Roast Dinners In London Awards 2021

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Welcome to Lord Gravy’s Roast Dinners In London Awards 2021. Yeah I appreciate that it is closer to 2023 than 2021, but blame the lack of lockdown. I’ve been busy this year.

I did actually start writing this in January and, well, kind of forgot about it. It’s probably a total waste of effort finishing this in July August September but the whole blog is pretty much a waste of time and I don’t give a fuck. Plus I’ve just read a long article about someone who has spent 25 years trying to prove the existence of big cats in the UK. At least this blog has some use.

Go on, take pity on me and share it.

Let’s start with an award that will hopefully never grace this page again.

Best At Home Roast Dinner

The award for the best at home roast dinner goes to Aktar Islam. Whoa, scary Islamic name, how are the Toby Carvery fans going to cope?

So you cannot buy this any more, but you can still order their curries and tandoori box online, and some other Indian-spiced dishes. Or you can go to their Pulperia restaurant, which, granted, is in Birmingham, but I’ve travelled to south-east London from Harrow, so maybe it isn’t that crazy a suggestion.

Firstly the portion sizes were huge – they sent enough to feed around 6 people – it was quite ridiculous. I did tell them who I was, so maybe I got special treatment?

This was my final at-home hurrah (has anyone bought a meal kit in 2022?) before we were unleashed into the great outdoors, with permission to dine outdoors in the coldest April for 55 years, or whatever it was.

And what a way to celebrate – cabbage and leek, with mustard and cream was just superb – and would have made a great lunch in itself. The truffle cauliflower cheese was excellent, the roast potatoes were crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – and the Yorkshire pudding was close to perfection, despite me heating it up…how do restaurants get it so wrong almost every Sunday?

Really nice beef and very good gravy – though not enough of the latter, but it was easy enough to knock up some emergency granules.

I only had one roast dinner better than this in 2021.

How Much For A Fucking Beer Award

Gosh, writing this in the middle of 2022 with 9.4% inflation (and probably even higher by time I finish writing this) feel a little…puny. Edit – 10.1% at the time of publishing.

I probably should give it to the pub that I paid £7.90 for a beer for, but I forgot the name. And I didn’t have a roast there. I just remember my eyes popping out when the price flashed up. Bloody gorgeous beer too.

I will give it to The Red Lion in Barnes, for charging me £7.25 for a pint of Soundwave. It’s a very nice beer, but £7.25 back in April 2021 was a rather disturbing post-pandemic psychological barrier breached.

Decent enough roast dinner – but neither special or especially dreadful enough for a food-related award.

Best Drunken Experience

Oh do you remember those days, where it was outdoor dining only, and you needed to have booked a table roughly two years in advance?

Well, one of my accomplices had thought ahead, and had booked a table at The Woodman in Highgate. The food wasn’t that good – if I could be arsed to do awards for vegetables then the freezer packet vegetables that were served would win an award for the worst vegetables.

However, this award is all about drunken fun.

And we all needed a release after that winter of hell…though with the electricity and gas prices forecast for this winter, strikes and Liz Truss probably being Prime Minister, maybe we’ll look back at a winter of lockdown with fond memories. Just like people look back at a time before we were in the EU with fond memories. Because going back to that time is going well.

But anyway, sat in the garden on a warm day in May, drinking beer after beer, I think tequila too – and definitely I was drinking gravy at some point, was too much fun. With other people too! 5 other people. The craziness. None of us remember leaving. Bang average roast, but banging fun afternoon.

Best Service

Some places nowadays you are lucky if you get cutlery in return for your 12.5% “optional” service charge. Maybe you’ll get a London smile on a sunny day, a “god not another customer but hi so happy to have you here” kind of grimace.

The Colonel Fawcett was one of the few places not to force an “optional” service charge on customers. And yet is the place where I am giving the award for best service too. How strange.

Mostly the waiter made it – you know how when you have a waiter that just has that special glint in his eye and is actually enjoying it? I think we helped build the rapport, and he was tellingly so hungover (and probably from something more exotic than booze too) – but all through the meal he was class, funny and with generally great service.

The award really should go to Blacklock – they even went to the local pub to buy my Dad a pint of proper bitter. Not once, but twice. But the guy serving us at The Colonel Fawcett was just ace. Can we be friends?

Best Plate

It’s time to get serious with these awards, and think about the best plate.

Though Blacklock has some seriously sexy plates, there is so much food on it that you’d struggle to understand why I’d awarded it.

