Last week was National Pie week. Yeah, I know, everything gets its own week nowadays – even women. Actually they only get a day. Pies get a week, women get a day. Just wait until Alexandra Occasio-Cortez finds out (or whatever her name is, I cannot be bothered to find out how to spell it). Gosh you know you’ve made it as an annoying politician when you get quoted in Roast Dinners In London.
Before you get too excited from the mention of pies (or hot but annoying latino women), there was further proof that the end of the world is nigh. Yep, not only are we in the age of Trump and Brexit, but this year’s pie of the year was a sweet potato and butternut squash pie. A sweet potato and butternut squash vegan pie. A vegan pie won a not-exclusively vegan food award. Which is like someone winning a Nobel Peace Prize just for not yet being president.
Hell, I am ready for you.
This week was one of those weeks where I didn’t have a plan, nor any amigos. The usual suspects weren’t around and I wasn’t bothered enough to beg for some company. The random number generator kept picking places that didn’t really feel like solo-dining venues like 1251. No, mum, I’m not moving back to Hull. I’m ready for hell – not Hull.
So it got to that point of Friday afternoon where I really couldn’t be fucked to do any more work (I should clarify that I had been very productive all week and my recent website revamp has boosted sales), and I decided to give the random number generator another spin. It picked The Greyhound in Kew.
It being a pleasant Sunday (ie not hot), I decided to go for a walk, taking the tube to Boston Manor and walking along the Grand Union Canal to Brentford, then a walk along Brentford High Street. I’m sure you are nearly as fascinated as to my exercise habits as you are about my sex life (both similarly non-existent) and therefore I present my walk in pictures.
I see your envy. I had a proper exciting day, washing, washing up, ironing, walking through Brentford and then having a Sunday roast. All by myself. No wife, no nagging, no having to take Viagra.
Arriving at The Greyhound, I found an unsurprisingly kind welcome – it was a modern pub inside replete with a couple of rough edges, notably the gentlemen’s toilets which seemed to have been designed in an age when people were much smaller. Yes I know I’m fat. Also it smelt of…butane (?) in the covered back yard where the toilets were located – do forgive me if I have my gases mixed up. On the flip side, the front of the pub was gloriously village-Tudor. And they had a duck pond almost opposite the pub. Ahhhh.
It was the kind of place were the staff were smartly dressed, and addressed one as Sir, or at times by first name – which is a nice touch. I can barely remember my own name sometimes, let alone the name of a customer who I’ll never see again.
I was shown to the restaurant upstairs, all modern and fairly minimal – good solid tables and chairs. It was very bright and I had the sun shining on my back and into the side of my face – at least solo-dining meant that I had the choice of not sitting staring into the sun.
No solo dining experience goes without a reminder from the staff that I am a miserable bastard with few friends and absolutely no chance of ever dating anyone other than whose parents are suspected of cross-breeding.
This was no exception.
At which point a sharing platter arrived on the table next to me – some may have been tempted to take a sly photo – I was more tempted to slyly sit down as if I was their long-lost son (albeit I was their age). Shit…people my age have families. WTFDIDN? Though only because it came with a scotch egg. Roast dinner with a scotch egg. Hmmmm…surely?
The menu for retards that don’t have any friends included sirloin of beef, rump of lamb, slow roast pork or roast chicken. There was some vegetarian thing but I was lost at the word ‘chickpea’ – I thought that was what you ate in the Big Brother house when you lost the weekly task…I didn’t realise people actually paid money for meals including them. Though maybe I should start getting used to the taste…29th March is fast approaching and my stockpile isn’t the greatest (I have actually started stockpiling for Brexit). I feel this last sentence may not age well.
I had the beef last week, so that was out. I would have had the lamb, but you all know my thoughts on Brexit…I mean vegans…erm…I mean cyclists (actually I don’t mention that too often)…I mean peas…yes I do mean peas. There was no point in picking the roast that came with peas, so it was a choice between the chicken and the pork. I asked the waiter which he’d recommend and without hesitation he suggested the pork…I was verging on choosing the chicken but that was a strong enough recommendation for me, so I went for the roast pork.
Oddly, he asked how I wanted it cooked. I suggested medium-rare and sat back expecting to end up with beef, but 10 minutes later my pork roast arrived – what they were doing for the other 9 minutes and 55 seconds that didn’t involve randomly slopping food on a plate, I have no idea.
I can see what you are thinking. Brexit happened at the weekend and nobody has mentioned it to you.
And there’s the rest of it. Now, I’m not going to pretend that the plate of beige that I serve to myself most nights is any better presented, however I am not professional kitchen staff. I bang on a lot about roast dinners being presented for Instagram as opposed to eating – but this was presented for Twitter.
