Roast on a boat, roast on a boat, roast on a boat! That needs to be sung in increasingly higher octaves as if you are introducing a new quiz show. Let’s try again together, “roast on a boat, roast on a boat, roast on a boaaaaaaaaat!”. Feels good, doesn’t it? This week I was forced to have an early roast, and in return I forced them onto a boat, the Tattershall Castle near Embankment. On The Thames. You know, a boat.
With a hangover. Boats and hangovers may not be the best mix. After persuading the security that my bottle of squash was not vodka (don’t worry, they aren’t looking for drugs), I trundled along the gangway onto the Tattershall Castle, to find three floors of potential fun. The busiest on a hot, sunny June day was unsurprisingly the main deck, with a bar at one end, and a fish and chip stall at the other, with plenty of outdoor seating.
Downstairs was the more formal dining area – nothing too posh, but definitely a restaurant feel, if perhaps the video screen advertising what at first glance appeared to be a “poo party” on Friday nights perhaps suggesting to me that maybe food was an after-thought and this venue was more about having “fun”.
Why is this on my to-do list? Good question, it wasn’t somewhere that was recommended to me. Basically we walked past it one Sunday and thought (after a few beers), “oh how cool would it be to have a roast dinner on a boat?” Roast on a boat, roast on a boat, roast on a boaaaaaat!
City of Culture
The Tattershall Castle also has a spiritual connection to me, as it used to be a passenger ferry, carrying people between Hull and Lincolnshire, before the Humber Bridge put it out of business. I would joke that the Humber Bridge is a fabulous bridge because it leads out of Hull – but it also takes you to Scunthorpe and Grimsby.
Interestingly it was also once owned by British Rail, back in the post-war period when the government thought it acceptable to steal private property from companies. The omens were not set fair. For those that are too young, British Rail was shit. Vote Tory (maybe not at the moment).
I soon got used to the boat’s gentle sway, though perhaps I am still swaying as I write now.
On the menu was lamb shank, beef sirloin, chicken supreme or a nut roast. The meats all priced at £14.50 – which for central London isn’t so bad, though I guess that might be partly due to the fact that nobody is going to turn it into flats any time soon. I settled for the lamb shank, as I couldn’t be bothered to ask what a chicken supreme was. I should probably know, shouldn’t I? I’m only a food reviewer.
The beer choice was fairly basic, I settled for a Hop House, which I swear used to taste much better than it does nowadays.
Stop littering, you grotty bastards
15 or so minutes passed as we admired the shit in the Thames floating by, and reminisced about fun times on the Thames Clipper, before two of our three roasts arrived.
I had started to think that perhaps mine had been thrown in the Thames (SERIOUSLY, STOP THROWING SHIT IN THE RIVER, PEOPLE), however it turned up a few minutes later, along with three moderate sized jugs of extra gravy.
And back to earth with a bump.
Starting with the vegetable medley, which was mostly cabbage – cooked nicely to be fair and I really do quite like cabbage. I think I had two sliced carrots and a couple of oblong-shaped pea type things – you might be able to see one if you stare long enough. Oh and a few wilted rocket leaves, which looked as happy as Anne Widdecombe in a gay sex shop. By the way, I once went into a sex shop in Frankfurt and there was a whole stand dedicated to taking a shit on people.
Science has no cure for me either
The Yorkshire pudding was flatter than my willy with a texture and taste similar to cardboard. Aunt Bessie’s do nicer Yorkshire puddings.
Speaking of frozen things, the roast potatoes tasted as though they had previously been frozen and looked like they had been deep-fried. Slightly uncooked though edible, in a trying to get my £14.50’s worth kinda way.
My accomplice was enjoying her lamb shank so I was more hopeful here, alas there is more hope to be found in Tinder and that is very slim pickings for someone hit by the ugly stick (though just imagine the wonderful love letters I would write, eh ladies?). Mine was more bone than meat, and what meat there was struggled to come off the bone.
Plenty of fat – but the ugly type (like me) rather than the gorgeous, sublime type of fat. My accomplice’s seemed nice than mine, and my other accomplice was happy with her beef – though I thought it tough and somewhat overdone when I tried it.
The gravy was the highlight, though only because it was thick. Allegedly a red wine gravy yet the only flavour I could perceive was cornflour. Like the rest of the meal, it was bland but at least more effort had gone into the gravy than just taking it out of the freezer and whacking it in the deep fat frier. Though perhaps I’m deluded.
Science also has no cure for bad roast dinners
Despite a fairly tragic meal, the kind that a girl might cook you when she wants to be dumped, I wasn’t particularly disappointed. I’m going to spend the next five years going, “it wasn’t as good as Blacklock”, so it was probably best that the first post-Blacklock roast was crud.
The experience was pleasant enough, the service was fine and it was pleasant on the deck afterwards, having a beer in the sunshine, even if it did mean having to listen to some guy, assumedly on a date (he was doing his best not to get laid and she was doing her best to look good for Insta) arguing that Britain would beat USA in a war because we are clever. Hurry up, Skynet, there’s work to do.
I don’t want to rate it that low, as it doesn’t feel a bad experience despite the bland, tasteless food that was only marginally preferable to university canteen food. Part of me feels that I should give it exactly half what Blacklock received, but in the end I’m going to score it a 5.07 out of 10. Not totally irredeemable, it was at least edible. Highlight was the cabbage, lowlight the roasties.
My accomplices enjoyed it slightly more than myself, scoring it a 5.5 and a 6 out of 10, respectively. Roast on a boat, roast on boat…oh don’t bother.
Moral of the story – don’t go somewhere just because the venue seems like a cool idea after a few beers.
Next Sunday the plan is to go somewhere slightly unusual again, but I know they do good food as I’ve eaten there before. Question is, can they do a Sunday good roast?
Tattershall Castle, Embankment, Central London
Tube Lines: Bakerloo, Circle, District, Northern