However, The Quality Chop House excelled with this glorious patterned affair:

Do You Actually Want Me In Your Establishment

This award is mostly sponsored by Priti Patel, or whomever the Home Secretary is as they inspire venues to recreate a hostile environment.

Some places achieve this award with an attitude of anti-service – don’t even look at me, I’m not going to serve you.

The Coal Shed, who’s roast was mostly excellent had service difficulties – starters turned up at the same time as mains, drinks orders didn’t turn up, extra gravy didn’t appear and nobody was noticing that wine glasses were empty…and that we might want another drink. They could easily have sold more drinks and food to us, but didn’t seem to want to.

You could also give the award to Parlour, who’s acoustics inside were terrible – sound bouncing off the walls with everyone having to shout louder. And who’s roast dinner was pretty – but pretty poor.

However, the award is again going to The Quality Chop House. They had excellent service but those benches we had to squeeze onto, with half of our backsides hanging off were soooo uncomfortable. I get that the benches have probably been there for 289 years, survived 11 world wars (cheers, Nadine), 31 pandemics and 28 Brexits, and that there would be one of those grim social media campaigns by people who have never been to the area, let alone the restaurant, castigating the destruction of historic Britain if they tried to replace them. But fuck me – those benches were uncomfortable. Half of the restaurant has proper chairs – if you visit, try to request them if you can!

What The Fuck Is This Doing On A Roast Dinner

This unwelcome guest award usually goes to someone who has decided to put something out-there on a roast dinner – like tomatoes, or watercress. Neither of which I actually mind being on a roast dinner, but that is perhaps partly because it is nice to write about something different after 200+ roast dinner reviews.

However, this year (by which I mean 2021), I’d like to think that the winner of this award didn’t intentionally add this to the roast dinner:

Recognise the plate? Yes, The Quality Chop House get yet another award – this time for including an elastic band in my roast dinner.

It was handled with grace by the waitress when I informed her – who advised she would deal with it, brought a plate over and whisked the offending elastic band away with some panache. But still…an elastic band in a roast dinner isn’t the greatest look ever.

And it isn’t their last award. And…they served corn on the cob with the roast too.

Furthest Below Expectations

You know shit is getting serious when I give an award, sponsored by Matt Hancock’s penis, to Blacklock.

I shouldn’t give it to Blacklock. There were several places with excellent reputations that I’d had a roast dinner at last year, that didn’t come even close to expectations. Yes, one of those was The Quality Chop House. Balls – maybe I should just give every award to them?

Or there was The Culpeper – fruity gravy, burnt yorkie and no roast potatoes. Or one that I had very high hopes for, The Guinea Grill, with meh roasties, a yorkie too old and crispy, along with watery gravy.

However, because I’m an evil bastard and have invested money in oil companies so I can make money out of you having to pollute the environment, I’m giving the award to THE Blacklock.

Why? Well, before I went, I was worried that I’d end up with a Blacklock 1-2 in the league table. Yet in the end, I only scored it an 8.48 out of 10. Which made it only the 12th best roast dinner at the time of reviewing. BLACKLOCK – I EXPECT BETTER OF YOU.

What happened? Well, the yorkie was a tad burnt and the beef was just ordinary good – not as special as Blacklock’s normal. Everything else was fucking amazing though. Love you really, babes.

Better Than Expectations

There’s only really one contender for the award for being better than expectations, because most places broadly met my expectations, or fell below them. But one place I expected to be absolutely dire, and, well, some of it was quite good.

Toby Carvery. Yes, the scene of my inaugural Halloween story – and possibly only ever Halloween story, but it gets it’s own background colour and scary font. All that effort. For you. Plus some actual kidnapping story bullshit.

The vegetables were suitably shite and the roast potatoes were part chewy, part black – but part OK. This was broadly expectations met.

But the Yorkshire pudding was the best one that I’d had in years – and the gravy was my type of gravy, albeit with added saltiness, but it was thick and verging on infinite. I may only have scored it a 6.20 out of 10, but scorn Toby Carvery no more, some of it was actually good.

Meat Scarcity

Another one of those places from 2021 that didn’t quite hit the roast dinner g-spot was Dean Street Townhouse – this time in a how small is your meat way.

It was actually spectacular in terms of taste and texture – some of the best pork that I’d had all year.

But there was so little of it that it couldn’t feed a child…perhaps not the best analogy to use when I’m also using a suggestive photograph of Matt Hancock, but hey.

The roast itself had plenty of failings, chewy potatoes (I am such a broken record), watery gravy, overcooked yorkie – and then why give me such a tiny portion of meat?

