The Orange, Belgravia

There are quite a lot of pricey establishments on my to-do list.  My regular readers will know that I often use the random number generator to select where I am going, but if it picks somewhere expensive, more often than not I rule it out.

My accomplice required somewhere not too far away from Kensington for this roast, and the first place that the random number generator chose that was within scope was The Orange.  One of those pricey ones that cause my remoaner, sorry, remaining northern soul to panic, fearing the shouts of “traitor” as I consider that Article 50 should be revoked…oh sorry, lost track, as I consider my last vestiges of northernness to be diminishing as quickly as my bank balance.  How much for a Sunday roast?

£23.  Twenty three pound.  And Brexit hasn’t even started yet.  I really should get over it.

Thankfully, Dry January (yeah I know it’s February) means that I actually have a little more money than usual, and one of the main advantages of a more upmarket place was that I wouldn’t have to cope with twatty Pimm’s drinking, Regatta-attending twats banging on about fake southern tossbag egg-chasing.  Not that I knew there was a game on when I booked it – alas, I’ve blocked the word “vegan” from my Twitter timeline but not yet “rugby”.  Rugby union actually offends me more than veganism.  I think.

List of things that piss me off for

Shall we have a list of things that piss me off?

  • Rugby Union.
  • Vegans.
  • Cyclists that ignore the Highway Code.
  • Brexit.
  • People that block ambulances from going over bridges because they are protesting about remoaners/environment/Uber/the fact they didn’t listen in the 1990’s about changes to their pension.
  • Racists.
  • Taxi drivers that are taking part in the war against the 21st Century and think you are safer randomly walking through Brixton off your head on ket at 4am in the morning looking for a black cab that might pick you up, instead of using an app.
  • People that read and especially share Time Out articles on roast dinners.
  • The RMT and any trade unions that feel their right to higher pay is more important than their customers.
  • The Metropolitan line (except during summer when I travel on it for fun, just to get some air conditioning).
  • Nationwide lack of air conditioning in summer.
  • People who stand on the left side of the escalator.
  • People who switch ticket barrier lane at the last moment.
  • Jus.

That is not an exhaustive list, believe it or not.  You know what else?  I’ve never searched Pornhub for Brexit.

OK, so weirdly they have the recent full debate between Rees-Mogg, Lucas and two very forgettable blokes, fully clothed and with seemingly nothing sexual, at least that I could detect. Perhaps you get an erection when Jacob Rees-Mogg opens his mouth – I don’t find him arousing in the slightest though.  Also some busty models celebrating Brexit by getting their tits out (I assume that this is something that they never did prior to the vote), and some British girl sucking off a black man to apparently celebrate Brexit (before you go all antifa on me, that is roughly the title of the video – I don’t watch porn with cock in it as it makes me feel inferior).

Fingering

And before you question what the fuck you are reading, even The Economist has been suggesting that Brexit has been fingered.

After a short walk from the interesting delights of Victoria Station, I walked into The Orange and saw that the rugby was showing on TV.

Thankfully, I was shown to the proper restaurant upstairs, and then shown to our circular table with seating for 6.  Proper seats too, none of this mismatched trendy falling-apart crap.  The Orange was a proper restaurant with waiters and everything, you know, those white cloth things, wine glasses presumptuously already on the table, etc.  Well, it had some waiters but more on that later.

A busy venue, we were eating later in the afternoon yet most of the tables were full – I noted that it also had a rooftop terrace for when summer approaches.

As you’d expect for somewhere in the location and at the price set, the clientele were mostly non-ruffians; a selection of families, young hot women wearing political activism t-shirts that probably don’t know anything about the subject, and a few jollies…yeah I have no idea what I mean by that last comment or who it applies to, I just needed a way to finish off the paragraph.  I have recently noted that this area has a small selection of upper class types “doing rough”, and I was quite taken by the well-to-do young blonde lady in a bright red boiler suit – dressed as though as was working for Pimlico plumbers, yet probably just goes out for dinner and walks her poodle for a living.

