After a couple of disappointing roast dinners in recent weeks, I was hoping for something a little more inspiring this Sunday from the random number generator. This week it picked The Brown Dog in Barnes.
I wasn’t exactly inspired, but what can I do? The random number generator chooses places from my to-do list and I must obey my master. It is very comparable to the slave trade and now I can finally empathise with 18th Century black people, and what they went through.
Oh to be free from the tyranny and oppression of the random number generator.
I expected an average roast dinner, but held a little pocket of hope chained away at the back of my mind. Plus Barnes is a nice 45 minute walk along the river, and it was becoming a nice sunny day – not too hot either, despite being July. Or it being Britain, because it is July.
The Brown Dog is situated in the middle of a residential area of Barnes, an upper-middle class area where I imagine more people own banks than work for them – I did hear the couple seated next to us talk about visiting Jersey for “holiday”, and nobody goes to Jersey unless they want to take part in money laundering. Actually, maybe my mum and dad went there on honeymoon?
The pub itself seemed to have been relatively recently renovated, split into a small and slightly grubby bar area on the left, and a bright, open restaurant area on the right. There was also a garden out the back in the sunshine, which looked rather pleasant – alas, my accomplice wasn’t keen on being attacked by wasps whilst eating her roast, which tends to happen from around this time of year. Also, apparently their roast dinners are famous. OK…
Stick your dick away
A note to gentlemen, their toilets were rather cosy. Two urinals and you’d almost be hugging the person peeing next to you, should someone join. Which reminds me of a time in a nightclub, where I was stood trying to have a wee next to someone who had an unfortunately notably large semi going on, who then went back into the club having forgotten to put his wanger away. Moral of the story – time your wee effectively.
Just two options available for a roast dinner, leg of lamb and striploin of beef, both priced at an ouchie £19.50. Ouchie or ouchy? Guess it doesn’t matter. I went for the beef for no particular reason other than that I fancied it, and I had had lamb last Sunday.
Given that we’d had a sizeable walk along the river, both having eschewed breakfast, we were rather hungry. Dinner did take a good 20 minutes or so to arrive whilst I watched bowls of bread go to other tables. Did we miss out on “free” bread? Was this only for regulars? I didn’t see the option on the menu to order any.
Apart from the burnt yorkie, it looked respectable enough (I wonder if Anne Widdecombe was hot when she was in her 20’s?) – though do roast dinners really need to be served in a bowl? That fucking EU oppression again.
Oi slave, share and retweet this post
Two small carrots were supplied, roasted yet innocuous.
There were bits of cabbage too, though they had a slightly rubbery texture and unusually little flavour.
Green beans rarely have much flavour and these were squeakier than I prefer. A personal preference thing on the squeakiness I suppose. Some people, like myself, don’t like their green beans to be squeaky, just like some people don’t like their human beings to have brown skin.
Three roast potatoes were supplied and they were actually crispy on one side. Which is where I found out why I had a steak knife, for the crispy sides had to be cut, stabbed then torn to break them apart – yet the whole outside had a rubbery texture too. Definitely not freshly made.
Complaints aside, they weren’t actually that bad. Maybe this is because the bar has become notably low in recent weeks, but they were also kind of soft on the inside and one was even enjoyable (once I had ripped it apart).
There was plenty of beef with two healthily-cut slices of striploin. It was tender and well-marbled – on the medium side of medium-rare. However there was just no flavour to it – the theme of the meal, and for £19.50 one would expect at least a hint of something interesting for the taste buds. Nada.
The Yorkshire pudding was too black on top for Anne Widdecombe – then again, most things are too black for her. It was also too black for me, though in a burnt food rather than skin colour kinda way. The bottom was fine once soaked with brown water (sigh…not in a racist way) and melded nicely with the beef, however the sides just tasted as though I was eating the black shit on the bottom of my oven.
And given just how watery the gravy was, perhaps I did actually need the bowl, as you can see from the mess above. Yes, the water that accompanied the roast dinner was disguised as gravy in the same way that Nigel Farage disguises himself as a non-racist man of the people. What minimal taste there was suggested a hint of Bisto or some other salty granule.
Before I surmise, may I take this opportunity to thank Anne Widdecombe for teaching me as much about black history as my school teachers.
Hmmm. Blacklock seems a very long time ago.
Yeah, I did expect some flavour for £19.50
I get that roast dinners are not especially well known for overstimulating the taste buds, however this whole meal was just utterly flavourless.
If I’m paying £19.50, plus service charge then I expect to be impressed at least a little bit. Sure, fuck up the roasties and yorkie – half of London does, but DO SOMETHING! Why the bland meat? Why no flavour in any of the vegetables? The Brown Dog was quite quiet whilst we were there, despite being a small venue and I think I might know why.
The pub itself is nice, I expect that it is doing the community pub thing fairly well, and the beer garden looked really enticing. Not that I went outside. Service was sufficient, though we always had to signal for attention – more impressed by our waitress’ flowing black skirt then anything else, which were I a women, I would want, and my accomplice, who is a women, wants.
In terms of texture, the beef was really good and I guess the carrots and one of my rubbery roast potatoes was enjoyable too. However, the Yorkshire pudding was shite and the gravy might as well have been water with a bit of brown food colouring. And everything else was just bland. And £19.50.
It always saddens me when I have to rate an independent establishment poorly, though at £19.50 (yes, I’m a fucking northerner) plus service charge, I am not feeling too sad about it. I am scoring it a 5.99 out of 10 – my accomplice scored it closer to a 5. Which makes me question again, the roasts are famous for what? Having no taste?
Also, no brown dog. Yeah, I know, there were no old red cows at The Old Red Cow either.
Snog, Marry, Avoid?
Plan for next Sunday still to be confirmed, but if I do get the go ahead, then it is somewhere central, somewhere you might have actually heard of and somewhere that I think do good Sunday roasts.