For the first roast dinner of the Boris Johnson era, I thought it appropriate to go to The Lying, Cheating Shit…oh I mean, The Ship in Wandsworth.
Question is, how many lies can I put into one roast dinner review?
I had my lucky charm with me this Sunday…yeah it has come to the point of desperation where I am applying superstition to try to get a good roast dinner. Most of the ones she has joined me for have been 8’s or higher – including an accidental last-minute Blacklock replacement. Hmmm, Blacklock.
I was also supposed to have a random from Twitter joining me, but alas he didn’t respond when booking the table. Whilst I’m on the subject of randoms, I haven’t forgotten doing Mystery Roast Club, but I’ve been busy with my new job and for some bizarre reason people are less interested in roast dinners during summer. It will probably be September, or even October when I finally launch it.
The Ship doesn’t look anything special on the outside, though the inside is almost kind of cavernous in size – with a terrace front and back (including onto The Thames), a bar area split into two, a large restaurant area and shitloads of urinals. Apparently even the women’s toilets were plentiful.
Inside was acoustically upper level, with some rather excitable folk on other tables, clearing celebrating Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister. Is that lie number 2? Or maybe they were just so excited about the roast potatoes? Lie number 3? Glasses were knocked, things hit the floor – this was not a particularly peaceful place. Yes, it was busy.
Hello, we are here
Seemingly there were not enough staff, as it took a while for our order to be taken – a recurring theme as I shall elaborate on later. The lack of staff is absolutely nothing to do with Brexit (4).
On the menu was mint & thyme lamb, lemon & thyme chicken, twice-cooked pork belly (twice cooked roast potatoes too?) and horseradish and mustard beef, all priced between £16.50 and £20.50. Over £20 again for a beef roast dinner…ouchie. Absolutely nothing to do with Brexit (5). All the Boris fan-boys are so going to tell me to be positive later. You try having 6 crap roast dinners in a row, then tell me how easy it is to be positive. Dude.
As I wanted pork belly last week and missed out, I decided to go for it this week – plus it looked rather special when I saw some roasts walk past. We all chose something different – chicken, beef and vegetarian were the other orders around the table. I was tempted by the vegetarian (6)…I’ll just stop there.
We sat for around 10 or so minutes, pontificating on important matters (7)…or in reality I listened to three ladies talking about when and how to respond to men they have been on dates on. Boris has been soooo impressive (8) and positive (9) since taking over as Prime Minister, hasn’t she (10)?
Starting with…oooh…lets go for the broccoli. This was too under-cooked for my preferences, really quite on the tough side. One of my accomplices, who works in the entertainment industry, advised that broccoli is the most complained-about thing at her work. Some people love it tough. I’m not one of those. But it was edible.
Parsnips in disguise?
I was unconvinced about the celeriac. Appearing like anaemic parsnips – so much so that I thought it was a very odd-tasting parsnip at first. There was a honey flavouring to it…they were acceptable.
The cabbage was fine. There wasn’t enough to make a judgement. Plus I’m bored of writing about roast dinners. I really am. And bored of travelling halfway across London every Sunday for averageness at best. Why do I do this every week? What can we talk about instead?
I heard the other day that according to Boris Johnson, this is the beginning of a golden age. Of what? Liars? I can tell you that it seems very much that I have entered a golden age of shit roast dinners.
Whoa. Nadine Dorries has got a job in government. No this isn’t lie number 11. OK, I cannot deal with this any more. Did I tell you someone asked for a picture of my nob last week?
Stop! Bore me about the roast dinner, please.
You likely know my thoughts on puree, however I really enjoyed the carrot and swede puree. It was slightly closer to a mash than it could have been, which helps comfort me. It also had quite an interesting flavour – close to spicy yet sweet.
We also ordered cauliflower cheese at £6 a dish. Utterly unnecessary as there was so much food already yet this was pretty excellent. Actually rather cheesy, with a sticky sauce and the cauliflower was close to perfect too.
Things looking up, huh?
Even the roast potatoes were amazing! 12. Actually, they were amazingly turgid. Two large roast potatoes that were solid, dry – jeez, I have run out of adjectives for crap roast potatoes. They were shite. Same old shite that could have been on pretty much any of my roast dinners since the beginning of June. Were these even cooked on the same day?
Speaking of things that might not have been cooked on the same day, the Yorkshire pudding was not exactly over-bounding with positivity, despite potentially having been sat around long enough for many Boris Johnson speeches. We spotted a large bowl of them, clearly cooked a long time ago – and they suffered for it. I know a lot of places do this but that isn’t an excuse. The bottom of the yorkie was actually quite soft and enjoyable, but the walls were just a waste of positive egg-ergy. I’ll get my coat (13). It’s too hot for a coat.
An impressive amount of pork belly was supplied, with three round slices. The question I had before-hand was, “why was it twice cooked?”. The question I had after eating it was, “why did you cook it twice?”. One slice was good, but the other two seemed notably overcooked – also the crackling was squidgy. It wasn’t bad, I kind of enjoyed – but it was a fair way from sexy and I expect my pork belly to make me horny.
Finally, the gravy. It was a bit of an odd flavour, though I later realised that this was possibly my fault as what (limited) gravy was on the plate was cider gravy, and I think I poured the extra gravy on it, which was bone marrow gravy. Oops. Effort had been put into it, it had flavour and it was more appealing than the usual brown water. Lacking in viscosity but nothing is new there, is it, Chicago?
Before I surmise, maybe I should ask Boris what he thought of this roast:
Well, let me pay tribute to the hard-working boys and girls who delivered this spectacular creation – the British roast dinner. You know, no other country in the world makes roast dinners like we do. Yet another great British export that is eaten all around the world – and invented by us Brits. This is quite the historical feat and we should all marvel at the roast dinner.(14)
I know what the Boris fan-boys are thinking – I really need to be more positive about average roast dinners.
This was a step up from recent weeks. The cauliflower cheese was super tasty, and the carrot and swede puree was damn good too. There was lots of food – people that rate on quantity alone, would be positively gushing…perhaps. I was so stuffed after, that not even a Boris Johnson speech could energise me. Dude.
Yet it had the same old failings that I am sooooooooo tired of writing about – turgid roast potatoes, and dry, brittle yorkies. The pork belly could have been sexier too.
Different scores around the table – a 7 from the beef-eater, an 8 from the chicken-muncher (it was a 9 at first) and a 6 from the veggie…a ha ha ha ha. Sorry. Even my lucky charm failed today.
I’m scoring it a 6.73 out of 10. There are arguments for scoring it slightly above a 7 but there were other non-food issues that annoyed me.
First it was too hot in there. Yes, I know it was fucking hot 3 days ago. But it was only 22’C outside on the day…I’m not keen on wiping sweat whilst eating.
Second, service wasn’t great. It took a while to take our order, yet the food arrived in 10 minutes – why so fast on the food? It took ages for our plates to be cleared away, and our cauliflower cheese dishes were still there when we left. It then took ages for the bill to arrive, and then to pay. It wasn’t like the staff were pissing around – they were working, but maybe not quite paying enough attention. And they could have up-sold on the drinks, nobody asked when my accomplice’s wine ran out, for example.
Had I rated it on just the food, I think it would have got over a 7. Just. And yes, we did talk about how good Blacklock was, during our meal. Again.
Next Sunday, I think I am going somewhere that a very good friend of mine keeps telling me is the bomb – or was three years ago when he told me. TBC though.