The Grapes, Limehouse

You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson from having the temerity to attempt to travel during the last two weekends of Metropolitan line engineering works. But the random number generator picked The Grapes in Limehouse, and it couldn’t be as bad as last week’s journey.

Could it?

Well, I was out of my house for 5 hours. 52 minutes of that time I was in The Grapes.

A 20 minute walk to a different, working, branch of the Metropolitan line. Oh yes, you are going to get the full details of my shitty dumbass journey.

Then, the tube I should have got had the dignity of the average mistress of Boris Johnson, and didn’t bother turning up. I actually had a myriad of long options once I got into zone 1, including getting the Thames Clipper from London Bridge to Limehouse, though I went for the Elizabeth Line to Canary Wharf. Which was not too delayed, but delayed.

Then a 20 minute walk to The Grapes. Ahhh but The Grapes has a great reputation for a Sunday roast, so all will be worthwhile. Did I mention that the DLR wasn’t running either?

Grape My Arse

Enter the next part of the mission. Finding a seat.

The Grapes is a tiny and fairly scruffy pub. Proper pub you might think, with a famous owner, albeit he’s neither a politician or a techno DJ so I’ve no idea who he is. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t know of so many DJs:

And you think I’m weird…

Anyway, I wandered upstairs, had a wee (the cubicle door is right next to the urinal which is a slight logistical issue) and found some seats. Well…

Seating inside The Grapes, Limehouse
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I found barrels and stools.

And then it struck me – do they even sell Sunday roasts? You cannot book a table here so I was just assuming that seeing as it has been on my to-do list pretty much since I started the blog, that all was still in working order.

Not that the pub itself seemed to be in working order – it really needs a bit of TLC, the toilets were grim and it smelled inside, mostly of damp. The menu had no mention of Sunday roasts, nor did the specials board, but a brave journey downstairs in the hope nobody would steal my table barrel confirmed that they sold both beef and pork Sunday roasts.

Maybe their beer choice was good, but I didn’t look – soz but I’m halfway through my 3 month detox and am no longer officially obese, so forgive me. Though I can confirm that they don’t sell apple juice.

Grope My Arse

We ordered a beef roast and a pork roast, which came to £33.00 – let’s assume they were £16.50 each but for all I know they may have been priced differently.

Services was much friendlier than some of the Google reviews might suggest, though the disgust in her response when I asked whether there were peas was almost as if I’d asked if I could show her my Love Sausage. I approve of such disdain for peas.

Oh yeah, that’s another thing – not only did I fail on the Saturday to get a decent steak – we queued for a while at Le Relais De Venice before giving up, another (possibly overrated) tourist place where you cannot book a table, but also I couldn’t find a Love Sausage at M&S for Valentine’s Night. There was a time when I reviewed supermarket roast dinner meals for Valentine’s, but that stopped after, erm, having one from Iceland.

Steak and very few chips at Steak and Company
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£40 each we spent at Steak and Company. The steak, which was burnt on top, had very little company from a grand total of 7 chips. Watercress though.

I should actually have been in Hull this weekend. Until my parents decided to get a Boeing 7 Cough 7 from Tenerife. Would have had both a better steak and a better roast dinner. And some proper fucking seats.

10 or so minutes passed and this arrived:

Pork roast dinner at The Grapes, Limehouse - without vegetables
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It’s a beige old life, isn’t it?

Gripes About What My Arse Is Sat On

I guess you want to see the vegetables too:

Pork roast dinner at The Grapes, Limehouse - with vegetables
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Starting with the carrots as we bent over uncomfortably to attempt to eat with a modicum of grace between the similarly tall stool and barrel – these carrots were a little on the tough side, boiled or steamed and fairly joyless.

Some mashed swede was fine. Nothing creamy and minimal flavour – but fine.

The cauliflower was as refined as interview responses from Lee Anderson – boiled to a light extent, but mostly tough and unappealing. I didn’t finish finish my one floret.