Sexiest Meat

Part of me feels like another Matt Hancock photograph would come in useful here, but hell, let’s have some lingerie models to sponsor this award, albeit from a 2022 photoshoot. Well, it might have been taken in 2021, I don’t know.

Gosh I cannot believe that I’m giving them yet another award, though at least this one they might appreciate.

Let’s start by appreciating a few others that could have won – The Coal Shed had some seriously sexy smoky steak, The Blue Boar served a really top class cut of pork loin and The Albert Arms served some really nice pulled lamb.

However, the winner of sexiest meat (oh baby) is The Quality Chop House.

I’m just going to copy and paste what I said at the time, otherwise it will be 2023 by time I finish writing this:

You’d expect a chop house to be good with their meat – and thankfully, the Mangalitza collar was sensational. The pig meat so tender yet well-structured, the fat glistening within yet not overwhelming – this was a truly superb cut from a restaurant that clearly knows its chops, and cooked to perfection. It was a wow – a rare wow from me. So much so that I was almost willing to forgive the enforced condiment on the plate. Almost.

Space for more lingerie models?

Worst Yorkshire Pudding

You’d have thought that there would be lots of competition for this award, and there are plenty of places in with a shout – Parlour, The Jolly Gardeners, The Duchy Arms, The Farrier and The Culpeper all come to mind.

But none really stand out as that much of a disgrace to the United Kingdom.

So given that Parlour’s roast dinner offering was blatantly made to look good on the ‘Grim rather than actually be good, I’ve decided that they need an award.

And I described their Yorkshire pudding as being similar in texture to a bouncy castle, which is sufficient for me to offer them the award for worst Yorkshire pudding of 2021.

Best Yorkshire Pudding

You know, it’s easier to write criticism than praise – maybe that is just me, but it feels like the English language has a lot more words for worst than best.

I mentioned earlier how good Toby Carvery’s Yorkshire pudding is, but I’m not sure you’ll believe me if I award them the award for best Yorkshire pudding.

So I’m giving it to The Coal Shed.

It doesn’t look special, does it? It doesn’t look like one of Instagrim’s millions of over-sized Yorkshire puddings, that in reality were cooked so long ago as to be nearly as tough as crackling.

But it was special. Properly fluffy on the inside, and a little crispy on the outside. It was quite magnificent.

The Coal Shed was one of only 5 truly excellent roast dinners of 2021 – it has more going for it than just a Yorkshire pudding. So do consider it.

Worst Roast Potato

Another one of those just how many contenders do we have awards – an almost infinitely, bigly, covfefingly amount of shite roast potatoes have been served across London over 2021.

And I’ve had to cope with more than my fair share of trash.

You could award it to Toby Carvery, for some of the potatoes had parts that were darker than Donald Trump’s soul, and more rotten than his penis – yet (analogy about to break apart alert) they weren’t actually that bad. And I did choose the potatoes myself from a bowl. Ahhhh democracy.

You could award it to Parlour, for one roast potato was so hard to cut that I even videoed it. But they also provided an excellent roast potato too.

You could award it to The Jolly Gardeners for supplying a mass of small, tired and chewy roast potatoes – but they will get their awards later.

I shall award it to The Duchy Arms, who provided a particularly miserable roast dinner. Orange, oily, yucky gravy, dry chicken, rubbery yorkie – and two large roast potatoes, one of which didn’t even seem like it had been inside an oven – still dry and very undercooked inside

Best Roast Potato

Well for every three roast potatoes I loathe, I get one that I appreciate, which I guess is a similar appreciation ratio to Prime Ministers – Thatcher I loved, Major was OK, Blair was a liar, Brown…well…coped with the mess he made as Chancellor. I liked Cameron (well…until a certain vote), wasn’t keen on May, loathed Johnson and will probably loathe Truss. Roll on Truss’s replacement by time I’ve finished writing the 2022 roast dinner awards.

Appreciate you might have a different order than I, but maybe a similar ratio? You’ll definitely appreciate the roast potatoes that my winner served up though, The Albert Arms.

Just look at them. Seriously. You don’t even need me to write anything.

But I will. For when they even beat Blacklock’s irregular polyhedrons of pure sexual joy, they just deserve that little extra shouting about, and I don’t think I have praised them enough over the last year.

The weak, watery gravy did stop the roast dinner making it to the excellent category, but those roasties were…well…pure sexual joy. Freshly made, properly crispy, soft in the middle…alas only two…but better two roast potato orgasms than three dry humps.

Worst Gravy

Just 4 more awards to go. Gosh, maybe I will finish this before the end of 2022. And yes, this is the most upsetting of awards, the one that can make me the most angry.

