Here we fucking go again. Another fucking lockdown. This post is going to be a roast dinner review of The Albion in Islington. There might be some swearing. There might be some ranting. There might be some tears. There will be some goodbyes.
I was planning to make it my goodbye, fuck off and don’t ever speak in public again, Donald Trump special. But what happened? Yes, our political opponents and the evil far-right media decided to usurp all of this and castigate the nice, kind Jeremy Corbyn – giving me a tough call between a Goodbye Trump special and a Goodbye Corbyn special.
Ohhh Jeremy Corbyn. We are not going to be singing that at Glastonbury next year are we?
And then our dear, beloved chief scientologists decided that we are not being protective enough about THE RELIGION, cue time to release new scary graphs showing 5 times as many people dying as the previous worse-case scenario.
Boom. Lockdown. Despite it seeming that the tier system might actually have been working.
What? There’s breaking news? Nigel Farage is doing what?
I just want to clarify that I am 100% in favour of this new lockdown. Cannot wait. I’ve been calling for it since July – why has it taken so long? So exciting. Best thing ever. Go lockdown!
Gosh, now there’s someone that I’d love to be doing a goodbye special on.
West Bromwich Albion. Yeah I’ve no idea how this heading ties in either.
I’d booked The Albion via random number generator, and I’m pretty good at getting as far as Islington now. Well, I thought I was however I still managed to go the wrong way and be late. Fucking masks. Though when I arrived at The Albion and advised who I was, they took me to a table in the back garden where a woman with a similar-sounding name to me was waiting for her guest. She wasn’t waiting for me.
Fucking masks. Masks were to blame for him not hearing me, in case I haven’t explained that well.
Yeah, all that mask wearing worked really well. Anyway, onto the China section. Actually, no lets just not talk about China because everything is fine in China, perfectly normal country that didn’t cause covid, isn’t sterilising a whole ethnic population and there isn’t any form of large-scale gulag over there. Chinese agents probably follow this blog, don’t they?
Anyway, so they showed me to my correct accomplice that was waiting for me next to the fire on a ridiculously mild November day. Two northerners placed next to a fire. Thankfully my accomplice had already asked them to switch it off (and you thought I was referring to the risk of me burning masks). Also my seat was vibrating a lot, like almost all of the time – as if there was a tube train permanently running underneath, but a never-ending tube train.
Can you tell I’m in one of those moods? Starting a new fucking team today, with a hangover, and in a bad mood. It is Monday morning as I’m writing this by the way…need to get it done sharp as I’m going out for dinner on Wednesday, oh and need to post my Goodbye Trump special before the election results start rolling in. He is going, right? I’m not going to look totally stupid, am I? You yankies better fucking vote for Biden…especially in Texas which would pay for my next 3 roast dinners.
Yeah I probably should have brushed my teeth when I was young. That and do a bit less crystal meth.
Another heading. Just to split it up. And masks don’t work.
Choices on the roast dinner menu were beef sirloin, pork belly, herb crusted leg of lamb or chicken breast – all priced between £18.50 and £19.50. I’d already decided a week ago when I booked it that I wanted the herb-crusted leg of lamb, priced at £19.00, though I did have a little dither over whether to have the pork belly instead.
The roast took around 15 to 20 minutes to arrive, I’m not entirely sure as I was focused on having a moan about lockdown and how everyone was to blame except China.
On first sight, it looked quite average. I wanted either a great roast or a shit roast – I really didn’t want an average roast.
But is something missing? Can you work out what is missing before I tell you? In the meantime, here’s a word from our sponsors:
Have you worked out what is missing?
Maybe you need a close up.
Yes, there is barely any gravy on the plate. Or jus? We always ask for extra gravy, but I was quite forceful about the lack of gravy. How am I supposed to eat this?
Extra gravy arrived after a few minutes. Can you see it?
No, I mean the gravy, not Trump’s penis. Can you see the extra gravy?
Not the best photo – I am barely a better photographer than I am an epidemiologist, but extra gravy came to about 3mm of a small gravy boaty thing. Yeah, I asked for more – which came back thinner than the original gravy, but was just about sufficient.
The struggles of modern life
Shall we talk about carrots? For the last time for “4 weeks”, I’m going to spice it up and review them with the parsnips within the same paragraph. Whoa. Check me out. Or perhaps check out from reading this shit. Don’t worry, I won’t be back that soon.
So the carrots and parsnips had been roasted in honey – both were soft, the parsnips too soft really, but that was more than made up for by the flavour in the parsnips – the best I’ve had in ages, though perhaps seasonality also has something to do with that. I thought I could detect some mustard involvement also, but the menu suggests just honey. Good start.
I enjoyed the buttered greens also. They were, erm, buttery, cabbagey – I think with either some form of kale mixed in…or maybe it was just another type of cabbage. My accomplice thought there was leek also, but I didn’t detect it.
