Another Sunday with a hangover. Another Sunday with engineering works on my beloved Metropolitan line. Another Sunday where the random number generator had picked somewhere painful to get to – The Narrow in Limehouse.
To be fair, most places in London are a pain to get to when you rely on the Metropolitan line, but this journey required an especially painful 15 minutes on the central line…rammed, stinking hot, stinking – and some weird bloke trying to talk to me about other people on the tube. LEAVE ME ALONE.
Boy did I deserve a fucking good roast dinner. Though I probably deserved my punishment even more. Maybe my roast dinner would also be part of my punishment?
The Narrow is in the Gordon Ramsay chain of restaurants so there was a glimmer of hope that they might have a clue what they are doing. I’m also trying to resist the temptation to litter this review with profanity, though I seem to have already failed in that endeavour.
It’s a nice location, nestled on the banks of the Thames – albeit four fucking tube trains away from Harrow. Inside was calm, the kind of music a “cool” student in the 1990’s might have played, quietly whirring away – though it was a tad tired-looking in places, the toilets marginally grotty.
Staff were plentiful and the person serving us was particularly charming – someone even offered to take my coat. I did consider suggesting that they keep the hunk of shit, given that the lining ripped the day I bought it, and just a few months later it has holes in both pockets and an empty packet of mints sequested in the lining that I haven’t quite been able to retrieve. You guessed it – I bought it from Zara.
Speaking of things that are a load of shit (I was seriously considering an ironic amount of zero swear words for this review, but you try writing this shit after another shitty journey home on the perennial clusterfuck that is the Metropolitan line), their website is dreadful (I should probably consider shorter amounts of text within brackets otherwise by time you get to the conclusion you will have forgotten what I was talking about). Really slow (the website, in case you have forgotten), huge buttons, huge amounts of spacing, a blurry menu on mobile and form fields about 100 times too large. Why such a large field to put my name in? This is how it looks on my desktop.
The Narrow suggested on their website that roast dinners are available from just £17. Alas, read the small print with very large spacing between lines, and you’ll realise that you need to be a vegan to get a roast dinner for that price. By the way, am I allowed to suggest that Greta looks a bit sinister? I appreciate that pretty much makes me the re-incarnation of Hitler amongst paper-straw-loving millennials. And won’t go down well with my vegan audience…oh yeah I don’t have a vegan audience.
Maybe I’ll take acid and wake up a vegan one morning? I do eat a bit less beef, that counts, no? Speaking of which (boom), for those that don’t orgasm over putting a paper straws in their mouth, the options were lamb at £23 or beef at £25. The website had suggested pork belly too – yeah, that website. Sigh. Look – I’ve been recycling since before you even heard of it, OK? Stick your green pretentiousness in a paper straw then up your ass. No, I don’t have a car either. Jeez, now who’s preaching? Anyone want my spare jam jars?
I chose the lamb. £23. Yes, £23. But you know, it had Gordon Ramsay’s name on it so it had to be pukka, right? Not sure how worried I should be that my spell-checker thinks ‘pukka’ is a word.
Dinner took around 15-20 minutes to arrive, whilst I sipped on my Camden Pale Ale (not the most interesting choice of beer available that I’ve ever seen) and watched people watching boats go by. Including one which was a restaurant…are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Are you thinking what we were thinking? Yeah, we ordered more gravy.
The world’s smallest thimble of gravy arrived. For two people. Two northerners. We asked if we could have one each, and we got a look as if I had asked her to show me her breasts. It was my sister that asked too. For extra gravy, that is. Maybe I confused a look of confusion for a look of shocked scorn…after all it was the only moment where the service was not really good. The Narrow was one of the rare places where it actually felt like we were getting something in return for our 12.5%.
“So what about the carrots?”, I hear you say.
Fucking carrots heading
The teeny-tiny amount of teeny-tiny carrots were a delight. Full of flavour and perfectly roasted – they might have been few but just like Gina Martin, you have to take your victories where you can get them in these post-truth times. Oooh ahh just a little bit. Can you snort drugs in a paper straw?
The braised red cabbage was far more green than I expected – and seemed to be spring greens rather than red cabbage. My dislike of red cabbage leads me to applause this error. Quite inoffensive and would have been jolly enjoyable were there sufficient gravy. Alas, there was too much of it, and it did tire.
