It’s the first roast dinner of 2022, and the random number generator took me to The Bobbin in Clapham.
I guess I should say something inspirational at this point.
Maybe our leaders can give us inspiration. What did Kier Starmer have to say? Yes, I mentioned Kier Starmer. You know there may come a day when Captain Cockwomble drifts out of the blog, and Captain Hindsight takes centre stage. 2024 is probably the earliest this could happen. Yeah, I’ll still be reviewing shit roast potatoes in 2024. Well, unless I have a Spanish wife and have moved to Spain by then. Yeah I’ll still be reviewing shit roast potatoes in 2024.
Anyway, Kier says, “make the right choices, to come together”. So you’ll be joining me for a roast dinner then?
Ed Davey (know who he is yet?) says that a “cost of living crisis” is brewing. He’s obviously seen the price of roast dinners go up too.
Boris Johnson just invoked the joy of the covid lottery, “it could be you”…”in intensive care”.
So basically, get a jab, get a better paid job, and have lots of roast dinners. I could created that inspirational message myself. Maybe I should become Prime Minister? I mean, it would improve my sex life. I also have a small willy, fat belly and my hair is thinning (though not quite at the just fucking shave it off stage that Johnson is at).
I do have dreams for 2022. Crispy roast potatoes is one such dream.
The usual boring shit like buy a flat, get a big pay rise, get the hell out of this perma-cloudy country for at least a week, oh and lose weight – yeah right.
But important stuff too. Like eat more roast dinners. Last year I managed 31 roast dinners in pub, and 10 at home. This year I’m hoping to beat that – including eating NO roast dinners at home…you listening, Johnson?
And I’d like to get my to-do list down to a more manageable size, say under 50 – how wonderful would it be if in theory I could review everywhere on my list within a year?
The Bobbin (every time I start writing Boobin rather than Bobbin) I think has been on my to-do list since the beginning. Beginning of time. Well, at least since I started the blog.
It’s quite a small pub inside, though has the benefit of a conservatory addition, along with an outdoor area – half of which is under a marquee (perhaps only for winter?) – the garden is well-sheltered by walls so I’d reckon it is quite a sun trap in spring sunshine.
I also noted Bose speakers – when a venue has quality speakers instead of naff ones where sound bounces off against the walls and everyone has to shout to be heard, it gives me hope that they actually care – that they understand the customer experience.
So. Menu. First roast dinner of 2022. Exciting, huh?
The options were pork belly and beef rump, at £20 and £22 respectively. Given that I’d managed to put on 6kg in 6 weeks, I decided pork belly was the most sensible option – for my body clearly needs the additional calories.
Oops. Forgive me for doing Dry January. Except my birthday weekend. And Dry February. And Dry March…maybe.
Though don’t worry, I won’t be having any vegetarian roasts – not that I could at The Bobbin. In fact, I think they only had one vegetarian option on the menu.
Doesn’t really need a few sentences of nonsense to tell you that this is a good roast dinner, but that’s what I’m here for anyway. The carrots were nicely roasted and tasted very much of carrot (actually not always the case).
The greens were a mixture of Savoy cabbage and, I think, cavelo nero – if I remember correctly. Not much to say about them but they were pleasant, a little wilted and pretty much spot on.
That’s it for the vegetables – The Bobbin (yeah I started writing boob again) don’t seem to keen on vegetables – but they were keen on potatoes. Both roast potatoes and mashed potato – a rare treat.
So the mashed potato was soft and succulent, but the roasties were the star of the show.
3 roast potatoes, reasonably fresh, all crispy on all edges (perhaps could have done with a sharper knife) and soft inside. There is no guarantee that I will get better roasties during the rest of the year. These were excellent.
No Yorkie on the porky, but it was supplied on my accomplice’s beef roast – and was fairly ordinary apparently. She didn’t finish it. She was complimentary about the beef.
Back to my pork belly roast, and the lack of yorkie (which I increasingly disdain anyway) was substituted with crackling. Winner. Well, I personally prefer crackling that is part of the pork belly, melded in with the fat – which I didn’t quite get here. It was more in quaver form. Very crispy, and needed some gravy to soften up enough to cut, but it was reasonably delightful.
The pork belly itself was pretty good. A little dryness on part of the bottom section and again, I prefer pork belly as a whole so you can eat the gluttonous fatty, crispy, meaty whole – but broadly it was good.
And then we had a little situation with the gravy. Both beef and pork had separate gravy, and of course, not enough.
The pork gravy was really nice, thick and creamy with a hint of apple – and only a hint, thankfully.
Yet we asked for more gravy, and only the red wine jus for the beef arrived. We then asked for some for the pork, and more red wine jus arrived. Red wine jus was fine, again only a hint of red wine flavour – but the pork gravy was much nicer.
A very good roast dinner to start the year. You may be wondering if that is a good sign for 2022. When was the last time I started the year with a very good roast?
It was The Wheatsheaf. In 2020. That wasn’t the best year for roast dinners ever.
Any deficiencies at The Bobbin seemed minor – pork belly could have been sexier, there was a bit of confusion over the gravy and perhaps another vegetable would have given the roast a better balance than the mashed potato (hi Sandra).
But we should be talking quality. Really nice roasted carrots, excellent roast potatoes, tasty crackling – there was nothing bad on the plate, or even average. Everything was good, or better.
And therefore I’m scoring it an 8.12 out of 10. My regular accomplice scored it an 8.20 out of 10. And our other accomplice had…the burger…I know…sigh…but she’s nice and I was far too tired to insist on her following roast club rules. She rated her burger a 7.50.
I’ll be back next week. No plan yet but I’m figuring that it being the second weekend of January, I won’t need to worry too much about a lack of table booked yet.
Until then, I wish you all the best for 2022. Make it a good one.
The Bobbin, Clapham
Station: Clapham Common
Tube Lines: Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Crispy roast potatoes! In London! Tasty crackling, good carrots...
Loathed: Nothing really. Pork belly was good - but I think they could do better.