The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park

Top of the February to you, here is Lord Gravy with a roast dinner review from an Irish pub for the second week in a row – this time, The WB Yeats in Finsbury Park.

I chose The WB Yeats mostly because it’s been on my to-do list for years, and thought it was time to tick a few oldies off. That and I wanted somewhere relatively easy to get to…albeit I could have chosen Shinner and Sudtone in Sutton, which has been on my list for years and is just 30 minutes away on the train. But I decided it might be a nice (ahem) walk from Croydon to Sutton, and they look like they have a decent craft beer selection, so will be better to visit post-detox in some spring sunshine.

Plus I wanted an easy life this Sunday, as I was supposed to be finishing painting my bedroom this weekend.

My bedroom, slowly being painted.  Very slowly.
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Well, I managed half a wall. The door bit is difficult, ok?

Preamble over, tangents still to come no doubt.

I would spread the cloths under your feet

It being a solo dining mission, I was hoping for a pub with a nice quiet corner – alas The WB Yeats was just one room with no corners, where everyone gives you that “oh he’s not got any friends” glance of disdain as you walk in. Possible I imagined it. Sure, I could have found a friend, but I have decorating to do…maybe. I just wanted an in and out roast, without the shaking it about. Or even a beer.

That said, The WB Yeats seemed to have a half-decent range of beers. It’s that time of stage of detox where I am glancing at beers once more. Oh beer, you old friend, we will meet again in a few weeks. After I’ve finished decorating.

I walked part of the way to The WB Yeats, down a whole street’s worth of tacky wedding clothes shops – mostly bridesmaids kind of dresses, mostly with those luminescent sales signs to convince you of the urgent need.

The 156th different tacky bridesmaid dress shop down this road
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The 157th different tacky bridesmaid dress shop down this road
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Why one street needs 157 shops selling ugly dresses I’m not sure – and forgive the weird angled photographs, I thought it might be a little weird for a middle-aged bloke to be taking photos of bridesmaid dress shops. Even if I do occasionally have a plastiphilia urge. The song, you moron.

This doesn’t count as preamble FYI. I should be painting.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams

Anyway, so I arrive at The WB Yeats (so many mentions of my SEO keyword that Google is going to LOVE me), and enquire of my table. It’s a busy pub, with very few free spaces to sit. I was thankful that I wasn’t seated at the small table so close to the bar that I would either be staring at waiting punter’s arses, or have arses brushing the back of my head.

I was however shown to a stool/ledge next to the window. “You mean the one with the guy sat there reading his book?”, I enquired. “Yeah that’s the one”. OK…it’s reassuring that there is another bloke doing the solo thing in a pub, but I don’t especially want to dine with him.

Another stool and ledge was offered.

Sunday roast menu at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
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Fine cuisine is not something I tend to associate with Irish pubs – and my experiences so far in London don’t defy this, with The Boot and Ganley’s Irish Bar coming to mind.

Yet this menu read rather nicely – especially considering they only serve food on a Sunday. Why? No idea. And the kitchen was closed for a good chunk of 2023 – as I had tried to go here previously.

Beef picanha, lamb rump, pork belly, chicken and stuffing, or stuffed butternut squash were on offer, all priced between £18.00 and £27.00. I went for the lamb rump, priced at £27.00 (gosh what would 2019 me think of that) – mostly I chose it because I’ve not reviewed lamb for some time. I didn’t want chicken, I’d had pork belly the last two times, so it was either beef or lamb.

I have spread my dreams under your feet

The roast took 10 or so minutes to arrive, and then it was time for those smoking right on the other side of the window to watch me eat my roast dinner. I did apply to be on Big Brother once upon a time.

Let’s start with the carrots which were roasted in baton format, with a slight crunch and some chives scattered on top. Pleasant.

Then were was a fair mound of red cabbage, sadly plonked in the middle of the plate for maximum pollution potential. Yet I really enjoyed the red cabbage – unusual for me – yes it did leak purple a bit, also it was strongly flavoured but in an appealing way – something like balsamic vinegar, though I’m struggling to place it exactly. What you looking at? I’m not a proper restaurant reviewer, you know. But at least I can spell restaurant. Unlike Time Out.

Time Out telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos

One London RESTAURANT. Most esteemed RESTAURANTS.

