My relationship with the Metropolitan line has reached the Freedom Of Information request stage. So when my station on the Metropolitan line was closed for a second weekend in a row (to do works on the…Piccadilly line…yeah) I looked on my map for somewhere that I could get to without using a tube. The White Bear in Ruislip was the choice.
Yes, London. Zone 6. It is a thing. I did consider finding somewhere in my local neighbourhood, Harrow, however it seems that local businesses in my neighbourhood are facing a purge nearly as brutal as that of the Conservative Party.
So for the first time ever in London, I walked for a roast dinner. I didn’t get 4 different tube trains. Not even 3 different tube trains. Nor 2 different tube trains. Absolutely no boob tubes at all. Because there aren’t any. I didn’t even see any trains at Roxbourne Railway. Yes, Ruislip is in London. It even has a beach.
Once I’d had my 1hr 15m walk to Ruislip, which is the average length of my journey on a normal Sunday, I found myself at one of those slightly out-of-town pubs on a road junction out of town. It felt a bit like it could have been a Beefeater in a previous life, though that was on the opposite side.
Outside looked a bit quaint, and could have been pleasant to sit outside were I not sweaty from my long walk (my fitness levels are not exactly peak, bro), oh and were it not at the junction of 5 reasonably major roads.
Inside was split between a fairly standard bar at the front, replete with a handful of solo-drinkers, and a restaurant area at the back, with a plenty of tables, much of which were occupied and almost to a man, eating roast dinners – I don’t think I saw any other meal coming out. You could say that the restaurant was rather buzzy, which is my polite way of saying far too noisy. Oh yeah, there was a table with really noisy children. Really noisy. Really buzzy. Thank fuck I was on my own and could put my earphones in…there are some advantages of solo dining.
Despite calling me to question whether I really intended to book a table to eat on my own (they even left me a voicemail despite my voicemail message saying that I am even less likely to listen to my voicemail than Donald Trump is to listen to facts), they at least seated me in a relatively hidden part of the restaurant, away from any large tables.
I’ve been shot
On the menu was beef, pork or chicken – priced between £14.80 and £15.80, which if nothing else gave the me the opportunity to add a new price to my custom taxonomy. Wooo. Yeah, I’m that fucking boring in real life. This weekend I wrote a little to-do list which included writing complaints to British Airways, BALPA, Booking.com, TFL, the head of the Metropolitan line, Sainsburys and Uber. As well as a large pile of ironing.
I used to be fun. Then my drug dealer got scared by a sticker on a lamppost. Who can I write a letter of complaint to?
Speaking of writing a complaint (don’t tell me you are expecting this to be a great roast), it was time to choose which roast to order. In the end I went for the waiter’s recommendation which was the roast Cornish beef – clearly it doesn’t matter what cut of beef I’m getting, just that it is Cornish. Didn’t Cornwall vote for Brexit?
Is anyone reading this? I can feel the tumbleweed of disinterest. Yeah I know. Zone 6. It exists. There is a beach nearby. You didn’t know that, did you?
I chose the beef at £15.80 and quicker than an meal from Iceland can be microwaved, my dinner was in front of me. It actually took me longer to find the toilets and have a piss, than it did for my dinner to arrive. Yeah, the plate was boiling hot to touch.
The waitress asked me if I wanted any sauce to go with it. Guess what I wanted? Some fucking gravy. LONDON – ROAST DINNERS ARE SUPPOSED TO COME WITH GRAVY. Just fuck off out of here if you think this is acceptable. Which I’m pretty sure is what the MC on this track is trying to get across (skip to 35s in if you are really impatient):
I hope you appreciate the cultural broadening that I am bringing you.
Carrots at The White Bear in Ruislip
Carrots. Fuck off out. Go next door. These were boiled/steamed efforts that were too crunchy for me, and fairly dull.
There was a pile of strips…there used to be a pub in Hull that had strippers in cages, or so I was told. This was in the days pre-internet (well there was no internet in Hull in the 1990’s anyway) and I never had the balls to go. Oh yeah, savoy cabbage. Lots of strips and way over boiled/steamed, to the point where it lost all of it’s discipline.
