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  • Ffiona’s, Kensington

    Published 16 July 2024, 7:20 am

  • It was a long and unsuccessful Sunday, and it started at Ffiona’s in Kensington.

    That roast dinner, defeat in the final of the Euro’s, and a bad miss from a shooter in the USA.

    Trump VAR offside meme

    I jest on the latter, as political violence of any form is abhorrent, from death threats to protesting outside MPs houses, and especially violent acts. Unless the target is a murderous dictator – of which Trump is not, yet, just a wannabe dictator who wouldn’t accept the results of the previous election so had his mob invade the Capitol, who also has a long string of accusations of sexual assault against him, and a liking for young girls.,

    Honestly, I was going to try to keep politics out of the blog for a while, and maybe focus my tangential (dear Oxford Dictionary this word would be better as “tangentical”) interjections on the history of photocopiers or something. I tried, at least roughly as much as Trump tried to keep his hands off young girls.

    Trump with young girls

    Anyway, it was Sunday, England were in another Euro’s final despite Gareth Southgate apparently being the most unsuccessful manager in world history having relegated England to the Vauxhall Conference, along with qualifying comfortably for all 4 tournaments (hey McLaren), getting us to two finals (hey Hodgson), one semi (hey hot Spanish women) and one quarter (hey…most other England managers), won more knock-out games than all other England managers put together, and pretty much brought the country back together after the vandalism of Brexit.

    Hell, us remoaner folk were granted permission to be proud to be English once more, albeit only for a few weeks every other summer. It’s a start though…I’ve even considered buying a small England flag badge for my tweed jacket.

    It Didn’t Come Home

    There was a long day ahead and a good roast dinner was required. Or was it? For the last time we were in the final of the Euros (SouthGREAT being the manager again, but I’m sure we’ll win all the next 10 tournaments if he doesn’t stay on) I had a very good roast dinner at The Jugged Hare, with excellent gravy. Maybe having a shit roast dinner would mean it coming home?

    Friends meme

    There was plenty about Ffiona’s that felt like it was coming home. It was a cosy if slightly dated restaurant, an independent and fairly traditional British restaurant in the middle of chi-chi Kensington – no trying to be posh, no trying to be anything other than what they are – and I assume run by someone called Ffiona.

    It’s the kind of restaurant that I hate giving bad reviews to, but you’ve seen the photograph, you’ve felt the ominous signs, and here we are. I’d love to be talking about an amazing roast dinner, a 4-1 victory over Spain, a marriage proposal from a hot Spanish woman and the new interesting young presidential candidates in the USA. And photocopiers.

    But we are where we are, and I’m desperately trying to find nice things to say about an independent restaurant run by who seemed to be a lovely lady. Firstly, the service was nice – along with the charming (assumedly) Ffiona, there were two young friendly women, albeit we ordered the lamb roasts on offer, except they weren’t on offer. The beer selection could have been worse – a local pale ale was fairly ordinary, but at least it wasn’t Stella. And the brunches looked good – the locals who are regulars here probably know to order them, and not the roasts.

    It’s notable that their Instagram doesn’t show photos of the roasts, but focuses on brunches. Possibly a sign I should have read, or did read but took no notice of. People seem to rave about the chicken Kyiv also.

    It Still Didn’t Come Home

    Roast Dinner menu at Ffiona's in Kensington

    On offer at Ffiona’s was chicken or pork, with a suggestion of two courses at £34.00. I chose chicken, mostly because I try to have a different meat each week, and next Sunday is roast dinner 300 so maybe I’ll want pork belly (if they offer it).

    Normally I’d be refusing two courses and insisting on my right to have just one course, but I was in fuck it mode, as evidenced by two bags of chocolate when I got home, and a pack of sausage rolls. And another beer. Somehow I consumed 6,500 calories during the course of the day, which is the consumption I recall, anyway. Oops. Fucking SouthGREAT – I would have had 3,000 calories if Capello was in charge, as we would have lost against Slovakia.

    Butter at Ffiona's in Kensington

    Some butter then arrived.

