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Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing

And here I was on the 1st of January, supposedly ready for a great new year of achievement – yet I wasn’t even ready for a roast dinner. A roast dinner, booked with Popup With Kieran.

When I say that I wasn’t ready – I didn’t even get out of bed until midday, I spent 15 minutes looking for my house keys so I could leave the house, during which time I also found my debit card which I hadn’t realised that I had lost. Yeah, I drank too much. Again. Loser.

Don’t cry for me, I should have recovered from this hangover by next Sunday.

I did have a little New Year miracle though, as the person I was roasting with, offered to drive me as it was on his way. Wow. Just how much easier is it to be driven somewhere when hungover, than getting the tube? If these train strikes continue I might even learn to drive for a laugh. Imagine being soooooo cool that you not only don’t recycle pizza boxes but also spew exhaust fumes for fun.

Greta teasing some small dick bloke called Andrew Tate

A level of manliness I can only dream of.

So why Popup With Kieran? Well, I had somewhere else booked, but I decided whilst eating my all-in at Blacklock on New Year’s Eve that Popup With Kieran would probably be better, and I wanted to start the year with a good roast dinner. Therefore I changed the plan.

Plus my accomplice had had two bad roast dinners in a row with me – not that he is as hard to please as I am. Hell, I even took him to the worst Young’s pub roast dinner of 2022 – also in Ealing.

Piss up with beer

The imaginatively-named, Popup With Kieran (says the imaginatively named Roast Dinners In London website), has been running out of different pubs around the Ealing area over the last few years. It mostly seems to be roast dinners that he offers (assuming pronouns, please forgive me), though I have seen one or two supper clubs advertised over the years. Also it doesn’t seem to happen every Sunday – so if this review interests you, do check his socials.

Currently being hosted at The Haven Arms – there are two pubs on this residential street in Ealing just a few doors apart. The other pub is a Fuller’s, and I think if you were judging from looks alone, you’d go there.

The Haven Arms does have a hint of a spit and sawdust feel to it – it certainly doesn’t have a refined gastropub look, though it does attempt something more woodenly luxurious in the “restaurant corner”.

Otherwise it is a tad dark and dingy at the front of the pub, with a handful of people studiously watching Blackburn vs Cardiff, or whatever it was – on the other side to us I think I remember a pool table – yes a pool table in a pub – and on that side it does have a flat-roof pub kind of décor. Skip through Google’s The Vibe Maaaaannnnn photo section and you’ll understand.

The welcome was friendly, as the staff were throughout – the barman taking pity on me as I ordered my first of many apple juices during the beginning months of 2023 – not only understanding my order of just one ice cube, but offering me his best ice cube. How’s that for service?

Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing, Roast Dinner menu
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

Having had a Blacklock all-in at 3pm, and a Chicken Cottage all-in at 3am, the day before, I wasn’t even vaguely hungry.

But I reckoned that I could stomach some stuffing, so I ordered the chicken breast with stuffing at £17. Other choices were loin of pork and pork belly at £18, or topside of beef at £19.

Wake up with caffeine

You’ll have noted that I’m not really quite my usual linguistically-flowing self, so I’ll crack on after a word from my sponsors:

Poster - Brexit has added £210 to the average annual food bill (cheers Nigel).
Image via Led By Donkeys

Apparently, even the BBC have started to consider that inflation might have at least a tiny amount to do with Brexit. Well, I never.

And if any of you even think of having a pop at me for doing Dry January, then just remember Nigel Farage likes a beer. Consider this a Farage-disassociation movement instead perhaps. And that includes Dry February. And mostly Dry March. Gosh just wait until you see how boring this blog is come February. But at least it will be written on Mondays.

Food?

Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing, Chicken Roast Dinner
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

It took around 15-20 minutes from ordering for our roasts to arrive, though it did take them longer to take our orders in the first place – I’m sure we could have chased someone, but I wasn’t hungry.

