I have never deserved a great roast as much as I did on Sunday. I’d had a nightmare week on call, Transport For London were being as obstructive to transport in London as possible and I’d only had some pineapple for breakfast. Thankfully I’d had the foresight to book one of the places on my to-do list that I had the most hope for – The Quality Chop House in Farringdon. Oh this is slightly NSFW – but no nipples or anything too dogecoin.
Originally I’d picked somewhere in east London, but realising that I was on call for this week, I re-arranged for somewhere supposedly more convenient – central London – just in case I had a call-out. It felt safer to be in a land of likely mobile reception and not too far away from *shudder* the office.
And I’d had a nightmare week – you name your DJ set starting time – and I’ve been woken up at that time during the week to check alerts of a possibly (almost definitely not) non-working major UK website. 1:30am, 3:30am, 11:30pm, 04:15am – 7 times I was awoken over 5 consecutive nights. Actually, one of those I slept through. Oops.
I used to say being on call was like free money – but then again I used to think the Iraq War was a great idea for liberating a country from dictatorship and spreading democracy. Or living in Harrow would be convenient for getting into London. Well, at least I didn’t vote for Brexit.
So, of course, on my way to lunch, the line controller on the Metropolitan line (ahhh almost like the good old days this) decided they needed to close the line for 1 hour and 40 minutes so they could have a spot of lunch.
The long journey there
You want to know how I got to conveniently located central London from Harrow, don’t you? Well, I walked to the other side of Harrow, which was just under an hour’s walk and got the mainline from Harrow & Wealdstone to London Euston. Of course, there was no Metropolitan, Circle or Hammersmith & City line from Euston to Farringdon either, so I walked from Euston to The Quality Chop House. All because there are not enough line controllers – and won’t be for another year as it takes a year to train them apparently. #LondonIsOpen
I don’t understand – if we can train drones to decide who to kill on a battlefield, surely we can…wait…we’ve done what?
Fuck, wrong movie.
“I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle” because there are not enough line controllers on the Met Line.
Finally arriving at the conveniently located Quality Chop House after a 1 hour and 50 minute journey, we were seated on benches. Thin, awkward benches, squeezed around a table with a bit of padding on – assumedly built for when humans were about half the size and weight that we are nowadays. Well, at least it balanced out the aches from my feet. Plus I was pretty sweaty from my 90 minutes of walking in the warm weather – thank fuck we don’t need to hug people in 2021.
I like this car
I’ve decided this week’s review is a Boris Johnson free zone because it’s just getting a bit too predictable to target my ire at him (granted the Met line has probably featured more often) – though if Dominic Cummings is reading, he probably thinks that the Terminator quotes are about him. Hey, it’s possible – he does like a wandering blog post with barely any function or reason.
Though I do have some function. And some reason. Let’s check the menu, shall we?
It was another expensive roast dinner – two courses for £35, 3 courses for £39 or a mystery amount if you were only hungry enough for a roast dinner. None of us were tempted by a starter, so we ordered our mains – I was curious about the Mangalitza collar – I recognised it for some reason, and our waitress (who was superb throughout) explained that it was of Hungarian breed – and then I remembered the amazing sausages I had in Budapest from the same breed of pig – I was sold.
I guess our roasts took around 20-30 minutes to arrive – I was too heavily concentrating on balancing trying to have a conversation whilst trying not to have too uncomfortable a bum on the benches.
Yes, it was one of those that arrived requiring a photo gallery, as 5 of us shared the vegetables on offer – perhaps not massively generous. I almost forgot to ask for extra gravy too.
Which then arrived:
For 5 people. Several of whom were northerners…arguably still are northerners. We advised her that we all wanted extra gravy – she said, “Hasta La Vista, Gravy”. No, she didn’t actually, but she took away our extra gravy.
Come with me if you want to live a life of roast dinners
The carrots were chopped and roasted – pretty much to the consistency I’d do myself with a slight crunch. They were nice – a hint of honey flavouring though I cannot say I noticed the thyme.
There was a small portion of Hispi cabbage each, which according to the menu came with “green sauce”. Said green sauce was very lemony – think along the lines of a salsa verde and you won’t be far off – which really complimented the more earthy flavour from the Hispi cabbage. Would have worked superbly well with seabass.
One of my desires after reviewing 162 other roast dinners in London, is a bit of creativity – a bit of imagination. Something different. And The Quality Chop House did offer this – both with the Hispi cabbage dish – and with this:
Corn on the fucking cob. What is corn on the cob doing on a roast dinner? I know, I know, “please give me something different” has become “what the fuck, they’ve given me something different” – I accept the blame and will destroy the one solitary computer chip that created such a monster.