Get the Yorkshire pudding wrong and you’ve only fucked up the Yorkshire pudding. Get the gravy wrong, and you’ve ruined the whole roast dinner.

There are two contenders here – The Jolly Gardeners and The Duchy Arms.

The Jolly Gardeners provided that most moronic of gravy substitutions – red wine jus. Urgh. Occasionally I’ve had a nice jus, but this was some wanky, weird stuff that tasted slightly of burnt red wine – it was already a bad roast dinner, but it made it worse.

Then there was the offering from The Duchy Arms, an orangey-brown gravy with bright orange oily spots in it, that tasted overwhelmingly salty – it was already a bad roast dinner, but it made it worse.

I cannot choose between them, so congratulations goes to both The (not very fucking) Jolly Gardeners and The Duchy Arms, both in south London, for winning the award for worst gravy of 2021.


Best Gravy

Well, if I am going to start talking sexy, I guess that I should start with some more lingerie models:

Sorry, I’ve just realised that I’m being awfully sexist here only featuring women in lingerie.

Let me fix that.

Only for gays, according to Whatever did happen to the adverts on Facebook? That was almost the only thing worth going onto Facebook for, except for my rants about the Metropolitan Line – and that’s stopped now that I work from home.

Don’t worry, heterosexual men, this gravy is for you – it is for all of us. Well, it is for anyone that can actually be bothered to go to Twickenham for a roast dinner.

The winner of arguably the second most-desired award that I hand out at the beginning of every middle of the next year, for the best gravy in London, goes to The Albany in Twickenham.

The menu described it is “Real Gravy”. My future friend who recommended this to me, described it as “amazing”. They were both right, The Albany does a really tasty, meat-stock (ings and suspenders) gravy – that suitably impressed, and made a very good roast dinner into an excellent roast dinner – the 4th best of 2021.

Runners-up include The Snooty Fox, with gorgeous gravy, and The Jugged Hare with some really silky gravy. And both are very well worth a visit if you want some proper sexy gravy…but do make the mission to Twickenham if you can be arsed.

Worst Roast Dinner

Onto the worst roast dinner of 2021 – what was the biggest disgrace to London, to the United Kingdom in the whole of 2021?

It doesn’t take too much to work out which is the most shameful of 2021, does it? A lying, incompetent, bastard of a roast dinner – all you need to do is look at the bottom of my league table.

Interestingly The Jolly Gardeners was only the 18th worst roast dinner in London at the time of writing – maybe I felt too kind in 2021 after lockdown.

Burnt red wine jus was the “gravy” for the roast dinner, which is never a good start. The Yorkshire pudding was like eating a rubber frisbee, the beef was overcooked and tough, the roast potatoes were chewy and tired and one of the parsnips was totally anaemic.

I’ve had worse in my life. But this was the worst of 2021. A shout out to The Duchy Arms in Kennington for offering something almost as miserable.

Best Roast Dinner

Finally, the crescendo. The orgasm. The winner of best roast dinner in the Roast Dinners In London Awards 2021.

With a few more lockdowns it could have gone to Blacklock in Soho, or The Blue Boar – but the winner of this most prestigious award since the Bad Sex in Fiction Awards were announced is The Fox & Pheasant in Chelsea.

So. How did they manage it? Firstly good vegetables – the carrot and swede mix was nicely buttered and worked nicely together, the green beans were perfectly done and even nicer when dipped into the really creamy, slightly smoky and quite simply gorgeous parsnip puree.

The Yorkshire pudding was one of the best of the year, crispy on the outside and properly soft on the bottom, the pork belly was very good – not quite perfect, but very enjoyable, and the gravy? Well, it was proper northern homemade gravy. Despite being in Chelsea.

Even the roast potatoes were quite good – just needed a bit more crisp on the outside.

Individually I’d had better components during the year, but as a whole this was an excellent a roast dinner. A score of 8.75, which at the time made it the 4th best roast dinner in London.


See You in 2023

Well, only 8 months late, I’ve finally finished my awards. Congratulation to all those involved…well…those who got happy awards anyway.

Hopefully this wasn’t too pointless an activity to finish this closer to 2023 than 2021, and maybe, maybe you might even have enjoyed it enough to share it? Lol. Yeah, don’t worry, you can keep my work of art as your little secret instead.

I guess that’s me done.


I’ll try to do 2022’s awards before the clocks go forward once more. Hell…maybe I could even start now…I already know what is winning worst roast dinner of 2022, and worst roast potato and possibly worst gravy too:

It cannot get any worse in the next few months, can it?

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Where now, sailor?

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