The broccoli was the pick of the bunch, though that is of similar praise to saying that Rishi Sunak is my favourite Prime Minister of 2022, and it didn’t produce anything in the way of joy or, you know, flavour. Bang average central. The Grapes used to have a reputation for a good Sunday roast, right?

Three large roast potatoes were supplied – something that might not have been boiled but also not roasted. Almost certainly deep fried – that kind of solid yet semi-soft inside and a slight taste of deep fat fryer. I’m hoping that I could only smell fried fish and it hadn’t been fried in the same oil.

Pork Sunday roast at The Grapes, Limehouse
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I didn’t loathe the Yorkshire pudding so much, but it was burnt and dry on top. It was at least a homemade effort, and I’ve definitely had worse.

The mysterious cut of pork was…voluminous. If you love a huge mass of bang average mothered meat then I guess put The Grapes on your to-do list. It was pretty well cooked – I didn’t particularly enjoy it and there was far too much cracked pepper on it, which 4 hours later (or two fucking journeys back from London later) still tingled on the tongue with a nasty aftertaste. And don’t even think that the strip of crackling might have improved matters – it briefly went in my mouth but I decided against losing another tooth.

Finally, I do say that good gravy can rescue a bad roast dinner, but, well, I’m not sure. It was at least a homemade effort – I’m not entirely sure mint belongs in a gravy for beef or pork, and there was quite a fair portion of parsley in there too. It was proper gravy, it had some consistency to it – but I was wrong – it didn’t rescue a poor roast dinner.

The Grapes Doing A Good Roast Dinner My Arse

Seriously, why the fuck do I do this every Sunday?

I was either walking or on a tube or on a train or looking for a Love Sausage for just over 4 hours. And this is what I ate. It isn’t even like I could enjoy the weather, it being cloudy. Is it just me or has it been cloudy the last few weekends and sunny during the week? Granted this is a very “now” specific comment. But also granted the weather is often shit in London. It’s so going to snow at Easter this year, isn’t it?

Sat on the Metropolitan line train on the way home was the closest I’ve come to jacking this blog in since the first lockdown. Yes it was going nowhere, stuck at a red signal waiting for the train in front to move. Yes other Metropolitan line trains were going past on the fast line. Yes I could have changed at an earlier station onto a fast train had I known.

5 hours of my Sunday. A crap dinner. Money spent. Why do I do this? I didn’t even get to drink beer to at least give me some comfort. It makes absolutely no sense. It makes as absolutely little sense as voting for Brexit. It makes so little sense that I’m actually starting to understand Brexit.

Brexit commentator saying in 2016 "Brexit will make us richer".

Brexit commentator saying in 2023 "Britain is becoming a poor country".

Needless to say, The Grapes doesn’t score highly. It’s an overrated pub which will continue to get tourists and stray walkers popping in for a beer or two because “oooh famous old London pub”.

The gravy was about as much of a highlight as I can think of – there was a lot of food too, which I guess is a positive.

The nasty after-taste from the cracked pepper (I love pepper so quite how I hated this I don’t know) was the worst part, closely followed by the deep-fried roast potatoes, the somewhat burnt yorkie and the bang average vegetables. Urgh. Get me home. I do this for you. How do I monetise this blog? I do get $1 a month from Patreon, I guess.

My accomplice’s score, who loathed her beef in particular (one slice was nice, the rest inedible apparently) scored it a 4.70 out of 10. My score was a bit higher at first, but the more I’ve thought about it (and the more I was delayed on the way home), the lower the score became, and I’m scoring it a loathsome 4.85 out of 10.

Next week I definitely will be in Hull visiting the family. Well, I don’t want to say definitely as I rely on trains to get places. But I should be in Hull. And I should be back the week after.

I did get a Love Sausage though.

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The Grapes, Limehouse

Station: Limehouse

Tube Lines: DLR, National Rail

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £16.50

Rating: 4.85

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: At least we had some good gravy - albeit with mint.

Loathed: Cauliflower solid, deep fried oversized "roast" potatoes, overcooked pork and a nasty aftertaste. Pretty grim venue too. Maybe time to be suspicious of places without an Instagram account.

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