You may recall that I’ve been looking for a sponsor recently due to my meth-induced financial situation. This week’s post comes sponsored by the Bank of Mum & Dad. Thanks Mum! Thanks Dad! I hope you are not reading.
The random number generator took a break this week, as my most autumnal of friends wanted to go to The Hand of Glory in Dalston, on the most autumnal of weekends.
Yeah I know, straight onto the location without any bullshit. Don’t worry, the bullshit is coming.
There were a few options, including The Scolt Head and The Hunter S – I went for The Hand of Glory as we required somewhere that served roasts a little later than normal, and they serve until 6pm – though we were advised to order ahead, which we did. Metline fate smiled upon me for a change, as if we were eating at my preferred earlier time, I would have had to contend with both a tree on the line and a signal failure. You can tell it is autumn when the Metropolitan line goes from weekly signal failures to daily signal failures.
Dalston has a unique charm, whether it be watching obscure films in Rio Cinema, collapsing on the fake grass on Dalston Roof Park after walking up 8 flights of stairs or admiring the drag queens in Dalston Superstore and realising that ANYONE is sexy in a sequin dress (well…under 50 years old…and no, not yet, I cannot afford one), there is a variety of charms to enjoy.
But I’ve never eaten in Dalston – not even a roast dinner.
After a short walk down the anti-salubrious high street, I turned into a side street and realised that the rest of Dalston is actually really surprisingly nice. The Hand of Glory itself, a good 15 minutes walk from Dalston Kingsland station, had a warm autumnal glow – it was the kind of scruffy hipster shithole that I love, replete with totally unnecessary vintage sewing machines, fake goat taxidermy and pointless stickers in the toilets that nobody ever remembers post-urination.
I felt instantly at home. And The Hand of Glory were promising me a “proper northern roast”. Though I will be the judge of that, thanks.
I arrived before my guests, one ex-vegetarian (**in love**) and one Israeli (hi Corbyn) and located the table. The pub itself was fairly small, and still busy despite it being late afternoon on a Sunday. Advance booking was necessary both for table acquisition and to reserve a roast (by telephone, sigh). We would have had neither without. Though we still only had two chairs for a while – and mine felt like it was going to fall apart any minute…vive les hispters.
Gaining the attention of a staff member wasn’t easy, though due to how busy the pub was as opposed to general fuckaroundary that you can experience in some places. I eventually ordered a pint of Joker lager, which was infinitely nicer than the shitty Peroni that I was paying £6 for the night before in Shoreditch (“Sir, we have Peroni on draught, Peroni in bottle or alcohol-free Peroni”)…what the fuck happened to you, Shoreditch?
It wasn’t even a pint. Fucking jokers.
On the other hand, the Joker lager at The Hand of Glory (have I really made it this far without a joke about fisting or blow jobs?) was beautiful. Seriously gorgeous beer – enough to enter the lexicon of potential repeat visits.
So in the spirit of the proceeding week, I started negotiations by advising that I didn’t want any roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings or vegetables with my roast dinner. Nor beef, chicken or vegetarian options. These were my only red lines.
After looking at the menu, I realised that the options consisted of topside of beef, roast chicken with lemon and thyme, and nut roast – priced at £16, £15 and £13.50 respectively. I had chicken last Sunday, I’m not a fan of topside of beef, and nut roast can fuck off back to Strasbourg once a month.
So I requested the caviar-topped octopus-head steak with fried unicorn tails roast. I was told that this was impossible. I then repeated my demands and threatened that there would be no deal if they didn’t accept my request. I was again told that this was impossible. I repeated my demands once more, compared them to Nazi concentration camp commandants, threatened to withhold the £5.70 I owed for beer and then told them that they had to respect me.
I then awaited their counter-proposal.
Around about 15 months later I ordered the beef topside. This blog would be a lot more fucking boring without Brexit, wouldn’t it? I mean, how the hell would I take the piss out of the Conservative government otherwise? I’m putting my heart & soul into my blog.
By the way, anyone that writes “om nom nom” on a picture of food just fucking leave my website. GET OUT.
We had a slightly nervy Northern Irish barman who kept asking us about what we had ordered – giving the impression that there might be problems ahead. “What, with the border?”, I hear you ask. No even worse than that.
Someone dropped the remaining kale.
It’s all the EU’s fault.
Not only that, but apparently there was only a small portion of nut roast left – however they were willing to provide a pig in blanket to top up the insufficient amount of nut roast in the vegetarian meal (our suggestion not theirs…calm down vegface).
