It’s never too hot for a roast dinner. Right? Welcome to my review of The Ladbroke Arms in Holland Park.
You know, every week, I feel like I should try not to mention our talented politicians – surely there other subjects that I can touch upon. Yet they are the gifts that keep on giving.
Besides, you should sack off reading this pretentious dirge about carrots and just watch this music video. I actually laughed visibly, despite being on a tube.
Maybe I even had tears of laughter…though it was the Piccadilly line on a hot day, so…maybe they were tears of sweat.
With apologies to everyone reading during the future Labour government – as I write it has been yet another fascinating week as we all wait to find out who will finally get Brexit done – or get Brexit re-done, before Kier Starmer then in the future tries to get Brexit re-re-done (when the crowd says leave, select her).
She was a magician’s assistant, don’t you know. You remember that Brexit dividend that I’m sure is tantalizingly just around the corner? That is gonna need some magic…maybe Magic Mourdant is the one to deliver it.
Alas, she went to Reading University. Reading University. What kind of loser gets their degree from Reading University? Next thing you’ll be suggesting that someone born in Hull could be Prime Minister.
Ladbrokes me debe 20 libras
Though to be fair, my degree was more in vodka drinking, burger eating and cannabis smoking. OK, I didn’t get a degree. Not from Reading University anyway. I left voluntarily…ish. I can also confirm that you don’t get any marks for just writing your name on the exam paper.
Besides, I wanted to be a roast dinner reviewer when I was growing up. I didn’t really want a degree in Maths. What I really desired was not only to be a roast dinner reviewer, but to make my parents proud that the money they were sending for my tuition fees was being wisely invested, as I studied the wise words of Howard Marks over a joint.
True story – I was trying and failing to get some hashish at university and my “mates” at university once gave me an oxo cube to smoke, knowing my innocence…innocence at that point anyway. And, yes, I fell for it, at least until they started asking too many questions…and mysteriously not wanting to smoke it with me.
It took a couple of days of my pretending to be stoned, until a couple of them finally decided to smoke it with me…just in case it did something. I can confirm that smoking Oxo cube does not make you stoned. And that is not the stupidest thing that I have ever done. Not even in the top 1,000.
Anyway. That’s Reading University. And no, I didn’t inhale, Dad, I was just pretending so that I could be cool. Gosh just realised that I was at a work social on Thursday banging on about this blog and now all my colleagues will be reading it. Fine. Whatever. Yes I smoked cannabis 23 years ago…yet somehow I still prefer facts to conspiracy theories.
So not only did Reading University give you Continuity Lies and Continuity Of Eating Roast Dinners Despite It Being A Heatwave, they also gave us this new-fangled striped pattern – a similar stripy design to what the posh boys wear at Henley Regatta:
Or you could even be a remainer one day, then get a job in cabinet and suddenly become a staunch Brexiter.
Hola, chica, te guste me flip-flop sexy?
How many fucking calories?
Gosh I’ve not even shown you the menu yet. Have I even told you where I was? The Ladbroke Arms in Notting Hill, ish, maybe Holland Park is a closer description.
Inside was a gorgeous, classic-feeling pub. Definitely a take a date to kind of pub. It’s actually come up on the random number generator a few times, but it has always been fully booked. Now it’s July, half of Kensington are in their second homes, there’s a bit of a perfectly normal 40’C kind of heatwave about to happen and somehow I managed to book a table at The Ladbroke Arms.
I stood at the bar for a fair few minutes, wondering if any of the staff would greet me – a little “I’ll be with you in a minute, Sir” would have been great. Just an acknowledgement. But after a fair few minutes of me being in ghost mode, a pint of Yes was in my hand and I was shown to my table – right next to the open window with the sun partially on me. And then someone else told me that I couldn’t sit there because they had a booking. Yah. Me.
Corn-fed chicken, pork belly and sirloin were the choices – and I went for the pork belly at a price of 2,622 calories. Surely that ain’t right? Please someone tell me they’ve got it wrong.
I was so astonished by the calorie counts that I didn’t even notice the price until we paid – £18.00 is actually pretty damn reasonable for a pork belly roast dinner nowadays.
And, yes, this is yet another one of those successful government policies that is clearly working – as I chose the roast dinner with by far the highest calorie count. Since the law came in, I’ve put on 2kg. You don’t still use Brexit measurements, do you?
