The Vine, Kentish Town

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 will likely take until the end of 2024 until all images are reviewed and displayed correctly. Sigh.

Please note that this review is from December 12, 2018 and may be out of date...restaurants sometimes get better, get worse, employ a new chef or end up with new management.

You know when you are doing something important but are without at least one of your senses?

For example, trying to hold a glass of water with a really bad case of pins and needles. Or maybe being blindfolded when having your nipples sucked so you aren’t able to see who is doing it. Or being Boris Johnson when…doing anything.

This Sunday I was ill, yet decided that it would still be a great idea to go out for a roast dinner. Living in zone 5 does mean that it is a minimum of 55 minutes to get anywhere that some of you might actually want to read about – originally I was scheduled to go to The Star by Hackney Downs – but that was way too much a mission with my semi-raging personflu so I had to cancel my booking. Yes, that is what you are supposed to do if you cannot a reservation.

After a lot of prevaricating, I plumped for The Vine in Kentish Town. Anywhere likely to be very good, or anywhere too expensive was just going to be a waste given that I was without my sense of taste. My previous evening’s meal I could just about make out the taste of flour, but nothing else, though that was also perhaps my cooking skills.

I will therefore only be describing texture to you. I still cannot taste anything as I write now. Hmmm, bobbly nipples.

I seem to have had a sense of humour bypass with this cold that my mother thinks I should go to A&E for, so don’t expect any great belly laughs. I’ve just done one right now to make up for how dull this review will be. Dull and tasteless. I’m sure there is an analogy there.

The Vine is a sizeable pub in autumnal colouring, situated roughly on the shared hinterland of Kentish Town and Gospel Oak. It had mostly been converted for eating, with tables at both the front and back of the bar – the back room having more of a restaurant vibe to it. Albeit a restaurant with shuffleboard tables.

I bought a pint of Neck Oil for a shocking £6.25. At least it is shocking at the time of writing – people reading this in a time when Theresa May is no longer our Prime Minister may well find this fairly standard. Except in Hull. Unless Theresa May rules until she is 80. Actually, not even then.

On the menu was roast pork, roast beef and roast half chicken. I’d kind of like to know what cut I was to be feeling the texture of, so I just went for the chicken as a safe choice, at the price of £16. The vegetarian actually sounded interesting, vegetarian haggis & root vegetable Wellington – until I realised the word, “vegetarian”.

Dinner took around 15 minutes to arrive.

The carrots were really good, nicely roasted whole carrots. Just how I prefer them. Apparently they were roasted with honey and ginger, but I could taste neither. My accomplice could.

The cabbage was nicely done, but I have no idea what it tasted like.

We had ordered a side-dish of cauliflower cheese for £4, and it was rather large – the kind of size you’d expect for £4. I couldn’t taste the cheese – neither could my accomplice though. Why I keep ordering cauliflower cheese I have no idea, as it rarely actually has any cheese flavouring wherever I go. Why didn’t we order some pigs in blankets instead?

I actually had one pig in blanket with my meal, and this I could taste! Yes! Just about anyway, and it was a pretty decent affair.

The disc of stuffing? It was utterly pointless for any reason other than Instagram, at least for someone in my condition. Too small anyway and guess what? I couldn’t discern any flavour. Again, this may have tasted amazing to someone with more effective tastebuds than Boris Johnson’s sense of credibility. That doesn’t work, does it? Why am I still writing this?

The roast potatoes were pretty pointless. They tasted a bit potatoey and rather dry. Almost like cheap potatoes were used. They were edible but totally free of joy.

My accomplice reckoned that the yorkie was the best that she had had all year. High praise. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was nicely constructed, and quite fluffy on the bottom. It also seemed quite fresh – lacking the heatlampitis that other places frustratingly excel in.

The half a chicken was fairly tasteless but again, that was probably down to me. It wasn’t at all that interesting, the breast was a little dry and it just felt a little tiring to eat. I’m kind of guessing that I would have been no more than satisfied were I not ill.

I’ve forgotten some vegetables. Perhaps I wanted to.

My thoughts on puree are fairly well established. I am not a baby. Do not purify my food. You could argue kudos for doing something unusual with the parsnips, but I’d really rather have had proper parsnips.

And the chunks of warmed beetroot on my plate? My eyebrows are still raised. I DO NOT WANT MY GRAVY POLLUTING.

Speaking of which, the gravy was pretty decent proper gravy. I don’t recall it tasting of anything and it certainly didn’t offend me. Of course, there wasn’t enough even after asking more, but hey. Lots of jobs but not enough gravy.

Given that I was, and still am to an extent, ill, the writing of the review was almost as much of a chore as the eating of it.

I didn’t want to let you down by not going for a roast dinner, but I feel like I am still letting you down with this tired, turgid review, reminiscent of the current government and our leader. But I will fight on to bring this review to a close.

Jeez, if my brain was working properly that might actually be funny.

I think had I not been ill, I would have been at least part-satisfied with this roast. The carrots probably the highlight, though plenty of aspects could have been improved, particularly the roast potatoes and the meat offerings. It was generally good, yet I feel unconvinced enough to score it a 7.21 out of 10.

My accomplice who actually had working tastebuds, said it was better than Gaucho last week, which I’d agree with, and scored it an 8 – exactly the same as she scored Gaucho.

Service was decent – 12.5% of course. Beer was good, and I liked the venue – not enough to come back for their Monday morning yoga sessions on the terrace, but if I’m in the area I reckon I might well be back.

Next Sunday I am not going for a roast dinner. Yep, you read that correctly. I’m expecting a severe hangover – so much so that I have booked the Monday off work. And more importantly, I’ve just had enough of spending large sums of money on roast dinners. I actually need a break from going out for roast dinners.

All being well, I’ll be back before 2019. But for those that long for my words even more than long for my hairy nipples, I might just have a treat upcoming.


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The Vine, Kentish Town

Station: Gospel Oak

Tube Lines: Overground

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £16.00

Rating: 7.21

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Decent proper gravy, really nice roasted carrots with ginger and honey.

Loathed: Beetroot polluted the gravy, bland chicken and cheap-tasting roasties.

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