It was getting nervously close to Sunday before I arranged where to go for a roast this time. I onboarded my most regular accomplice but at a sacrifice on having to eat early – 12:45. Oh and the random number generator had picked The Hoxton in Holborn.
Well, I’m labelling it as The Hoxton as you might have heard of it and will be far more likely to be reading right now than the name of the restaurant within The Hoxton – Hubbard & Bell. Though if I was really going for clicks, I would have prefixed it with “MEGA DEATH ARCTIC SNOWSTORM TO DESTROY BRITAIN NEXT WEEK AND BRING BACK MADDIE”. You are just here for my wit and intellect though, aren’t you?
The Hoxton is the type of pretentious Twatt Farm place that reverse-snobs like me look down upon, for having transformed Shoreditch from the gritty, shitty dive area with techno parties in underground toilets and ketamine being a right of passage – to the more upmarket and brainless cocktail bar with people preening, posing, Instagramming and doing coke – of which I associate The Hoxton as being the hotel/restaurant that initialised “the change”.
So I had a stereotype of The Hoxton firmly in my mind, and just like the idea that Boris Johnson hates Muslims, was quite possibly totally unfair. Possibly. Interesting point – I have the same amount of Twitter followers as before the election was announced despite having taken the piss out of Corbyn once or twice. And we should all challenge our stereotypes…some Tories are actually decent human beings…they just happen to have been thrown out of the Conservative Party.
Gosh this Boris-bashing is gonna go down well with ma bitches in the ‘DON. Booyakasha.
Not only had I agreed to a ridiculously early roast dinner, but I’d also spent the previous two days on a mammoth eating-out-athon, from a semi-tragic hot dog at Brewdog, to a gorgeous and massive lamb shank at Bistro Benito in Earls Court, then a spicy-as-hell beef naan at Flank – so hot that I couldn’t speak for a while, then a not-as-good-as-last-time meal at Madame Pigg – though still very good.
So I wasn’t hungry. I may as well have put my Instagrammer’s short skirt and hair extensions on and done a line of coke, for all that my appetite was.
However, as I believe the saying is, I needed to Get Roast Done. I know, I should be able to do better than that…I have another two roasts left to improve.
Speaking of funny, the urinals at The Hoxton had a pile of ice in each. This seemed a proper Twatt Farm kinda thing to do though apparently there are good reasons for this. You can read about it on the internet, I cannot be arsed to elaborate. I can barely write about roast dinners, let alone something educational.
The restaurant itself was busy, buzzy and spacious. A mixture of seating areas with the chefs busy working down one side of the restaurant, and a mostly youngish crowd, or boomers as teenagers call us with their impeccable levels of wit.
We were shown to our seats by a young lady in a sparkly shoulder-padded dress that might not have looked out of place on a podium in a techno club in Ibiza. Yes I did fall in love with her, but I’m over it. It wasn’t the only time that I fell in love during the meal either – but was it with a black woman or a black Yorkshire pudding?
The young lady serving us was friendly and charming too, with an American accent – the service throughout was prompt and polite, one of the rare places where the obligatory 12.5% service charge is actually earned by the staff.
So friendly that I didn’t notice that I was paying £7 for a pint until it was pointed out to me later by my accomplice. Yet a glass of house red was just £6. Odd.
On the menu was just lamb and chicken – the Italian restaurant I went to on Friday night had around 200 available dishes, so I was relieved to have limited choice considering my limited brainpower. Given that I wasn’t even vaguely hungry, I went for the lightest option which was the chicken. £20. I guess that is normal for central London now. Sigh.
Although it comes with bottomless Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes. Which was the absolute last thing I needed. Though “proper gravy”. Where have I heard that before?
Roast in a tin
Our meals took around 20 minutes or so to arrive, and they arrived in a tin bowl. Urgh Shoreditch lives on #TwattFarm
Now I’m not averse to food being served on an alternative surface, especially when it particularly seems to annoy Brexiters. Burger on a wooden board – fine. Chips in a mini frying-pan – fine.
But there has to be some consideration of practicality, and serving what was a generously-portioned roast dinner in a limited-sized tin does not meet my expectations, to be fucking polite about it. It meant that for the first 5 minutes or so, I was constantly moving food to be able to eat food and it quickly became tiresome, and was instantly frustrating.
You know, first impressions and all. Whilst we are on the subject of practical annoyances, the too-soft sofa/bench things that probably have a proper name but I didn’t get a decent education because Maggie stole my milk (or was it Maddie?) were too close to each other and that meant either playing footsie or having to arrange positions for our respective feet. Footsie would be fine, unless you are dining with your sister. Which I was.
Let’s talk about food, shall we?
