It’s my last roast dinner for a short while, in London at least, and hence we eschewed the random number generator and selected The Baring in Islington, in the hope and semi-expectation of a good send off. Or roast off.
The Baring is one of those food-focused pubs that have opened in the last year or so that really caught my eye – others such as The Holland and The Parakeet are also in my mind as being in a similar vein.
You could call them gastropubs, but that moniker feels a bit unfair – The Baring is more a restaurant, in a pub.
It has a very clean, fresh and minimal feel to it – a bit like my flat might if and when the purchase ever completes. For one day, anyway, before I move in 30 boxes of stuff which I seemed to have accumulated. Well, 30 so far, but there is still more to pack before the storage folks turn up tomorrow. Do I really need 1,800 CDs?
You may have noticed that I’ve got straight to the subject. I’m tired. I’m exhausted, not sleeping especially well, drinking too much and the last week or two has been pretty stressful. Come 5pm tomorrow, I’ll be living out of a suitcase, replete with a plane ticket to Spain, whilst I await my solicitors to pretend to complete my purchase.
Being evicted is stressful. Buying a flat is stressful. So my brain is just kind of focused in those areas – I don’t have much waffling capacity. Hence I’m just cracking on. Besides, that is what other food bloggers do. Even Jay Rayner – who has discovered the culinary delights of Croydon.
The Right To Bare Nipples
The draught beer choice was acceptable – a pint of Five Points XPA was pleasant enough, though the Merlot that we had at £8.00 a small glass, was far more intriguing.
Options for the roasts including beef bavette at £27.00, pork collar at £26.00, chicken for two at £23.00 each, or a rib of beef for £39.00 each.
There was also a specials board with venison fillet and venison sausage, if I remember correctly which might have been £30.00.
I actually quite fancied beef so that was my choice – myself and my accomplice had the same meal and same wine. Well…we are siblings and she also has good taste.
It looks a bit underwhelming, doesn’t it? A bit like turning up for a date with me. But then I had a taste of the beef. More on that later as we’ll start with the vegetables – though there was only one vegetable, unless you count the clove of garlic of which my esteemed accomplice frowned upon when I ate it whole.
So the Hispi cabbage was delightfully smoked – if you got the unsmoked part then it was just ordinary Hispi, if Hispi can really be ordinary – winner of Vegetable Of The Year in the 2022 awards, and runner-up, and runner-runner-up…or is it runner-up-up?
In places it was almost creamy in texture – despite there being no cream visibly involved. Impressive.
Does A Bear Shit In The Woods?
Already onto the roast potatoes – there was 7 to share of varying levels of appeal.
Only one actually looked great, and I let my accomplice have that – it was roast potato of the year. So I’m told. However they were all just about fluffy inside, notably so for all but one, with crispy edges to an extent and a little on the salty side – though pleasurably salty.
They really needed a bit of chuffing, but they were broadly good – even if they don’t look especially top.
The yorkie looks burnt and in places tasted burnt, especially on top. However – inside was mesmerisingly fluffy. Like proper, freshly cooked, not been under a heat lamp level of fluffy. How Yorkshire puddings should be. Had it not been a bit burnt, then it would have been a strong competitor for Yorkshire Pudding Of The Year. I’m not sure there is much competition though.
The beef was sensational. Seared around the edges to give an earthy feel and flavour, pretty rare inside – you could say it was pretty close to perfection. You could say it was sexual. They really do know what they are doing at The Baring.
And finally, the gravy, which in advance I suspected may be lacking – but plenty was provided, and it was a gorgeous gravy too. Proper gravy, a proper meat stock gravy with decent consistency, and one where I happily chased tiny strands of remaining food around the plate at the end, to justify licking it from my knife, in what was a fairly upmarket restaurant in a pub.
So that’s it for now. Apologies if this review was a little bit flat and lacking the usual joviality – I just wanted to crank it out, and then go back to packing. I have far too much to do, far too little time and zero imagination.
At least I finished on a high before my enforced break.
A 3rd excellent roast dinner in a row – hell, I’ve had good roast potatoes 3 weeks in a row!
My accomplice scored it an 8.50 out of 10, and I’m well up there with an 8.42 out of 10. On another day, The Baring may well have scored closer to a 9 – I suspect they can do close to perfection.
I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I will be back. To The Baring, that is – as I’d really love to try their non-Sunday meals too. Everything looks soooooo good. Worth noting though that they didn’t serve roasts during the summer – so if you are reading during warm rainy season in a future year, double-check their menu.
I also don’t know when I’ll be back reviewing. Ask my solicitor. It feels like maybe I’ll be completing on the flat in the next couple of weeks, so it shouldn’t be too long before I’m moaning about Southern Rail from East Croydon, instead of the Met line from Harrow. But also I wouldn’t be surprised if it was another month or longer.
However – there is always Roast Dinners Around The World. I have a holiday booked in Malaga next week. There are roast dinners there, you know…
Peace and love to all. I will be back before you know it. Plus I do have a bank holiday roast that I haven’t written up yet. Or I can just regurgitate some content, another one of those “best roasts in London” lists.
The Baring, Islington
Tube Lines: Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Everything, more or less. The inside of the yorkie was soooo fluffy, and the beef was sexual.
Loathed: Well the roasties could have done with a little chuffing, and the yorkie was burnt - and tasted so in parts.