The hardest bit of writing, for me, is the introduction – if you’ve clocked the potatoes, you’ll know that the rest of this post about the roast dinner at The Lock Tavern in Camden is easy to write.
Let me set the scene.
No, not that scene.
It’s the first week of January. I’m embarking on my usual 3 month detox that never makes it to the end of the 3rd month, though never too far away. It’s cold. I’m recovering from Christmas and New Year’s excesses.
Work has been sooo quiet all week – I thrive when busy, but there isn’t much to do, and there isn’t much challenge in what there is to do. The job market for software engineers is dead (cheers, ChatGPT) yet I cannot just fuck off my current job (which I enjoy 80% of the time) as I now have this thing called mortgage.
Also I arrived back from The Lock Tavern to discover that I also have this thing called council tax to pay which is apparently £717. WTF? Is it normal to charge for 4 months council tax at once? Include that and other back-dated/forward-dated bills and 80% of my next monthly salary is going on mortgage and bills. Yay.
But still, I had a roast dinner at The Lock Tavern to look forward to. Right? Oh and I’ll be richer thanks to the government cutting tax and therefore I should vote Tory again.
How much is fucking council tax?
That wasn’t how I intended on starting this post. Told you it was easy to write once I’ve written the first line. Hmmm lines…ohhh detox. Whether it is easy to read is another matter.
What I intended on doing was reviewing my 5 pledges that I made this time last year, such as stopping the boats. Oh, soz, I’m no longer a Tory, am I? Gosh it will be 7 years since I last voted Tory this May.
Just in case you don’t remember my 5 pledges, here’s a reminder:
So did I do better than Rishi? Well, I guess I need to check with the Office For Budget Potatoes for number 1, but I’m pretty sure I had some small roast potatoes in 2023. I definitely had some shit ones.
You could argue that I failed number 2, as I only had 42 roast dinners in London. However, clearly; inflation, the invasion of Ukraine, the Bank of England, remainers and woke traitors meant that I had to leave the country for a few weeks and clearly I would have had 46 roast dinners in London had that not happened. And I did have 5 roast dinners abroad but don’t tell Farage.
3. No, I didn’t find better than Blacklock, but The Harwood Arms was damn close.
4. I think the to-do list is smaller by a couple, but is anyone counting? Though I didn’t go to Joanna’s. It closed down the week after I wrote my pledges.
Finally – yes I did have a roast on a small boat! Cheers to Barge East. On a bank holiday Monday, no less.
How much is fucking electricity?
I think we can call that an overwhelming success, and I can consider myself re-elected by the people to be Lord Gravy for the next year. If I can afford the train fare. Thank you for your vote.
Speaking of overwhelming successes, The Lock Tavern once was arguably the coolest pub in Britain, renowned for its hedonistic Sundays a good 20 or so years ago. I doubt many roast dinners were eaten back then.
It used to have DJs playing like James Murphy, Erol Alkan, Jon Hopkins, Jamie xx, The Chemical Brothers and Andrew Weatherall – just in a pub. To my knowledge, none of that happens now, at least not according to their website but it does at least apparently have “epic Sunday roasts”. And it is a “poshed up boozer with a punk soul”. OK…whatever you say.
And no, I wasn’t cool enough to go back then. But I am definitely cool enough now to have an epic Sunday roast in a poshed up boozer with a punk soul.
I guess I should talk about the pub a bit more – it was quiet, just us and a scattering of Arsenal fans. I didn’t see anyone else eating in there. The main bar is on the right as you walk in – I didn’t see how the pub had been “poshed up” as per the website vomit, though there still was a feel – you could still imaging it being dark, there being party people in there with some music in the corner and some dodgy guy sniffing ket under the table.
Options were sirloin of beef at £23.00, half a chicken at £20.00 or pork belly at £18.00. Had I opened my mail before I went out I would have saved £3.00 and ordered the chicken, hell, maybe even saved £6.00 and ordered the vegan roast – but instead I went for the beef as I hadn’t had beef for a while. At least not this year.
Our roasts didn’t take too long to arrive, maybe 10 or so minutes. I was rolling my eyes at the generosity of the gravy, but when I poured it, it was simply water.
I guess that’s a good place to start – well, it’s generally not good news when I start when I start with the gravy and in every respect – consistency, looks and flavour, this was barely anything other than water. Live, laugh, lock – as their website also says. I’m nearly laughing about how watery this gravy was.
How much is my fucking service charge?
Before I went, I was wondering why I was bothering to review The Lock Tavern, as the company that owns it have gone into administration, so the chances are this review won’t be representative in two months time or whenever Young’s buys them out and makes the gravy more watery. Actually, even Young’s gravy is less watery than this.
So, carrots, sigh. Actually the carrots were alright, they had a tang to me but my accomplice disagreed, though I think we could both just about discern some maple flavour.
The parsnips heartily tasted of themselves, but mine were undercooked – one more notably more so than the other, which took off the enjoyment.
There was possibly about to be another reason why I shouldn’t have bothered with the review this weekend:
Yes, my website went down on Friday. My hosting company blamed my website, but curiously when I moved to another hosting company my website worked perfectly – in fact, much better than before. Albeit my new hosting company decided to move my personal blog to www.rdldn.co.uk at first which wouldn’t have been too wonderful for anonymity.
Did I tell you that I made a vegan lunch this week? It was shit. And I’d made 3 day’s worth.
How much is my fucking mortgage?
I guess I should remind you what the point of this blog is.
I possibly need reminding too. Possibly. The cabbage was pretty crap – tough and crunchy with zero flavour too. Often gravy really brings out the joy in cabbage, but you know the answer here.
The Lock Tavern didn’t even bother to try to make roast potatoes. We had potato wedges instead. One was simply disgusting – uncooked but tasted of cheap potato. Another was…alright I guess (the one with a bit of charring) – the other I couldn’t be fucked with.
The Yorkshire pudding was almost certainly from a packet – the sides were coarse and rough. Normally some redemption can be found on the base – but this was properly burnt with patches of black. Yes someone did ask me if everything was fine, and I mustered some kind of vague “yeah more or less”.
Finally, the beef. When it first turned up, I thought it had some promise. Alas, the fat hadn’t been rendered properly so was just chewy fat, the meat was quite tough and lacking any real discernible flavour. Plus somehow my usually unhelpful photography really brings out the blotchy look of having been flash-fried…which you couldn’t see too well in the pub.
My accomplice’s chicken was better – she at least enjoyed the chicken breast of the half, and the skin was pleasantly crispy on the portion I tried.
How much did I dislike this fucking roast dinner at The Lock Tavern?
I haven’t enjoyed this week, and I didn’t enjoy this roast dinner.
Any of it.
Well, the carrots were decent.
Undercooked, overcooked, flavour-free, watery gravy – they almost ticked off the 5 pledges of shit roast dinners that Lee Anderson might resort to on GB News in 2025.
My accomplice scored it a 4 out of 10 – she was so unenthused that she couldn’t be bothered to think of a decimal.
I was originally thinking exactly the same, both score and reasoning, but now I’m home, I have enough scorn to reduce it to a 3.50 out of 10. I didn’t have a worse roast dinner in 2023. Let’s hope this is the worst of 2024.
23 fucking pounds this was. I would say I enjoyed the walk along the canal from King’s Cross but it was full of aggressive joggers.
I’ll be back next week, but I cannot be fucked really.
23 fucking pounds.
The Lock Tavern, Camden
Station: Camden Town
Tube Lines: Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: The carrots were alright.
Loathed: Where to start? Potato wedges, one of which was disgusting. Watery gravy, yorkie from a packet - yet still burnt. Dull cabbage.