The Leyton Star, Leyton

As everyone discussed the true no-go areas of London, it was time for Lord Gravy to head to The Leyton Star, in Leyton.

Via Westfield:

Westfield shopping centre...aka hell.
Image via Picture Ar under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

Now that is my idea of a no-go zone. My parents might have done quite a lot for me over the years…but this year I braved 45 minutes in Westfield shopping centre. They owe me now. But at least Mother’s Day is sorted.

Did you think I meant Leyton is a no-go zone?

Whoa scary black people.

Whoa scary people in Muslim clothing.

Whoa a mosque.

Oh my how scary. Granted I did see someone walk towards us with his right hand down his boxer shorts. And yes, I could see most of the boxer shorts as he seemed not to have noticed that his tracksuit bottoms were around his knees. Was it rude of me not to have pointed this out to him?

Tufton Street

I guess you could suggest that I thought Leyton was a no-go zone, given that I’ve never had a roast dinner there previously. Leytonstone, yes, Leyton no. Until this visit to The Leyton Star.

And there are gaps in my map:

My map of where I've been for a roast dinner

Bermondsey, Canada Water, Camberwell (not entirely sure if The Camberwell Arms’ “roast dinner” counts which is mostly why it remains on my to-do list still), non-east Dulwich, Streatham, Willesden, Wood Green, Tottenham…284 roast dinner reviews and I still haven’t had a roast dinner in Tottenham. There’s a pretty big hole in the City Of London too, but that’s mostly because roast dinners aren’t served Monday to Friday.

My point being that bar a few estates that I wouldn’t choose to walk after dark, London doesn’t have no-go areas. I can tell you a few pubs not to have a roast dinner at – more than a few.

The Leyton Star was once on my to-do list, but after suffering a really rather poor roast at one of their sister pubs in Hackney Wick, the Lord Napier Star, I took it off the list. But then someone recently provided evidence that it should be back on my list, so I relented.

Plus this Sunday my other priority was sorting out Mother’s Day – The Leyton Star was within walking distance (unless you are an I’m not racist but looks like a no-go area type of social media moron…stick to Toby Carvery in Essex, MATE) from M&S in Westfield, so it made logistic sense.

The Carlton Club

If you’ve been to any of the Electric Star Group pubs, you’ll get the vibe – and I’ve been to a fair few of them. Generally located in previously dodge but now hip areas, such as Hackney, Bethnal Green, etc – they tend to be pleasing pubs to look at and be in, good for casual drinks/food/fun if you are in a group.

The Leyton Star is rather spacious, the usual mixture of exposed brickwork and teal painted walls – generally a clean and airy vibe, yet you can tell this could be a raccous pub in the evening, if they have DJs on, which though the What’s On page doesn’t suggest this, I suspect they do at least occasionally have DJs.

They also show football, have life drawing evenings, a pub quiz – that kind of thing.

Oh, but they play jazz – loudly and it is that kind of jazz that just fucking goes on forever, getting insatiably more intense, before dropping back a bit, then GETTING EVEN MORE INTENSE IN YOUR EARS. Urgh. The one lift music track was cool though.

Roast Dinner Menu at The Leyton Star, Leyton
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Roasts are done by Firebird – who have been there for more than a year, so it seems to be at least semi-permanent.

On the menu was beef rump, confit chicken leg and vegan “no chicken so why even say the word chicken and why not just call it tofu or whatever it really is” pie. I could have miraculously had a roast dinner for under £20, had I fancied the chicken – but I wanted the beef, the recommendation I had was the beef. Even if rump isn’t my favourite cut.

My accomplice chose the vegan – after checking with me that it’s ok to do so. Why, of course, it isn’t 1989 2019, I’m mature enough to not hate on veganism nowadays – someone else not eating meat isn’t actually a threat to my way of life. Who knew? Granted I may have muttered about a vegan conspiracy in the early days of RDLDN.

Lis Truss’ Imagination Or Anywhere She’s Doing A Speech

It was one of those put it together yourself affairs:

Yeah, the veg was to share between two of us. My thoughts exactly.

