Birthday roast weekend. And as my age now has a zero on the end – again, my Instagram manager agreed to arrange my birthday roast for me. Her choice was The Gun in Spitalfields.
Birthday roasts have been a bit mixed so far. The first was at The Oxford in Kentish Town. I probably over-rated it at a 7.20 then not long later it closed down (now re-opened it appears). The year after was The Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill – credible at 7.09 but not really impressing my birthday companions.
Then last year was a real treat, The Little Blue Door in Fulham – currently rated as my 4th best ever roast dinner in London.
Having a birthday in January is a bit of a pain, but so am I – therefore I am slowly coming to relish being the awkward fucker having a birthday when others are still clinging onto their vague attempts at sobriety. And I was also ending my DryTwoThirdsJanuary with a gusto – this blog may take a few days to finish such are my recovery needs.
I started my adventure with a superb hangover, which needed some necessary medication so I met my tube-illiterate crazy friend at Paddington for a beer – though I forced him out of the Greene King shithole of a pub he chose, to go to the nearby Brewdog.
Upon arrival a little later at The Gun, we joked to the hostesses that we were here to snort crystal meth and had been injecting heroin into our eyes – the cute Italian lady tried to get me to dance to the table – yeah wasn’t happening…at which point I realised that my mum and dad were there.
Bang went my afternoon of crystal meth snorting at the table.
It’s at this point where I scanned my phone to see what notes I’d taken – hmm, two lines. As in two lines of text. My phone gallery isn’t much help either.
Wembley Park toilets, in case you are interested. I think you’ll need to be a man. Just to clarify, I am not from Somalia. My landlady is and I wish she’d hurry up and fix my oven – two weeks and still no word.
Give me an oven
I guess we should talk menu and I was a little disappointed to find only two options – beef or chicken. Granted – my birthday roast last year was beef and chicken too so I should stop remoaning.
As I had beef the week before, I went for chicken, priced at £16. Then I realised that didn’t come with a Yorkshire pudding, so I added one for another £2. And ordered some stuffing at £4. I contemplated ordering some cauliflower cheese too – but enough people around me ordered some, and it was my birthday so surely I’d receive some?
Oh I’ve got Somali cock. I mean, writer’s block. I’m not sure where to go from here? Do people still get abducted by aliens or was that a 90’s thing?
That randomness was a bit forced, wasn’t it?
I have an oven
Dinner took around 20 or so minutes to arrive. I did used to be fairly scared of the possibility that I would be abducted by aliens. Also – I now have a new oven – three days have passed since I wrote the introduction…one of those weeks/hangovers/coronaviruses.
Not exactly overburdened with quantity.
The carrots were quite silky on the outside though more crunchy than my personal preferences.
A scattered of parsnip shards were supplied – pleasurably tart.
On the flip side, the cabbage was quite dry and stringy – had I made a note in my phone about it, I would probably have put “OK”. It was something to get through.
Four roast potatoes! It must be my birthday – just like when I turned up to the tube station and the tube arrived that second. Otherwise I would have had to wait 10 minutes. They were fairly small – and more important quite tired and rubbery. Not the best at all.
The chicken was dry. Yes, dry chicken after I ended dry January – I appreciated the herby crust – it had good flavouring but was dry. Had it not been dry, I would be complaining about the minimal quantity. 3 and a half thin slices of a chicken breast is fucking tight.
Not exactly impressive. But wait – I’d ordered extras.
Juxtaposing the tight nature of the meal itself, the side dishes were exceptionally generous.
The sage and onion stuffing was pleasant – it seemed to have bread inside it, which is odd yet worked.
My Yorkshire pudding – which I remind you I paid £2 extra for – was a little burnt and crispy on top, but otherwise respectable. I could have lived without.
However, the cauliflower cheese was sexual. Perfectly cooked broccoli, a fairly strong, mature cheese – quite gorgeous. It kind of saved the roast from being a full-on turd.
In the same way that I don’t acknowledge the existence of the other alleged version of rugby to rugby league, I don’t tend to acknowledge the existence of vegetarian roasts – let alone vegan roast dinners.
However, if ever you wanted clarification that eating meat is the right thing to do, this parcel of vegetables – the same vegetables that the roast comes with – wrapped in burnt filo pastry, should suffice.
Though the vegan gravy was quite thick…and lumpy.
Our normal gravy was just inoffensive watery stuff – proper gravy is so much of a shock nowadays that I am almost accustomed to this, let alone having to ask for extra gravy which, of course, still wasn’t anywhere near enough.
Son Of A Gun
The Gun was one of the places in my head that I thought would be challenging in the 8’s. For some it certainly was – 3 people rated it an 8, one an 8.2 and another an 8.3. Two people rated it a 7 – and were willing to criticise, namely the carrots and roast potatoes.
Others were less impressed, in particular my friend who ordered the vegan roast who rated it between a 5 and a 6…she isn’t even a vegan, she’d just had too much meat over Chinese New Year celebrations.
My “easily pleased” friend rated it a 6.8 without any further elaboration other than this:
I’m delighted that almost all of my guests appreciated it more than I did, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed the beef roast more – all those rating it 7+ had the beef, I believe.
But I’m confused. It wasn’t that good. Were people giving it a higher score because it was my birthday? Was this some kind of group-think? Maybe everyone was having such a good time that they didn’t even notice the problems.
Alas I’d lost control of my guests and one of them had announced that I had a roast dinner blog to the people working there – something that is easier to deal with when I’m impressed – or distinctly unimpressed. So I did have to have a sit-down at the end with the waitress to elaborate on why I wasn’t too impressed.
Summing The Gun
Service was charming and attentive throughout – some really good staff working there, and was definitely a highlight. It’s a stylish-looking place too – if that kind of thing impresses you. It doesn’t me – but I appreciated the spacious feel. The other highlights being my white chocolate cake…from M&S. And the cauliflower cheese.
The chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, cabbage and gravy were all unimpressive.
My score is a 6.51 out of 10.
You could conclude that I am just too demanding. You could conclude that I made the wrong choice with chicken. Maybe I was just simply wrong in not being as impressed as most others.
Next weekend…well…you know what is happening. You know what will get done. And I shall reflect this.
You know, maybe I am actually an alien abductee and this is what life is like in the parallelly dimension.
The Gun, Spitalfields, East London
Station: Liverpool Street
Tube Lines: Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Line, National Rail, Overground
Fare Zone: Zone 1