When Boris Johnson told us to get back to work last week, I was like, “yep, you’re right”. I’d had a Sunday off, and it was time to get back to work – notably at The Snooty Fox in Canonbury.
I’d had the week off to attend the Conservative party conference.
Yeah this is a lie. But it feels right to start off the first review after the Conservative party conference with a lie. And I was a Tory once. I see your mouse hovering over the x button, but please do wait until you’ve heard from our generous sponsor:
Yes, in exchange for a week’s supply of tree bark, you can now sponsor my posts. Form a disorderly queue on your yoga mats please – genital folding not required at this stage.
So why The Snooty Fox? Well, a couple of my friends had it as their local pub, and really wanted me to try their roasts. Yet they were nervous. Apparently it is often excellent – but it can be distinctly average. And you know what I think of average roasts. Hello Young’s pubs with your watery gravy, just about cooked roasties and all-round averageness.
The Snooty Fox (I’d like to call it The Snooty but my SEO plugin won’t be keen) is a corner pub, a positive lateral flow test kit’s throw from Canonbury overground station.
There’s a handful of benches at the front, facing outwards, and a small garden area I think – inside had around 10-15 tables, so not the largest of pubs you’ll ever visit. It was also decorated with a plethora of paintings and selection of old mirrors – there was a lot going on. The Snooty Fox has personality.
I’m at the post-Beavertown stage of my beer-drinking life, and have been for some time, yet Neck Oil and Gamma Ray were the only two keg beers that weren’t mass-consumption pints of chemicals. Maybe the cask beers are more interesting but cask beers are one of the few things in life that I can still claim to be too young for, as I grope with my early 40’s self. I meant metaphorically but physically I’m the only one groping myself too.
The Snooty had their own rotisserie chicken thing (sorry, SEO plugin – The Snooty Fox) so I was more tempted by chicken than normal, plus there was stuffing. The beef on their Twitter feed the other week also looked outstanding:
Yet I chose the pork belly, at the quite outstanding price of £15.50. Why? I don’t know. I was under too much decision pressure. Maybe I should farm it out to you ladies, gentlemen and people of other gender definitions that will upset Laurence Fox next time?
Right, starting with the carrots. Maybe I should show you the roast first.
Arrivals of our roast dinners caused quite some excitement around the table, with some accomplices claiming that their roast potatoes looked amazing. I was looking at mine, confused, thinking “are we eating the same roast”?
My roasties were edible. They tasted good yet were a little undercooked, and there was no evidence that even if they were roasted for longer, they would become “some of the best roast potatoes I’ve had in London”, as exclaimed by my most regular accomplice.
Other people around the table also exclaimed about how soft and fresh their Yorkshire pudding was. Damn, I said I was going to start with the carrots. Oh well. Anyway, my Yorkshire pudding was freshly cooked – which is a minor miracle in London, yet was burnt around the top, and tasted so.
Clearly, we were getting an example of how The Snooty Fox does excellent roast dinners – and not so excellent ones. And the person writing the review, was losing the lottery. On the bright side, I did make an £8.00 profit on scratchcards that I bought when drunk on the way home.
Carrots? Well these were decent. Softly roasted, apparently in tarragon but very modestly flavoured if anything – as tarragon is my least favourite herb then I’m fine with this.
The one solitary parsnip was really parsnippy, which might sound weird but they can be strangely lacking in flavour in some places. Quite soft – the best parsnip of the season so far I reckon. Oddbox, if you are reading, if you could stop sending me salad now it is October and send me some parsnips, that would be appreciated.
There was a little bit of cauliflower cheese, and miraculously we didn’t have to pay £5.00 extra for it like half the pubs in London. The cauliflower was soft, the cheese subtle – decent but unspecial. I’m quite fine with that though.
Finally for the vegetables – yes 4 lots of vegetables – was the savoy cabbage. Coarsely cut and far more than you can actually see on the plate, this went wonderfully with the gravy. Why is it that cabbage goes so well with gravy?
The gravy was gorgeous. Thankfully, I didn’t end up with a different batch of gravy from everyone else around the table. To be perfect, it would need to be a little bit thicker – it wasn’t thin like water, it did have some consistency but in terms of flavour, it was about as close as I’m going to get this year to orgasmic gravy.
It was enough to send me into my “please introduce me to your hot friends” level of gravy orgasm – licking the plate, pouring gravy from the jug into my mouth, snorting pepper (why?) – for some reason it sent me into “that zone”. Perhaps the booze was to blame – “that zone” also meant that I spent Monday watching the replays of the 596 hours of strategy presentations that I had refused to attend in the weeks prior. Whilst in bed.
And yeah, don’t fucking start about working from home – I would have called in sick instead of mainlining corporate strategy had I not been under instruction to protect the NHS. FYI still not bought any hand sanitiser. Still alive.
Plus every day that I don’t go to the office is now also a piece of resistance against this cunting government that I nearly voted for because of leftie whinging, but thankfully for my conscience, I didn’t. Alas, I need a promotion and pay rise to pay for the upcoming price rises in roast dinners and beer that are absolutely nothing to do with Brexit, so may need to remind senior management of my existence one day before the end of the year.
Is that it? Oh yeah, the pork belly. Well, half the crackling was crisply sexy but half of it had that rubbery crisp to it – meh, but the meat itself was mostly tender (a tad tired on the edges), the fat was rendered reasonably. I’ve had better – but I’ve had worse too. The gravy definitely improved it. Do you understand how much I loved the gravy?
And thankfully I hadn’t chosen the beef as it was just an unattractive slab of sirloin – the pork belly was nicer.
I hadn’t even finished eating my roast when my accomplice who’s local this was, stated that her score was 9 out of 10, and started garnering scores from around the table. 3 people scored it an 8.50, 1 person scored it an 8.00. As you may have gathered – I had a different experience, due to my roasties being a bit undercooked and my yorkie being somewhat burnt – unlike the others around the table as you can see from the mini-gallery above.
Nothing was bad, it was more a case of what could have been. As I mentioned the roasties were somewhat undercooked, but they weren’t bad per se. The yorkie was a bit burnt but at least it was fresh. The vegetables were good, the pork belly was reasonable.
But then the gravy was gorgeous. And that kind of usurps everything. You’ll likely have heard me say that gravy can make or break a roast – and this made it. It isn’t an 8, as nothing else impressed enough (if only our table was booked 30 minutes earlier…or maybe if only I had been less indecisive) but should score respectably because of the gravy – my score is a 7.87. Without the gorgeous gravy, it would have been around a 7.
The Snooty Fox is a clear recommendation – you are either going to get a decent roast dinner with gorgeous gravy (like I did), or an excellent roast dinner with gorgeous gravy (like my 5 accomplices did).
And there are plenty of other reasons to be a fan – service is friendly, it feels like a proper pub (especially in the toilets) yet has a modern airy feel, they sell gorgeous looking pies during the week and they do rotisserie chicken.
I wish I had a pub like The Snooty Fox near where I live. Our paths will cross again.
I’ll be back next week, I’m heading somewhere that I’ve kind of reviewed before. After some genital folding.
The Snooty Fox, Canonbury
Tube Lines: Overground
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: The gravy was sensational. Go for the gravy.
Loathed: Roast potatoes and yorkies were a lottery - I lost - others won.