Normally I like to think that the number 1 rule for being a food reviewer is not to bullshit.
However, I have now realised through experience that the number 1 rule is actually be capable of eating. As despite only having eaten the grand total of 1 Gregg’s sausage roll in the preceding 24 hours, I was barely any more capable of eating than I was of talking. And how the hell am I going to remember what happened on Sunday?
One thing that isn’t going to fade from my memory soon is the journey – 3 trains, 1 tube and 1 rail replacement bus over the course of 4 and a bit hours, made it quite the challenge to get to in my grotty, dishevelled state.
And where did I choose to visit in my pot-bellied, swivel-eyed state?
The Footman in Mayfair.
What the fuck was I think of going to Mayfair at the best of times, let alone in the state that I was in?
The Footman was an immaculately beautiful pub on the outside – then again even a Wetherspoons in Barnsley at midnight may seem immaculately beautiful after 45 minutes on a rail replacement bus…note to self, always check MOT status of said coaches. Inside was split into two floors – upstairs was a very well presented, if slightly stuffy, dining room. We were booked for the dining room, but realising just how inappropriate we were in body and mind, we asked to sit inside the pub – surrounded by well-to-do foreigners. I didn’t feel out of place at all. I did at least get less weird looks than I did from the locals in East Anglia in the morning. Did I mention the rail replacement bus?
Corn-fed chicken, pork belly and rump of beef were the options – there was no question in my mind over what to have. Pork belly would look the most beautiful on a plate whilst I stared at it, so that was my choice. The former two priced at £16, the latter at £19.
I guess it took around 15-20 minutes for dinner to arrive. I’m not really sure…it was certainly much quicker to arrive than the rail replacement bus was to get to some seemingly random village in Essex.
My initial reaction was, “shit, it looks really good”.
It seems like I am forgetting something important as I’m already about to talk about the vegetables…alas I have little to say about them.
There was half a horizontally-sliced roasted carrot. I ate it. It was nice.
There was also a collection of cabbage strands and green beans. I barely touched them…I knew I wasn’t going to eat the whole meal so I prioritised what I enjoy the most. I guess they were good, but I really am unsure. This review is already turning into something resembling Boris Johnson’s stint as Foreign Secretary, isn’t it?
Mixed into the aforementioned vegetables was some cauliflower puree. It gave the vegetables a creamy touch, which I appreciated, along with a little hint of imagination. Alas, I couldn’t really taste it but that is my more issue than theirs.
Then the roast potatoes. They were truly excellent, and yes I did manage to eat them. Slowly. They were really tasty, perhaps roasted in goose fat – though normally that would be celebrated on the menu. Maybe that is just normal in Mayfair. Crispy on the outside, really fluffy on the inside. Dare I suggest the best roast potatoes that I’ve eaten out in London? And also, 3 weeks in a row that I’ve had good roasties…maybe my influence is finally being felt? Are chefs finally taking note of the number one gastronomical issue in London?
The Yorkshire pudding was on the brittle side – large but brittle. A crueller version of me may suggest a case of heatlampitus. I mostly only ate the part softened by gravy, and despite the shortcomings it was still a good attempt – my accomplice said so anyway.
Onto the pork belly and this was near magnificent. A thick, circular chunk of true beauty that took me far longer to eat than it took to prepare. The crackling was in most places crispy…a little chewy for part of it, the fat was delicately succulent and the pork itself was every bit the perfection that I wasn’t. This was melt in your mouth pork belly. Wow.
And the gravy was really good too. Just a normal meat-stock gravy (as far as my tastebuds could understand, which were arguably in even lesser working order than the rail replacement bus), a decent consistency to it – it poured out of the jug like gravy should.
As you can imagine, I’m pretty gutted that it was a self-inflicted endurement in my fragile, incapable state.
I am very hesitant to score this as it could very easily be exceptionally unfair in either direction. I’m going to give it an 8.15 out of 10…but if one or two of my kind readers can head there soon and put their rating in the comments below, I would be much appreciated as I’m not even sure if I have left the rail replacement bus yet.
You know how some people talk about surviving Tough Mudder? Well, I survived a rail replacement bus.
All was left for me to do was catch 3 more tubes and another train, and I was home. Why do I put myself through such challenges?
Next weekend…well I don’t really want to make any plans for next weekend as I’ve no idea whether I will be alive. But if I do go for a roast, I will go sober, I will go hungry and I will remember it. Did I mention that I stayed in a Wetherspoons hotel?