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Welcome to Lord Gravy’s Roast Dinners In London Awards 2022. Yep, it’s already time to start writing the post that would make more sense if I started writing it in 2022 itself, but hey, Christmas party season and all.
46 roast dinners were consumed in London by your honourable Lord Gravy in 2022, with an average rating of 7.06, and an average price of £20.54 – though skewed a bit by one costing £80.00. The cheapest roast dinner I had in 2022 was just £12.95.
I’ve had my 3rd worst roast dinner ever, but also my 3rd best roast dinner ever (in London, anyway).
So, let’s get stuck into my awards – though if you can spare a moment to share this, that would be appreciated. I never ask anything of you, and it is my birthday this year, so do it. Please.
The Style Award
You all know I’m stylish so this seems as good a place to start my awards of 2022, with inspiration from Elle Magazine and their thoughts on what women would be wearing in 2022:
Then again, you should have seen some of the people going to the fetish parties in Hackney Wick that we stumbled upon – some, erm, impressive attire.
Anyway, this award can only really go to Little Bay in Croydon – home of the cheapest roast dinner that I ate in 2022 and some excellent gravy – but more importantly, stylish as fuck – just look at this:
Tell me that isn’t the epitome of style.
Fine, maybe stick to what I know about. But tell that to Elle Magazine and their list of best roast dinners in London that sometimes is higher than my list in Google.
I was going to buy a flat in 2022. I am going to buy a flat in 2023.
And most importantly, I will need inspiration for furniture, and what about this beauty of a sofa from The Bird in Hand?
And they did a pretty decent roast dinner too on a Bank Holiday Monday evening – some delectable pork belly and also we welcomed aubergine to the roast dinner world.
You don’t want aubergine on a roast dinner, do you? Plebs.
What The Fuck Is This Doing On A Roast
No, it isn’t going to The Bird In Hand – I liked the aubergine on a roast dinner.
You may recall early in 2022, I had this little phase of slightly strange roast dinners – by phase I mean two roast dinners, one was an Anglo-Indian roast dinner which I will talk about more long after you’ve got bored of reading, and the other was a Caribbean roast dinner at Guanabana in Camden (which on my notes that I made on Christmas Eve, in the pub, I have unfortunately called “Guantanamo”).
So what was Matt Hancocking its way into a roast dinner? Plantain. Watercress and jerk gravy also made this a strange roast dinner, but the plantain stood out.
Then again, I actually liked it, but in retrospect, I don’t want to see it on a roast dinner every week. Unlike aubergine…
Some people moan about receiving chips in a basket, burger on a wooden board or steak on a slate.
But in 2022, I received a roast dinner in a paper fucking bowl:
Congratulations to Grow in Hackney, for abusing the serving of a roast dinner as much as Kwarteng abused our economy.
Best Gravy Boat
I’m not handing out a best plate award this year, but I most definitely am handing out a best gravy boat award, and it goes to The Grill at The Dorchester.
No, it wasn’t worth paying £80 just to pour gravy out of the mouth of a cow, and much else of the décor there was a Nigel Farage in Donald Trump’s lift kinda vibe, but I’m probably never going to use a gravy boat as good as this.
If you see one, then do buy it for my birthday. I can see my new flat having a whole shelf of weird gravy boats.
I know you are probably wondering when I’m ever going to talk about roast dinners, but at least I’m now onto talking about people bringing roast dinners.
The place that stands out in memory is actually a Young’s pub. Yes, I can say nice things about Young’s pubs, especially when they are run properly by a great landlord and have a really good chef – The Lion And Unicorn in Kentish Town have both. Most Young’s pubs seem to be under central office diktat.
Most importantly, we actually were made to feel welcome. I went to America for the first time in 2022 and was astounded by how welcoming everyone was, how much they smiled at me, how much everyone faked enjoying serving me – but this was a rare piece of genuine warmth.
He even brought us free cauliflower cheese to prove it was the best in North London (it was better than average). Plus the cutest pub dog.
Do You Want Me In Your Venue
Then there are those venues, that for whatever reason don’t seem to want customers.
And it isn’t the fault of the staff at 12:51, who were impeccable. It was the size of the tables in this very thin restaurant – I’ve had more room on a Ryanair plane.