Those who ate it, enjoyed it – topped with parmesan and chives – though mentioned that it wasn’t the easiest and most convenient thing to eat on a roast dinner. As TFL line controllers might suggest – “fuck convenience”. I demurred as it is just wrong.
And then…what the fuck is an elastic band doing on a roast dinner?
I don’t know how much longer I can hold this…
Yes, I discovered an elastic band. I think it was in the Yorkshire pudding when I cut it open, but not entirely sure.
Mistakes happen. One day I will break something notable on the website for the company I work for, and it will cost them thousands in lost revenue, possibly hundreds of thousands. This is just an elastic band in a dinner – it broke nothing, it didn’t and wouldn’t poison me – just a bit embarrassing for a restaurant.
And was handled with grace by the waitress when I informed her – who advised she would deal with it, brought a plate over and whisked the offending elastic band away with some panache.
The Yorkshire pudding also needed taking away as it was shite. Burnt, crispy and barely edible – I ate only the slightly softer bottom bit. EXTERMINATE. Shame, as it looked double-egged and had a nice structure. Hang on…that was the daleks, wasn’t it?
Roasties were fair at best – bit tough and rubbery on the outside but quite soft in the middle – one accomplice was quite enamoured with hers which were apparently crispy. Mine certainly weren’t – but I will have a lot worse.
You’d expect a chop house to be good with their meat – and thankfully, the Mangalitza collar was sensational. The pig meat so tender yet well-structured, the fat glistening within yet not overwhelming – this was a truly superb cut from a restaurant that clearly knows its chops, and cooked to perfection. It was a wow – a rare wow from me. So much so that I was almost willing to forgive the enforced condiment on the plate. Almost.
Accomplices also complimented the beef – I had a tiny bit and that was absolutely gorgeous too.
The extra gravy did come back, and there was just about enough rationed out for all. Rich, silky and barely existing – sometimes a rich gravy can completely overpower a roast, like at The Albert Arms the other week. Yet this complimented it well. Sure, it wasn’t the thick and copious proper gravy that northerners like myself need to power up and fight the T-2000, but if you are going to give me a rich, jus-ish gravy then this definitely worked.
Do I like this roast?
Did I like the roast? Gosh that’s a tough question to answer.
There’s a lot to complain about. The benches really were uncomfortable – I think we intended on staying for dessert and another bottle of wine, but I’d had enough of sitting on those benches, which was roundly agreeable. Only half of the restaurant had those benches – the other half and a small outdoor area at the front had proper chairs – so try to request proper chairs if you value your bum not being numb.
The elastic band incident, the burnt Yorkshire pudding, the slightly cruddy roast potatoes, the minimalisation of gravy, enforced condiment – corn on the flipping cob. Oh and the price – £29.00 which makes it the second most expensive roast that I’ve ever had.
On the flip side, the Mangalitza collar was sensational, the vegetables were inventive, the gravy was good for that type of gravy. Service was excellent – our main waitress had wonderful grace and the elastic band incident was resolved nicely. Oh and one of the house reds, recommended by our waitress was superb.
Given how sensational the meat was, I am going to score it quite high despite all the other difficulties, and a score of 7.57 feels about right. Yet, if you are intrigued to visit, given how sensational the meat was, maybe try a midweek steak or something? On proper chairs.
My accomplices scored it 5.50, 7.50, 7.70 and 7.95 – the lower one has a different scale to the rest of us, and has 5 as his average score, whereas 7 seems to be average for me and most others using the football player rating system from the Hull Daily Mail.
You’ll be heartened to know that I caught the last tube home – just. Last tube home…at 6:10pm. #LondonIsOpen. Oh, but it, erm, terminated before my stop, so I had another 40 minute walk. All that walking meant that it was the only time I’ve ever been out for a roast dinner and lost weight.
I am not Sarah Connor
So I’ve been to two places in the last three weeks that I had high expectations for – The Guinea Grill and The Quality Chop House. Neither came close to my high expectations of them. Next week I’m going somewhere that I have low expectations for (and is also overpriced) but is showing the England game – and that is all that matters – because…
IT’S COMING HOME. Boris Johnson is going to be insufferable if we win Euro 2020…oh fuck…well I almost made it to the end without mentioning him.
I’ll. Be. Back.
With more complaints about overpriced roast dinners, undercooked roast potatoes, burnt Yorkshire puddings, watery gravy and the Met line being the Met line, next week.
The Quality Chop House, Farringdon, Central London
Tube Lines: Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan Line, Thameslink
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Loved & Loathed
Loved: The Mangalitza pork was sensational. Service and wine also superb.
Loathed: Uncomfortable benches, elastic band found in dinner, burnt yorkie. There were problems!