The Apollo Arms, Clapham

Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.

This is a long process, so please bear with will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.

Another Sunday. Another hangover. Another ton of tube trains required, this time for the trip to The Apollo Arms in Clapham.

Hell, you might as well throw in the fact that it is a visit to the Roast Dinner Triangle Of Doom. Insert doom-laden sound effects from your favourite scary movie.

AI encapsulation of the Roast Dinner Triangle Of Doom.

Not bad, AI, not bad. Better than I can represent a roast dinner triangle of doom, anyway.

Gosh do I sound gloomy?

It must be all this glorious summer that we have been enjoying.

Summer 2023.  More rain.

The person serving us at The Apollo Arms was over from Australia for the summer. Just imagine. You come over from Australia to London, during summer, and you receive this. Granted this paragraph may make no sense to those visiting the website in summer 2026, though quite possibly it still will.

Interestingly this summer having turned turd means that I’m getting more visitors to the website than usual – up around 50% in gloomy July from glorious June. If only it didn’t mean as diddly squat to my finances as my woke rating does at the Woke Banks.

Daily Express headline - PM: I'll shut woke banks

“Hello Woke Bank, I’d like to pay my mortgage off with this rainbow-striped wheelbarrow of woke”.

Launching In T Minus 10 More Paragraphs Of Bilge

There are actually other problems with summer – it isn’t just the incessant weeks of rain, and the seeming lack of interest in roast dinners compared to actual official autumn.

The biggest problem during summer, for me, is the lack of politicians. With what the fuck am I going to pad out this spurious use of the internet for this week? Rishi is on holiday. Oh well. Oh how terrible he’s gone to California instead of Colwyn Bay. Traitor. In reality, couldn’t care less where he’s gone.

Maybe the Californian wokeness will permeate his soul and he’ll decide to start treating asylum seekers with a bit of dignity. Oh my word, that sentence must be sufficient to clear my overdraft at the Woke Bank. HOW DO I DEPOSIT MY WOKE?

Daily Express headline - Woke banks a risk to national security

Ahhh the Express never lets us down – as reliable as oneself – you know that I’ll trundle through all kinds of hangovers, TfL absurdity, storms and heatwaves – whatever the world throws at me, to bring you a roast dinner review.

And you know that the Daily/Sunday Express will trundle through all kinds of pandemics, strikes and climate change – to bring you some utter anti-woke irrelevant turdifurous nonsense. Every bit as reliable as Lord Gravy.

Enough nonsense?

Time to start thinking about a pub, and a new pub at that – or at least a newly renovated pub (I assume), one with new owners – apparently the space was previously run by MEATLiquor.

We Have Lift Off

The Apollo Arms does seem to have had a fairly high quality renovation – the furnishings, fittings, tables and chairs all seemed built to last – yet the pub…or is it restaurant, wasn’t that busy.

Everyone was seated next to the window – perhaps to give it the impression of being busy. This is a busy stretch of road, so there is plenty of footfall – and other pubs we walked past, including the dire No 32 The Old Town pub seemed busy enough, though maybe again they were just putting everyone in the window.

And the garden was actually pretty gorgeous – yet not a single soul out there. Whether that says more about summer 2023 than the pub, is a question available to you.

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - the garden

Yes, somehow I managed to take a photograph with shadows in during summer 2023. And look how sturdy that garden furniture is. It is crying out for me to sit there and drink beer.

Alas, the beer choice wasn’t amazing – Harbour Brewing Co who do about the best beers in Cornwall, though that is similar in praise to complimenting the Daily Express’ least insane headline. An IPA was pleasant enough to drink, but I didn’t want a second one.

I feel that I should probably check wine menus more often, but I didn’t want to tempt myself into spending yet more of my woke balance.

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - roast dinner menu

Perhaps a reason why The Apollo Arms was so quiet, could be the prices – though I’ve just checked No 32 The Old Whatever I Cannot Be Arsed To Check What They Are Called pub where I had an awful roast a few years back, and their prices are very similar.

I ordered the pork belly, priced at £23.50. I could have been tempted by the butter roast cornfed chicken, had I not had chicken the week before – which came with overcooked bacon laid on top, or the treacle-cured sirloin, priced at £24.00 or £25.00 respectively.