    Do you have any idea what I was supposed to do with it? Nope, me neither but both myself and my accomplice (first ever roast club for her, LOL) considered just eating it whole. We didn’t.

    And then Southgate played 4 at the back. Oh and then this arrived:

    Chicken roast dinner at Ffiona's in Kensington

    Sigh. More notGREAT than SouthGREAT. Starting with the carrots (have I had a roast dinner in 2024 without carrots?), these were a little crunchy, a tiny bit sweet but generally fairly ordinary.

    Nope, It Really Didn’t Come Home

    The cabbage was stringy and terse, ready to snap at me after being 0-0 for 5 minutes that SouthGREAT is a terrible manager for only getting us to TWO finals. I really didn’t like it.

    Three small roast potatoes were just quite shit. Probably McLaren/Hodgson/Capello levels of shit. Old, tired and grey – one tasted burnt too.

    A little respite from the Yorkshire pudding – homemade with a bit of crisp to the top, a little fluffiness inside. My accomplice was suspicious of the roundness, but I’m pretty sure it was homemade and not Bessie’d.

    And I actually liked the stuffing, but stuffing is hard to get wrong unless you start putting weird things in like apricot. This was proper sage and onion, perhaps some breadcrumbs. You could argue a little too coarse, but I’m trying to be kind…where possible.

    Chicken Sunday roast at Ffiona's in Kensington

    The chicken didn’t impress, the breast was very much on the dry side, the leg was alright – not really juicy and lacking flavour or seasoning, but inoffensive.

    I showed the images to my regular accomplice who had decided to have the week off roast duty (at least one of us made a good decision this weekend) and she said the gravy looked like dirty bath water. I cannot better that – it was weakly flavoured, watery and added absolutely nothing to the roast. Two northerners at a table and neither of us were interested in drinking the remaining gravy from the boat.

    And then it was time to go spend 6-7 hours in a brewery, trying not to get too drunk that I cannot see the game when it kicked off. Which I did achieve. Winner…of little.

    And I Had A Shit Roast Dinner at Ffiona’s

    Funnily enough, Ffiona’s felt like a restaurant with your mother’s (coming) home cooking.

    Now, I know about as much about running restaurants as most people on social media know about managing football teams, but I’m going to suggest that Ffiona’s probably doesn’t need to do Sunday roasts. I know, this is Lord Gravy, patron saint of trying to get all pubs and restaurants, across the whole world, to serve Sunday roasts every day.

    Apparently they do excellent chicken Kyiv’s, the brunch looked decent, and as part of the 2 courses for £34 deal, we had a rather good lemon cheesecake – a biscuit base with very delicate cream in the middle, the lemon flavouring having seeped throughout. So I do have evidence that they can do things well.

    Lemon cheesecake at Ffiona's in Kensington

    I only score on the roast dinners, alas, to keep the comparison fair between all pubs and restaurants. My accomplice, who joined me for the first time, scored it a 2.00 out of 10.

    I’m a tiny bit less harsh – I did like the stuffing ball, after all. However, the roast potatoes were really dire, the chicken breast dry, the gravy watery and weak, cabbage terse – there was just so much to dislike.

    My score is a 4.53 out of 10. You might think that generous, but it was edible – scores of below 4 tend to be at least partly inedible or poisonous. This was neither, but that is where the compliments end for this roast at Ffiona’s.

    Roast dinner 300 next Sunday. I feel like I deserve a trip to Blacklock after the last two weeks (also 3 months since I’ve scored anywhere an 8+). Alas, logistics meant that I couldn’t book anywhere particularly special, but maybe I’ll be surprised. Positively surprised. It won’t be worse than the last two week’s roasts anyway.

    Photocopier with sign saying "Sorry this copier is out of order".
    Image via Aleksi Aaltonen under license ATTRIBUTION-NONCOMMERCIAL-NODERIVS 2.0 GENERIC

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  • The Laundry, Brixton

    Published 8 July 2024, 6:44 am

  • Gather your dirty knickers, folks, it was time to go to The Laundry in Brixton.

