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.
I’m back after a week in Macedonia/North Macedonia, delete as per your territorial insecurities, and the random number generator chose The Trafalgar Arms in Tooting.
A Young’s pub.
Have I missed anything whilst I’ve been away?
It kind of reminded me when I went to Ibiza in September 2008 – those were the days before smartphones (and before the internet according to Nadine Dorries), so there was no way to find out what was happening in the world.
I joked to my friends, “you know, anything could have happened the last few days – the governments could have collapsed, the banking system could have collapsed, the economy could have collapsed”. I was being half-serious – they never watched the news in the UK, let alone when on pill-tasting missions Ibiza.
I strolled to the shop, bought a newspaper – and, yes, banks were collapsing. Absolutely nothing to do with the government, of course, Gordon “I’ve put an end to Tory boom and bust” Brown presiding over a financial crisis, in the same way that last week’s crisis was nothing to do with Truss-wang – you know, financial crises just happen to governments.
“What, you mean to say that my tax cuts at a time of sharply rising bond yields, increasing inflation, a deflating currency, after ignoring the Office For Budget Responsibility as I didn’t want them telling me that it was a bad idea, after sacking the Chief Advisor to the Treasury as I didn’t want him telling me that it was a bad idea, and after spending all summer slagging off Treasury/Bank Of England orthodoxy, was not going to be received with rapturous applause by the markets?”.
Well. We wondered whether it could really be any worse.
222 roast dinner reviews later and I still don’t know what to do with these headings
It’s good to see that government changes and I still have content. Let’s hope this continues when Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister in 2024.
And now I’m back at another Young’s pub – those fairly consistent manufacturers of anaemic roast potatoes uncooked the day before, burnt Yorkshire puddings overcooked the day before and tasteless watery gravy.
So whilst I have an air of trepidation going to yet another Young’s pub, their is always a sense of “maybe” – plus I’ve only been to Tooting once before on duty, so it was good to have another representative from the area, this being my 222nd review. And it is the review that takes my to-do list under 50. Though, I might start relaxing a bit and letting it get out of control again…50 now seems too little.
The Trafalgar Arms suddenly appears when you walk down Tooting High Street – sat back from the main road with a sizable front garden, which appeared to be at least partly in the autumn sunshine.
We were sat inside, and I was shown to these super-slouchy chairs which were perfect for post-roast comas when you don’t want to do any talking.
But ridiculous for eating on.
222 roast dinner reviews later and pubs still haven’t sorted their seating out
I worked up a way to disregard my English politeness, walked to the bar and asked for a better table….well…some seats that you could actually eat a meal at. I was shown to one which was perfect for solo-dining, kind of on a wall next to a walkway – hard to explain, it wasn’t really a good place but I could eat there.
My accomplice arrived, and the first thing she did was complain about the new table. I was also complaining about the lack of menu – the suggestion was that I had to download an app.
I downloaded the app, couldn’t sign up because I must have signed up when covid existed, eventually worked out my password then it asked for my table number. But we didn’t want to sit here.
I had persuaded my friend not to just randomly move into a likely-reserved table, and they did find us a more suitable table, and I found a pile of paper menus on the bar.
Boom! We were in business.
Except that they had just run out of vegetarian roast dinners. And my accomplice is a vegetarian. And she likes roast dinners. I left her to go to the bar to discuss, whilst I desperately scrolled my to-do list, looking for another option. Which is why I say, maybe I do need more then 50 places on the list. I did have a personal goal to get my to-do list under 50 by the end of 2022 – I think next year I’ll just try to do those on there longest.
My accomplice managed to arrange a cauliflower cheese dish with all the usual roast dinner trimmings for her main, and I chose the beef roast dinner, priced at £20.00 – which oddly came with a pig in blanket. I’m not normally persuaded for beef rump, but I thought I’d choose the roast with the lowest calories, given that I’d had this huge pie thing 5 days before which was probably the equivalent of 8 roast dinners:
222 roast dinners later and yes I am taking notice of the government’s calorie instructions
Fuck me, did I actually take notice of the government and save myself 126 calories?
Our roasts took a little while to arrive, maybe 30 minutes or so – it was quite busy and they had nowhere near enough staff – so few that I’d assumed it wasn’t table service.
Presented view first, and then later you can actually see the carrots that I’m about to talk about – and maybe I might show you a statue or two. So the carrots themselves were roasted, soft and sweet – maple according to the menu and I’m happy to believe them.
The parsnips, which you’ll have to scroll down to see were probably the best of the season so far, a little under-cooked, but a combination of the maple and the inherited odd sweetness of the parsnips themselves meant these were actually good.
The savoy cabbage…well…it was scrappy but peppery, so I enjoyed it.
Finally for the vegetables, there was some mashed swede…I think…the menu states “crushed roots” though it tasted more of swede to me. Maybe some carrot mixed in? It was fine, but didn’t do much other than pollute surroundings.
222 roast dinner reviews later and I am still moaning about roast potatoes…or am I?
Right, now I’ll show you what I’ve just described:
So far, so fine, but now were into the areas that Young’s pubs tend to struggle most with.
Roast potatoes. None of them had crispy outsides, but all were soft inside and freshly cooked. This is kind of the minimum acceptable for roast potatoes – so it was pleasing that it was met, if not excelled.
The Yorkshire pudding was actually really good. Freshly cooked, crispy around the outsides – but edibly so, and properly soft on the bottom. What was going on?
Hang on. You need some statues.
Phew. Where was I? Oh the beef, I’m not normally a fan of rump but this was really quite nice as well. Sufficient amounts, fairly tender, kind of medium-rare. Matched with the softened yorkie and watery gravy, it was an enjoyable few moments.
The pig in blanket was decent too – perhaps a tad undercooked, but a nicely herby chipolata.
Yes, it was watery gravy. So be it. Yet it tasted gravy-like – there was effort here, there was likely meat stocks, bones and stuff gone into this. It was just watery.
222 roast dinners reviews later and I’ve still not got a column in The Daily Sport
So, The Trafalgar Arms actually do a pretty decent roast dinner.
Once we’d played musical chairs, and worked out where they were hiding the menus. On a stroppier day with somewhere local nearby on my to-do list, I might have given up and walked out. Plus I’m not sure I can drink many more Neck Oils or Gamma Rays in the rest of my life. Give us a choice of modern IPA, please.
The vegetables were mostly decent but uninspiring – the parsnips being the pick of the bunch, but nothing was really bad about the roast itself. I don’t actually have anything to complain about. Nobody is going to read this, are they?
The Yorkshire pudding was really good and the beef rump was very nice…everything else grinded along at an acceptable pleasantness.
My accomplices score was a 6.80 – I think her cauliflower cheese was a bit dry – it had cheese apparently but it looked dry.
My score is a healthy 7.31 out of 10. I guess The Trafalgar Arms is one of those good Young’s pubs.
All that was to do then was to go have a walk along the industrial estate, enjoy some autumn sunshine and…hang on…I’ve found a statue factory:
I’ll back back next week and it is going to be one of the cheapest roast dinners that I’ve ever eaten…in London. Wish me luck.
The Trafalgar Arms, Tooting
Station: Tooting Broadway
Tube Lines: Northern
Fare Zone: Zone 3
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Yorkshire pudding was freshly made and good - beef rump was nice too. Even the gravy was ok...albeit watery.
Loathed: Nothing was bad, except seating annoyance. Crushed roots were ordinary, roasties could have been crispier but nothing much to complain about.