It does depend on which side of the restaurant you get, but on one side the tables for four are designed for people without elbows. I don’t know how many of them you know. You should still go here though. Just be psychologically ready for that elbow space battle.
Finally, we can talk about food on a food blog.
You may find winning the award for “best kale” to be rather underwhelming, but there are worse awards to get in my awards unceremony.
Phew, I did actually photograph the kale. Tila in Deptford – yes there are two places winning awards in Deptford this year, the other is quite memorable despite it being in the depths of January, but we’ll leave that for the juicy section.
I described it as possibly the “best kale ever”. Buttery and garlicky, mixing with the chilli from the gravy, this was quite the delight.
I probably should give Lord Napier Star in Hackney Wick an award for worst service too, given that I had to wait 15-20 minutes at the bar to be able to order my roast dinner, then when we tried to order extra gravy we were told “there are other customers you know”.
Or when one of my accomplices asked for some salt and pepper, and was told that it was downstairs. This felt like another pub that didn’t want customers. And don’t get me started on the Just Stop Oil poster in the toilets.
Do get me started on the vegetables though…
The red cabbage was your usual cinnamon, fruity kind of nonsense, cauliflower cheese was cauliflower cream, the carrots were undercooked and lacking flavour – but the real award-winning vegetable here is the parsnips.
Cooked…oh actually no they weren’t. Raw to the point of questioning why they were allowed to be served in the first place – this was food waste.
The Lord Napier may want to promote Just Stop Oil (in this country anyway but totally fine for dictatorships to keep pumping oil and for us to fund them instead) – but maybe it might want to look at food waste also.
I feel so grown up now that I’m handing awards out for best vegetables – in 2020 I didn’t even mention the word “vegetable” in my awards. And there’s a fucking load of words in my awards. Which you might now be realising. And regretting. You can keep it open on your tabs, you know, and come back later. You know, those 100 open tabs that you will prune one weekend soon.
There are multiple candidates this time. Firstly The Ladbroke Arms served Hispi cabbage that perfectly matched the innate slight sweetness of Hispi with a stupendously sexy smokiness. The Lore Of The Land also impressed with Hispi cabbage – this time charred with toasted almonds and a rich, buttery taste from the garlic butter.
Oh is this going to be a best Hispi cabbage award?
Erm…so the winner of best vegetable is 12:51 in Highbury. Soft yet charred and somewhat smoky, with something close to an aioli on top. Hispi. Of course.
But also the cauliflower cheese – which both tasted of truffle and also of cheese. Yep, cauliflower cheese that tasted of cheese. Damn that roast was excellent – still sitting at 18th place on the league table as I write. Possibly not by time I click “publish”.
Right, that’s all the green shit out of the way.
Hang on…something else to deal with.
The Stray Pea
Straight in with a photo of The New Inn’s roast dinner, in Ealing. You can spot the problems right?
Of course, the plate is a problem – who thought that a dirty-looking bowl was a good idea to serve a fairly cold roast dinner on, two pints after we arrived?
Oh that was three problems and the real problem is, of course, the unadvertised peas.
The menu said, “Served with Roast Potatoes, Honey Roasted Carrots & Parsnips, Rainbow Chard, Crushed Roots, Cabbage, Broccoli & a Giant Yorkshire Pudding & homemade Gravy”.
Which part of that says peas? Peas are evil. Fuck Geldof – do not give peas a chance.
Most Overpriced Roast Dinner
2022 was all about money – from high inflation, to the cost of living crisis, to Matt Hancock helping ensure that everyone loved crypto.
You might have thought that 2022 would be the year of huge roast dinner inflation, but my average price paid was £20.54, skewed by an £80.00 three course roast dinner, which isn’t that much higher than the £18.88 average of 2021. One place, however, was very much over-charging.
Roast in Borough Market is really just there to take money off tourists, because we’ve got to that point as a country where we need to rely on ripping off American tourists to keep our foreign exchange levels healthy. Answers on a postcard if you can think of anyone or anything that might have caused our currency to drop.
Anyway, Roast didn’t really do much wrong, the gravy was a bit thin and watery, the carrots a bit al dente, but broadly speaking it was a good enough roast dinner. Tourists wouldn’t be too amiss in their experience if they came to Roast.