No tengo un gran polla
So I’m sat here sweating after barely sleeping on heatwave night, and now I need to write about a roast dinner? Maybe it is too hot right now for a roast dinner. Though it is also 6am.
Oh I must stop being such a snowflake, think of all those people that survived during the 1976 heatwave that reached 7’C less than this one…they will have had roast dinners every day, probably twice a day.
So the roast dinner looks alright, right? You could even say it looks hot. It took a while to arrive, maybe 40 minutes or so. And interestingly, meals seemed to come out of the kitchen in batches – almost suggesting that maybe food was freshly cooked. Freshly cooked, in 2022. Crazy.
The two carrots were really nicely roasted, full of carroty flavour and the perfect tenderness. Good start.
Then the Hispi cabbage was wow – matching the innate slight sweetness of Hispi with a stupendously sexy smokiness – mostly soft to eat though with some charring too.
Parsnip puree was decent – really creamy and tasted of parsnip…sometimes you cannot quite tell what it is that has been puree’d.
Es mucho hotto
Finally after weeks of Brexit-related potato drought…OK…just two weeks with two roast potatoes and possibly not actually anything to do with Brexit, I was back on the London living potato wage of three roast potatoes.
And…they were excellent. My accomplice said they were the best roast potatoes of her life – I wouldn’t quite go that far, and she did do a 26 mile walk in the hot sunshine the day before so maybe she was so hungry that she’d be happy with boiled potatoes. However, two out of my three had crispy sides, all were soft and fluffy inside – they were excellent.
Can the excellence continue to the Yorkshire pudding? No. But it wasn’t bad. Somewhat fluffy on the bottom, but a slightly tough and more tearable texture made it kind of not especially enjoyable. Nothing is perfect in this world.
I lied. The pork belly was perfect. No scrimping on portion size with a thick-cut, tightly wound slab of wondrous pork. The meat was so tender, the fat was just sexual, the outer crisp was perfectly done – I doubt you could improve on this. And inside the core was some kind of herb mixture – I’d suggest chimichurri except I don’t recall any chilli/pepper flakes. But something on those lines.
My accomplice had the beef which was ridiculously tender – she was similarly in awe of hers, though the pork belly was better in my not humble opinion because I am always right.
And the gravy? Well, I liked it – but not enough for The Ladbroke Arms to be crowned the best roast dinner in London. You know, if their gravy was as good as Blacklock’s, then I would have had to have the “oh shit, is this really the best roast dinner in London now conversation with myself”.
It had a fair consistency, it was kind of tomato based – or at least it tasted that way to me, and it was a little on the rich side – but not too much. As I said, I liked it, it worked, but I can go no further than that with my praise.
The Ladbroke Arms, mi eat un dinner de roasty.
The roast dinner at The Ladbrokes Arms was so good that I actually told them about my blog – and then they asked me to do a TripAdvisor review. Are they really saying that being featured in my blog which they hadn’t heard of, is not good enough? I GET 300 READERS A WEEK. Well, visitors. Most probably get no further than the second paragraph.
So it wasn’t the best roast dinner ever, but it also invalidates my 10 best roast dinners in London post, just two weeks after writing it. And yeah, fuck TripAdvisor as they ain’t gonna send me traffic.
The pork belly and cabbage were particularly sensational – like unimprovably superb. The roast potatoes and carrots were excellent – only the Yorkshire pudding disappointing and that was still edible – nothing like half of the monstrous burnt heat-lamped offerings elsewhere. If the gravy was a love rather than a like…well…we’d be talking well into the 9’s. We’d be talking better than…you know.
As it is, I’m scoring it a whopping 9.05 out of 10. Which makes it the 3rd best roast dinner in London EVER – and considering number 2 on the league table has closed down, this is effectively the 2nd best roast dinner in London, available to you right now.
What are you waiting for? The heatwave to end? Just get it booked. And maybe do the TripAdvisor review for me.
I’m away this coming weekend. If anyone knows anywhere in Copenhagen that does a roast dinner, let me know, otherwise I’ll be back for the next heatwave and long before Liz Truss is Prime Minister. Gosh, I’d have no shortage of content, would I?
The Ladbroke Arms, Holland Park
Station: Notting Hill
Tube Lines: Central, Circle, District
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: The pork belly and cabbage were particularly sensational - like unimprovably superb. The roast potatoes and carrots were also excellent.
Loathed: Well...the Yorkie wasn't so good. Gravy I only liked as was more tomato-based than proper gravy.