Being the roast dinner venue a week after visiting Blacklock isn’t easy. This time it fell to The Fox & Pheasant in Chelsea.
Yes, I went to Blacklock last week. Didn’t you know? No, because very few of you read it. I get why I get less readers when I go somewhere obscure like Clapham – but Blacklock should be my most read post?
Anyway, the last time I went to Blacklock in 2019, the Sunday after I had a roast on a boat, namely the Tattershall Castle. A bit like when Boris Johnson announces yet another baby is on the way, I just don’t need to say anything.
I will though, because it was shite. I went from heaven at Blacklock one Sunday, to this dirge of a dinner the Sunday after.
So although I was pretty hopeful for The Fox & Pheasant, I knew that I would be comparing it to Blacklock – it falls in the shadow of the near-heaven of Blacklock last Sunday.
Hope he realises that he’s going to need a better paying job than this…
Have you been watching the Olympics? No, me either. But I do feel like most Sundays I am taking part in some form of Olympian challenge – this being roast number 170 I wonder how many more I have to review before I get the respect that the likes of Bradley Wiggins and Dwain Chambers enjoy.
Perhaps you might see Lord Gravy shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year. You would vote for me, right? Might need to brush up on my left-wing credentials as the BBC only feature woke lefties such as…who’s that guy who’s been on BBC Question Time more than anyone else? You know, the one who recently encouraged lots of people to donate to the RNLI to help save refugees in the English Channel. Forgot his name.
Oh well, but I’m a huge fan of Groucho Marx, I’ve read all his books – if that isn’t me proving my left-wing credentials, I don’t know what is. As he once said, “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”. Oh, Nigel Farage, that’s who I was on about.
Oh yeah and guess who’s office is very near the GB News studios?
Yep. Another excuse to keep working from home.
Anyway, so this Sunday wasn’t much of an Olympic journey. Piccadilly Line to Earl’s Court, a stop off in a totally empty pub called The Bolton on the way, who specialise in Dutch beer and food.
Cheers. Though quite typical of me to pick the one that cost £7.90 a pint. Which if inflation keeps ticking up might seem cheap in a couple of years, but obviously as I am left-wing now so you will vote for me for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, all the Quantitative Easing that the central banks have been doing over the last year will have no effect and inflation is just your imagination. EVERYTHING IS FINE, KEEP ON PRINTING.
Where the fox that
The Fox & Pheasant is down a side street just off the main road, with a barrier to keep the riff-raff out but I made it through a ha ha ha ha ha.
Inside is a super gorgeous and well-maintained pub. I’d previously tried to book here but with no luck as it seems to often be fully booked in advance – this week they had one table left when I attempted to book. In the middle of the pub they have this kind of ornate wooden structure which looks about a century old, which is the middle bar, kind of splitting the pub.
It is quite the gorgeous pub, replete with some posh totty, probably some handsome chaps and definitely at least one supremely coiffured hound.
But looks aren’t everything, thankfully – otherwise I’d be in prison. On the menu was beef sirloin, pork belly, whole chicken (with stuffing) to share and some vegetarian thing. Yeah, I mentioned the vegetarian option.
Give the state of my hangover, pork belly really was the only option for me – I was definitely not capable of cutting a chicken.
Our dinners took around 30 minutes or so to arrive, though we were given some little munchie things with some red hummus, which was a nice touch.
Fox News Presents
Starting with the loosely mashed (or crushed as the menu states) carrot and swede mix. Not only did this make a great change from ordinary carrots, but both the carrot and swede worked well together, along with a hint of butter, and both were soft enough yet not to the mushy stage. This worked really well.
Next up at first perturbed me, as I moved my pork belly to the side of the plate, I noticed all this white cream underneath it – my first reaction was, urgh, forced condiments.
But it was actually parsnip puree, which was really creamy, a little smoky and quite simply gorgeous.
I always feel that green beans are rather ordinary, and difficult to get excited about – yet the green beans at The Fox & Pheasant were pretty much perfect in terms of texture, and with a combination of the parsnip puree and the gravy to dip into, ended up being superbly enjoyable.
Gosh, all these superlatives (nearly wrote laxatives…I am particularly hanging out of my backside write now) – but surely the roast potatoes will be crap?
Nope. The roast potatoes could have been crispier on the outside, and could have been softer on the inside yet they were actually good. Freshly cooked and much better than most I’m served.
The miracles even extended to me taking a really good photograph:
Guess what? The Yorkshire pudding wasn’t burnt. It had been freshly made. Crispy on the edges, soft on the bottom – I think this is the best Yorkshire pudding of the year so far.
I feel like I’ve reached some kind of giddy heights on like a marathon over a mountain with all this joyous praise – no I haven’t watched any of the Olympics – not even the Spanish women’s hockey team. Holy shit, they are playing Great Britain today at lunchtime. Well, it will be past tense by time you read this. It is now past tense and I remembered in time to see the final penalty thing in the shoot-out…which, incidentally, Great Britain won.
The pork belly was very good. I’ve had better – you know where it is totally joyous when the crackling and fat meld together to give that sexy, crunchy yet gooey perfection? Well, it didn’t quite happen here in the greatest way – just part way. But the pork was nicely cooked, the crackling was mostly crunchy, the flavour was very good – I certainly enjoyed it more than the beef at Blacklock last Sunday.
Finally, the gravy. Not the largest amount ever, but more was forthcoming on request, and it was proper northern homemade gravy. None of this southern wanky jus – despite the fact I was having a roast dinner in Chelsea. Yeah – even the gravy was really, really good.
I know what you are thinking.
I am the fox
And yes, it was better than Blacklock. Blacklock in Soho, anyway.
Everything was at least very good. Individually I’ve had better roast potatoes, I’ve had better pork belly, I’ve had better gravy – even this year. Yet with everything together, I’ve not had a better roast dinner this year.
This worked, it worked really well together and this is the standard that pubs should be aiming for. In particular I was a big fan of the smoky parsnip puree, the soft yorkie, the majority of the crackling.
When being a pedant, then yes, the roast potatoes were still a fair bit away from perfection, the pork belly just didn’t quite reach magical stages…look…I’m being too picky. Put The Fox & Pheasant on your to-do list. Now.
Service was really good too – when we informed our waitress that I’d been to 170 different places for a roast dinner, she informed me that she’d been to 1. And when the roast dinner is this good, why would you need to go somewhere different every week? Well…I do…but I’m on an Olympic mission for you all.
Two accomplices scored it an 8.00 each (they’ve only accompanied me on two other roasts which were both excellent…so they need to come to a crap roast), my regular accomplice scored it an 8.50. I’m scoring it a whopping 8.75 out of 10. Which makes it the 4th best roast dinner in London at the time of writing. Out of 170. Have I told you how many I’ve done?
Afterwards it was back to the earlier pub to sit outside, watch middle class street drinkers, old men in sequin hats and mostly drivers with a complete inability to drive – how we didn’t see a car crash I have no idea. Why anyone would drive in London when they can just get the Metropolitan line…oh yeah.
I’ll be back next week. Possible solo dining. Possible sober dining. Also on call. Surely I won’t have a 3rd excellent roast dinner in a row?
The Fox & Pheasant, Chelsea
Station: Earl's Court
Tube Lines: District, Piccadilly
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Everything really, but especially the smoky parsnip puree, great yorkie and most of the crackling.
Loathed: Erm...roast potatoes could have been crispier, but were still good.