Sometimes I think of myself as Tinkerbelle

Also when I was on the toilet at some point, someone knocked on the door and enquired after me, “Tinkerbelle?”, and I replied “yes”.  I exited the toilet and they looked at me and said “that’s not Tinkerbelle”, and I was like, “actually I am Tinkerbelle”.  Tinkerbelle is not my real name, in case you were wondering.  I am wondering why I have included this pointless exchange, it has no bearing at all on my review.

It took a while to get anyone’s attention to be able to order drinks – the first sign that all may not run so smoothly.  One of my accomplices had done some research, and was expecting things to take a while.  We didn’t even have a drinks menu on the table to look at, which one would maybe expect at somewhere charging £23 for a roast dinner (yeah I will bang on about the price quite a lot…and service…and gravy…and Brexit).

Whilst I remember, may I congratulate all fellow remoaners for talking down the economy consistently since 24th June 2016 to the point where the UK economy contracted in December.

Absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

Oh yeah, absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.

Not that I needed a drinks menu, as I ordered an apple juice being on this 108 day detox which has so far over 42 days helped me lose a grand total of 1 kilogram (stick your imperial measurements) of weight.  The struggle is real.  So are the pizzas, cakes and roast dinners.

I was tempted to get back on the wagon.  Or off the wagon?  I’m not an alcoholic, just a crack addict with a tiny penis and no teeth, so I’m not entirely sure what side of the wagon I am currently on (good time to remind you of my Valentine’s Opportunity?).  However the beer smelled lovely – a fair selection of interesting sounding pale ales for a west London restaurant.

The menu had a variety of options, though quite a few of them were sharing joints, and I’ve had my fill of serving up my own dinner when going out for a roast, so the choice was between the beef sirloin at £23, Iron Age pork at £21 (I do prefer my meat to have been procured in the same century so I was put off by this description), or the…oh yeah…vegetarian.

If you did want to put in some work, a whole chicken for two people came at £22 per person (£22 for chicken?!) or a lamb shoulder for three at £20 per person.  I probably could have been persuaded to have some sharing action, but my heart was set on the beef – if you are going to go somewhere more expensive, you might as well have the most expensive option.

Here it comes…

Dinner took around 20-30 minutes to arrive – close to the latter I suspect but I was too busy discussing how I could manage to afford a £180m penthouse that one of my accomplices was working on the construction of, to be taking too much notice.  Needless to say, it did take a bit longer than most places, but not a problematic length of time.

Once our food arrived, we waited for our gravy to arrive.  After a few minutes of sitting there looking at our gravy-free dinners in forlorn hope, we had started to wonder if we needed to chase the gravy, when a different waiter walked past our table with what looked like some gravy – apparently not for us, but he seemed to realise that we didn’t have any so left the two half-filled thimbles and one half-filled small milk jug with us.  Not enough gravy for one person let alone six.

We ordered more.  Then more when that arrived.  And then some more when that arrived.  But I’ll come back to this later, for now, just remember that I had half a thimble of gravy on my plate.

The one lonely carrot was nice but undistinguished – I’ve had some pretty special carrots this year and this was just nice, quite succulent and fresh tasting but not especially interesting.

A selection of green beans were supplied, which with minimal gravy were fairly uninspired.  For my personal tastes they were too crunchy – verging on the tough, but I accept that a normal food critic would probably say that they were perfectly cooked.

The parsnip was lifeless and dull, seemingly more boiled than roasted.  It was limp and unappealing, though not offensive otherwise.

An uninspiring start, especially with our continued gravy struggles, however the roast potatoes were very good.  Verging on the crispy outside – not quite there, but properly fluffy on the inside.  If only there was some gravy for them…sans gravy the fluffy potato was dry.  I’ve had better roasties, but for sure I’ve had many worse.

The Yorkshire pudding was one of those hollow muffin types, which I really wish were not a thing – Yorkshire puddings should be bowl-shaped every bit as much as music should not be played after your football team scores a goal.  Whilst a damn sight better than last week’s abomination, it was of a tearable, flaky texture, and a little dry – especially notable given how little gravy we all still had.

