The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green

Please note that due to Copyright Trolls, all images have been removed until I can manually review them, one by one, and ensure credit is appropriately displayed. So if the story suddenly makes no sense, then...well...soz.

This is a long process, so please bear with me...it will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.

It was time to leave the edgy side of east London and head to the tourist side, and to have a roast dinner at The Royal Oak, in…Bethnal Green? Shoreditch?

Wait…east London has a tourist side? Oh yeah. And I’m not talking the semi-drunk normies hanging around at the bar next to a fetish club kind of tourist.

View of the flower market from The Royal Oak

Columbia Road. Flower market. And if you look closely enough, the green-coloured shop is offering bigels for £3.50, which I can only assume are bigoted bagels. That. Is. A. Discriminatory bagel.

The website says Bethnal Green, by the way. Fine. I looked at my league of roasts and realised that I have been to four roast dinners in Dalston – one of which I marked as “east London” and three as “north London”. Hmmm. The Royal Oak is definitely east London. Me in east London again…I’ve progressed a long way since earlyish 2021 when I refused to go that far because of how long I’d have to wear a mask over my the bottom half of my mouth.

Anyway. Tourists. I love you.

Tourists taking a selfie on the tube escalator

Mostly. My accomplice overheard two different American conversations whilst waiting for me, one suggesting that to live over here, you have to have a go for a long walk and have a roast dinner every single Sunday (pretty much true) and the other amazed that people have roast dinners at lunchtime.

But hey, I love tourists. And now the pound is so weak, which is absolutely nothing at all to do with something that some people voted for in 2016 because a weaker current was PROJECT FEAR, we’ll be getting huge amounts more tourists from America.

As long as we don’t elect anyone that might want to get rid of the Queen or something daft like that.

Liz Truss arguing for the abolishment of monarchy

Flower Power

Well, most of us didn’t elect her anyway. Cards on the table time – I think she’ll be less useless than Boris Johnson. That. Is. A. Dishonourable Prime Minister to compare her to.

This is a bit hopey-changey, but she’s possibly nutcase enough to take on the vested NIMBY interests, which is pretty much what our cost of living crisis boils down to – people with property that want their property values to stay extortionate, so they block all forms of development that they can, with the most spurious of excuses – and the socialist 1947 Town & County Planning Act gives them all the power they need.

The nuclear power station in Wales that could have been built, but the noise might have upset a colony of terns. Well, it’s not like we need cheaper electricity or anything. Or the handful of people that complained that a large offshore windfarm would spoil their view. I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR FUCKING HUGE ELECTRICITY BILLS THIS WINTER.

And why is your rent so high? Obviously evil landlords, everything is perfect in price-capped Venezuela yadda yadda yawn zzzzzzzzzzz. But the reason is because of all the housing that gets blocked, or delayed due to people complaining.

I’m not saying Liz Truss has the foresight or ability to put forward such sensible reforms to planning, and there is almost zero way she’d get it through in a Tory majority parliament, and stay PM, but she’s a bit off the curve and maybe somehow she might manage to accidentally manage make it easier to build things. Though quite possibly she also might accidentally manage to declare war with Russia.

Yikes…serious shit alert. Quick…need a meme or something. Any old meme…any old photograph…something to lighten the mood…

Liz Truss stating that it will cost £4,300 a year if we leave the EU

Oh.

But don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll soon get that cheaper food and energy that we were promised, now that Liz Truss believes in Brexit.

Life Is A Flower

Right, no more being excited about fake Thatcher, it’s time to get excited about a roast dinner at The Royal Oak. Which is a Young’s pub. I hear ya. That. Is. A. Disappointment.

I know, Young’s are the guardians of nearly as many disappointments as the parents of Brexit politicians. But a few Young’s pubs do ignore the head-office instructions of making their gravy as watery as possible, so maybe The Royal Oak was a gem? Though with the amount of tourists outside perusing the flower market, they don’t exactly need to try. My sceptical hat was fully on, awaiting my watery gravy and ready to use the only Liz Truss meme worth using, repeatedly.

The building is a bit of a classic-looking end-east Truman’s pub. Two floors, both of which were busy – we were seated upstairs with a view of the market.

On the outside, The Royal Oak advertised craft beer, which considering almost all Young’s pubs sell both Neck Oil and Gamma Ray, and pretty much nothing else interesting (well…old man cask stuff sometimes), felt a bit false. You could say… That. Is. A. Distortion. Yet they had a beer from Two Tribes on, so maybe this wasn’t really a Young’s pub?

