The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge

Please note that this review is from December 15, 2021 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

Christmas is approaching with even more inevitability than the release of Boris Johnson’s photocopied backside, and with that it is time for the penultimate roast dinner adventure of 2021 – this time at The Coal Shed near Tower Bridge.

You know what this calls for?

A Christmas gift to you.

Some tits.

How about some tits for Christmas?








Image from onebob, under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

Oh, sorry, I lied. It’s actually a nuclear power station. Ha.

My search engine optimisation plugin isn’t going to like that introduction. It didn’t like me last week when I started putting in the meta description:

SEO plugin not happy.

Until I finished off the description:

SEO plugin happy now I've called Boris Johnson a cunt

Yeah, I know, he’s only doing his best, bless him. Nobody else would have done any better. Nobody else would have cared more, lied less, cheated on their wives less, lied about giving money to the NHS less. Everyone else would have given contracts to their buddies, tried to subvert the rules and been even scruffier than Corbyn (either one). Aha. Everyone.

I guess I did lie about the tits. Oh well, maybe next week.

Shed & Shoulders

So I made it through to the penultimate roast dinner adventure of 2021. Granted, with the amount of socialising I did this weekend in a city apparently with a tidal wave of omicron, this could very easily be my last review of the year.

And The Coal Shed was the last realistic opportunity for it to be “The One”. As next Sunday’s will be average. I know that already. Next Sunday is a Young’s pub. I’m even considering eating outside. Yeah, apparently I’m a bedwetter because I don’t particularly want covid the week before I visit my 70 year-old parents. Well, I’m also technically obese so that’s also a good reason to avoid it. Though I do have sexy legs.

Anyway, so we arrived at The Coal Shed, and after a short wait at the bar were shown to our table.

At which point, we noticed some problems. Can you spot them?

The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge, Sunday Roast menu
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2021

Yes it is the confusing use of the OR operator (that straight line thing on your keyboard that you’ve never used, unless you write code), which on the sauces section is used as a separator, yet on the sides section is used as a comma.


Emojis by size tweet

Yeah, over your head also.

Shedless architecture

The Coal Shed is perhaps a bit more modern looking than you might imagine, housed in the bottom of an office block, and rather hidden despite being really close to Tower Bridge – you probably wouldn’t find it by chance.

The Coal Shed outside.
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2021

Situated on two floors, with large glass windows letting enough light in for my photographs to be semi-decent, wooden beams on the ceiling (possibly fake) and proper chairs and tables – it had an upmarket feel but not too much to turn away plebs like myself.

There is only one option on the menu if you want a roast dinner, which is roasted sirloin of beef. It’s a steakhouse. No, I don’t know if they have a vegetarian option. All five of us ordered the beef roast, and we ordered some bread as a starter.

Priced at £24.50 each, which if you think that is expensive then maybe consider that someone paid $650,000 for this yacht the other day.

A $650,000 yacht that doesn't exist in real life.

Yeah, it isn’t a real yacht. It only exists in the metaverse. Sigh.

Thankfully our roast dinners were in the real world – alas, they turned up at the same time as our starters. Oops. And that was after having to chase drinks that hadn’t arrived.

The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge, Roast Dinner
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2021

Shed Over Heels

It was one of those that comes on sharing platters, hence the abysmalish presentation as this is my own doing.

I’m going to mix it up this week and go worst to best, rather than my usual order of carrots, veg, roasties, yorkie, meat then gravy. Not sure why. My blog, innit.

So starting with…the greens and cabbage mixture. Which was fine, quite an earthy taste to them and I was a bit meh about them, but yeah. Damn I wish I had written more notes.

Next are the roast potatoes, I’m sure you won’t be surprised that these are early in the order but they were decent enough. 4 roasties, quite soft inside, occasionally a crispy edge and they didn’t feel like they were cooked too long ago. Better than average for London – though average is toss.

Next up is the…cauliflower cheese which was good. Yeah, already into the good shit. It would have been better with a deeper cheese taste, perhaps the cream could have been gooier (gosh that is a word apparently) but broadly this was good.

Then let’s talk jus. According to the menu it was jus though I wouldn’t have been offended had they called it gravy – it did have a bit of consistency, it was quite hearty and tasted of beef stock and was good. Alas, we ordered extra and…yeah…it didn’t arrive.

Sheds, Shoulders, Knees And Toes

The carrots were actually really quite sexy. No seriously, not in a Carrie finding Boris sexy kind of way…wait…I haven’t offered my congratulations, have I?

Well, in that case I’d like to congratulate Carrie and Boris Johnson’s new baby daughter on her upcoming government contracts. I’m sure she’ll make a great success of them.

The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge, Sunday Roast
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2021

So the carrots were pretty sexual. Small, baby carrots which had been roasted I assume, but also had this charcoal-like edge as if they had been finished on the same grill as the beef. Quite excellent.