In their defence, I’m fairly shit at photography (and writing constructive reviews), the sunlight was unhelpful for photography and the plate was so large that The Little Blue Door would probably have served 15 roast dinners on it. A bizarrely large plate considering the portion size was a tad small. I’d already scored it a 5.65 out of 10 without taking a bite.
And then I discovered some peas. The cabbage and pea medley that was supposedly only for the lamb and the stuffing that was supposedly only for the chicken both came with the pork. I guess for non-weirdos that would be great but I have a phobia of peas. Nor do I like burnt stuffing, but hey. I know this is a bit self-loathing so far but I do actually love myself…not in that kind of way, though I did once see a dwarf sucking himself off at Manumission in EBEEFA. Ahhh back in the days when laser pens were the best way to advise a woman that she had nice breasts whilst on a hotel balcony. I’m back on form, aren’t I? And still sober/boring as fuck.
Does it look better after I have rearranged it? Hmmm.
Starting with the orange mush which I have no idea what it is – see, told you that I was crap at writing about food. It tasted both of carrot and swede, so I’m going be brave and suggest that it was a mixture of both, with butter. It was pretty tasty.
Once I had fished out the peas from strands of cabbage, I found a pleasing though minimal creamy mulch, which melded with the gravy quite beautifully.
I am eating a roast dinner at The Greyhound in Kew, OK, Google robot crawlers?
Then there was the bundled medley of vegetables. In terms of presentation, this was actually quite genius – the overall meal presentation was shambolic but I found this very aesthetically appealing.
I’m not a fan of corn, though maybe I’ll get there one day. The tenderstem broccoli and green beans amongst it were a good shade of crunchy – the carrot perhaps a tad too crunchy, but I liked that you could just see a hint of the green root.
Shit presentation but good food? Well, to this point anyway, but you’ll likely have judged the roast potatoes for yourself, and yes they weren’t great.
Two – yes, inexcusably just two roast potatoes (fucking Brexit), both were soft on the inside but that kind of rubbery, oily, not roasted enough texture on the outside. If I were judging solely on the roast potatoes then the score of 5.65 would be appropriate – though if I judged every roast on just the potatoes then my league table would be much more miserly scored.
The Yorkshire pudding was actually much better than it looked. It did seem as though it had been hanging around for a while and the top was approaching brittle – however the bottom half became nicely soggy under the influence of gravy.
Let’s jump to the gravy which was actually good. A proper level of consistency, not too much in the way of flavour but that is preferable to overpowering crappy jus who control all the banks. And enough extra gravy arrived when requested – which is a compliment down south.
Still at The Greyhound in Kew.
Alas, the pork…well, look at it. First criticism – just one miserly, miserable slice – the tightest meat portion since visiting the otherwise charming Pedler in Peckham. However, the only good thing about the pork was also the fact that there was just one slice.
This was dry and at times tasted how my dirty anti-toaster smells after a few minutes of use (it actually takes my “toaster” nearly as long to toast bread then it does Wetherspoons to make a whole meal). Why on earth did the waiter ask me how I wanted it cooked? Sir, how charcoally would one like his pork?
The stuffing was also burnt on one side. The strips were too thin to otherwise ascertain any taste.
Two chunks of crackling were placed on the top, alongside two slices of apple (fruit on a roast dinner?) – the apple was actually quite nice with the gravy, the crackling was dry and airy – the texture of a cheesy wotsit that had been left under the table for a year, but that does make it sound more unappealing than I intend. It was just pointless.
Overall it was a pretty strange roast dinner. A charming, well-presented venue with dreadful food presentation skills. Really nice vegetables yet dry and burnt pork. As I touched on earlier, service was notably good – they even checked my name half-way through the meal. I even found myself wishing that I had a wife and kids, though perhaps only because the family next to me didn’t eat all the scotch egg from their sharing platter.
I eat, I score
In reality, I enjoyed it more than I expected to once the shambles was unveiled to me. It had plenty of shortcomings – the roast potatoes, the crackling and most importantly the dry, miserable pork. Yet there were highlights – namely all of the vegetables, which showed admirable imagination and quality along with the gravy.
Maybe it is a 6.65 out of 10 rather than a 5.65. Though I’m tempted to mark it down further given that as I was leaving, a man entered the pub with a dog that had a neck tie on. Pubs that allow dogs with neck ties are not for me.
It is a really nice pub if you are in the area, I wouldn’t hesitate to go there for a beer or two – and they did have drool-worthy cakes on the bar. Which I managed to resist in the same trying-to-be-less-obese way in that I resisted the suggestion of a whole sharing platter to myself.
No plans yet for next week, though my main dining partner is back on the scene and there was talk of going somewhere that seems rather poncey and likely over-hyped to me. But surely with improved presentation skills?