The Star Of The East, Poplar

The sun is shining, politics is sweet (for one week anyway), makes you want to have a roast, at The Star Of The East. In Poplar.

Yes, what a glorious few days for politics,

Yep, Boris Johnson was forced out by a witch hunt accusing him of lying, which of course, he is not lying about.

Nadine Dorries, never one to want a bit of publicity, managed to get her news out first – I was almost too busy celebrating her demise that I didn’t even see Johnson had gone too. Well, I was in a queue for the bar. An hour-long queue for a beer. 2023 and still the events industry hasn’t figured out that people might want to buy a drink and have a wee at a music event.

Donald Trump just happened to have nuclear secrets at his home, along with documents on western defence weak spots. In his defence, he’s well known to have no connections to the Kremlin, and therefore it is about as risk-free as a young lady attending Crispin Odey’s home to discuss investments. Oh…was that another Brexit scumbag outed this week? Gosh.

And Nicola Sturgeon – yeah that’s who the other one is. She ran a pretend parliament for Scotland, I think. Don’t ask me, Scotland is where my being interested in politics dies.

All I needed was some hot Spanish women and crispy roast potatoes, for the perfect weekend. Could it happen?

The Lies Of The Beasts

So one of my Twitter followers has been banging on about The Star Of The East for nearly as long as I’ve been banging on about Brexit.

Eventually, I cracked, and added it to my to-do list.

Then I upgraded, and arranged to meet her. They do say don’t meet your heroes, but some people I’ve met through roast dinner Twitter are now good friends. Though as soon as something text-based replaces Musk-world, the better. Gosh if only I could have added him to the list of goons with red text this week. That one will have to wait, I guess. Meta – this really is time to move fast and break things.

The Star Of The East doesn’t particularly look much on the outside, sat on a busy roast junction (lol…keeping that typo in) in Poplar, it isn’t entirely the most salubrious area – but this also means that it is on the affordable side of things.

Inside, however, is a slightly curiously designed pub, pub-blue walls as standard but then they have these slightly gothic joker heads next to the ceiling, above some ornamental kind of shiny decorations that I have absolutely zero idea how to describe except to say that they looked old. Oh and one of the doors had the word, “police” painted on it.

Out the back is a beer garden with plenty of sunshine (at least until the thunderstorm that missed us decided it should poo out some cloud to obstruct our sunshine) and an odd mural of The Queen.

Photos stolen from their website, which tends to be a sign that I’m not going to be an asshole with my review.

The Jars Of The Least

The choice of beer was pretty unspectacular – Neck Oil, Gamma Ray (have Beavertown, sorry, Heineken, stopped making new styles?), Hazy Jane and all kinds of crud lagers like Peroni that totally pass me by.

The Star Of The East, Poplar, Sunday roast menu
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

The roast menu was more interesting, and check out those prices – all under £20, even the beef – though multiple people (two) have previously advised against the beef at The Star Of The East.

Sirloin of beef at £19.00, pork shoulder at £18.00 or 1/2 a roasted chicken at £17.50. Close call between chicken and pork, but I went for the latter, and then ordered some pigs in blankets as a side, as I was clearly too pained with the idea of the roast being under £20.00.

It was one of those having to make even more effort than Boris Johnson’s hairdresser type of roasts:

Starting with an explanation for the two-toned gravy – as the orange side of things was squash puree. It tasted of gravy because it was mixed in with the gravy so…maybe lets talk about Boris Johnson’s honours list instead?

The carrots were nice, soft and tasted of carrot. Gosh what original prose. Though perhaps we should celebrate Boris Johnson’s hairdresser for convincing many people that he isn’t balding. Nothing wrong with going bald, I have bald friends and therefore am not baldist, but do it with grace, folks. Or get a hair transplant.

You might look at the parsnips and think they look anaemic and undercooked, yet they were some of the most flavoursome parsnips I’d had in a long time – the sweet nuttiness brought out superbly. Soft too.