And the Yorkshire pudding actually was excellent. Properly fluffy inside, a little crispy on the outside – I’d go so far to suggest that this is one of the best of 2021. And look – it isn’t huge. They do not have to be huge. In fact, they are better smaller. Better smaller. Got that?

Finally, the beef. A minor gripe on the table was that the medium requested was medium-rare, and the medium-rare was rare. Not something I was bothered about, but it was mentioned by others. I quite enjoyed that the bone came with it, so there was opportunity for scavenging at the end.

The sirloin itself was really good quality, it tasted rather smoky inside and salty on the slightly crisped outside. One or two spots the fat hadn’t rendered enough and was chewy, but again, minor gripes. The beef was gorgeous.

Not another crap heading, I mean, shedding

Well, it wasn’t quite “The One” but it was one of the best roasts of 2021.

Alas, the service wasn’t quite to expectations. I’ve mentioned a few things already – the starters turned up at the same time as the main, though they advised the starters would therefore be free before we even questioned it.

Extra gravy that we ordered didn’t turn up – though a cheeky request for extra cauliflower cheese did, without charge.

Drinks were not easy to order, one order didn’t turn up – generally I expect a half-decent restaurant to top up empty wine glasses and notice when we might need to order more drinks, but that didn’t happen either.

Then they never even asked us if we wanted to look at the dessert menu. After a while, we gave up and just asked for the bill – surprisingly we’d only spent £51 each. We would easily have had another round of drinks, another bottle of wine, and possibly desserts – yet we left nearly hour before our allotted time was up.

And this was just the start of our problems with a lack of service on Sunday, in London.

Afterwards, we walked along the river to Spiritland – normally an excellent bar in Southbank. Yet there they didn’t seem to want to serve us, one of the staff members was soooo distant (good party the night before?) and then they closed two hours earlier than Google advised.

So we went to another bar which Google said was open. It wasn’t. Then we walked back to The Green Room, which we’d seen was open. No, it was closing at 6pm. Two more pubs advertised on Google as open, were actually closed. Then we found a pub which was open…and decided against staying.

Finally, we did find somewhere open until 10pm. And, erm, then somewhere open until midnight. Yeah, there is a reason why this review is taking ages to write.

The Coal Shed. Or tails.

Anyway, I did feel a tad aggrieved – there is going to be lots of complaining from hospitality in the coming days, as well as demands for taxpayer’s money (please can we stop calling this government money) – yet we struggled to get served. In central London. On a Sunday.

Whilst I’m being a bit serious, I should probably clarify that I don’t have an opinion as to whether more taxpayer money should go to hospitality – but as consumers we now have to contend with 5% inflation and rising, national insurance increases next year and the tax-exempt band staying the same for the next couple of years – so approximately we are all going to have 8-10% less spare cash as it is next year (assuming no increase in your pay).

So do we want to spend more money on subsidising hospitality – some of which will desperately need help, others absolutely not (fuck Wetherspoons) – or should it be better spent elsewhere? NHS, social care, levelling up, government contracts for Johnson’s children…hell…or maybe we could just not spend more so our tax doesn’t need to go up even further.

Hmmm. Thank fuck I’m a roast dinner reviewer and don’t need to make those decisions. There are big economic problems coming up, aren’t there?

But hey, it could be worse.

Sheds in the bed

Erm…tangent central is over.

Despite the service difficulties, it wasn’t like services was especially bad at The Coal Shed – it just didn’t meet expectations.

Food, however, did very much meet expectations.

The steak was smoky and sexual, the carrots were gorgeous and even the Yorkshire pudding was fluffytastic. And nothing was bad – the roasties were acceptable and the greens a bit whatever, but overall this was verging on the excellent. Fuck it, the roast dinner was excellent.

Scores around the table were an 8.2, an 8.4, an 8.45 and an 8.55. My score was going to be an 8.40 and normally I do only rate on the roast itself, but because the service left a slight disappointment, I’m scoring it an 8.20 out of 10.

The Coal Shed is one of only 5 excellent roast dinners this year. If you like your steak…you know what to do…albeit maybe in February.

I’d like to say that I’ll be back next week with a review but omicron feels ominous and I’m feeling risk-averse with 70 year-old parents to visit next week. Plus I can cancel without a guilty conscience after eating at Blacklock, Dishoom, The Coal Shed and Smoke & Bones in the weekend just gone. Though maybe we can sit outdoors – or even get a takeaway. We’ll see.

So if I’m not back next week, then I’ll be back on the first week of January.


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The Coal Shed, Tower Bridge

Station: London Bridge

Tube Lines: Jubilee, National Rail, Northern

Fare Zone: Zone 1

Price: £24.50

Rating: 8.20

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Smoky steak was sexual, the Yorkie was super fluffy and the carrots gorgeous.

Loathed: Service could have been more attentive, like maybe offering us dessert after dinner, or drinks when we ran out.

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