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The Alexandra in Wimbledon.
That was the subject of an e-mail I received last week along with someone’s life story, who for some reason has a disdain of democracy. I don’t quite know how anyone could have anything but the highest respect for democracy as of late.
Not only was he suggesting that the outcome of Brexit was non-preferential, but also that my People’s Roast Vote would “produce an equally pathetic result”.
I realised that it was time to test the theory. Surely my wise readers, and voters, had not chosen The Alexandra in some vain attempt at revenge for my voting Tory at the last Police & Crime Commissioner election?
Yes, this week I went to The Alexandra in Wimbledon, winner of the aforeforementioned, People’s Roast Vote. In case you weren’t one of the 18 people glued my Twitter feed a few weeks back, I asked for suggestions on where I should go for a roast dinner, and then put it out for a public vote. Occasionally I like to keep spelling mistakes when they amuse me – you did notice it, didn’t you?
It was likely that somewhere with a strong social media presence was going to win the vote, and so it proved.
I mean, who could vote against a pub with a disdain for quioniaoioeiurgerjyiwuohqijqwferejrfuckingnevergoing to spell that innit.
Fancy some quinoa? Don’t come here. pic.twitter.com/dE6trASN29
— The Alexandra (@TheAlexSW19) November 13, 2018
By the way, innit is apparently pronounced without any consonants in Wimbledon.
Not only does The Alexandra have quite the same disdain for quinoa, but they give free Christmas Day dinner for anyone by themselves. My heart is melting.
The pressure was on. Not only was this the winner of the People’s Roast Vote, not only do they agree on my quinoa stance, not only do they post photographs of amazing looking roast potatoes, not only do they do free Christmas Day dinner for lonely people, not only do they…Anna Kornikova…
Anyone else remember the days before the internet, when watching women’s tennis was a bona-fide warm-up whilst awaiting the 10 minute freeview of Playboy TV?
Yeah. I was never going to get through a post about somewhere in Wimbledon without at least one tennis reference.
So I was in love with The Alexandra before it was even on my to-do list, though I entered into a fairly inauspicious venue on the high street of Wimbledon. It was quite a sprawling venue with a kind of 1990’s identikit Harvester style decor. The rooms to the left of the main entrance were more homely, filled with families and alas, all the tables were full – I think you can book a table but for some reason I had failed.
To the right was a slightly insalubrious bar, populated more with groups of men drinking whilst talking about previous times they were drinking, and various other non-family units, with a variety of television screens showing Bournemouth vs Arsenal – there weren’t that many tables free and one imagines that were a more important football game showing, or perhaps some national egg-chasing shite, then you might struggle to get a table without a reservation. Just to clarify that last sentence – rugby union is shite – you southerners should watch proper rugby, like Castleford vs Featherstone.
Perhaps I am being a bit unfair in my description and should really be reserving my scorn for the person on Twitter recently asking for restaurants with nice scenery (death to Instagram), but you have probably been in hundreds of pubs that look exactly like this. It is the kind of venue that would be impossible in central London, and probably still operating in somewhere like Luton with 4 regular customers all on disability benefits, and the pub surviving on money laundering alone. You know the kind of places I mean, you step into them, there are about 100 seats for every customer, and you wonder how they still manage to sell a pint of Fosters for £2.50. Also, nail bars.
The toilets were rather stylish, I should add, in quite bizarre constant from the tidy normalness of the rest of the pub.
You know when you walk into somewhere and are immediately impressed, whether that be the feel of the place, the funky music playing, the Maria Sharapova lookalike behind the bar or that it has perfect decor for The Insta.
The Alexandra just looked an ordinary pub.
But they served my current favourite tipple, Neck Oil. And I was already in love anyway. Just a bit nervous now, in case I get defriended by my People’s Roast voters.
Once my accomplices joined me, we got down to work. On the menu was sirloin of beef, lemon thyme roast chicken (sans punctuation) or pork belly, priced at 17, 15 and 16 respectively. There was also a Barnsley lamb chop roast with minty gravy on the specials board – tempting but I went for the pork belly. Oh before I forget, there was also a chef’s roast, which was all 3 meats. And in brackets, it advised that it was huge. Oh yeah and before I forget there was a vegetarian option. I should probably mention it, as one of my guests is turning vegan soon.
