The Nelson’s, Bethnal Green

NSFW: Warning - this review may not be safe for work due to cock drawings

And here we were on New Year’s Eve, in a gay bar, having a roast, surrounded by cocks. Welcome to the review of The Nelson’s in Bethnal Green (ish).

Various cocks at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Annoyingly some nobhead had decided that New Year’s Eve would be on Sunday roast day.

Add on that the Thameslink wasn’t running overnight so I couldn’t get home after midnight, and it meant that our focus was on the Sunday roast, with a side-dish of drinking fun after, and being in bed for midnight. By which I mean potentially being in bed for midnight, but drinking a previously-opened bottle of wine so that it isn’t wasted when Dry January starts.

Even more annoying was that yet again I had been snubbed in the New Year’s Honours list for services to roast dinners. Which utter cocks make these decisions?

And, yes, of course I’m unamused by Timothy Randall Penis Martin getting a knighthood for services to Brexit, sorry, I mean pubs.

Ding Dong

Or as The Spectator calls it, how did it take so long to give him a knighthood? Yeah, I know that feeling.

Apparently selling cheap beer is almost a charity. Oh and “they got even better after they were boycotted by the kind of person who retweets James O’Brien”…hmmm…it’s a long time since I’ve retweeted James O’Brien though. COCK.

Dalek cock at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Ahhh that’s better.

Happy New Year, folks. I’m feeling so joyful that I’m even wishing happy new year to those of you that voted for Brexit. That’s a lie, I’m grumpy, dry January has started, I’ve got another cold on the way, it’s dark, it’s wet, my nob is even more shrivelled than normal and I’m back to work today.

Want to see another cock?

Are you sure?

Really sure?

Jacob Rees-Mogg talking to Nadine Dorries.  Cocks.
Copyright of Number 10 on Flickr, using Creative Commons licence CC BY 2.0 DEED

Oh did he get a knighthood too? What has our honours system come to? Next thing you’ll be telling me that Jimmy Savile was knighted.


So in case you haven’t worked it out or read the sentence where I mentioned it, The Nelson’s is a gay pub. But also it feels like a proper East End boozer – one imagines that there is some insalubrious history about the venue, perhaps King Henry IV chopped off the hand of his workers here, or something, in the 16th century but you’ll know by now that history isn’t my strong point. Oooh, maybe The Krays sold dodgy DVDs from here when they were setting up their East End crime empire?

Outside has a kind of mock Tudor theme – inside has a penis theme, with all the walls adorned with drawings of cocks. Well, one wall had vaginas, but as I was in a gay bar, I decided to stick to admiring the cocks.

Otherwise The Nelson’s is quite a small and cosy pub – the tables and stools had seen better days, but also they added to the old school boozer feel.

London isn’t short of good gay pubs, but how many do you know that actually do good food?

The Nelson’s had been on my to-do list for years but for various reasons I had never made it – it always felt like a small group kinda pub, a fun place to visit, so when New Year’s Eve turned up and it happened to be one of the few places taking bookings, still doing roasts, with veggie/vegan options – it was a no brainer. Plus cocks.

Charles & Camilla cocks at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Also they messaged me a little while back to see if I fancied trying their roast – you know that I don’t do collaborations as I’m all about everyone receiving equal treatment in life, and especially in roast dinner reviews, however he mentioned that he was getting one of his old chefs back in to relaunch the kitchen, and I said I’d try to visit in autumn. And it is autumn most of the year, right?

Throbbing Python of Love

Maybe I can make it through a description of the menu without any more phallic puns.

Roast dinner menu at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Yep – roast dinners under £20 in walking distance from Shoreditch. Beef topside, leg of lamb and pork belly (with cajun cracking) all at £19.00, or a cauliflower cheese wellington, or vegan pie for £18.00.

It was a tough call between pork and lamb for me – I love pork belly, but the rolled leg of lamb did sound good. Our waitress, who kind of reminded me of a young Lois Griffin with her flame-orange hair, was pretty confident with suggesting the pork sword…sorry, I mean pork belly. Can I mention that I had a side of pigs in blankets too? Yep, I wanted extra sausage in a gay pub. Hi Gran, it’s not what you think. Lol, as if my Gran has ever used a cash machine, let alone the internet. Incidentally the extended family racist slur count made it to 4 this Christmas, a notch up on last year, alas. Must be the fault of the asylum seekers.