Speaking of a lack of discipline, here are 18 pictures of girls nights out in Yates in Hull in the 1990’s. You know, just in case you wondered why I now live in London.
The cauliflower cheese was hard and tasted of hyacinth. Yes, I know hyacinth is a type of flower – this was inedible. The cauliflower itself was too tough to cut, even with my steak knife, the white sauce had no cheese to it unless there is a cheese that tastes of flowery perfume. Maybe it was more primrose than hyacinth, but you get my point. FUCK OFF OUT!
4 roast potatoes were supplied. Yes – 4 of them! Quick, call the extra 20,000 police that now have nothing to do because of a sticker on a lamppost. Is this generosity the influence of being in fare zone 6? It doesn’t matter – all this provided was the opportunity to showcase 4 different types of crudness. 3 were distinctly un-fresh, one was particularly dry inside, all tasted tired. A couple were also rubbery, though one seemed to have been reasonably freshly deep-fried.
The slightly burnt Yorkshire pudding was probably the culinary highlight. It was at least reasonably freshly cooked. The only real flavour was an occasional taste of burnt, however in terms of texture it was reasonably good – not at all tough or dry, and the bottom was enjoyably mushy, once that thing called gravy that those of us from up north like to have on our roast dinners had soaked in.
I wasn’t exactly over-supplied with beef, though there was sufficient amount – and by this point I wanted to get my experience over and done with swiftly anyway. It was a bit tough and required my steak knife nearly as much as the cauliflower did, but broadly speaking it was fine. Imagine being a local newspaper getting advertising from these kind of places and having to write how good this is.
Last week’s roast promised “proper gravy” which was anything but – this week’s promised no such thing, which was probably the one redeeming thing about The White Bear – that it wasn’t trying to be something it wasn’t. This was a fairly thin and granule-influenced affair, but inoffensive which is about as close to a compliment as I get.
Sorted for pills and whizz? Oh no my dealer has been shot.
There were no more redeeming features about this roast dinner than there were about nights out in Yates in Hull in the 1990’s, apart from the fact that my experience was mercifully short. According to the Chinese government, I was inside The White Bear for just 46 minutes. To be fair, I don’t recall ever going into Yates’ for more than one drink even when I was a chav.
Parts were really bad – you won’t be surprised to see me adding the roasties to this list, but the cauliflower cheese deserves a special mention for being impressively inedible. There is nothing to compliment, though the beef and yorkie were acceptable.
Weirdly it didn’t feel especially disappointing. I knew it was a fairly crap roast dinner – this fact sunk in pretty quickly. Yet I didn’t come away with a loathing of the meal that I’ve had elsewhere, like the Brown Dog in Barnes to pick one of many disappointments this year – a loathing of what were better roast dinners…somewhat better anyway.
I put this down to low expectations. Though this was a recommendation from a reader (probably ex-reader), I wasn’t exactly expecting a good roast dinner next to a large road junction in Ruislip.
They didn’t even have a Mitsubishi Jet Towel hand-dryer in the toilets…you do boycott Dyson products along with Wetherspoons I assume? You won’t catch true remainers drying their hands with a Dyson. Just to clarify, it was the same kind of hand-dryer from Yates. In Hull. In the 1990’s.
I really don’t know why The White Bear was so busy, why most tables were taken. Yes it is probably better than the Beefeater opposite. Probably. Is that a claim to greatness? The clientele generally didn’t seem to be stuck-up remoaner tosspots like myself…I could definitely envisage some split families inside. Maybe the good people of Ruislip just don’t have high expectations about their roast dinner.
I’m scoring it a 5.08 out of 10. This feels generous, however as have pointed out before, all the places below it in the league table were worse. Anything less than a 7 is a registration of my disappointment. My accomplices scored it…oh I had none. Lucky them.
Then it was time to go find my rail replacement bus.
Moral of the story: long tube journeys are a good investment. Sometimes. Maybe. There will be food.
Next Sunday will be fucking special. In one way or another.
The White Bear, Ruislip, North London
Tube Lines: Metropolitan Line, Piccadilly
Fare Zone: Zone 6