I have something to admit to you.
One of my friends is a vegetarian.
Actually I’ve got an even more dishonourable tale to tell you. I once was invited for a roast dinner that a friend was cooking me. She had made onion gravy – freshly made too, and I was sat there eating a decent roast dinner thinking that a meat-stock gravy would have been preferable, but never mind.
Then whilst I was eating the assumed chicken breast, I realised that it was a bit tasteless, so I asked the host what kind of meat it was. Quorn, was the reply.
This was a good 15 years or so ago so I’d like to think that I have eaten enough meat to make up for this major indiscretion. We all make mistakes. We all do things we regret. Like voting Labour. Londoners, seriously, wtf?
What, you’re bored of politics? You are only here for the gravy? Ahhh but you still want to stab me for voting Tory? Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t admit to voting Tory whilst living in London, my readership figures are low enough as it is.
Anyway, so I needed to find somewhere with a good vegetarian roast for my aforementioned filly affiliate, and The Crabtree in Fulham seemed to fit the bill with a spinach, leek & ricotta wellington that would almost be tempted for a manly man like me – thankfully the offer of weird pea gravy was enough to cancel out any temptation.
The Crabtree’s Sunday lunch menu had chicken, beef, lamb and, confit porchetta…huh…something different on a roast dinner? Shit the bed.
Given that I’ve spent the last 80 reviews (from both this and my previous Reading site) whinging about the lack of inventiveness with roast dinners, my choice had to be the confit porchetta. Prices of the roast dinners were between £13.50 and £19.50 – the porchetta being £16.00.
The Crabtree itself is a fine pub, sat on the river Thames between Hammersmith and Fulham, in a residential area, with the riverbank of discarded plastic bottle and plastic glasses from fuckwits that don’t dispose of their waste correctly. Seriously, people, is it really that hard to wait until you see a bin?
It has a very pleasant, well-manicured and large outdoor area, with separate BBQ menu – and a bar and restaurant area inside. The only downside was that it was quite difficult to hear one another inside with quite a din of noise – one assumes caused by the low level music on likely very poor quality speakers.
Dinner took around 5 or so minutes to arrive. Sigh. Never a great sign unless you are at a fast food joint.
There were 4 different vegetables supplied, though all in low quantities.
Two small florets of broccoli were quite tough but pleasantly so. One carrot was chopped in half lengthways and roasted, which is always good to see.
Then we had a very small handful of green beans, slightly stringy in structure with a good amount of bite to them. The only downside was that they were mixed up with the swede, of which I am simply not really keen on. The swede was somewhere between mash and puree – inoffensive enough and in this case, thankfully limited in supply. There was more apple sauce than swede.
Just two roast potatoes were supplied. Two. I used to moan back in Berkshire about the “Berkshire Three” standard of roast potatoes. Where I am from, any less than 6 roast potatoes is almost as guaranteed permission to enact some basic, swift violence as suggesting that Margaret Thatcher was any less evil than Hitler. The potatoes themselves were less evil than Hitler but not exactly inspiring. Not crispy on the outside and certainly not fluffy on the inside. They did seem to have been cooked in either goose or duck fat, so whilst the texture was unappealing, the taste was pleasant.
The Yorkshire pudding looked impressive. A very tall Yorkshire, impressively so. Personally I prefer mine a little fluffier to bum – it was a tad too crispy in my view, but overall a good Yorkshire.
So far so very unspectacular. But then the pork. Or the confit porchetta. Wow. You know those moments when you put something in your mouth and it is so orgasmically tasty that you have to close your eyes and enjoy the moment ever so slowly?
Yep. Doesn’t happen often. Perhaps it only happens when you are dining with a vegetarian – the last time I enjoyed a piece of meat this much I was also dining with a vegetarian – though that was a very fine piece of rabbit at Ma Cuisine in Kew – a highly recommended French bistro.
Onto the meat itself, and porchetta is suckling pig, without the bone, wrapped in crackling with added herbs and normally garlic. It was just sensational. Literally every bite was ‘wow’. If only the rest of the roast dinner had matched up to these standards.
My vegetarian friend was very happy with her spinach thing (I even took a photograph of it), and my other accomplice said that her beef was the best she had ever had on a roast dinner.
Onto the gravy. Unsurprisingly not enough on the plate and the extra gravy didn’t suffice either. A fairly inoffensive, thin, gravy, which seemed somewhat to be meat-stock based. Decent enough.
Overall this was clearly rescued by some absolutely amazing meat. Quantity was lacking throughout which was the main drawback, especially on a roast dinner – but that meat, wow. I’m giving it a 7.32 out of 10.
I did try asking for another slice of porchetta for dessert – I’m not entirely sure that they took my request seriously. I was still hungry and really wanted another slice of porchetta.
Service was a little slow and a tad confused – a little difficult to get someone’s attention when required, but quite attentive when not required. Not entirely sure it was worth the 12.5% added to the bill, but certainly not poor enough to refuse to pay it.
Next Sunday is Father’s Day so I will be avoiding anywhere with families. I do keep meaning to go to Hackney, maybe it will finally happen. Oh yeah, and aren’t ducklings cute? Even cuter than me.
Don’t forget to share – “Tory scum” addendum optional.