The Express Tavern, Brentford

Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.

This is a long process, so please bear with will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.

Please note that this review is from September 16, 2020 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

Word. Welcome to another roast dinner review by your sexually limited and linguistically totally fucking unspecific host, Lord Gravy. This week I ended up going to The Express Tavern in Brentford.

Why the fuck would I want to go for a roast dinner in Brentford, I hear you ask.

Well, I had guests driving up from Basingstoke so I needed to find somewhere convenient for them, yet not a total mission for my maskphobic self. They suggested Harrow, where I live. I said “fuck no”. I also had no Metropolitan line so was stuck with the pick your willy line.

Looking at the to-do map on my maps page, the most sensible option seemed for me to get the tube to Acton Town, pushing the limits of suffocation and walk from there to Brentford. So I booked The Express Tavern in Brentford. It seemed like quite a nice pub from what I read about it, and I had hope that it might be a hidden gem.

Hidden gem, or a roast of crud. I wasn’t expecting anything middling.

Hang on, I cannot possible go any further on a review of of The Express Tavern without sharing this extraordinary live rendition of the track that influenced me so much as an 8 year old.

Wow. What a performance.

So where were we? Oh yeah I arrived at The Express Tavern…S-Express Tavern.

Split into two as you walk in, it wasn’t obvious which side to head to, so I went right, reported my attendance and asked for an IPA. At which point I was shown to the left side of the bar, and they did have rather an interesting and wide selection of beers – the kind that you wouldn’t necessarily expect in Brentford. Though maybe Brentford is the new Peckham?

Express delivery

Over the course of the afternoon, service wasn’t exactly great. It was always friendly, yet I’ve become very used to having table service for almost everything in a pub except for requesting a pot to piss in. Yet at The Express Tavern we even had to go ask for menus, let alone going to the bar to order beer and food. Drop that ghetto blaster.

And somehow despite a vague queuing system someone still managed to push in whilst I was ordering. She was hot, but otherwise I couldn’t quite understand how the guy in the process of serving me asked what I wanted to order, she then shouted from behind me what she wanted, he prepared her drinks order for the next few minutes, then came and took my money. Like, maybe finish serving your current customer first?

We were at least allowed to change our designated table from being seated outside to seated inside – though as inside was almost completely empty, it wasn’t exactly an issue.

So strange seeing pubs in London that empty, though the garden had a fair buzz about it, I do wonder how many pubs and restaurants will survive the coming winter, and possible hospitality apocalypse. Whilst I’m comfortable getting back out and eating – covid cases are rising pretty sharply, and I’ve seen a news story in the local online rag (and I emphasise “rag”) suggesting that a local lockdown is possible for my hood of Harrow.

There’s a balance between wanting to get out and support pubs and restaurants but also as a very limited and specific form of influencer, not being too reckless and encouraging reckless behaviour. I’m sure the social media hysteria will tell me when to stop going out, and given that our government seems to be governed by said hysteria, this would be the closing of the pubs again anyway.

Express hysteria

It is starting to feel a bit like early March where every Sunday roast could be the last one that I have for a while. Gosh that went a bit dark, didn’t it? I know how to get things back in shape:

So on the menu at The Express Tavern was a choice of sirloin of beef, lamb, chicken, Brexiters on Question Time or a trio of meats.

I know what you are thinking. TRIO OF MEATS. Which sounds appealing, yet I always find that it confuses me and I get the flavours mixed up.

I’ve also long wanted to have a gammon roast so I can spend a whole blog post putting pictures up of red-faced fat old men who are so angry about “immigrunts tekin their joabs”, and this was nearly my first ever opportunity to do so – what is it with London and a lack of gammon roasts? Yet the menu states that it comes with parsley sauce – the other roasts come with gravy. A roast dinner without gravy?

So I ended up choosing the lamb at £14.95. Except that I got charged £15.95. I know this is a sign of my clearly opulent lifestyle, but I didn’t even bother going back to the bar to complain. My two accomplices both went for the trio.

10 minutes passed and our roast dinners arrived.

