Rotunda, King’s Cross

Please note that this review is from March 16, 2020 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

Everything is cancelled. The world has stopped. But I’m still going around, around a round round round to Rotunda in King’s Cross.

Sigh. This might be the last review for some time but hopefully I’ll make your eyes roll enough to vaguely miss me. I’m almost a Brexit-free zone now, too.

This week I took the dangerous decision to visit my parents in Hull for the weekend, who are taking the current mass panic no more seriously than my Grandma, who when I offered her a fist-bump (triple-checked the spelling) grabbed my hand and kissed it. Yep, hygiene messages are getting through alright.

My usual accomplice had decided that she would rather disappear to deepest, darkest south-east Europe and try to get stuck there so I was dining on my own. Not just at a table on my own but pretty much a whole restaurant on my own – I counted 4 tables including my own, and by time I left there were more toilet rolls then people inside. Staff included.

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Alas, when even Ireland starts a #CloseThePubs campaign, the writing is clearly on the wall for roast dinner eating possibilities.

My guess is that even if the government doesn’t ban pubs from opening (edit – actually it hasn’t banned them from opening…), it may well become socially unacceptable to leave the fucking house by next Sunday. Not that I’ve ever cared too much about being socially acceptable, but even I’m not picking my nose and eating it on the tube any more.

The world is round

I’ve been to Rotunda a few times before – you could call me a regular, then again you could call me sexy. Bar a handful of chips, I’ve never eaten here.

Rotunda hasn’t quite charmed me enough to this point. It has a charming location right on the corner of Regent’s Canal and some kind of minor harbour – a fair amount of outdoor seating yet whenever I’ve been in the summer the amount of tables actually in the sunshine is limited.

The bar area is large, and part of both indoors and outdoors is reserved for dining. Alas, it is still March as I write and still pretty damn chilly.

One notable memory here is that there was a sizeable party, all quite well to do who had reserved an area outdoors – yet it got chilly and they wanted more space indoors. The manager apologetically asked if we would consider moving tables – in exchange for a large glass of wine each. I’m always happy to do almost absolutely nothing in exchange for wine – so they know how to look after customers here.

I think I only put this on my to-do list in shock at the price of their Sunday Beef Club menu – £65.

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Subsequent research let me to realise that Rotunda did pleb roast dinners too, so in my slightly disturbed way of thinking, I decided that if they dare charge £65 (granted there are several courses plus wine for that), then maybe it was worth adding to my to-do list. Either I’d get a good roast dinner that not many know about, or I’d be able to slate somewhere that thinks way above its reality. Though as much as I love a good moan, this potentially being the last roast before Virusmas, I was kind of hoping for a good send-off.

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On the menu was just lamb or pork – unless you were more than one person, or rich and wanted to be part of beef club.

I went for the Texel leg of lamb at £20 – Texel apparently being an island off the coast of Netherlands, and Texel lambs being some kind of yellow dog-like sheep.

Photo by Ambersky235 under license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED

No, that isn’t a display of my Photoshop skills either.

My roast dinner took around 10 minutes to arrive, if that – it wasn’t exactly as if there was a queue of orders going on, and I could see a mass of Yorkshire puddings which were almost definitely going to waste.

© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2020

Fuck me – a chef in London has managed to serve a roast dinner using just one plate. Is it the end of the world or something?

The world has ended.

Some people might suggest that it wouldn’t win any prizes for presentation, but it ticked a lot of my boxes on arrival – this is how I want my roast dinner to look.

You know, I was at home this weekend and my mum told me that I needed to dry my hair. And then offered me a Dyson hair-dryer. A Dyson! I explained to some incredulity that I voted remain and couldn’t accept such a suggestion. BRING BACK BREXIT.

Oh those were the days.

Three thin, whole carrots were supplied that had been roasted. They were good, but didn’t especially stand out for any reason.

What happened to my broccoli paragraph? I swear I wrote one but doing a check before posting it seems to be missing. This was slightly charred, slightly crunchy ordinary broccoli – about as good as ordinary broccoli can be. Again, I approved.

The cauliflower cheese looked sexier than it was, but there’s not really a criticism of it. The creamy cheese on top almost had a suggestion of scrambled egg to it, and the cauliflower itself was fairly soft – though not close to mush. In the very good category.

I’d heard someone say to the chef on the way out, for it was an open kitchen, that it was the best Yorkshire pudding that she’d ever had. I took one bite of crispy nothingness and wondered if she had some kind of fever.

The world is now flat

The three roast potatoes were neither a dream or dreadful. More a bit tough than crispy on the outside, and not a million miles away from starting to feel tired – yet they were within the bounds of acceptability.

I went back to the Yorkshire pudding though. Once it had been softened by gravy, and there was enough gravy once my extra arrived, it became more enjoyable as every bite went by. Perseverance – and sufficient gravy bought me joy, and it was definitely a bit more eggy in flavour than average. A win – in the end.

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I really liked the lamb…wait…did I just hear that Chris Grayling has a new job in government? Chairman of the intelligence and security committee?

Find out what I thought of the lamb after a word from our sponsor:

Anyway, I really liked the lamb. Lots of it – I hope they normally offer this amount but possible that the panic had caused some generosity here? It was nicely pink, quite fatty in places – which is my preference. Like most of the meal, this was good. Really good.

And the gravy? Thick. Yep, thick gravy. Not only had the chef managed to put the whole roast dinner on one plate, but he (well, they) had managed to provide thick gravy. More of a red wine kinda taste, more complimentary than complex – I was as happy as Putin might be with the latest Chris Grayling news.

The world has stopped. So has this review.

I guess you can stop the world. All I need now is a blow job and I could isolate a happy man. Shite, just realised – with all the virus shenanigans, social media has forgotten about Steak & Blow Job Day. Sad times. Not that I ever celebrated it in full.

My only real disappointment on the roast was the potatoes, scraping in at acceptable. Most was joy – if not quite Blacklock standards, the lamb and gravy providing a silky combination that I will remember until at least the next roast dinner.

Service was good, it is a damn fine location and I was able to practice social distancing. Though being a software engineer, social distancing is fairly natural to me.

I’m scoring it an 8.25 out of 10. 14th best roast dinner in London at the time of writing, from 145 reviews. 145 reviews…no wonder I never get laid.

I love you

Next Sunday, who knows what we’ll still be allowed to do. I do have a table booked. In a pub. With friends. Multiple friends. This isn’t going to happen, is it?

OK. Game over. I think. I’ll be back once our vast number of Twitter virology experts deem it safe to do so. Though I haven’t cancelled my table…

Guess there’s not much point in asking Netflix to film Roast Dinners Around The World for while. Oh won’t someone think of the travel bloggers.

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Rotunda, King’s Cross

Station: King's Cross

Tube Lines: Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Line, National Rail, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria

Fare Zone: Zone 1

Price: £20.00

Rating: 8.25

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: They had toilet roll. Gravy was thick and sexy, lamb was joyously pink and fatty (in a good way)

Loathed: Roast potatoes were poor. Also coronavirus. This is my last review for a while, isn't it?

3 responses to “Rotunda, King’s Cross

  1. “It was nicely pink, quite fatty in places – which is my preference.”…..This might be you finest sentence yet.

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