Did I mention how much the roast cost?

I hear what you are thinking, “what exactly are you getting for your £23?”.  Thankfully the beef sirloin was verging on the exquisite, two fair-sized slices, suitably pink, silky in texture with a chunky ribbon of delicious fat around the outside.  I was given the choice between rare and (I think) well done prior to the meal, which is a good touch given that the two styles of beef can be as divisive as a referendum campaign.  I wish I had thought about my choice for longer, as an adjacent table had the well-done, and it looked particularly good.  I could have been crazy and tried asking for a slice of each, though there was a risk that I’d end up with two roast dinners and a Chequers deal.

Nearly finished, but before I talk about the gravy, I think I need to get you into the mood for this.

About halfway through the meal, once we all actually had some gravy on our plates, I asked everyone if they were enjoying it.  One fellow northerner who was new to roast club told me that he was a bit disappointed in getting Bisto with a £23 roast dinner.

I expressed surprise at this comment.  It wasn’t Bisto.

Then I ate some more, with my newly-poured yet still very minimal gravy.

You better be singing along

It was…bewildering

It was…incredible.

It was…superficial.

It was…troublesome.

It was o oooooo oooooooooooooooo

B.I.S.T.O.

B.I.S.T.O. 

B.I.S.T.O.

B.I.S.T.O.

Or some form of powdery mass-produced gravy granule.  On a £23 roast dinner.  When the waiter brought to the table the 3rd round of gravy (in increasingly large jugs), we thought that we heard him mention that they had run out.  So my conclusion was that the initial thimble was their original gravy – which was watery and inoffensive, and this was the kitchen’s Seaborne Ferries effort – a Grayling-inspired gravy (probably a shit analogy nobody will remember who Chris Grayling is if they read this review next year) to masque a preventable no-gravy deal.

I guess props to the kitchen staff for having a disaster recovery plan assuming I am correct in that they ran out of gravy.  Otherwise, what the fuck are you doing serving Bisto on a £23 roast dinner?

Bisto.  On a £23 roast dinner.  Perhaps there was something else going on too, there seemed to be at least some vegetable flavouring going on outside of the blatant gravy granule texture.

Not only did we struggle for gravy, but also one round of drinks didn’t arrive.  It was only after our dinner when the waiter realised, and brought them to us – free of charge, with a profuse apology.  Service was indeed patchy, both in terms of gaining attention and delivery of requirements, though this wasn’t due to any lack of professionalism – it seemed that they were simply under-staffed.  One waiter looked particularly stressed – you could see that they were trying to provide a good service, and we didn’t quibble about the 12.5% service charge.

Some gravy also arrived after we had finished eating, though I think that was more for the sake of humour than clusterfuckery.

So.  Was this £23 worth of roast dinner?

Fuck no.

Which is what most women say when they see my profile on Tinder.

There was absolutely nothing about it which suggests that it should be priced higher than all but one other roast dinner that I’ve eaten.

Though that is not to detract from its good points.  The beef was top drawer silky melt-in-your mouth quality, and the roast potatoes were good too.

Alas, the vegetables and yorkie were all uninspiring – but most importantly, what the hell happened with the gravy?

I enjoyed the meal in terms of the whole experience, despite the various shortcomings, and initially was tempted to rate it in the high 7’s…I had a post-meal satisfaction that withered over time.  When we discussed around the table, scores ranged from a 6 (fellow northerner particularly disappointed by the gravy) to a 7.7, and I stated mine as a 7.3.  But it is one of those, where the more I think about it, and the more I consider how much I paid and what my expectations should be at this price point, the more my disappointment grew.

My final score takes into account the price we paid and the service issues, and is a 6.85 out of 10.

I’d go back. But not for a Sunday roast.

Next Sunday I’m going to a strangely under-visited part of London for roast club, and a venue that from photographic evidence seems to serve lightly browned water as gravy.  I guess it is London.

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