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.
Hey y’all, I’m back from US of Hay with renewed enthusiasm for life and a new domain name, though more on that another time. This week I’m here to review Tila in Deptford. Oh and warning – there are nipples ahead.
So it is roast dinner 200. Whoop! Celebrate good times, gravy, come on.
Yet I was magnificently unprepared for it. In my head, roast dinner 200 was going to be at The Ned or The Harwood Arms, perhaps The Ladbroke Arms or Simpsons – though the latter remains closed, one assumes they still have insufficient post-covid confidence.
Then again, next Sunday should actually have been roast dinner 200 – covid cancellations brought this forward a week. And not to any old Sunday, but to Mother’s Day Sunday.
Then again again, it isn’t like I mark these occasions very well. 175 was The Farrier in Camden and their “famous roast dinner”. Famously not very good. Or how about roast dinner 100, Eat Lagom, which was so disgustingly salty it made Boris Johnson’s claims that Ukraine’s resistance was like Brexit to be…actually no Boris Johnson is even more disgusting than over-salted roast dinners.
Speaking of fucking Tories:
That’s a legitimate use of boobs in a review though, right?
Out on the tiles
I guess that I cannot really go much further without mentioning the elephant in the room. Some of you will have clocked that Tila is Dan Doherty’s newish restaurant, and some of you will recall that he was removed from The Royal Oak for allegations of sexual harassment.
My instinct is that he fucked up, and that in the grand scheme of things he isn’t particularly evil. There are probably far worse owners, chefs, staff, etc running other restaurants and pubs that I’ve reviewed over time that me and you are totally oblivious to – it just so happens that Dan Doherty is famous and hence I’ve heard of his misdeeds – whereas I wouldn’t hear about most other owners, chefs, etc.
Some may not, but I do believe in second chances, forgiveness, yadda yadda – and quite frankly I’d review Laurence Fox’s pub (if the blowhard ever does it) in the search of the best and the WORST roast dinners in London. Yeah I’d wear a mask just to piss him off, even though I still think they do close to diddly squat to protect anyone. Obviously if any numbskull semi-racist opens a pub then I’d really hope they did a shite roast dinner, but you’ll still get only an honest review from me.
Plus, a restaurant is about far more than one person – there is a whole plethora of staff – on the one hand I feel that the elephant in the room needs mentioning, but on the other hand there are, hopefully, loads of really good staff members at Tila that shouldn’t have their names negated by my banging on.
And you know what? I actually got a pleasant welcome. Yes, I’m back from the USA so everything is being compared to how fabulous everything is over there (at least whilst on holiday…and at least whilst their president is back to being less of a fuckwit than our Prime Minister), so to get a proper friendly welcome on the door at Tila, and shown to my table, was heartening.
Tila itself feels like my kind of place. It was surprisingly large, I guess maybe it does 150 covers at a push but I didn’t count – it is a guess. Furniture was proper, I liked the somewhat child-like modern art on the walls, and then the usual checklist of modern decorations were there – exposed brickwork, those white tiles, that teal paintwork, those light bulbs. You know. But it feels good. I like this style and I’m fine without a beard, thanks.
Tiles, and tiles, and tiles, and tiles
So I’m still at the post-holiday stage where everything was better in the place I visited than the place I live. Well, it was in San Diego anyway – maybe not so much in Vegas, as fun it may be. Better weather, better food, more Latino women, a beer scene 10x as good as London’s and I even had a better roast dinner…well…it was better than the one I had before I left for my holiday.
And look at that view of the highway. Oh and the car park. Don’t you love a view like that when eating a roast dinner in glorious sunshine and 20’C temperatures? Try replicating in London and you’ll just be attacked by wasps.
They even gave us proper amounts of extra gravy. Thick, extra gravy. OK, probably from granules but look at that proper amount of extra gravy. None of this thimble shit.
Roast Dinners Around The World coming soon. Though I might move to San Diego anyway. Would you miss me if I did? I’m not feeling London any more, like when watching Family Guy ruined The Simpsons for me, San Diego has ruined London for me. I need to re-find my love for London. Can a roast dinner in Deptford do it for me?
Well…not on previous experience. Earlier this year I had one of the most disgusting roast dinners ever, in Deptford, at The Job Centre. But I had more hope for Tila.