But £36.50? Really?
Best Value Roast Dinner
At completely the other end of the scale came The Gladstone Arms, just 11 minutes walk away from Roast, serving excellent roast dinners for nearly a third of the price of Roast.
Just £13.90 (at least in early 2022) gets you this beautiful Anglo-Indian roast dinner:
Yes, I appreciate that there will be some pedants out there who won’t accept that meat, vegetables, roast potatoes (excellent ones and many) and a Yorkshire pudding is a roast dinner because it has spices on it, or because it has a butter chicken sauce instead of gravy.
However, I am Lord Gravy and if I say that something is a roast dinner, then it is a roast dinner.
OK, fine. There’s a runner-up which is The Black Lion in Kilburn and their excellent roast dinner at just £16.00. And serves proper ENGLISH gravy.
Whilst we are on the subject of gravy, which venue tried their hardest to ensure that we wouldn’t have enough gravy?
I even said on Twitter that morning, “It’s going to be one of those places where I really have to battle to get enough gravy today. Well…jus.” and damn I was right. I normally am.
The winner of the gravy shortage goes to 12:51. In an otherwise excellent roast dinner, apart from the aforementioned tiny tables, came that small jug of gravy which was meant to feed a family of 4 from THE NORTH. Two of them still have northern accents. Read the (very small) room.
Three or four times we had to ask for extra gravy before it arrived.
I even had to slow down my eating whilst waiting. Good job the roast dinner was excellent.
I spent quite a bit of time gentrifying Hackney Wick in summer 2022, annoying the hipsters with my lack of dungarees, jeans without holes and my brushed hair. Though I did have a moustache for a week. Quite liked it actually.
Anyway, I loved the vibe on the canal, in some of the fairly ramshackle bars – but there was none more ramshackle than Grow.
Yes, their roast dinner was fucking awful (the other two I had in the area were just ordinary levels of bad) and it was served in a paper bowl, but it was super chilled outside, amazing for people/boat watching, they had a really good beer selection, do all the sustainable stuff and had someone playing bongos. OK, maybe ignore that I mentioned bongos.
In most places I review, you couldn’t imagine yourself willingly taking MDMA there, but you could at Grow, in the evening, with some music and when the lights come on.
Furthest From Expectations
Jones & Sons in Dalston, I had heard good things about, so I was mildly excited for it to be my send-off roast dinner before we finally fucked off out of this country for the first time since 2019, with a trip to USA.
Alas, you could suggest this didn’t quite meet expectations. Or come anywhere close. I actually had a better roast dinner than this whilst in fucking California. Gosh I loved California.
Firstly – the noise. Inside this converted warehouse, 3 large tables with young children created a cacophony of noise to endure, with the sound bouncing off the walls.
The vegetables were alright, but the roast potatoes were fucking solid. The Yorkshire pudding was like cardboard on the outside. And one slice of beef – for £23.00.
It was far from the worst roast dinner of 2022, but it was the one that was furthest from expectations, given how many times I’d seen recommendations for Jones & Sons.
Worst Yorkshire Pudding
Time to get serious, folks. If I’m talking Yorkshire puddings then we are on the closing stretch. Approaching the runway. Seatbelts on.
There are some strange photos out there…
Back to a slightly less dark and evil topic, burnt Yorkshire puddings. The award could go to The New Inn in Ealing, for a Yorkshire pudding as cremated as much as a warmongering Russian
paedophile terrorist leader should be.
But the winner of worst Yorkshire pudding has to go to The Crown in Islington, a really rather average pub with a poor roast dinner – far from the worst in London – but definitely served the worst Yorkshire pudding.
Check out this beauty:
What the fuck even is that supposed to be?
Best Yorkshire Pudding
Ahhh I can be nice again, but also controversial once more. Granted, none of you are going to slip some polonium into my gravy for suggesting that a Yorkshire pudding with cumin inside was the best Yorkshire pudding I’d eaten in 2022.
Yep, the winner is the wonderful, Gladstone Arms. You have been, right? At least during midweek for one of their amazing pies?