Around 15 minutes later our almost vegetable-free roast dinners arrived. Not exactly the most Instagrammable roast dinner ever though is it? Instagram – the social media outlet that was apparently going to massively boost the amount of visitors to my blog. 10 a week at best.
There was one strand of roasted carrot supplied. Anyone see the Liberal Democrat party conference last week? OK, back to vegetables.
There was also one strand of roasted parsnip supplied. At least I think it was roasted parsnip as by time I had eaten the one bite I had forgotten what it was, and had nothing to back it up with. It is definitely the EU’s fault. Putting my heart and soul into my blog.
You may have noticed that there were about as many vegetables supplied as there were people awake for Vince Cable’s party conference speech (for those reading from outside of the United Kingdom he is the leader of the Liberal Democrats…and also for those reading inside the United Kingdom, he is the leader of the Liberal Democrats), however there was also a small portion of cauliflower cheese too. Which was excellent, really quite a strong cauliflower cheese – so strong that my eyes popped towards the front of their sockets on the first bite, and also the second/last bite.
They were clearly scraping the barrel for the remaining roast ingredients, but just about providing enough to stop this turning into a rant. And quantitatively this continued with the mash potato, which again was slightly small in portion, but super-tasty with a creamy consistency and garlicky flavour…there was definitely something else involved but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Thyme? Heart and soul.
There were only two roast potatoes supplied, however this is just about forgivable as not only did we have mash, but they were actually excellent and I fucking well am blaming the EU for this. Who knew that you could actually produce and supply good roast potatoes any time after 11am, let alone 5pm? They were fairly crispy on the outside, fairly soft on the inside…maybe excellent is a slight exaggeration. They also tasted a little sweeter than usual.
Alas the Yorkshire pudding was crap – more structurally deficient than anything else, though also a tad burnt. It would have been good. Do you want to see Theresa May’s hand of glory?
It’s all the EU’s fault.
Speaking of beef. Topside isn’t my favourite – I find it rather ordinary and this was as ordinary as I had expected. Overcooked for my tastes, just generally a bit bland. I accept that there was no option but to accept this deal, despite my demands. Like, seriously it’d be me asking out a hot European woman for a date, her saying “no but I like you, we can be friends”. Then offering to take her both ways at once, and her pointing out that this is physically impossible unless I change my physical integrity – no, virtual reality isn’t going to work. Then me getting all stroppy about it and telling her that there is only one deal on the table. Actually that’s just a normal Tinder conversation isn’t it? Theresa May and co have just spent way too fucking long on Tinder negotiating a “date”. Stop sending me pics of your fucking border.
So my accomplice asked me when she arrived as to what a “proper northern roast” consisted of. The only thing I could answer with was thick and plentiful gravy.
This wasn’t thick and it wasn’t plentiful (nor was there stuffing with beef or over-boiled vegetables…or barely any vegetables, but hey). Kind of an oily, vaguely meat-stocky gravy. It wasn’t memorable but likewise it wasn’t offensive. More was forthcoming in an inexplicably useless mini-bowl, hindered further by the relative heat of the liquid.
Yeah I’ve left something for after the gravy. The pig in blanket. You know when you get all excited about the prospect of one, and when it arrives it is just a limp, manufactured piece of rubber – though at least it works out every day at the gym and goes PUMPING. Yeah BOI. This was instead a really damn good pig in blanket – the bacon tasted of bacon and the sausage was a good quality, uncircumcised length.
I think you’ll understand that I’ve put my heart and soul into this review – likewise a lot of thought, effort and no complete shortage of quality had gone into the dinner itself.
Two disappointments came with the yorkie and the beef – neither dreadful but both utterly improvable. Yet there was a lot that they had done really well – really, really well, particularly the cauliflower cheese and mashed potato…oh and the pig in blanket.
Matching the theme of the day – shortages – there was no dessert left. Which meant that we couldn’t have our cake and eat it.
A tricky roast to score as there was a lot to be really positive about yet I have to take into account the disappointments. It is a lovely, homely pub – suitable for vaguely hipster tosspots like myself – it was my kind of crowd too. Not forgetting the gorgeous beer. I think 7.82 sounds fair.
Was it a proper northern roast? Maybe Derbyshire at a push.
Next Sunday I have a 4 hour journey back to London, part of that on a rail replacement bus, and then no Metropolitan line to get me home. I will be exceptionally hungover and I may not have slept. Would you go for a roast dinner in those circumstances?
I’ll decide on the day.