Tell me, why am I doing this again? This week I’m reviewing the roast dinner kit from Townsend Restaurant. Or Town Send. Their joke not mine.
Another week of drudgery ended as we slowly crawl our way to freedom, and as Friday appeared I looked forward to turning my mattress over, cleaning the kitchen and listing my old CDs from 1999 on Ebay. But at least I had a roast dinner to look forward to, right?
Yet I wasn’t looking forward to it. Don’t worry, Townsend Restaurant – this is a me thing not a you thing. I do like a roast dinner. Just in case you wondered. But I also like the adventure of going to a new pub, often in a London neighbourhood that I’ve never ventured to. And sitting down with someone to talk at them whilst they scroll through Instagram.
I enjoy having a pint of beer, or a nice glass of red wine whilst sat on a rusted school chair that is about to collapse under my weight. Perusing the dessert menu and deciding that I don’t like any of the desserts. Having a walk in the pouring rain either to or from the pub/restaurant. Melting on the central line after the signal failure on the Metropolitan line. Cute women that also like roast dinners but don’t like obese roast dinner reviewers.
The list could go on.
Last week after reviewing the disappointing roast dinner from Drake & Morgan that I spent £45 on – and had to eat two nights in a row, I questioned why the hell I do this. Sam’s Chop Shop I only had to order one portion, but this came to £27.40 and was rather basic. Jimmy’s Popups was the best of the nationwide delivery roasts in this short spell, but again it meant I had to have two portions.
Most of the few other restaurants that do roast dinner delivery kits require me to order portions for two. But I am just one person (granted I’m nearly as heavy as two). And I don’t want a roast dinner two days in a row. Well, Blacklock I’d make an exception for. But nowhere else is good enough for me to want to repeat it the next day – plus I’m trying to lose weight. Yeah, seriously. I’m nearly officially not obese. Check me out, señorita.
Send me on a break, honey
I feel like there have been far too many goodbyes over the last year – this is just a break, not a goodbye. A short break too. I just don’t want roast dinners two nights in a row. Or desserts as part of a 3 course roast dinner meal.
I do feel that restaurants are missing a trick here by not catering for single people – they could make it more worthwhile by doing both an evening meal (steak) and a roast – all in one box. Alas, we are expected to be 2 people.
And there just isn’t enough enjoyment from spending £40-£50 a week, in return for average roasts by myself whilst on Dry Quarter (and you thought veganuary was miserable).
Plus not many people are interested. Not many people are reading them compared to normal roast dinners reviews from actual pubs. Yep, I’m an attention seeker and I AM NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION.
I’ll probably be back in a few weeks – just think of it like a similar length break to my holiday to Japan in 2020 which I had been dreaming of for about 25 years and of course didn’t go and British Cunting Airways still have my fucking money. But it’s OK, I can spend my vouchers on a holiday in 2021 that I also probably cannot go on.
Though it is possible that I’ve written this spiel of turd and turn around and place an order for a roast dinner in 10 minutes time.
Gotta get t’ town to get some washing up liquid
At least I still had this roast dinner kit to look forward to. Townsend Restaurant is somewhere that I’ve heard of – though there are many restaurants that I’ve heard of and haven’t got any further than that. Based in Whitechapel Gallery, an art gallery that I used to work 3 minutes walk away from and always intended on going to. Yeah, I never went.
At the restaurant they serve British food but interesting – bacon scones, fish stew, game faggot (I feel like I need an assault rifle and a MAGA hat when I write this) – and it all seems pretty affordable too. You can check a normal restaurant menu here.
Online they sell their set menus or their equivalent parts – though I’m only here for the roasts baby. You and me, baby. You being the roast dinner and not a human because why would I want to be able to spend time with another human being? Has anyone else become really antisocial to the point of uninstalling Zoom during this lockdown?
Options were rib of beef, roast dinner or pork belly – and despite my love of beef rib, I went for the chicken, just to mix things up a bit in my life as most roast dinner kits come with beef. Did you see the mistake? I’m amused enough to keep it in – I meant beef, chicken or pork belly.
Plus it was only £23.00, with delivery additional which I think was £10.00. And then I added dessert even though I’m never that keen on dessert – only because I saw the word rhubarb and it reminded me of Boris Johnson. So my bill came to £39.00.
What are you going to send me?
And then the delivery day arrived and I opened my box to find…
Yep. I had to do the work myself of cooking a roast dinner. So what am I going to score here? I might as well cull the review. Over. Finished. Nothing else to write. See you in May.
So basically I’m reviewing how much I fucked up a roast dinner from the very good quality ingredients that Townsend Restaurant sent me. At least they made the gravy. And sent me a pre-prepared stuffing mix. Oh and some infused milk and breadcrumbs so I could make bread sauce. You know my thoughts on condiments, right?