I wasn’t especially taken by the parsnips, but they weren’t bad. Quite nicely roasted, just a little on the dry side.
Just two roast potatoes were supplied (perils of paying just £23 for a roast dinner, which will at some point seem cheap for future readers). They weren’t exactly freshly cooked, and were certainly starting to tire. On the bright side, they tasted like they had been cooked in goose or duck fat, they had that keen oily taste to them, and I often have worse roast potatoes than these. Don’t think I’m being too complimentary though – I would be ashamed if these were mine.
The Yorkshire pudding probably wouldn’t have fit in the largest cup size at Victoria’s Secret – there seemed to be more Yorkshire pudding than everything else put together on the plate – I wonder which social media network this was made for?
Though I’m long done with Instagrammable yorkies, I was impressed not only with the size, which really was humungous – but also the orange-ness. I’m guessing that the orange colouring came from using multiple yolks? The part that was edible was surprisingly flavoursome, and more was edible than not – just the upper rim had had too long hanging around in a kitchen. Sufficient gravy would have helped soften matters, but I guess they are too busy getting ready for Brexit.
Probably the most disappointing item on the plate was the lamb. Flavour-wise, again The Narrow had delivered. My first issue with it was that it was rather tough and stringy – not really what I’d expect from a £23 lamb roast dinner. It seemed like I’d had the shavings off the end of the joint. A not particularly good quality joint.
More disappointing was the volume of meat. It just seemed rather stingy – so much so that I wondered whether this was actually the vegan roast?
Speaking of being stingy, I shall just put the gravy thimble into context:
In terms of flavour, it was inoffensive. However, we should aim higher in life than just not offending – even if that seems to be impossible for so many people nowadays, says the person writing a roast dinner blog that regularly offends people. I actually lost what was possibly my only Brexiter follower last week. Possibly a good thing that I’m not doing Roast Dinners In Doncaster, even if that might mean the end of brown water on plates.
Back onto the subject of gravy, this was just water in terms of viscosity, and far removed from what my vision of gravy is. And of course, so, so little of it. Maybe we need to send the Labour Party up north to visit some pubs, and “redistribute” the proper gravy. SOCIAL JUSTICE FOR GRAVY. Speaking of socialist redistribution, I saw two people put a whole shelf of steaks in a carrier bag at M&S the other day and just walk out the door. At least it was a reusable carrier bag.
Roast dinner at The Narrow heading
Overall the roast dinner at The Narrow was a bit of a mixed bunch. My main take from it was the high quality of ingredients with the glaring and important exception of the lamb, and also that there was a chef that knew what he/she was doing – often the flavour impressed.
Alas, I couldn’t help but think about the amount of money I’d paid for this, and especially the amount of tube trains I’d had to catch. Have I mentioned my disapproval of Brexit yet?
And with the lamb that disappointed, not to mention the watery gravy, I have ended up downgrading my score, the more I think about it.
My assistant that had the beef (which was much nicer than the lamb, though not especially great IMO) scored her roast dinner a 7.7 out of 10.
I do want to stress that it seems that there is a good chef at The Narrow as evidenced in the flavour – however 6 exceptionally tasty tiny carrots do not outweigh poor quality lamb, especially not when paying £23.
Also a note of annoyance was that I was marked as a “no show” on OpenTable – not cool. I’m impressed that OpenTable are doing something to combat those that book tables and don’t turn up, and they removed the mark against my name swiftly, once I messaged them. But it doesn’t help endear me to the restaurant where I’ve just spent good money on an part-unsatisfactory meal, to be marked as a “no show”.
Fucking low score heading
All this considered, I’m scoring it a 6.48 out of 10. Had the lamb been up to scratch, then the score would have been much more respectable.
Then it was time for more pain on the Central line. I even got off at Oxford Circus just to lessen my journey by one stop, and walk down Oxford Street. Yeah, that didn’t make things any less painful.
Next Sunday I’m going on holiday! Well, I’m hoping to be, depending on British Airways. However, Albanian Wi-Fi withstanding, you will still have a review. Especially for you. Pukka. Fucking pukka bruv.