Stick Your Sputnik Up Your Arse

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - pork belly Sunday roast

It looked promising – we didn’t even need to ask for extra gravy. I could see my accomplice’s mind as she fought against a natural instinct to ask for more. The only perturbance on arrival was the enforced condiment – and placing the yorkie on top of said apple sauce. I’ll never quite understand the desire for any semi-liquid other than gravy on a roast – the lady on the table next to us was obsessed with bread sauce from overhearing her conversations on the topic.

Starting with the carrot which was whole and juicy.

The green beans were a bit meh – kind of earthy though otherwise lacking any flavour, and were an unusual dark green of death.

Then the greens were kind of sweaty and dank – also an unusual colour as if they had had all the life boiled out of them.

You could tell that The Apollo Arms was a new place by the fact that 4 roast potatoes that were supplied. Do you not know this is a crime in London? And actually, they were better than average.

Some crispy edges – all 4 were quite variable in quality, occasionally a bit tougher inside, occasionally a tad stale – but two of them I would go so far to describe as good roast potatoes.

Jus-ston, We Have A Problem

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - pork belly roast dinner

The yorkie was just a dried-out burnt lump of fat. I’ve had worse, and I did actually eat it (it was mercifully small), however it had no redeeming qualities and was a waste of calories.

That said, I cannot talk about wasted calories – I ordered 4 pieces of fried chicken the night before when drunk, and then decided that I needed two sausage rolls afterwards.

Have you had those pork and chorizo sausage rolls from M&S? A bit more pricey but bloody well life-affirming.

Speaking of pork – the pork belly was a tale of two imperfect halves. The better part of the story is the meat, which was ultra-gooey and kind of melt in your mouth, except perhaps the gooey-ness was a bit too sticky.

The sad part of the story is that they hadn’t bothered to finish off the crackling – and just left it as barely penetrable rubber. Why did this not enjoy 5 minutes under the grill to crispen it into crackling? Quite a small portion too – especially compared to the beef:

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - beef roast dinner

My accomplice probably made the better choice – 3 fairly generous slices, quite rare, juicy and with plenty of flavour.

Finally, the jus…gravy…nah, jus. Well – it fit right into the Roast Dinner Triangle Of Doom. It really wasn’t my kind of thing. Which is always a problem – especially then you have more than sufficient volumes. It was sticky, it was sweet – it left an increasingly yacky aftertaste. SAD.

Trump 20-24.  Years in prison.

The Apollo Arms

So the jus overshadowed an imperfect roast dinner.

They were nearly there with the pork belly and roast potatoes – a bit of tweaking and I’d be a bit more willing to rave about them. I enjoyed the carrot – my beef-eating accomplice also had carrot puree with hers which was pretty ace. What is it about enjoying puree at the moment?

Alas, the yorkie was burnt and old, the greens were washed out and devoid of life, and the jus…well…yacky is the word.

Which leaves it with a bit of a sad score – sad because the service was really welcoming, a lot of money/effort has gone into the refurbishment – the garden will be glorious in 9 month’s time when we actually have some decent weather again.

Looking at the other two pubs that Lunar Pub Company own – Ganymede and The Hunter’s Moon (definitely a theme going on here), the roasts do look good – so maybe they just haven’t quite got themselves together in terms of their roast offering yet at The Apollo Arms. Perhaps there is better to come.

My accomplice’s score was a 6.60, and my score is a fairly lowly 6.19 out of 10.

Next weekend I’m up north visiting the folks, so no roast dinner review until the week after – of which there are no plans as of yet.

I’ll leave you with toilet roll holder of the year:

The Apollo Arms, Clapham - toilet roll holder of the year
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The Apollo Arms, Clapham

Station: Clapham Common

Tube Lines: Northern

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £23.50

Rating: 6.19

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: The meat of the pork belly was ultra-gooey (I think I mean this as a compliment) and the carrot was juicy. Really welcoming service also.

Loathed: I didn't like the just - sweet, sticky and yacky. Yorkie was old and stale, greens were washed out.

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