Well, she was going to turn vegan until we pointed out to her that meant that she wouldn’t be able to drink beer or eat avocado ever again. Victory to humanity, you can all thank me later, fuck you Time Out Vegan Conspiracy.
I am so never getting published in Time Out. However I just deleted a line saying “fuck you Jeremy Corbyn”. Thought you’d be impressed with my new-found political impartiality. No I don’t have a girlfriend.
I don’t really know how long dinner took to arrive, maybe 20 minutes, and I was pretty damn happy with the humongous slice of pork belly – I’ve ordered pork belly in some places where it was barely a fifth of that portion size.
It’ll be a task to remember all the vegetables – there was half a carrot which had been roasted pretty much to perfection.
The broccoli was pretty uninteresting, and a bit tougher than I’d personally prefer.
The cabbage was very nice, perfectly cooked and tasting fabulous with the gravy – though it also had a fair spread of the celeriac mash with it, which itself was really on the ball – very creamy and luxurious feeling.
I would quite happily have gone without the swede, which seemed bland despite being honey-roasted – and I did go without the peas. You know my feelings on those critters.
I had 3 roast potatoes, all fairly normal sized. They weren’t particularly crispy on the outside, but they were fairly soft on the inside and tasted glorious thanks to the goose fat. Whilst they may not have hit top spot for structure, they were all flavoursome.
However, one of my accomplice’s roast potatoes were very over-sized, and whilst not uncooked, tasted rather odd, and not at all like mine. We couldn’t quite put our finger on why – both plates arrived at the same time, but it almost tasted like hers were roasted in cheap oil as opposed to goose fat. Weird.
The same accomplice had the beef, which she found quite tough, and it certainly was more well-done that I’d have preferred. That said, it was really peppery and flavoursome – far better that the bland but perfectly cooked beef that I’d had the week before.
Yes I did try to re-arrange my roast dinner into a face. No I’ve never had a proper girlfriend.
My pork belly was very good but not close to excellent. The good parts first – it was very tasty, the meat was succulent, the fat combined nicely though arguably it could have been reduced down more. And it was huge! Alas, there was no crackling, and the outer rim was chewy as opposed to the expected crunchy. Perhaps it should have been finished off under the grill.
Oh yeah, that vegetarian option. It was a beetroot and fennel veg-roast. It looked horrible, but my accomplice was even happier with it than the meat-eaters. Despite not eating it all.
Again one of my accomplices was less enamoured by the Yorkshire pudding than I was. It was certainly more well done on the sides than ideal, however it was still respectably good, with a solid structure and a nice, soggy base. I was happy – my accomplice content.
Amazingly, there was a respectable amount of gravy on the plate, enough for a southerner perhaps, but more was ordered. And it was good gravy, a hearty, meat-stock gravy – the kind that I could quite happily have ordered a pint of, were it not for there being Neck Oil on draught.
So, the people did choose a very good roast dinner. A proper roast dinner, the kind that you’d get served up north (sans the celeriac…you won’t find such posh nosh in the likes of Rochdale).
That said, there was room for improvement and just like real democracy, the popular option won – though perhaps there were better but less well-known options to vote for, like the Buss Pass Elvis Party…or the Liberal Democrats.
Which is why I do this blog – to ensure that you vote Conservative. I mean, to ensure that you find the very best roast dinners in town, and don’t go to the ones that all the paid-for blagger bloggers attend, or that sponsor your local newspaper and miraculously get a 9.5 out of 10 despite everything being mediocre.
I’m giving this a very hearty 8.04 out of 10. I was tempted to vote it a little higher, but I think there were enough imperfections to keep it close to an 8 – which in itself is a very good score. My slightly disappointed accomplice said it was an upper 7, my de-converted vegan accomplice gave hers a magnanimous 8.5.
The Alexandra may just be an ordinary pub, but it is doing extraordinary things for the local community (worth a follow on Twitter). And produces a very good Sunday roast too, I am relieved to say. So good, that the People’s Roast Vote might well return next year – yes I might let you lot decide my destiny again.
Next Sunday I am having a tourist day in London, so I’ll be roasting in central London, and going somewhere just a little controversial, in my eyes at least.
Game, set and match.
Is that really my final sentence? What the fuck? Surely there is something more better?
The Alexandra, Wimbledon
Tube Lines: District, National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 3
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Cabbage and pork belly were very good.
Loathed: No crackling on the pork belly,