Starting with the carrots which is as reliable a place to start, as blaming the woke, leftist deep state is for why Liz Truss wasn’t able to become the next Margaret Thatcher. But it’s what I do anyway. And the carrots were decent, roasted with fennel, and I think, cumin seeds (awaits to be corrected by the venue in public on social media…fennel looks similar to artichoke, ok, Martin?).

The stringy bits of cabbage was alright, a bit damp and over-blanched, but alright.

The one solo strand of tenderstem broccoli was as limp and miserable as a philosemite in Rochdale. It was alright, but it was wet. Gosh, have I really really got to put up with his shite again?

"You're blocked" notice when visiting Twitter account of George Galloway.

Oh yeah, phew. Yeah I fact-checked him once a few years ago. He didn’t like it.

Conservative Party Conference

Roast potatoes at The Leyton Star, Leyton
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

There were 4 potatoes which had probably been roasted – though not quite for long enough. Kind of silky smooth outsides – which isn’t what I’m looking for, almost as if they were new potatoes in texture. Soft enough in the middle, but nowhere near the fluffy expectations. Nothing wrong with these as potatoes – but as roast potatoes, they weren’t quite there.

However – if I had chosen the chicken, roast potatoes were eschewed for dauphinoise. OMG. That could have been a 4th roast dinner of the year without roast potatoes.

I liked the Yorkshire pudding. The top of it was a bit crispy, but the bottom was a proper gravy soaking machine. This was actually really good – the menu says “proper Yorkshire” and as a Yorkshireman (albeit I’ve not lived there this millennium) I shall grant them that status officially.

Beef Sunday Roast at The Leyton Star, Leyton
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

The beef rump was also good. Thinly sliced, plenty of it, cooked impressively – it was really rather tender, close to melt in your mouth. And the outer edge had been seared well, which added a different dimension.

Finally, the gravy was proper too. A homemade meat-stock kind of affair – whilst I may not have sung the praises of some parts of this roast, the beef/yorkie/gravy combination was rather excellent – they all complimented each other, and worked together so well, like they should. Like I dream of. Like why I stopped eating beef so often on a Sunday roast because of the disappointments of this combination.

Oh…vegan pie:

Vegan pie roast dinner at The Leyton Star, Leyton
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

The Leyton Star. It isn’t a no-go, unlike the other headings. You didn’t notice, did you? You don’t appreciate the effort that goes into these headings, do you?

I had my reservations about The Leyton Star, and clearly so did other people as there were lots of empty tables – it was a little surprisingly quiet.

The jazz music was irritating and too loud (others may love this), service was slow – though more because they didn’t seem to have enough staff than actually a lack of capability – the person bringing over our food was useful, going back and forth to the chef to check for nuts, and to delivery proper amounts of extra gravy – the initial extra gravy being in a thimble.

It was a bit cold inside too.

Yet the yorkie/beef/gravy combo really hit the spot – which is rare as normally a chef will have made weird gravy, burnt the yorkie, cooked the yorkie the week before or I simply hadn’t ordered the beef.

Vegetables were meh – kind of like something I’d knock up when busy at work and just need to quick whack something in the oven, though I appreciated the fennel on the carrots.

My vegan pie eating accomplice scored her a 7.10, and I’m offering a hearty 7.66 out of 10. If you aren’t scared of Leyton and like your beef, you could do a lot worse than The Leyton Star.

No roast for me next weekend as I’m up north for Mother’s Day. Well, I will be having a roast but not in London. Maybe I’ll finally start writing the Roast Dinner Awards for 2023. Maybe.

George Galloway telling you to show some humility because you were wrong that Russia was going to invade Ukraine.
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The Leyton Star, Leyton

Station: Leyton

Tube Lines: Central

Fare Zone: Zone 3

Price: £21.00

Rating: 7.66

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: I really enjoyed the beef/yorkie/gravy combo - it's what we need.

Loathed: Potatoes that had been roasted were a half-effort, cabbage was damp and one tenderstem was sad and limp.

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