A tasty sounding menu – I really wanted the 600g beef rib to myself for £55.00, however I’d eaten beef on the last roast dinner in London, and I try to do a different meat each Sunday – it isn’t like there is normally much opportunity for variety. And I should know after 200 reviews.
I ended up choosing the lamb shoulder at £20.00 – I rarely feel the vibe of sharing a whole chicken in a restaurant, though chicken shawarma sounded very appealing.
Tiles or kilomiles
I guess I should start by describing the Yorkshire pudding. It was edible both in portion size and quality – despite my photography it wasn’t actually Instagram-huge, it was freshly made – all the food actually seemed to have been made on the same day which feels like a minor modern miracle. Quite eggy, maybe not the best texture ever but broadly a good yorkie.
Fine, I’ll do the second photo this early.
The carrots that you still cannot see and are not in any of my photographs, were purple and thin things. Nicely roasted though nothing stand-out.
Then we had a slice of butternut squash each – again nicely roasted, and it had the skin on. Which is a bit of a revelation as I spend around an hour unpeeling butternut squash every time. So the skin is edible?
The vegetable that did impress was the kale, much to my accomplice’s surprise, and both our delight. Buttery and garlicky, mixing with the chilli from the gravy, this was quite the delight. Could I suggest best kale ever? Difficult to remember all the kale that I’ve been served…or any of it…but this really did impress.
Let’s do the gravy next, for it was rather thin, a tad oily but also notably spicy. Not blow your head off, more, my mother could maybe cope kind of spicy. Too thin for my preferences, but also I admire the attempt to do something different – and in terms of flavour it worked.
I’m all tiled up.
The lamb was very, very good. Really succulent with some small amounts of nicely rendered fat, occasionally course ends, and just lots of juicy lamb. This had everything you could want.
I’m not a fan of compliments but a bit of lamb…hang on…I meant I’m not a fan of condiments. Lol. Condiments on a roast dinner, I’m not a fan of – and sure, I rarely give out many compliments on a roast dinner. Anyway, I was forced to have some zhoug because a little piece of lamb had falled in it – but, wow, zhoug over mint sauce every day. Not sure if I imagined the mellow mintyness in with the spicy citrus flavours, but it worked really well with the lamb.
CONTROVERSY. Let’s finish with something to upset you all.
These are not roast potatoes.
Described on the menu as “Anna potatoes”, they seemed like layers of creamy, buttery potato with crispy edges. And actually quite delicious. I’d prefer a perfect roast potato – but how often do you see those in London?
However there was another elephant in the room – or more relatedly, a mouse in the room – or so whoever dishing up seems to have thought. For I was still hungry after eating. I had considered sides or perhaps even a starter – the merguez in filo sounded right up my street. However I was assured that the roast dinners were full plates.
From Tila, a small meal ah.
If you forget the quantity of food and the thinness of the gravy, then this is a very good roast dinner. In fact, my accomplice seemed to have more food than me. And thicker gravy:
She was really impressed with her dinner and scored it an 8.30 out of 10 – describing the beef as delicious, and some of the best she’s ever had. And she prefers leaner cuts normally.
I was impressed, especially with the lamb which tasted even nice than the beef, the best-ever kale, and the not roast potatoes which were an excellent replacement.
In fact, all the food was good, or better. I just needed a bit more food, or some awareness that I needed to order a side or starter.
That said, Tila is a rare case of adjusting my initial score higher, after writing the review – normally my post-lunch rating only goes down when I think more about it, as I start writing. This time it has gone up. There is a real quality to the place, to the kitchen at Tila – there is more thought to the roast than the average offering. It’s one of those rare places where I need to go back on a non-Sunday, and maybe even take the folks when they visit. Though I might need to prepare them for the inglorious nature of Deptford itself.
Originally my score was going to be around a 7.70, but following more thought, I’m rating it an 8.10 out of 10. If the elephants and mice in the proverbial rooms don’t put you off, then it may well be one for your to-do list also.
Next Sunday I’m going to a proper old pub, which is very highly rated. Slightly worried that I cannot see any mention of Sunday roasts on their website though…
Station: Deptford Bridge
Tube Lines: DLR, National Rail
Fare Zone: Zone 2
Loved & Loathed
Loved: Gorgeous lamb, Anna potatoes great replacement for roast potatoes - and the best ever kale.
Loathed: Not enough food, and gravy too thin.