Horses for courses but that amount of bread sauce makes it a monstrosity. Roasties look banging though.
Welcome to the review of my roast dinner from the ingredients that Townsend Restaurant sent me
Saturday evening arrived and after spending an hour talking to a friend on the phone (something I haven’t done for around a month because I don’t feel like talking to people any more and after listening to him drone on about anti-vaxx “it’s only flu” crap it may well be another month before I consider speaking to anyone else), I opened the instructions on how to cook the chicken.
25 minutes in the oven on 220’C, followed by 40 minutes on 160’C for the chicken. Yet the roast potatoes were supposed to go in at 200’C. Eh?
I left it to chill out for a bit – the roasties and carrots were in at 160’C for a while, and I put the temperature up to 200’C when I took the chicken out.
The cabbage needed boiling – even Chris Grayling could manage that. The carrots were also supposed to be boiled but I roasted them, on the basis that it was one less pan.
And I made my own yorkies from scratch – something I’ve not done for years.
The one in the bottom right was when I realised that the oil wasn’t hot enough. Not bad for my usual limp standards, and yes I am talking about the yorkies. Yes you see a bit of rosemary in there. And I put some mustard powder in. Check me out.
Eventually, and I do mean eventually I ended up with this:
Oh hang on, there was gravy also.
I had kind of thought that I’d be able to do this in 1.5 hours, but it took 2.5 hours in the end. So I was eating a roast dinner at 8:30pm. Not ideal.
This really is quite a lot of effort – it is like cooking your own roast dinner from scratch really.
All the ingredients were good – the chicken needed a little bit longer (or I need a meat thermometer) as it was just a tiny bit too pink right in the core. The stuffing was tasty – though very crumbled.
Send me to potato land
Roast potatoes? Well I didn’t fuck them up too much – I overboiled them and then was too hesitant to chuff them up as I expected them to turn into mashed potato.
The gravy is the only thing I can judge from Townsend Restaurant really. It came out of the packet in a satisfying kind of sloppy poo movement – the instructions said to heat up until it got to a consistency that I liked, yet it just became thinner and thinner. Eventually I cracked and poured some pound shop granules in, at which point they all floated on the top rather than dissolved. Joy.
A lot of stirring later I eventually had something resembling gravy (you definitely couldn’t serve it at a restaurant!) – and it was rather punchy and flavoursome.
Would I recommend buying the roast dinner kit from Townsend Restaurant?
No. Just buy your own ingredients from M&S or wherever you shop though you should buy all your food and clothes from M&S to help my M&S shares rise in value.
I know that it sounds quite harsh because I think Townsend Restaurant have some charm and I probably should have paid a bit more attention to the product listing – it is a bit ambiguous but “potatoes” instead of “roast potatoes” should have been a rather large flag.
I just don’t see the point of this offering. Maybe I’m missing something. And it is annoying because this is the kind of place that my heart would love to give a glowing review to. I cannot even give it a score. I guess the gravy was 7.5 out of 10 – flavour triumph, consistency let down (or just my lack of patience).
So I’ve added Townsend Restaurant to my to-do list. Remember that, the list of places I intend on visiting? As I said, I think they have charm, they seem to be well-liked if not especially well-known. They also have that “mum and dad” feel to them – my parents are always appreciative of small lesser-known restaurants in more unusual parts of London when they visit.
It might not be in 2021, as I have a huge list to catch up with plus 1 hour 15 minutes on a tube in a mask…nah (I will do an east London month when we are free from masks), but I feel I’ll be at the actual Townsend Restaurant in Whitechapel at some point. It is on my radar and I’m intrigued now. I hope you are at least a little intrigued – maybe check out their set menu from home, for now.
It’s the send off
The next day I had the second roast dinner without roast potatoes. I can feel you judging me even more than when I used to introduce myself as a Tory at parties in London. Back when parties were a thing. Oh and back when you didn’t need to have previous membership of UKIP to vote Tory.
I guess on that note I’ll say goodbye for now.
I’ve made it to the end of writing this review without ordering another roast dinner kit so I definitely won’t be back next week. I’ll probably be back in a few weeks – once we are allowed to go for picnics with one other person which I think is 8th March, so that will be a roast dinner in my shithole of a front garden in the freezing cold and snow because winter is surely not over, is it?
In the meantime, I’ve got meaty delights that I need to order from Smoke & Bones and Cue Point – if you have any other suggestions then please do drop me a message on Twitter or something. Ta. Oooh I’m long overdue a curry from Clays too.
See you soon. Stay miserable. Don’t enjoy life yet.
Townsend Restaurant (Nationwide Delivery),
Where now, sailor?
Random roast review: Malt & Pepper @ Simon The Tanner, Bermondsey