The half a slice of carrot was nicely roasted, perhaps a hint of honey but not much else to add here, nor is there on the scattering of greens – mostly savoy cabbage which was all respectably pleasant.

The parsnips, however, there is plenty to say, as they had been roasted to the point of cremation. Did someone pre-prepare them the night before but forget to switch the oven off? I’ve never had crispier, tougher parsnips – one of them I just about managed to squeeze something out of to eat, but the other was tougher than the cutlery. These simply should not have been served.

Roast up with gravy

Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing, Cauliflower and broccoli cheese
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

There was a little pot of cauliflower and broccoli cheese to share – which worked out as half a floret of broccoli each, so not making our life easy here. Also no spoon arrived – so the sauce stayed in the pot, but possibly no bad thing as it was more watery than your average Young’s pub gravy.

Negatives aside, both cauliflower and broccoli had a nice balance of soft and crunch, and you could taste cheese. Thicken the sauce up and give us a spoon (and better cutlery in general – the knives were not really any use for cutting) then this would have been excellent rather than decent.

I think there were four, maybe even five, small roast potatoes. A bit of outer crunch, a bit of fluffiness inside – not perfect, but more than passable.

Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing, Chicken Sunday Roast
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

The Yorkshire pudding almost definitely was an Aunt Bessie. Do you need me to describe one? Kind of rubbery and chewy. Gosh I hope he didn’t make this himself otherwise what I’ve written is pretty damn offensive.

A good quality chicken quarter was supplied, a little crisp on the skin, perhaps a little dry inside but there was plenty of gravy to help with that.

My highlight was the stuffing, because I could eat stuffing on any meal. We nearly didn’t have stuffing on our Christmas Dinner as my mother advised me that it was nearly a year out of date. Thankfully, there are still shops open in Hull two days before Christmas, so we got a replacement. Newest model is on the left – if that isn’t peak 2022, I don’t know what is. Still makes 12 stuffing balls in the same way that we still have an economy after leaving the EU.

Two boxes of Paxo stuffing - the smaller one that still makes 12 stuffing balls from 2022.
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

Anyway, the stuffing was excellent – herby and with a contrasting texture – a little mushy inside to crispy on the outside. I cannot tell you if Kieran’s was also Paxo, or homemade – I don’t care either as this was everything my life required at that moment.

Finally, the gravy, which was definitely not from a packet! A fair consistency to it, a mild kick to it and some complexity too – this was a roast dinner enhancing gravy. Maybe you could argue a tad too salty – I probably am arguing this.

Pop up with Kieran

So I successfully navigated eating a Sunday roast, and I have just about managed to write about one.

And in terms of the roast dinner, it was a reasonable success.

Not without issues – those burnt to a crisp parsnips and the Aunt Bessie yorkie are the notable failures, but otherwise things were mostly good – decent sized chicken, excellent stuffing, a complex and consistent gravy – though a bit like myself, perhaps not on top form.

I did actually have a roast dinner from Popup With Kieran during lockdown, and I know he can make a proper homemade yorkie – and the gravy was even better back then too.

This is still a good roast dinner, despite imperfections. My accomplice was very happy with his (though definitely needed a better knife for his beef) and scored it an 8.00. My score is a healthy 7.51 – it’s the best roast dinner that I’ve had in Ealing. Albeit only my second roast dinner in Ealing and the other was shite.

I’ll be back next week. No plan yet, but hopefully I’ll be a little more inspired and lively.

Oh yeah. Happy New Year and stuff. Make it roasty.

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Summary:

Popup With Kieran @ The Haven Arms, Ealing

Station:

Tube Lines:

Fare Zone: Zone 3

Price: £17.00

Rating: 7.51

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Stuffing was life-saving, gravy had a good thickness and complex flavour.

Loathed: Parsnips burnt to a crisp and it came with an Aunt Bessie yorkie - oh no.

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