Don’t panic. The government have told us everything is fine. And with reassurance, I headed off to The Devonshire in Balham…in the Roast Triangle Of Doom.
Do you ever wonder why you didn’t build that great big gas storage container in your garden?
With the price of gas rocketing up in the UK, if I had had the foresight, I would have been rich by now (yeah I said Bitcoin was in a bubble at $8,000 last year). I’d be able to finally do Roast Dinners Around The World – well, except the whole mask wearing, quarantine and all that shit that still makes it a ballache.
But imagine having a big gas storage unit in your garden and the riches you’d have now. Hell, you could probably have bought all those stupidly expensive yet stupidly desirable flats in the old gas container near King’s Cross, converted it back to gas storage, and probably have become a millionaire overnight – and possible Putin’s long lost cousin.
Albeit inflation means that being a millionaire is pretty worthless. Though don’t panic about inflation either. Everything is fine.
And there is plenty of food. Thanks to leaving the EU, we are currently prospering mightily, and have no concerns over the lack of CO2 and the fact that we might all be having vegetarian roasts come October. I call it Project Vegan Fear.
Even the Daily Express think everything is fine…oh…
Everything was so fine on Sunday that my tube train turned up early. Alas too early for me and I spent 25 minutes waiting for the next one. And then went to help a friend move house. Yes, I have a friend actually moving TO London – not from London.
Finally, 3pm arrived and I arrived at The Devonshire in Balham. You know what is coming, don’t you? Well, you do if you read my tweets. Menu?
On the menu we had beef rump with ox cheek – tempting. Lemon and thyme chicken. And thyme, garlic, orange and fennel pork belly. It was a close call between the beef and the pork, but having barely eaten and done actual exercise stuff, plus being re-assured by the government that everything was fine and it was just a little gas shortage flu, I chose the pork belly at £18.00.
Plus a side of cauliflower cheese for £4.50, I think – of course I didn’t photograph the part of the menu with the sides.
And then the waiter said, “just to let you know, there is an hour wait for food”.
“There is a burger shack outside if you are hungry?”.
I didn’t panic. I had a beer. Well, I had two beers because I had given up waiting for waiting staff so that I could order one, and gone to the bar – I didn’t even say anything and they apologised profusely, poured me a beer, someone said that they would put it on my tab. At which point they brought me a second beer over.
Everything is fine
Free beer! I hope I remember that if we don’t have any beer in future weeks. Though there is no need to panic and this is absolutely nothing to do with Brexit, because our gas bills are going down because of Brexit. Soon. Surely?
He wouldn’t lie, would he?
Our roasts took around 45-50 minutes to arrive – by which point my free beer was going warm.
Starting with some advice for chefs. If you are going to insist on using butternut squash in a roast – make it taste of something. Yes, I know, some of my cooking is dreadful – I attempted empanadillas on Monday night and feel that I need to write to the King of Spain to apologise to his nation – but hey, some of you probably give feedback on the website I work on to my employer yet don’t even know that null is an object.
Anyway, the butternut squash was tasteless and pointless.
There was several chunky, vertically-halved carrots – all quite soft, none of them seemed to have the maple flavour that the menu offered but I’m not Canadian so I’m not going to panic over the lack of maple syrup on my carrots.
And then I was like, OMG PANIC. The menu had said creamed leeks with PEAS. Peas. And I had forgotten to say anything.
There is no need to panic
Yet creamed leeks thankfully came without peas, and almost without leek – though there was some cabbage. This was pretty nice – the highlight of unspectacular vegetables.
The cauliflower cheese was total mush – like the cauliflower had been boiled to death. Shame as it actually tasted of cheese, but the texture was unappealing. My accomplice didn’t even bother trying it.
At least the roast potatoes were freshly cooked, which is something I don’t often get to say. Alas, they were far too large and therefore a bit undercooked – one notably so, but the other two just needed another 15 minutes or so and they might actually have been really good roasties. On their way to good.
So the Yorkshire pudding was a bit tired and rubbery, but not too bad. I could have quite happily not eaten it but I don’t like to waste food. Blame the war. And Brexit.
The pork belly was either so tough that I needed to ask for a steak knife, or the knife was so crap that I needed to ask for a steak knife. It was quite cooked earlier – notably so, yet it was still enjoyable enough. Just not as much as it would have been at 10am.
I didn’t notice the fennel, orange or thyme that the menu suggested – apparently it was stuffed with it. Some of the crackling was enticing – other parts tough and rubbery. At the ends the pork was notably tough too. I’m not really selling it, am I? It was kind of OK though.
My accomplice had the beef, which came with ox cheek and I was quite jealous of that – she was complimentary about the beef.
Finally, the gravy. It was actually quite good. Inoffensive, some vague meat stock taste, some consistency – Young’s pubs (and The Devonshire is one) went through a stage of watery piss in 2019, but this was quite good.
These are only crisis talks
You’ve made it to the summary. Phew. Even my honourary Brexit follower is still here, aren’t you?
Somehow I have Brexiters that follow me – well, I’m surprised that anyone follows me at all sometimes, or that I even have any friends. Well, I have plenty of friends but most of them have chosen to move as far away as possible from where I am.
So it was pleasing this week to not only have helped a friend move to London, but also to have met a Twitter follower, as I kind of started hoping before the pandemic that I might meet a few of you. You know, things in common – a love of roast dinners and a loathing of Brexit. Maybe you might like Romanian minimal techno and have some single Spanish friends that you can introduce to me also?
One thing that does amuse me is that when I meet people who have read the blog, they often think there is some kind of mysterious, scientific scoring system, but nah, I just pick a score out of my head really.
There was a lot of food. Roast potatoes were actually freshly cooked, if not cooked long enough. The creamed leeks with peas had no peas and were pleasantly creamy. Gravy was quite good.
Hmmm, there isn’t actually much to sell it on, is there?
Butternut squash was pointless, yorkie was a bit rubbery, pork belly was a bit tough, roast potatoes a bit undercooked.
Though nothing was really that bad either. Not a good roast but not a bad roast either. An existing roast.
I’m scoring it a 6.78. My accomplice scored it “around a 7”.
I’ll be back next week – I don’t actually have a plan yet. I kind of feel like sitting outside, by myself, having a crap roast dinner and moaning about the weather being better in September than any month of summer.
Or maybe just moaning about Brexit.
The Devonshire, Balham
Tube Lines: National Rail, Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 3
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Gravy was quite nice, creamed leeks with peas had no peas and were quite creamy.
Loathed: Pork needed a steak knife - would have been better hours ago, yorkie a bit rubbery.