And the font on the roast dinner menu was different to your usual Young’s pub:

The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green, Sunday Roast menu

They were definitely trying to add a little interest to their roast dinner menus; the beef rump came with featherblade croquette (not plural as advertised), pork belly came with pigs in blanket and chicken came with pork & apricot stuffing ball.

I went for the beef as who can turn down a croquette? Priced at £1,548.87…sorry…that’s next year’s price. Priced at 1,548.87 calories…answers on a postcard for what the fuck a .87 of a calorie is. Oh and it cost me £20.00 too.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Our roasts took around 20 minutes or so to arrive – there were a few half-eaten roast dinners on my way to the toilet so my suspicions were heightened.

The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green, Beef Roast dinner

However, things started pleasant enough with the carrots – long, roasted to the point of being as soft as a right-wing snowflake upset about Have I Got News For You taking the piss out of Boris Johnson, though perhaps lacking a little flavour. Apparently it was maple-glazed…in retrospect perhaps there was a hint.

There was an abundance of cabbage and leek, which for a simple side was really rather nicely done – and had quite a wallop of pepper sprinkled on it – to my approval. That. Is. A. Delight. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

The roasted butternut squash puree was respectable enough, it had enough consistency not to pollute the gravy too much, and was pretty nice.

So far, so good, but this is a Young’s pub, despite a bit of pretending that it wasn’t so could it last until the roast potatoes?

Well, it depends if I’m writing the review or my accomplice is.

I had 4 fairly tired roast potatoes. Perhaps marginally less bad than most, one was notably stale, but the other three were passable – old but fairly soft on the inside, and actually tasted quite decent. My accomplice – had proper crispy roast potatoes. That. Is. A. Displeasure.

Every Truss Has Its Scorn

The Yorkshire pudding was a complete write-off. Blissfully small, but like dried up foam inside. The bottom was just about edible, but the sides were inedible.

The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green, Beef Sunday Roast

I liked the beef. It wasn’t anything amazing, there was no special flavour – but it was tender, a decent quality cut of rump and pleasant to east…I mean eat but clearly I’ve been to east London too much recently. I’d walked past a pork belly roast before ordering, and saw that it was completely flat on top – ie no crackling, so I’d made the right choice today. That. Is. A. Diversion? Gosh this is getting weak already.

Even more evidence that I’d chosen correctly came because the croquette was the highlight of the meal. Fried to perfection, a slightly course yet creamy inner – almost a hint of smokiness to it, but just rather damn glorious. That. Is. A. Delectation.

And the gravy? Well, I get to keep my “thin gravy” meme for another week, that I was looking forward to using, as it was pretty consistent. But it tasted closer to a casserole sauce than a gravy, with a hint of yuck. It wasn’t abominable, but it wasn’t like proper gravy, you could say…you could just about say…

THAT. IS. A. DISGRACE.

The Flowery, Summary Of The Royal Oak

Well The Royal Oak’s roast dinner was a bit of a mixed bag.

Firstly, it’s a pretty decent-looking pub, and has that east end vibe to it, at least if you can get your head past the tourists on a Sunday – it just has that classic old school boozer feel to the ground floor. With occasional screaming children. But maybe take some rough mates here, do some coke in the toilet and pretend you are in a proper east end boozer from the 1980’s.

Shout must also go to the woman serving us upstairs, who was really friendly – and our drinks came over quickly too. Hell, they had an IPA that wasn’t Beavertown!

Mixed scores between my accomplice and I for our roast dinners. My accomplice enjoyed the tomato casserole sauce and didn’t think it was a tomato casserole sauce, plus she had crispy roast potatoes – her score was a 7.70.

I didn’t like the casserole sauce, either the taste or the fact it wasn’t gravy – plus the yorkie was mostly inedible and the roasties were the usual disappointment. However, the vegetables were good, especially the cabbage/leek mixture, the beef was nice and the croquette was divine.

I’m scoring it a 6.84. Not often we disagree by almost a whole point.

Roast Dinners In East London will be back next week assuming In Liz We Don’t Truss hasn’t tanked Sterling to the point where no business can open. And it’s a rather interesting pub that we are going to.

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Summary:

The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green

Station: Old Street

Tube Lines: Northern

Fare Zone: Zone 1

Price: £20.00

Rating: 6.84

Get Booking

https://www.royaloakbethnalgreen.co.uk/

Instagrim

Loved & Loathed

Loved: Featherblade croquette was divine, the cabbage/leek mix was nicely peppered.

Loathed: More a casserole sauce than a gravy, my roast potatoes were disappointing (not my accomplice's though!) and the yorkie was mostly inedible dried foam.

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