Pork belly Sunday roast at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Yes, you see thick gravy. Normally it comes with peas too – but as you know, they are evil, though I did need reminding by a table hero to ensure that they didn’t add them. And to order extra gravy. It was as if my mind was consumed by beer. Worth mentioning that the beer was Goose Island, which is a bit average. The Nelson’s is more of a going for a beer pub, than a beer pub, at least to my eyes.

So, starting with the red cabbage which I actually liked – no purple pollution of the gravy, no water leaking everywhere, no over-use of “winter spices”. This was mildly flavoured and well-balanced in terms of crunch/softness.

Day 3 of my New Year’s hangover is where having written notes comes in really handy, and for the carrots I wrote “soft herby”, which is a decent enough description. Roasted, plentiful, plenty of herbs – particularly thyme.

Giggle Stick

Has Zoella even been knighted yet?

There were 5 roast potatoes but they weren’t exactly amazing. They were quite tired and there was a lack of quality control – one or two really rather burnt ones ended up on our plates, albeit not mine. They were quite tired feeling which was a shame as they weren’t too far away from being good roasties – perhaps the plentiful herbing of them was to hide that?

Pork belly roast dinner at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

The Yorkshire pudding was homemade and actually made the same day. OMG. Soft – though not especially fluffy, more on the tearable side, but given the dearth of good yorkies this year (won’t someone think of the tourists), this is almost remarkable in context.

I really enjoyed the pork belly – it was proper juicy which was either due to it being left in a cajun brine for 24 hours, or it having been sung Britney songs to (I am advised of this). It was rather excellent, the proper belly mix of gooey gluttonous pork – plus the cajun spiced crackling on top which was very crunchy, but I still have all my teeth. Or at least the ones I had in 2023. Damn that crystal meth karaoke addiction. Hit me baby one more pipe.

Oh, and the gravy thick. Thick, homemade and totally yummy – definitely some meat juice action going on there. Plus they eschewed the £1.00 charge for extra gravy which was mentioned on the menu.

And finally, more sausage:

A Queen penis at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

And more finally, more sausage:

Pigs in blankets at The Nelson's, Bethnal Green
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

Confirm that the pigs in blankets hit the spot too, as you’d like to think a sausage in a gay pub would do. Decent chipolatas, streaky bacon, not burnt but not undercooked either.

The Nelson’s.

Finishing the year with thick gravy and dick pics without being on Tinder/Grindr/Brenda – what’s not to like?

Well, the roast potatoes weren’t to like – but also in the grand scheme of shit roasties in London, they were…passable if a bit burnt.

Everything else on the plate was good – and to thick gravy aficionados like myself, Lord Gravy, then some of it was dreamy.

Scores around the table for The Nelson’s were all healthy – those having the vegetarian roasts scored 7.00, 7.40 and 7.50 respectively. Those having meat roasts scored 7.70, 8.00 and 8.00 respectively – which is clearly evidence, as if you needed it, that you shouldn’t bother with veganuary. Also worth noting that the beef and lamb each came with around 5 slices, if I recall correctly – so very generous.

I was the only one who had the pork belly, it was the best meat on the table, and therefore unusually I am the one with the highest score – it just creeps into the 8’s at an 8.08 out of 10.

In summary, The Nelson’s is a great pub with a gay roast dinner. Take your mum there.

I’ll be back next week. Happy New Year to everyone reading this at the beginning of January when I posted it, and especially to everyone who has shared the blog, recommended places to me, added comments to the older roasts, etc. And if it isn’t January, then happy…erm…day to you.

Yeah I’ve run out of cock photos.

It just ends like this.

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The Nelson’s, Bethnal Green

Station: Hoxton

Tube Lines: Overground

Fare Zone: Zone 1

Price: £19.00

Rating: 8.08

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Gloriously thick home-made gravy, sexy pork belly and a decent yorkie too. Oh...and lots of cock on the wall.

Loathed: Well, the roast potatoes weren't to like - but also in the grand scheme of shit roasties in London, they were...passable if a bit burnt.

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