Oh, sorry, my mistake. That’s a picture of our greatest Prime Minister of 2020 so far, in admiration of a musician in a specific and limited way that has absolutely nothing at all to do with her vagina. Nothing to see here and she has absolutely no connection whatsoever to the Russian government.

This is the roast dinner:

Which seemed like it was missing something in a similar way to which Boris Johnson’s penis is missing something, then a couple of minutes later the rest of the vegetables arrived and a few months after that another illegitimate child arrives.

I don’t want to directly compare a head of broccoli to our current Prime Minister, however the broccoli was a bit soft and ordinary – kind of there but not really an awful lot of use.

Before we go any further, I would just like to remind all readers that as per the terms and conditions of my release from the Brexit re-education facility, I am fully in support of the government and Brexit itself, and my criticism is only in a specific and limited way about the total incompetence of our Prime Minister.

Express journey back to the gulag

Carrots. Apparently butter roasted, shaped in the form of batons and fairly soft. Ordinary but acceptable.

There is nothing that I can really say about the bits of cabbage or green beans. Seemingly boiled or steamed – they were edible, they were fine, they were absolutely damn average.

I had parsnips for the first time since I last remember having them, which could be February or could be last Sunday. They weren’t amazing, lacking flavour like most of the vegetables – a bit soft and cruddy. Oh that’s bad. No that’s good…actually no it isn’t.

Don’t remember the lyrics to S’Express saying “suck me off” on Top Of The Pops. Guess it might have depended on the presenter. Oh that’s bad.

Another photograph of the roast dinner at The Express Tavern to move things on like an express train

Getting proper crispy roast potatoes seems to be a bit of a moonshot – even the really good dinner venues like last week’s serve crudtastic roasties. These were no different. Not bad enough to remember them well, a bit rubbery and a bit whatever.

The Yorkshire pudding was reasonable – the outer rim a bit too crispy for my preferences, but the bottom was soggy upon a gravy soaking.

The lamb was quite thinly sliced and quite overcooked too. It wasn’t bad, I’ve had much better but I’ve also had worse. Mixed with the gravy and a bit of soggy yorkie it was a pleasant eat, but no more.

Finally, the gravy. Yes, actually gravy and it had a bit of consistency. Probably the highlight of the meal thinking about it, light on flavour but enough of a hint of meat stock shebang to give it the power to improve a fairly ordinary roast dinner.

Express averageness at The Express Tavern

The roast dinner at The Express Tavern was one of those roast dinners where there was a lot more food than thought. And for some people, roast dinners are more about quantity than flavour.

So it certainly ticked the quantity box. The gravy was good – proper gravy, but everything else was distinctly ordinary, bar the crudtastic roasties but that is nothing new for London.

You could say it was a very average roast dinner. Which was exactly what I didn’t expect.

Yeah that didn’t happen as I planned either.

I’m going to score it a 6.82 out of 10. My accomplices scored it around a 7 and a 7.5 – the latter arguably being even more difficult to please than I am.

I did like The Express Tavern as a pub, and if I’m in the area then I’d be very happy to pop in for a beer – and I very much wish I had a pub like that in my local area.

The roast dinner didn’t offend me – though I think it would appeal more to people who value quantity of food above flavour. And there are plenty who fit that box when it comes to roast dinners.

Not very express goodbye

Hopefully I’ll be back next week – and it should be a good roast dinner too. But who knows, maybe I’ll be under a local lockdown.

Maybe I’ll have covid symptoms.

Maybe they’ll close pubs on a Sunday.

Maybe they’ll close pubs.

Maybe they’ll make you wear a mask at the pub (and that would be the end of the blog – fuck that for a laugh).

Or maybe I’ll be back in the gulag Brexit re-education facility.

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The Express Tavern, Brentford

Station: Kew Bridge

Tube Lines: National Rail

Fare Zone: Zone 3

Price: £15.95

Rating: 6.82

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: There was a lot of food, and the gravy was good - proper gravy. Excellent beer/cider range.

Loathed: Everything was very ordinary - though the roast potatoes were especially crud.

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