Lord Napier Star, Hackney Wick

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And then we had a king. And then we had a Lord Gravy going to the Lord Napier Star in Hackney Wick, for a roast dinner.

Before we go any further, on this sad week, I’d like embrace the spirit of Cash Converters and convey my sadness of the passing of The Queen.

Cash Converters offering their condolences to the passing of The Queen.

However, unlike Cash Converters, I feel that my mission is too important to the spirit of the United Kingdom and at least one or two countries of the Commonwealth to be delayed. I mean, you surely cannot get a roast dinner in India or Pakistan?

Plus, The Queen loved a Sunday roast. LOVED. Sorry, I meant that in a she loved a Sunday roast instead of just liked a Sunday roast.

Article stating that the Queen was very fond of a Sunday roast.

The proof, as always, is on the internet. Well, unless the Kremlin have had anything to do with that corner of the internet.

Though apparently she likes her beef crema…overdone. Gosh this blog is much easier to write when there is a Prime Minister to slag off.

Anyway, the point is that The Queen would have wanted me to have a Sunday roast in tribute to her. Eventually she would have acknowledged the efforts I put in for the community to be able to find the best Sunday roast. I guess I’ll be knighted by Charles at some point. Actually given that even The Daily Star haven’t yet recognised my service to the community, I might have to wait until Queen Charlotte.

Nobody Cool’s Been Here

You may remember that I turned up to the Lord Napier Star the other week, looking for a Sunday roast on a stupidly hot day, and they weren’t doing them. Well, we double-checked this time, as we had a birthday to celebrate within roast club – and there was no way that it was being celebrated without a roast dinner.

Cue a 2 fucking hour journey from Harrow to Hackney Wick, thanks to a combination of engineering works on the Metropolitan line, an amended Overground service and a cancelled Overground train that I had rushed up the escalators for.

Nobody Cool's Been Here graffiti

Never a good start. Now, I love the interior of the Lord Napier Star and what they’ve done to it. It’s possible that Hackney Wick hates it because it isn’t built from recycled materials, or that they serve food that isn’t organic vegan, or maybe they are just upset that their rave doss-hole ket-injecting squat building has been transformed into somewhere that normies might want to visit – if you can call me a normie.

Because it was pretty quiet inside – not hugely so but enough to be notable. And somehow it still took ages to get a drink at the bar every single time I went. And even longer to order the food. Efficiency it wasn’t.

Yet I really like the inside décor and that they’ve kept the pretence of a shithole on the outside. Apparently there is a roof terrace too, which sounds a delight. Plus they actually have really nice beer on tap – and are not especially overpriced.

Lord Napier Star Pork Belly Roast Dinner menu

Choices on the menu were less than advertised online, with just pork belly or half a cornfed chicken available, priced at £18.00 each. We had two vegetarians on the table so I guess I should mention the nut roast at £16.00 – which sounds awful, but hey, I don’t go around drilling holes in lorry tyres thinking I’m hard.

Nobody Cool’s Eats Roast Dinners

There was no table service, so all 10 of us had to go down to order our roast dinners – joining other people also doing the same from their tables. It felt like around 15-20 minutes before my order was taken. No service charge though.

And, of course, our meals came out at staggered times – mine was last to arrive and arrived a good 20 minutes after the first person’s had arrived. Though at least it gave me chance to go back downstairs and order a glass of red wine…to wait at the bar and order a glass of red wine. Someone tried to get served before me and I managed to say in a very British way, “oh sorry, was you here before me?”. She fucking wasn’t and she knew it.

Lord Napier Star Pork Belly Roast Dinner

Starting with the red cabbage which is never my favourite – but thankfully I’d been awake enough to ask if there were peas, and yes, there definitely were peas. So the red cabbage was your usual cinnamon, fruity kind of nonsense. I didn’t really like it – neither did the one accomplice who had a whole stalk of cinnamon in one bite.

The white cabbage was much more interesting. Heavily peppered – which I enjoyed, though not everyone around the table was so keen. Horses for courses, but at least the one giving the score was happy.

There were plenty of undercooked carrots – undercooked carrots are edible so though I didn’t eat them all, they were…ok. Lacking flavour.

There were also plenty of undercooked parsnips – near enough raw. These were not edible and were such a waste of food.

Cauliflower cheese was ordered as a side by some accomplices – they liked it so much that they left most of it for the rest of us to try (sarcasm alert) – I can confirm that it was cauliflower cream. It wasn’t bad, but it lacked cheese. It lacked flavour…again.

