Wood Street Bar & Restaurant, Barbican – Takeaway

All the best things in life repeat themselves – lockdowns, royal marriages, Liverpool Premier League titles and now a review of the takeaway roast dinner from Wood Street Bar & Restaurant in Barbican.

All the best things in life repeat themselves – lockdowns, royal marriages, Liverpool Premier League titles and now a review of the takeaway roast dinner from Wood Street Bar & Restaurant in Barbican.

All the best things in life repeat themselves – lockdowns, royal marriages, Liverpool Premier League titles and now…what…Liverpool are 7th in the Premier League? Greatest team in Premier League history? They cannot win the league? They might not even qualify for the Champion’s League?

Yeah I know, I support Hull City. But we are actually top of the league. Well…top of a league.

So with apologies to those who haven’t got a clue what I’m on about, I’ll tell you a bit about my exciting life instead.

No, I cannot actually remember doing anything over the last week. But I do remember that I wasn’t planning on a roast dinner last weekend. Well, I was, I was going to order from Roasted by Jack & Scott – their website said order by 9pm on the Tuesday, I went away to have a little think about whether to have pork or beef, turned up at 6pm and both were sold out.

Meh. I was ready to get back into weekly reviews too.

Know your hero

It wasn’t the end of the world though. I had a steak ready to cook for my evening meal – only from Sainsbury’s so I wasn’t expecting it to be amazing (it wasn’t) and I’d just made myself the Kejriwal from the Dishoom book for brunch – basically Indian cheese on toast with eggs – so I was going to be culinarily satisfied even without a roast.

Then I received a message on Twitter from Matt at Wood Street Bar & Restaurant – who you may know – actually you bloody well should know, won roast dinner of the year in 2020. Granted not as much competition as normal (Chinese people are generally very nice so don’t blame them) – but a worthy winner. Oh yeah, his message was, “Roasting today??”. And then went on to offer to deliver me a roast.

I explained my situation, he didn’t fall asleep at the monotony of my life and said, “You can have a Monday steak lol”. Indeed, I could have a Monday steak. I did have a Monday steak. With roast potatoes.

What I didn’t realise at the time of accepting his offer was that he would be personally delivering it on the tube, from Barbican to Harrow (Met line too…yikes) and it was a freebie. Oh and it came with all 3 meats. Plus a side.

Publicity stunt? Possibly. But it worked – normally I don’t accept free roast dinners because I don’t like having expectations to be put upon me for what I write – I want to feel able to write about the imperfections, the burnt yorkie, the lack of gravy, yadda yadda – yeah I repeat myself quite a lot, don’t I?

Plus I don’t need free food. I have a good job. My skills as a software engineer are so in demand that I might end up earning enough to pay for a deposit on a grotty flat in Acton in a few years unless there is a stock market crash.

Know your tree-dwelling fascist

Because I don’t need free food, I’ve therefore donated £15 to my local foodbank. I’m not seeking your praise of my virtuosity – at some point in my life I’ll probably vote Tory again – I will need to get over Brexit first though, which despite the advice of people – hang on – I have an important announcement:

With apologies to the guy who I stole that from on Twitter and cannot work out who you are to give credit to.

Ahhh, imagine a world with no fascists and where all influencers gave to charity when they received free food. Yeah, Liverpool will win the league again before either of those happen.

So, the roast from Wood Street Bar & Restaurant. It was the best roast of 2020. Takeaway roasts are not as good – I think that is a well-established fact, no? Apparently they are doing a healthy little trade with their takeaway roasts, perhaps, just perhaps helped by my review.

I think you will need to bear in mind that this is a free roast dinner and they are either looking to say thank you – or looking for free publicity – possibly both. I received all 3 meats and enough food for 2 meals – please do bear this in mind – you might not get an exact replica when you order. Sorry, if you order.

Get in the roasting tin

I decided that both the side dish and the chicken I’d save for lunch the next day – and in the end I also saved a roast potato and half the courgette for the next day too.

Know your plate

Instructions to reheat came with the roast dinner – mostly it said to reheat things for 6 minutes which was nowhere near long enough for the carrots and roast potatoes, at least in my oven. Beef it stated “to my liking” so for simplicity’s sake I put that in for 6 minutes also which was a tad too long.

