonably tender (too).

Finally I liked the gravy – probably the highlight of the meal. I suspect if it had been watery wankness, then I’d probably have been more scathing in the earlier parts of this review, but a good gravy goes a long way, and tipped the roast from bang average to somewhat pleasant. Like if your new partner’s mum cooked this for you, you wouldn’t dump your partner, kind of level. And the gravy itself was notably beefy with a bit of consistency.

London Borough Of Ponte Nuovo

Well, I bet you are delighted to have seen my return, a review of a bang average roast dinner, in a dark restaurant under a flyover, in a part of London that people only go to to be edgy, for a laugh. Or because they cannot afford to buy an overpriced flat anywhere else in London because they have a roast dinner problem.

I assume I’ve persuaded nobody to come to Croydon. One must try harder.

I didn’t mind Ponte Nuovo. Despite the darkness and the dentist smell, it didn’t offend me – maybe the slight smell of dentist was a psychological trick to make you scared of the place, then relieved when actually it’s kind of average.

I suspect they do decent Italian food – they are rated 4.5 on Google Reviews, but I’ve eaten at enough 4.8 places in the Costa Del Sol in recent weeks to never trust Google Reviews ever again.

Alas their roast was pretty average. Nothing was that bad about it, bar the super-mushy cabbage but maybe I’ll need to head back into London proper one Sunday.

My accomplice scored it a 6.70, and I’m scoring it a 6.77.

Roast Dinners In Croydon continues next week. Ohhh vamos a la playa:

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Ponte Nuovo, Croydon

Station: East Croydon

Tube Lines: National Rail

Fare Zone: Zone 5

Price: £17.95

Rating: 6.77

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: I quite liked the gravy - was beefy.

Loathed: Mushy cabbage, but otherwise fairly respectable. Did smell a bit of dentist inside, and is rather dark.

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