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.
And then the Lord gave to us the first officially approved Sunday Funday of 2023. And the Lord Gravy went to The Wilton Arms in Belgravia.
Don’t worry – I’m not going to attempt to misquote the Bible any more, but I am going to misrepresent the supposed bible of things to do in London – Time Out.
For they recently released their list of Top 50 Pubs in London. I immediately thought, “ooh worth a look to see if there are any pubs that might need to go on the to-do list”.
4 of the supposed top 5 do not sell Sunday roasts. Do. Not. Sell. Sunday. Roasts. What kind of criteria are they using to judge whether a pub is worthy of being on the list? Granted The Southampton Arms is a damn fine pub for drinking beer.
The number one pub is apparently somewhere called Skehan’s – sounds scary, and they apparently do do a Sunday roast – which looks scary.
One of the pubs in their top 10 is the place with a months-long waiting list for what Google reviews suggest is a highly over-rated Caribbean Sunday roast. Well…if you take more notice of 30 second videos on TikTok rather than 30 minute reads from Lord Gravy, what can you expect?
I should just clarify that my contempt of the list this is absolutely nothing to do with the fact that after 6 years of writing roast dinner reviews, Time Out are still studiously ignoring my genius. Not once have they asked me to write anything about roast dinners or even referred to my existence.
I’m not even vaguely bitter about it.
Wilting & Hanging
So, The Wilton Arms…6 years of writing though. They really should be mentioning me, right?
Like, I’ve even studiously followed and unfollowed all the Time Out journalists I could find on Twitter, and not one followed me back.
So, The Wilton Arms. I chose it because I needed somewhere that would serve roast dinners in late afternoon, that would have a vegan roast for The Vegan Friend and that was kind of central.
It’s probably jealousy, right? I’m allowed to write more than 4 paragraphs for an article. I don’t have to inform you every other week that a mega 750-mile blizzard is coming.
Unusually I turned up to The Wilton Arms in a taxi, not trusting TFL to get us there for our late afternoon booking – not wanting to risk the promised Sunday roasts to have run out by turning up 10 minutes late for our booking. Seemed logical at the time.
I was that kind of tipsy level where I had to constrain myself from glancing at the cute Italian barmaid every 30 seconds – and now I question whether I can remember much about the roast. Thankfully I did take some notes. Some. Albeit kind of David Davis negotiating Brexit level of notes.
The Wilton Arms itself has a totally gorgeous frontage – plus was smart and homely inside too.
I’ve stolen the photo from their website – hopefully they don’t mind. They might even get a booking from someone reading. Might.
Wilting Not Melting
Gosh I’ve already written so many words that I’d fill 3 Time Out articles.
Not even vaguely bitter. Choices on the menu were chicken at £17.00 or sirloin (assumedly beef…do other animals have sirloins?) at £22.00. Given that it was Easter, I decided to order the beef. Yeah I know that makes no sense, but maybe go read Time Out’s roast dinner reviews. Oh, they don’t review roast dinners, do they?
Or even mention wise, humorous, humble geniuses that do.
15 minutes later, a blizzard arrived:
Oh, actually it didn’t. Nor did it snow for all but one of the Time Out snow alert spam articles this winter gone. Like it is going to fucking snow in London in late October. OK, it could…but was never going to and nor is anyone predicting that more than two weeks in advance in October.
15 minutes later, this arrived:
Better presented than last week’s roast – but I cannot help feeling there’s a bit too much space between the roast potatoes.
Wilting, Milting, Melting Cheese Oh There’s No Cauliflower Cheese
The menu offered cauliflower cheese but the plate didn’t provide it. We asked someone about it – I cannot remember what the cute Italian barmaid said in response, probably because I was semi-drunk middle-aged fat bloke with shit teeth in love, but I guess they had run out.
The carrots were resplendent in their productivity – doing exactly what they should do, being softly roasted and tasting of carrot.
You probably won’t be too surprised but I don’t remember much about the parsnip. I enjoyed it, that I remember, but thankfully you don’t expect anything too in depth from my witterings.
Spring greens were kind of buttery and silky – I guess I should probably moan a bit more about not being in Time Out so that you don’t realise that I’m actually not Jay Rayner levels of food critic. Nobody is ever going to pay me for this shit. Except my one £1 a month Patreon follower.
I haven’t really mentioned the elephant in the room here, and that is my late afternoon booking. Most of the roasts that I’ve reviewed have been around 1/2pm. So you could argue that there is an unfair comparison, given that most places pre-cook at least the Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes – but my argument is that if you are selling meals, then they should be as good at midday as at 10pm.
The reality is that the average pub will be better earlier in the day with their roasts – and this was clearly evident with the roast potatoes.
In themselves, they were excellent – properly crispy on the outside, fairly soft on the inside though unusually hot – microwave hot, you could imply. And I will imply. I enjoyed them, but knew they would have been close to perfect roast potatoes if my booking was at 1pm instead of 5pm. Despite the probably microwaving, they were still better than most in London.
Wilting. Can I go to bed yet?
Also, the Yorkshire pudding suffered from it being too late in the day, and it being tired. It was dried out, and well, kind of shit. Totally shit. At least it wasn’t burnt.
What’s left to talk about? The beef sirloin was somewhere between two and three fairly thin slices and was rather silky smooth. Rare, juicy – think of all the compliments you can as this was really nice beef.
I actually took a photograph of my vegan friend’s roast this week – her insistence. I highly doubt I have any vegans reading this blog given the persistent featuring of glorious (well, often) meat, but if you are weird enough to be both vegan and like reading my blog, then my friend was very happy with her mushroom pastry thing.
Finally, the gravy. It was very much as rich as your average Belgravia resident – you could even argue too rich, were you so inclined. It wasn’t really a drinking gravy, and was rather sticky in nature. Not my favourite style, but it worked well.
Oh…but this happened:
Did I really order a half pint? How sensible of me.
The Wilton Arms
I liked The Wilton Arms.
I’ve also just realised that the company that owns them, also owns The Selkirk – another pub that can do proper roast potatoes. It makes me wonder whether I should sod what Time Out said about pubs and just add all the other pubs that Indapubs own to my to-do list – someone once suggested that I had done the same with Young’s pubs.
There is a fair portion of me that wished I had reviewed The Wilton Arms earlier in the day, as it would likely have scored slightly higher.
Yet it still deserves a score in the 7’s – crispy roast potatoes, silky beef, good quality if unspectacular vegetables.
On the flip side, the Yorkshire pudding was dried out shit, the gravy was a little too rich (more a personal taste thing perhaps) and they charged 50p for extra gravy.
Service was good, there was some OK beer on draught (Two Tribes – pleasant enough beer), I dearly wished I had the foresight to order wine for the roast – and there were Playboy covers in the men’s toilets. Oh and the pub is rather gorgeous. I could go back here. I could take the folks here for dinner one evening.
The Regular Accomplice scored it a 7.50 out of 10. The Vegan Friend scored it an 8.00 out of 10.
My score is a very healthy 7.45 out of 10.
Next Sunday is another rather upmarket pub and I have pretty high hopes for this one. Certainly more hope than I have for Time Out ever getting a snow forecast correct. RECOGNISE ME. I AM LORD GRAVY. STOP THE WITCH HUNT. FEATURE ME.
The Wilton Arms, Belgravia
Station: Hyde Park Corner
Tube Lines: Piccadilly
Fare Zone: Zone 1
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Proper crispy roast potatoes (if microwaved to warm up), silky beef.
Loathed: The Yorkshire pudding was just dried out shit, the gravy was a little too rich (more a personal taste thing perhaps) and they charged 50p for extra gravy.