The almost-blue cabbage was free of the fruity spice crap that makes most red cabbage taste like snorting cheap stollen, but otherwise was just slightly tough and unappealing.

On the flip side, the green cabbage, though still having a bit of a crunch, was much more appealing, with a hint of butteredness.

The Crooks Of The Fleece

And what the fuck has Carrie Johnson got to do to get a knighthood? She must be fuming – some of her friends like Ben Mallett and Sarah Elizabeth Rebecca Anne Marie Isabella Grace Olivia Charlotte Emily Abigail Sophia Victoria Madison Lily Natalie Avery Harper Amelia Scarlett Hannah Vaughan-Brown got honours, and yet she didn’t. Ouchie.

The Star Of The East, Poplar, Roast Potatoes
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

I’m not sure if the roast potatoes were roasted or deep fried – they kind of tasted like they had been in a deep fat fryer, yet had a little bit of a crisp to them. Somewhat soft inside – my accomplice thinks I am being too critical, and these were better than the London average.

I know it is time to forget that he ever existed, but I’m kind of surprised that Boris Johnson doesn’t try to pretend that he is so much the people’s man that he is even more popular than a Yorkshire pudding. A whole 329,767 more votes than Theresa May’s election victory, thought to have been the worst election campaign that the Tories had ever run. Soooooooo popular.

This Yorkshire pudding should be more popular than all politicians put together. It was the best Yorkshire pudding of 2023, I reckon. Properly soft throughout, a little eggy with some crispness to the outside. I’ll go one step further – it might even have been freshly cooked. Johnson does speak like he’s been under a heat lamp for years, doesn’t he?

The Star Of The East, Poplar, Chicken Sunday Roast
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

I’d ordered a side of pigs in blankets, and ended up with cremated bacon. Inside the sausage was still soft enough – but I wouldn’t order them again. And I love eating pork. I do know better than to waste money on sides.

Half a chicken was supplied – and this was really quite excellent. Succulent throughout, the skin was crispy in places, the breast was quite plump, the thigh sexual, the drumstick acceptable. Isn’t that a song by Village People?

The gravy was a little gloopy and didn’t especially taste of much – but the consistency was bang on. And given many places get both taste and consistency wrong, The Star Of The East did pretty well here.

The Star Of The East

Phew. Not sure whether I’m more relieved that I enjoyed the roast or whether my accomplice who has been hinting that I go to The Star Of The East for half a Brexit time should be.

There’s improvements available here, but it is far superior to most Sunday roasts in London.

The blue cabbage, I just don’t get. The carrots could have had some extra flavour, the roast potatoes could have been crispier, the chicken, though cooked perfectly could still level up in terms of flavour. As could the gravy.

Yet the chicken was really succulent, the gravy had good consistency, the yorkie was the best for a long time and the parsnips were notably full of flavour – unusually so.

There’s lots to like here – I would say that it would deserve to go on Boris Johnson’s honours list, but personally I’d take that as an offence if he’d nominated me.

My accomplice scored hers a 9 out of 10. Apparently if she had had the chicken, it would have been a 10 out of 10 – which is, of course, impossible. Not impossible to also have chicken, but a 10 out of 10 is impossible.

The Star Of The East, Poplar, Pork Shoulder Sunday Roast
© Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

My score is a very hearty 8.14 out of 10. And considering how few really good roast dinners I’ve had in East London, I guess you could now say it is the star of the east.

Next Sunday I’m finally going to somewhere that I’d booked in for that pre-pandemic Sunday when it wasn’t yet illegal to leave the house, but your neighbours would possibly shoot you if you did.

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The Star Of The East, Poplar

Station: Westferry

Tube Lines: DLR

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £17.50

Rating: 8.14

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Best yorkie of the year so far, good consistency on the gravy, chicken super succulent and parsnips unusually flavoursome. It's affordable too.

Loathed: Roasties seemed a tad deep-fried, gravy could have had more flavour, pigs in blankets were cremated somewhat. Imperfections really.