The winning Yorkshire pudding is mercifully small – you don’t need to make the world’s largest Yorkshire pudding to win, and certainly you don’t make it a week before and keep it under a heat lamp for that long.
Small, soft and fluffy, with some Indian spices – I guessed at cumin and mustard seeds, but maybe go try yourself.
Worst Roast Potato
Time for the award that everyone seems to want to win, and there are absolutely no shortage of runners-up.
Amazingly, the vegan place that I went to, Cafe Van Gogh, served not only awful vegetables but awful roast potatoes – crispy to some respect, but in a chewy and tough kind of way. Nope, not the winner.
The Scolt Head actually gave me 5 roast potatoes. Two of them were so under-cooked that they were inedible. The others were just ordinary levels of crap London roast potatoes cooked ages ago – tired, old, chewy – you know. Still not the winner.
The New Inn, in Ealing, attempting to win another award with undercooked and stale roast potatoes – one was even grey in colour. But still not the winner.
Behold – The Job Centre in Deptford.
Do they look like roast potatoes? Yes. Do they look like they have been roasted multiple times and were originally made a few months ago? Yes.
They were also impossible to cut – though at least I managed to get some frustration out whilst bashing away at them, and I ended up spitting it out on the first attempt to chew. The only way to glean some sustenance was to treat them like artichoke heart leaves – scraping some potato out with my teeth, leaving the inedible quintuple-cooked weeks ago, thick crispy sides. Fucking abominable roast potatoes.
What the fuck?
What the fuck?
Best We Cannot Be Arsed To Do Roast Potatoes Because We’d Fuck Them Up So Have This Instead
I guess this award is a compliment, though maybe in future years it may not be – I still remember a miserable roast dinner at Stoke House coming with new potatoes. In winter. No excuse.
I’m not sure why Tila disgorged themselves of the responsibility of attempting roast potatoes, but their substituted effort was excellent.
Described on the menu as “Anna potatoes”, they were layers of creamy, buttery potato with crispy edges – verging on gluttonous, and nearly as sexy as good roast potatoes, those rarest of creatures.
It is my belief after having had 240 roast dinners in London that we should be accepting of alternatives on occasion, and if you really cannot be arsed to do roast potatoes, then these “Anna potatoes” from Tila are a welcome occasional replacement.
You can tell me that I’m fat. You can accuse me of having crystal meth teeth. You can point out how small my dick is. You can tell me that my real mother is actually Ann Widdecombe.
But if you really want to offend me – this is the award that you should be aiming for.
Yeah I hope your drink was as poisonous as some of the gravy I’ve had, Vladimir Vladimirovich (and you thought Alexander Boris de Pfeffel was a stupid name for a world
leader moron cunt).
In a similar fashion to the worst roasties award, there are many contenders. Surprisingly one is Lore Of The Land – not because it was disgusting, but because the rest of the roast dinner had so much thought and effort put in, but the gravy was watery wank. Why?
The New Inn took my plate away when I asked for extra…jus. Oily and watery at the same time, tasting kind of like a mixture of burnt honey and burnt whiskey – yet it isn’t the winner.
Grow in Hackney Wick provided “gravy” that was basically a bowl of onions with some red wine ish flavoured water. Could you make any less effort? And there was very little in the way of liquid, unless it soaked into the PAPER bowl.
Yep, the winner is even more special than that.
Aha – it’s Job Centre in Deptford again. I couldn’t actually tell the difference between the red cabbage (black cabbage really) and the gravy, I hated the red cabbage and the gravy itself tasted disgusting, and left a nasty after-taste.
Two places particularly stand out here, and one was where I went for my birthday.
I do feel like the jus trend is fading a bit – I hope I’ve had some impact on this, but after 6 years there is still a lot of shit gravy around, so I’m not going to celebrate too much yet. Really, if you think about it, I should probably be up there for a knighthood, given my services to roast dinners, to London and to the United Kingdom. I’m surprised that my readers haven’t yet managed to persuade the King to grant me one.
Anyway, the runner-up here was The Alpaca, who could have won an award for the most gravy on a plate, it had an earthy meat-stock flavour to it, and some consistency – OK, they are runner-up because of the amount of gravy.
The winner, however, is The Black Lion in Kilburn.