Time Out again telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos


Time Out yet again telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos

One of the most sustainable RESTAURANTS.

Urgh. So peak.

The spoonful of peak leek was fairly ordinary, but nothing wrong with that. The “root veg mash” tasted mostly of swede – it was quite sweet and soft, but otherwise there isn’t much to add.

And finally for the vegetables – no less than 5 different vegetables (depending on what else was in the root veg mash) was cauliflower cheese. Except we can make it no less than 6 different vegetables as the cauliflower cheese delightfully had some pieces of artichoke in. Cauliflower cheese itself was perfectly cooked, with cheesy-cream and some chives on top. Impressive.

Then…nearly as horrendous a modern life shock as new shitty words in Time Out:

Not roast potatoes at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
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Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

OK, I liked them. But this is a roast dinner. These are not roast potatoes.

Seriously, they are not roast potatoes. Let’s ask AI:

AI responding to my clarification of what type of potato this is, with "no, the image you sent is not a roast potato.  it is a slice of toast".

That is a genuine response, and that is the most tears that I’ve shed since Gazza was sent off in 1990. OK I genuinely am totally side-swiped by that and there is no fucking way I’m finishing the decorating today. Wow.

Anyway, I did like the toast things – they had a crispy edge, were fluffy in the middle – I wondered at first if they might be Pommes Annas or similar, but, unlike Google, I could only detect potato. Glorified square chips, perhaps?

The Yorkshire pudding was good – soft and small, reasonably freshly cooked too. Given that they only serve food on a Sunday, one assumes they were actually cooked on a Sunday. This Sunday too. See, London…you can do it. You don’t have to cook yorkies the night before.

Lamb Sunday roast at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
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Two slices of lamb perhaps not especially generous for £27.00 – I wince a little as I write those numbers, and look forward to my generous 2% pay rise this year. Yet the lamb wasn’t miles away from sensational. Too much fat for some, but not for me – and I loved how they had crisped the edges, added a little smokiness to it, yet kept the lamb perfectly rare. This was damn fucking good.

Finally, the gravy was fairly nondescript, but given quite a flavoursome roast, this was totally fine. I think tomato-based, a bit of consistency, definitely home-made and not from granules.

For in the gentle sway of gravy dreams, The WB Yeats.

Despite the lack of roast potatoes, this was a good roast dinner. Maybe I should just check that I was actually eating a roast dinner…

AI telling me that the meal I sent it, is most likely Sunday roast, the potatoes are mashed potatoes, and a Sunday roast is sometimes called a Joint Dinner

Joint dinner? That was more my university days.

I don’t think I have any complaints about the cuisine quality from The WB Yeats. Sure, I’m offended about the replacement potatoes – for the 3rd time in 2024 and we aren’t even out of winter yet. It’s almost like they’ve been cancelled. Gosh, I wonder which side of the culture wars roast potatoes come under? They definitely aren’t woke, are they?

ChatGPT telling me that roast potatoes are unlikely to be inherently woke.

Yeah I switched to ChatGPT because Google’s AI told me off for trivialising the meaning and significance of the term, “woke”.

Anyway. Tangent. Toast. I liked this roast dinner – the lamb was close to sensational, easily the best I’ve had in a while, there was really good cauliflower cheese, some hints of creativity, I liked the toast/mashed potato thing that weren’t roast potatoes, and the pub itself was endearing, if still with a few rough edges (which is more of a compliment anyway). Service was also friendly and welcoming. I have absolutely nothing to complain about in terms of quality, there was nothing I didn’t like the flavour of, there was nothing burnt, nothing cooked the night before and left under a heat lamp. Wow – how rare is that?

Which makes it just about the best roast dinner of 2024 so far…only just, with a mighty score of 8.28 out of 10.

No plan for next week yet. Apart from doing the decorating I was supposed to this weekend. Maybe.

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The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park

Station: Finsbury Park

Tube Lines: Piccadilly, Victoria

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £27.00

Rating: 8.28

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Loved & Loathed

Loved: Banging red cabbage, lamb near-sensational, especially the crispy fat, fluffy yorkie, lots of different veg - plenty to like here

Loathed: Well, they aren't roast potatoes. I enjoyed them, but they still aren't roast potatoes.

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