We’d ordered a side of cauliflower cheese to share. The cauliflower was a tiny bit too soft and the sauce too runny – but it was heartily cheesy and enjoyable also. I’ve had better, but it certainly squeezed into the good category, and the cream did thicken as the meal went on – and was a useful substitute for gravy.
Ohhh roast potatoes. Bit of a mixed bunch for me. They looked rather pale – so far this was a roast dinner that tasted better than it looked, and the taste of the roast potatoes fit that pattern also, with the beef dripping flavour coming through nicely.
One of them was large and rather al dente – though slightly crispy on the outside. One was just too soft and not crispy. The other was quite crispy and quite fluffy – on the way to meeting expectations but not quite meeting let alone beating. My accomplice was a little luckier, with two nicely crispy roasties out of three. I’ve had worse. I’ve often had worse. But they were nothing to shout about.
Fuck off, Donald Trump
If any inventor is bored the next few weeks, may I recommend making a machine that makes perfect crispy roast potatoes in 15 minutes – so that pubs don’t feel the need to make the roast potatoes hours, or even days before?
The Yorkshire pudding was quite soft on the bottom, but overall tasted a bit burnt and was quite tearable in texture. My accomplice again fared better than me.
My accomplice (fucking support bubble before the stasi accuse me of being the second wave) enjoyed her beef, rating it some of the best she has this year. It was very, very nice from my one bite – though I thought the lamb was arguably even better.
Not quite as tender as the beef, but with more flavour. I didn’t quite get the “herb-crusted” adjective as per the menu description – there were no more herbs visible than extra wall built on the border with Mexico.
Are we onto the gravy already? Or was it jus?
You know, I don’t think I’ve had a jew on a roast dinner since Kier Starmer became Labour leader. I mean, jus on a roast dinner. I would apologise but the scale of the unfortunate spelling mistake has been dramatically overstated for political reasons by my opponents, and of course by the evil far-right media.
Despite the quantity limitations rivalling the Great Ket Drought of 2012, there was eventually enough to be able to enjoy my roast dinner. It was quite rich and you could arguably describe it as a jus or as a gravy. Quite thick and tasty, I thought rather red wine based but I was drinking red wine, so maybe don’t take my word for it.
And that was that at The Albion in Islington.
Goodbye Trump. Goodbye Corbyn. Goodbye roast dinners. Goodbye life. The next “4 weeks” looks so miserable that I might even give up drinking. On the bright side, at least I won’t need to go to any Christmas parties this year – unlike last year where I started banging on about my roast dinner blog to the guy next to me, who turned out to be a vegan. And then became my new manager. Thank fuck he appreciates my work, as this blog is hardly a great human resources advertisement for myself.
Getting off tangent again. Shock horror, but just enjoy my nonsense and the thought of my Trump-like penis, as it might be the last time this year that you are graced with such linguistic beauty.
So the roast. It was good.
Yorkie was a bit burnt tasting and the roasties were…well…London style, let’s call it if I’m being kind. On the flip side, the vegetables were flavoursome, the lamb was too – the gravy jus thing was very good…but such a pain to actually get enough gravy.
Service was pretty good, friendly – though difficult to understand people between masks. Personally I wasn’t that into the wine we had, a Tempranillo Grenache if I recall correctly, was a bit light and grainy feeling. And also the beer – the IPA was too aley for me, the pale ale was fine, but didn’t really do it for me either.
As a venue it was good, plenty of outdoor space in both the back garden and outside the front, which will be very useful for the coming weeks…or maybe not. Broadly speaking it felt safe and clean, and was pretty busy. And fairy lights in the garden. We all need fairy lights after a few beers.
My accomplice scored it an 8 out of 10. I’m scoring it a 7.44. The gravy struggles, along with the yorkie and roasties being on the poor side, drag the score down from what was a good roast dinner.
Goodbye, for now?
You haven’t heard the last of me. Hopefully I’ll be back before Trump barricaded the White House and armed militias take over most state buildings prior to the US civil war. And certainly before Corbyn becomes London mayor.
If we are deemed to have saved THE RELIGION in 4 weeks and are bestowed our freedoms once more, there will be 2 roast dinner opportunities before Christmas.
One of those roasts will be special. Well, one of those roasts will be somewhere which should be special.
I’ll speak to you soon.
You’ll be hearing from me again.
Yeah, I’m going.
Just about finished the blog.
Yep. I’ll be out of here soon.
Just on my way.
Just need to build a bit more wall.
At least we proved masks don’t work.
The Albion, Islington, North London
Station: Caledonian Road & Barnsbury
Tube Lines: Overground
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Tasty parsnips
Loathed: Gravy drought, and not massively keen on the beers or wine on offer