It’s January. It’s cold. It’s miserable. There are legions of fake vegans around. Idiots are taking screaming babies on pushchairs onto the tube at rush hour. And I’m skint. So this week’s roast dinner had to be affordable.
Lo and behold an e-mail pops up from The Sun Inn in in in in in Barnes with 25% off all food in January. JANUARY. Not Twentyfivepercentuary. Not Thesuninnuary. Not barnesuary. J A N U A R Y.
I had never been to Barnes prior. Anyone remember this?
Barnes is deep in south-west London, nestled between Kew and Putney. We chose to take a leisurely walk along the River Thames from Hammersmith Bridge – for there is no tube station at Barnes. Yes, I know, my commitment to you, my dear reader, is so great that I will venture off-tube.
Outside the pub looks quite quaint – a picturesque scene presents itself of an upmarket small town, with duck pond and no Tesco Express (have you ever experienced a Tesco Express that was actually an “express” experience?).
Inside The Sun Inn, the layout and decor was fairly ordinary, and after a short wait at the bar, we are shown to our seat. Oh. And one thing. It was child-friendly. And by that I mean, there were young children running around the place, making lots of noise. Thankfully I didn’t have a hangover.
The menu seemed relatively intriguing, with varieties of chicken, beef, pork and lamb all listed, priced between £13.75 and £16.75. There was also a nut roast, for those who ave misaligned eating preferences. I chose the chicken as I am trying to cut down on red meat consumption. Albeit the chicken came with a pig in blanket. Yo intento.
Dinner took around 15 minutes to arrive, though whilst waiting, one of the waitresses came to try to take our order…
Presentation was reasonable on arrival.
I had asked for no peas #obvs, though I was advised that the peas and leeks were cooked together so I asked for them to be placed in a side-dish so I could pick out the leek. They obliged, but I managed to pick out one tiny strand of leek before giving up. My accomplice enjoyed the pea and leek mix – and she also has some mild form of childhood flashbacks about the horror of peas (at least I assume she does, having the same pea-serving mother). Love you, mum.
The red cabbage – never my favourite, was actually good. Maybe I am growing to like it, however the addition of sultanas to the red cabbage give it that extra fruity nudge. I’d have preferred slightly less red cabbage (or none) but points for ingenuity.
The parsnips were quite strongly flavoured, however they had clearly been cooked too long as they were floppy. As in, I’ve just had a gram of MDMA and you are trying to give me a hand-job kind of floppy. Except one which was rather rigid and under-cooked.
Before I go too far with the innuendo (still need to talk about a little sausage, and a good stuffing), I shall move onto the carrots. Or were they also parsnips? For they looked like carrots – yet tasted more of parsnip. Again too soft and somewhat floppy – these slightly anaemic-looking parsnip-flavoured carrots were not my favourite. At least it gave me a new way to describe them.
Going the opposite way, the potatoes were quite solid. The two smaller ones were OK, not crispy though you could at least taste the beef dripping which was good. Not soft and fluffy inside but far from inedible. The larger one was quite tough inside – edible but far from ideal.
The Yorkshire pudding was large – yet it was too floury – quite a dry Yorkshire pudding – not helped by the small portions of pretty decent gravy supplied – more on the gravy in a bit. My accomplice didn’t even eat half of hers.
The stuffing ball was excellent. Apparently gingerbread flavoured, though I didn’t detect a strong taste, it was well-made if suspiciously circular. My favourite part of the meal.
Alas the pig-in-blanket (not under a fucking blanket, Sainsburys et al) was quite cheap, limp and salty. Insert your own innuendo.
What’s left? Oh yeah, the chicken. It was half a chicken – a decent sized half a chicken too. The breast (ooooh), however, was quite dry and perhaps just overdone a tad – the leg was juicy enough.
And the gravy. There was nowhere near enough, even after extra was sent through and considering that it was quite thin. It was however a good tasting gravy, the chicken flavouring came through and it seemed as though the chicken juices had been used. If it had had some consistency, then I would have been in dreamland. Good effort.
I was truly stuffed afterwards. Mark of a good roast dinner? Not for me – if I wanted to be stuffed then I’d go to a Toby Carvery where everything tastes the same.
If you’ve not eaten @tobycarvery you are not living ! Just been to one in Macclesfield and my taste buds are still tingling , I couldn’t be happier ??
— andrew flintoff (@flintoff11) January 14, 2018
Oh to be sponsored by a roast dinner company.
Service was friendly, if a little disjointed – two people tried to take our food order, and nobody wanted to take our payment. The price was excellent, with 25% off we paid £13.92 for a roast dinner and a pint of apple juice. Almost northern prices – and I don’t mean north London. Even without the January discount, it was still £13.75 for a chicken roast dinner. No enforced service charge, and the waitress seemed a little surprised about our attempt to tip.
Some parts of the roast dinner were good – the gravy, stuffing and red cabbage. But too many times I was underwhelmed – if not outright disappointed. Whilst I had no loathing, I came away feeling slightly deflated from the experience. Quite a bit of thought and effort had gone in – but for my tastes, it didn’t deliver anywhere near enough.
I’m giving it a 7.01 out of 10. Could do better.
Next weekend is my birthday roast dinner, so it better be good. The only present you’ll need to give me is to tell all your friends about this amazing roast dinner blog. Go on, pretend you are giving Tory HQ a help posting their social media tweets…in a post box.
Keep on roasting. Until next week, peace out, in shala, booyakasha.
The Sun Inn, Barnes, South London
Station: Barnes Bridge
Tube Lines: National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 3