A gorgeous pub with proper sexy gravy – gloriously thick, gloriously meaty. Had this been on Job Centre’s roast dinner, they might not have won so many “worst of” awards. Well, maybe two less awards.
This really was proper OMG gravy. Sexy AF.
Speaking of sexy, and no I’m not about to post a topless photograph of Margaret Thatcher, let’s talk about glorious, gluttonous meat. Vegans look away – your section of the website is here.
First to commend is The Duke Of Hamilton, where we took an American tourist who we’d got speaking to at San Diego airport, you know the kind of conversation, “yeah I’ll let you know if I’m in London one time, I’d love to join you for a Sunday roast”. How often do you say that and not follow up on it?
Anyway, he did join us, and thankfully the roast was impressive – in particular the lamb which really was superb, tender with a hint of pink, a little bit of fat – gosh this was such a fantastic quality cut of lamb.
Also as a runner-up, comes the Gladstone Arms – who provided some of the plumpest and juiciest chicken that I’d been served in ages. Perfectly cooked, I think seasoned with chilli, if not more spices, and a really good quality of chicken breast, with a little bit of thigh meat to the side.
However, nothing could top The Ladbroke Arms:
That pork belly, that thick slice of wonderful pork belly was just out of this world.
You know when you have to slow down your eating just to fully appreciate how good the food is? That happened – it was also the Sunday before the 40’C and yes I would have had a roast dinner, if the tube was running, if it was 40’C. Weather ain’t no excuse, baby.
The meat was sooooo tender, the fat was just sexual, the outer crisp was perfectly done – I really doubt that you could improve on this. And inside the core was some kind of herb mixture – I’d suggest chimichurri except I don’t recall any chilli/pepper flakes. But something on those lines. Wow.
Worst Roast Dinner
You’ve probably worked this out already, though The New Inn really did push the winner of this award all the way, with disgusting jus, a cremated yorkie, stale potatoes, un-tenderstem broccoli, yucky carrots and unadvertised peas. How much did that place hate me?
They say pictures paint a thousand words – and even my photography can paint a dozen:
Yep. The Job Centre in Deptford – who provided red cabbage that was gooey, black and pungent, roast potatoes, that as you can probably tell or maybe remember from their award approximately 182,595 words ago were impossible to cut – and likely leftover from before the nuclear holocaust.
The yorkie was dry and crispy, the cauliflower
cheese was mushy and the gravy was vile – the kind of gravy that ruins a roast, though it didn’t need much ruining.
To give them credit, the kale and carrots were alright.
Best Roast Dinner
Well, here we are. Time for tears as Lord Gravy’s Roast Dinners In London Awards 2022 is about to climax.
Look – at least you’ve not seen much Matt Hancock this time.
So it is time for the piece de left-wing orthodoxy resistance – the best roast dinner in London.
I had a few (just a few!) excellent roast dinners in 2022 – The Duke of Hamilton with their sensational lamb, 12:51 with their tiny tables but delectable Hispi cabbage and wonderful cauliflower cheese, The Gladstone Arms with their superb Anglo-Indian roast dinner that some of you think isn’t a roast dinner, and The Black Lion with a classic roast dinner that was just let down a tad by the meat – but had award-winning gravy.
But the one that stole the show, and the award for best roast dinner in London in 2022 was The Ladbroke Arms in Holland Park.
I know the gravy looks a bit weird, and had they served the gravy that The Black Lion had, then it would have been judged “better than Blacklock”. TM.
The pork belly and cabbage were particularly sensational – unimprovably superb
The carrots were full of flavour, parsnips puree was really creamy and even the roast potatoes were properly excellent – just how rare is that?
As it stands, this is the third best roast dinner in London ever – and only the next two weekends are booked, so it isn’t that long to wait.
Roll on 2023
And that is that for 2022. You can now forget about the year, until we fondly look back in 10 years time as to how good the Tories were during the middle part of their 25 year reign. Ahhh the Coalition years were good, weren’t they?
All being well, you can look forward to many more roast dinner reviews in 2023, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally find somewhere better than Blacklock.
Toodlepip. Don’t forget to share. This is art, you know.
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: The Greyhound, Kew