The carrots were roasted to the point of being burnt – one of my accomplice’s carrots was unrecognisable from its outside. Roasted carrots are my favourite and I still kind of enjoyed them, but them being burnt definitely took the edge off…quite a chunky edge.
I quite liked the chicory. It was kind of similar to the taste of sprouts but there was way too much of it – even if I had actually been hungry then there would have been far too much there.
There was a little bit of squash around which was nice – so nice that my accomplice didn’t realise until I mentioned it after but we’ll keep that quiet.
Finally for the vegetables were some parsnips. These were really flavoursome, if rather soft – a touch of crisp on the outside would have made these perfect.
We are missing something, aren’t we? I know that you are desperately wanting to know what I think of the election manifestos that were launched this week. And what better way to compare them than photographs of roast dinners? HAMMER TIME.
First up we have the Conservative Party manifesto as a roast dinner. Totally non-radical and uninspiring. The kind of roast that you’ll find in a slightly crummy country pub, so it won’t attract many young people to it, but will meet the more basic requirements of the older generation nearby. And peas? Are they trying to appeal to the working class or something? Oh there is no gravy, but, well, Brexit.
Then we have the Labour Party manifesto as a roast dinner – and you’ll note the veritable feast with even two jugs of gravy. What’s more, it is totally free (gosh I bet you weren’t expecting that quip), and yes it will be funded by all those billionaires who will definitely be staying in the country as they will have found their inner socialist, possibly in a similar way that Chinese Uighurs are discovering their Chinese characteristics.
And don’t you dare disagree that you can get pots of gravy gold for free without paying for anything, as this roast dinner for one has been fully-costed and we just happen to disagree with independent bodies that say that our reasoning is bollocks.
Now we have the Liberal Democrat manifesto, which obviously you cannot really see much there as the BBC are too busy telling you how amazing Boris Johnson/Jeremy Corbyn are (depending on which political party you support as they are soooooo biased in favour of the candidate you hate). Maybe some of it is actually quite good, it is definitely a bit wonky and light but most importantly it is too unimportant to discuss.
Finally…oh my god way too black for this country. Get the fuck out. Brexit Party Ltd in case you hadn’t figured it out.
Well, that was illuminating, wasn’t it?
Also accepting guest slots on Newsnight
So the roast potatoes were actually really good. They were not crispy on the outside, but they were freshly cooked, soft on the inside and really juicy and unusually flavoursome – for a potato.
Alas, the Yorkshire pudding was too black to fall in love with, but with hopefully not sounding too much like a racist, there was a stunning black woman that I did fall in love with. Again, I’m over it, and I’m over how shit the burnt yorkie was. Actually I’m not because I’m going to write another sentence about it, but as I only had one bite I cannot really add anything more constructive than say my yorkie was shit. My accomplice’s was nice though.
The half chicken was a generous size (generous if you forget the £20 I paid) and was speckled with herbs. The skin could have been crispier and perhaps it just needed a tad more cooking – but it wasn’t dry at all like chicken often is, the breast was plump and the skin tasty. Not amazeballs, but satisfying.
And onto the “proper gravy”. Well, it was proper watery gravy. It was proper sweet and proper oily. At first I was a bit put-off, but I got used to it. That is about as much of a compliment as I can offer, that I got used to it. Definitely a Twatt Farm kinda gravy. Sorry, proper Twatt Farm.
Roast in the bin?
So, was I wrong about my stereotyping of The Hoxton?
Well, I liked it as a venue. Service was good and there was a plethora of attractive women, which is rarely a disadvantage.
Some parts of the roast dinner they did really well – the roast potatoes and the parsnips. The yorkie was dire and the gravy was exactly what my stereotyping expected.
Eating from a limited-sized tin did fuck me off a bit, I actually had to rest my arms after a while, though perhaps my hangover didn’t especially help my energy levels.
The roast was definitely a bit pretentious and Twatt Farmy, but the venue and staff all impressed, though our receipt arrived without asking, which I am not sure whether that was a mark of their service efficiency or they wanted rid of us. Or at least rid of my fat, ugly twattish face.
I’m scoring it a 6.88 out of 10. With a non-burnt yorkie it would have scored over a 7 – my accomplice scored her roast a 7.3. I may look back and feel that I have been a tad generous with scoring here – but I’ve had many worse, like the previous one I had.
Oh I forgot to mention the sprinkling of pancetta, which was a good touch, but more importantly I can reveal what the free roast dinner from Labour will actually look like:
Next week, assuming I survive the impending leftie mob, I’m having an unusually late roast dinner with some Hungarian guests. I think they do great meat there…but can they transform that into a great roast? I’m certainly not expecting proper gravy, that is for sure. Woof.
The Hoxton, Holborn, Central London
Tube Lines: Central, Piccadilly
Fare Zone: Zone 1