The carrots were amazing when it came to flavour – I think the same orange and ginger flavour from when I reviewed it last year – they really made an impact on my tastebuds. However, that I didn’t warm them up enough did take the edge off slightly. Yeah, we do need actually chefs, or I do anyway.

Cabbage was cabbagey, finely shredded and just kind of there. Apparently garlicky but I clearly use too much garlic to have been able to notice, but it was fine.

Courgette on a roast dinner is a controversial choice but so, apparently, is the freedom to protest in a democracy. Nicely melted on the top, with crunch throughout.

Finally in the vegetable aisle, the honey-roasted beetroot. Again, it was very good, still having the same flavour as when I ate at the restaurant, still livening my tastebuds – still making me confound my dislike for beetroot.

Onto the roast potatoes which were massive. These suffered most from not enough time in the oven, and probably could have done with 20 minutes – not 6. Actually I think I did them for 10. Anyway, they were kind of good but also a bit on the dry side- they needed a lot of gravy and there wasn’t a lot of gravy – at least not that Wood Street Bar & Restaurant supplied. Not especially crispy on the outside either. I wasn’t especially disappointed as it’s a takeaway roast that I reheated several hours later and were still better than at least 50% of the roast potatoes that I will have this year. But they do much better roasties inside the venue.

I’m going to skip to the gravy as this was the other failure, of sorts. Matt, the chef knows me. He reads this blog. He knows my pain points. He knows I’m from up north. He knows that I need gravy.

Know your customer

Just two tiny pots of gravy were supplied. There were three pots of condiments – and I don’t do condiments on a roast. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.

I had no option other than to combine the very nice, thick gravy with half a Knorr stock pot and the last dregs of Bisto Best (or Bisto Second Worst as I prefer to call it) – it did kind of work as a good gravy, albeit with some lumpiness – and I can see Matt now thinking, “what the fuck has he done to my gravy?”. I had no choice.

Everything else was on form though. The beef was a delight, quite salted and quite silky – a really nice piece.

The pork was good – not quite on the same scale of gorgeousness as the beef, but good. The two slices of…passionfruit (?) on top of the pork gave it a fruity edge.

And finally, the Yorkshire pudding. This was pretty much as they should be – large, crispy not crunchy, with a soft bottom – not forgetting a herby flavour too.

I haven’t had many takeaway roast dinners over the course of the pandemic – which might well be something to do with living in the foodie hell hole of Harrow – but I’m pretty sure this is the best one I’ve had.

Sure, it needed warming up more than the instructions advised, the roasties didn’t quite cut it and there was a gravy drought – which is nothing unusual. But the flavours from the vegetables were outstanding, the beef excellent, the yorkie excellent – if you are in the delivery catchment area then you really should do this before you are allowed back in the pub – and if you are not in the catchment area then it really should already be on your to-do list – because why are you reading my blog if you are not actually going to go to the best roast dinners in town?

Of course, it was a free roast dinner so you may need to accept some bias in my judgement. Oh my – a blogger having a free meal and actually telling you it was free?

I’m scoring it an 8.25 out of 10.

Know your future

So thank you for agreeing to order a roast from Wood Street Bar & Restaurant, but when you do, you should also order the cheesy beans, leek and rainbow chard for your lunch the next day. I had this for my lunch the next day along with the chicken leg which was soooo succulent – the gorgeous cheesy sauce even improved the remaining roast potato.

I will be back next week – I’ve pretty much already told you where I’ve ordered from but it is quite possible that you don’t actually take much notice of the shit I write so maybe it will be a surprise.

And then I’ll be back the week after for an Easter roast which I will sit outside with my rule-following accomplice in the snow, because it is certain to snow this Easter, isn’t it? I’m so ready for a warm day to sit outside, have a beer and a roast dinner and it is going to fucking snow, I just know it.

However, I have arranged for the sun to shine when the beer gardens re-open – so don’t forget to get booking your outdoor roasts.

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Summary:

Wood Street Bar & Restaurant, Barbican – Takeaway,

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Where now, sailor?

Random roast review: The Morpeth Arms, Pimlico

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