Nobody Cool’s Drank Overpriced IPA in Hackney Wick

I’m having to use someone else’s photograph here as I only managed to take one that didn’t kind of give away my anonymity – bar my hairy leg on the previous photo.

Lord Napier Star Pork Belly Sunday Roast

Now, I’d walked past the kitchen earlier, and seen the deep fat fryer in use. And what was in there? Potatoes. Deep fried boiled potatoes. Mine were actually alright, for I had small potatoes – they were edible if not especially resembling roast potatoes and rather dry inside – but the standards are so low in London that it was like, yeah, whatever, I’ve had much worse.

At least I could eat them – unlike the accomplices around the table with the very large potatoes, such as in the above photograph – which were completely uncooked inside.

The Yorkshire pudding was fairly anonymous. It didn’t taste of much (a theme here) but it wasn’t burnt, it hadn’t been left under a heat lamp to dry out for a day – it was passable.

There wasn’t much pork belly on the plate, but what there was was very good. Gluttonous fat mixed with the fairly coarse pork. The crackling was more gooey than crunchy, but was still on the enjoyable side.

The chicken for those who ordered it was huge, one person took half of hers home. I thought what I tried was a bit dry, but nobody really complained about it.

And finally, a story. You may have noted the lack of gravy on the plate. We asked for more on multiple occasions, and with some huff, it did arrive. And it would arrive in multiple small gravy boats that looked half-full, but was actually just really thick porcelain with a small amount of gravy on top. Why?

On the second time of asking, the person serving us said, “we have other customers, you know”. Well…maybe make enough gravy in the first place.

The gravy itself was a tad salty and a little flavourless – but I prefer that to a disgustingly overpowering burnt red wine jus that often happens. It was at least gravy and it had some consistency. It didn’t enhance the roast, but it didn’t detract either. Make of that what you will.

I did, however, drink the minimal remaining gravy from the gravy boat, just to ensure that it didn’t taste of much. And you should have seen the disgust in the staff member’s face when he saw that. Even worse – we stole their YAY balloons.

Yay spelt out over the green canal

Nobody Cool’s Asked For So Much Extra Gravy at Lord Napier Star

Well, what a week that was.

The only parts of the roast dinner at the Lord Napier Star that I liked were the gluttonous pork belly and the peppery white cabbage. The yorkie and gravy were inoffensive, which sadly almost feels like a compliment.

Dry deep-fried roasties are not a good look – but even worse were those undercooked parsnips. How did they even get out of the kitchen? How did nobody realise that they couldn’t be served?

Service wasn’t the best – it always felt like customers were in the way – I’ve mentioned various issues, but an exemplar was when one accomplice asked for some salt and pepper, only to be told that it was downstairs. And…?

The food at the Lord Napier Star is done by KraPow, who are Thai street food people – so maybe they shouldn’t be judged too harshly for not having the best roast dinner – I assume they know what they are doing with Thai food. But damn, their roast dinners need some quality control. And maybe less vegetables – as there was quite a lot of food waste.

Some were happier with their roasts than others (depending on the deep fried roast potato roulette, amongst other things) – two 7’s, a 6.80 and a 6.40 comprised the respectable scores.

And from those more disappointed, two 6’s, a 5, a 4.50 and a 4. Ouch. My score is a 6.12 – had I had some of the lesser-cooked potatoes or the more burnt yorkies then I’d expect my score to be lower – I got lucky (ish) this week. But points also deducted for the “do I have to serve you” service – and I normally rate purely on the roast dinner.

As a pub, I really like the Lord Napier Star – it has a great feel to it, plus some good beers. I suspect it is pretty fun on a Friday/Saturday night. But they have to sort out their roast game…and their service.

I’ll be back with another average roast dinner next week. Until then, RIP Queenie and thanks to Wayne Lineker for his touching tribute.

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Lord Napier Star, Hackney Wick

Station: Hackney Wick

Tube Lines: Overground

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £18.00

Rating: 6.12

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Pork belly was quite gluttonously tasty, peppery cabbage was fun and the whole pub looks great.

Loathed: Deep fried boiled potatoes, parsnips uncooked and inedible, service questionable and gravy quantity struggles.

2 responses to “Lord Napier Star, Hackney Wick

  1. With the Queen having passed, and everyone in the Royal family moving up one space….don’t you need to move up to Duke of Gravy?

    1. Ah, I’m afraid Lord isn’t a royal title.

      Besides, I might then get renamed Duke Of Pork, which is pretty close to a royal with questionable American buddies, albeit one is dead, one is in jail and hopefully another will be in jail (though that might incite civil war).

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