You know when you think of something so utterly wrong, like getting your nob out in front of everyone during a wedding ceremony?
I present to you:
It’s actually a year since the first award-nominated Roast Dinners In London blog (have you voted for me yet?) – one of my favourite roast dinners so far, which was in Notting Hill. The random number generator actually picked somewhere in Notting Hill for Sunday, but alas it was fully booked.
Second choice was Rabbit in wannabe posh twatt-hole Chelsea, who promised me, in writing, the best roast dinner in town. Definitely a theme developing here, Rabbit this week, Cat & Mutton last week…man pretending to be a dog the week before…I’ll get my goat.
But first, I shall give you a pointless overview of the hours before.
Actually, how about some more vegetarian bacon?
First I went to a rather excellent 20-minute anti-pantomime in a caravan. Small but a hell of a lot of fun. Then to a Gingerbread city, which was again definitely small. Have you noticed the theme that I am developing here?
No, not vegetarian bacon. Have I ever talked about my nob?
OK, OK. The pointless introduction is non-small enough already. Roast time.
Rabbit is a fairly cute independent restaurant down King’s Road, attempting though arguably failing as a rustic setting – too modern to be rustic. We were greeted at the door rather enthusiastically and had a choice of tables. We chose to sit at the back of the main dining area.
Menu options were beef, pork belly and partridge. I quite fancied the pork belly, even though it was what I had had the Sunday before. Alas they had run out of pork belly. So I went for the beef – thinking partridge would be a too small a dish. Each for £16.50.
Dinner arrived only 5 minutes after we had finished our “mouthfuls”. No, seriously – this is dinner. I know it looks more like a starter. I looked at it in quite some bemused astonishment – possibly the smallest main course that I have ever seen in my life. An anti-roast dinner.
I was really fucking unamused to get a roast dinner on a side-plate, to use the type of language from the person on the table next to me that felt as if he was on our table. Mate. Bloody Aussie too – no offence if my Aussie boss is reading as at least you haven’t mentioned The Ashes to me once.
A roast dinner on a side-plate. Just let that roll around your mouth. Because there is little to go in it.
It wasn’t as if it were an overly pretentious place – a tad, yes, but not especially. My rarely-accompanying accomplice was hardly overflowing with delight.
Starting with the little pile of beetroot compote (ish). This was surprisingly tangy as I wasn’t expecting the horse radish flavouring. I recoiled at first, but it really was very interesting and flavoursome. And was just about the right quantity. The only item which matched the expected quantity.
I had a sprout. Cut in half and perfectly cooked – it seemed pan-fried at least to finish, perhaps completely. It really was an excellent sprout – maybe I am being unkind, maybe there was one and a half sprouts – I cannot be expected to remember everything.
Baby carrots were promised. Unless both myself and my accomplice had completely forgotten about them (generous expectation of plurality), then this was the first part of the starter…sorry I have rather small boobs, erm, main course, that wasn’t supplied. Main course. Yeeeeeaaaahhhh.
There were however a few small shreds of cabbage. Black cabbage, apparently, though just dark green in reality – not that I’m blaming Rabbit for the naming conventions of cabbages. Again the small shreds were tasty. However I have had more cabbage on some other roast dinners than I had food on my whole plate…side-plate.
Swede puree was included. It was proper puree, mixing with the small amounts of jus, and also the beetroot thing. Hard to discern much out of it, but it seemed reasonable.
Lardo roasted potatoes were included. Or perhaps, more realistically, two or nearly three new potatoes were included but cut into smaller pieces. No, I don’t know what lardo is either, but apparently it is from the fat on the back of the pig, so kudos for the creativity. I didn’t encounter any evidence of roasting (something missing? – shit the bed), these were new potatoes which tasted perfectly acceptable mixed in the swede and jus – but not roasted, and guess what? NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH OF THEM.
The menu promised a Yorkshire pudding. Unless this was supposed to be so small that it was invisible, then there was no Yorkshire pudding. Maybe it was behind me…pantomime…get it?
They might as well have forgotten to put the beef on. Guess how many slices? Yep – one. It was around 3mm thick, 25mm wide and a normal kind of length. Oddly rare at one end yet fairly well done at the other – sadly this was a pretty poor quality piece of sirloin. Having something akin to butter knives didn’t help, but the beef was chewy and only vaguely enjoyable in a “I’m not getting any more than this so I have to try to enjoy it” kind of way.
I actually got quite excited halfway through the meal when the waitress came towards our table with another dish, thinking that she’d realised that there wasn’t enough food. Alas it went to our neighbours, who were sharing our personal space, if not our table…and thankfully not our food. Not the couple’s fault – odd coupling though – one slightly snooty semi-attractive French girl, the other a fairly gruff Aussie type. There is hope for me yet.
For a change, I didn’t have to order any more gravy. I mean, jus. For there simply wasn’t enough food to justify more jus. I am not going to pretend that I picked out the flavourings of the jus from the swede and the beetroot, which far overpowered any red wine jus. But it didn’t offend me.
Annoyingly, everything tasted good. Very good at times – even the poor quality beef tasted good. The chef had done a very good job with the limited food at his disposal. Perhaps if I had come expecting the world’s smallest ever roast dinner, then I might not have been so disappointed.
But this was a roast dinner. And I am writing a roast dinner blog. Roast dinners are definitely not supposed to be so blooming small.
This has left me quite conflicted in terms of scoring – for there was absolutely no lack of flavour. There was however a major lack of food – not only for the small portion size but advertised parts of the meal simply being completely missing. And then the quality of the beef was naff.
Service was mixed – some of the staff were enthusiastic and keen – others hussy and mardy – one in particular. Oh and of course, there was a service charge.
Whilst partly enamoured by what they are doing, and curious by what their non-Sunday menu would be like (assuming that I wasn’t that hungry and someone else was paying), there simply is not enough adoration to outshine my very valid, and many, disappointments.
You know what this moment needs?
Yes, some more vegetarian bacon.
And some more.
My accomplice thinks this deserves no more than a 5 out of 10. I’m going to give it a disappointing yet not dire, 6.15 out of 10. I cannot at all recommend it for a roast dinner – unless you are not hungry, or unless you are under 8 years old. And I don’t think children that young should really be reading this.
Best roast dinner in town? Just how small is this town?
No review next week as it is some nonsense called Christmas. Ahhh baby Jesus. Hopefully I’ll be back on the game for New Year’s Eve but don’t expect a review the next day…or the day after…or even the day after that, as I intend on doing a bigger pile of drugs than there was food on my plate, having very tiring yet wild sex with many lesbians, and might possibly get arrested for waving my small willy around.
All whilst in a swimming pool full of gravy. Oh shit, I live in London. Make it a bathtub of jus.
Maybe I’ll just go to the pub.
Merry Christmas. And a small bit of bah humbug.
Rabbit, Chelsea, West London
Station: Sloane Square
Tube Lines: Circle, District
Fare Zone: Zone 1