    This week’s roast was location-dependent, as we needed to be in Brixton – and with nowhere on my to-do list in Brixton, the challenge was to try to use Google reviews to find somewhere decent to go for a roast in Brixton.

    Challenge being the operative word, given this was rated 5 stars on Google:

    A really shit roast dinner, with new potatoes, that I found on Google Maps
    Screenshot of Google Maps

    I was quite taken by the idea of going to Effra Social, given that it is in a former local Conservative Club (cannot imagine why it wouldn’t still be a Conservative Club…surely the Tories are popular in Brixton?) – but they don’t do roasts in summer. Don’t…do…roasts…in…summer.

    Yeah, I hear you, “what summer”. But really you should be questioning why somewhere doesn’t do roasts in summer. It isn’t the only place – The Larkshall in Chingford I wanted to go to the other Sunday, but they do “summer BBQ roasts” complete with fingerling potatoes. That’s a no from me. And then I looked at booking Story Cellar for an upcoming roast – they too don’t do roast dinners in summer.

    One day I’m going to turn up somewhere that I’ve booked, and they’ll stare at me blankly when I ask for a roast dinner, “but don’t you know it is summer?”. No, I don’t, but I do know Sunday is Sunday roast day.

    Washing Away The Tories

    Before I go any further, I just want to say a heartfelt thank you to Nigel Farage, and offer my sincere congratulations to him.

    Thanks to Nigel Farage splitting the right-wing vote, only 20% of MPs belong to a Brexit-supporting political party.

    BOOM! Cheers, Nige!

    Champagne bottle of Tory Tears, and beer barrel of Reform Tears - extra bitter.

    Granted re-joining the EU any time this decade is still probably about as likely as me offering a score of 9.50 for a roast dinner…also any time this decade. It certainly didn’t happen this week – I’m sure you can tell by the photo.

    The Laundry had Megan’s vibes to it – my suspicion was of more style than substance. And then there was a question on arrival – do I want to sit inside or outside? Outside was under an awning – useful given that it is July and therefore pissing down with rain on and off.

    I chose outside, after being advised that it was more vibey than inside, though I feel I had enough vibes on Thursday night:

    Meme about someone getting very excited for every Tory that lost their seat

    Though I’m kind of sad that Liz Truss lost, as it would have been hilarious to see her run for Tory leader again. How is she going to save the west now? She’s only got 9 years and 10 months left.

    Washing Away The SNP

    We were sat on a table right next to another table, so close that it felt like we were dining with them – curiously they were a Spanish couple. Hola!

    The beer choice at The Laundry was not amazing – I struggled through a Brixton pale ale or two, though I guess I should have been soothed by it being just £5.00 a can. That’s a good price, right?

    Sunday roast menu at The Laundry, Brixton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It was a choice of chicken at £26.00 or beef at £28.00 – I’m not entirely sure why I ordered the chicken, perhaps to save £2.00. There was no real reasoning, and I was assured by the lady serving us and pretty much running the whole of the outdoors (and perhaps Brixton itself) that both were good. She was really rather excellent throughout.

    Alas, someone decided that we all needed roasting too – the awning was already stuffy, but someone decided to switch the heat lamps on, as if we were all Yorkshire puddings destined for a plate 6 hours later. Amused by being under a heat lamp in July, I was not.

    And then I had to eat a roast dinner under said heat lamp.

    This roast dinner:

    Chicken roast dinner at The Laundry, Brixton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Starting with the carrots (which could be my catchphrase), on the plus side they were nicely buttery, but on the negative side they were a bit too al dente for me, and had a weird sweetness – which I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

    And that was it for the vegetables.

    Washing Away Jacob Rees-Mogg – YES!

    The roast did also come with peas, but you likely know my thoughts on that, and I guess you could count the watercress as a vegetable if you want.

    Chicken Sunday roast at The Laundry, Brixton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    You might think the roast potato count ungenerous for a £26.00 roast dinner in Brixton, however they did bring round extra carrots, peas and roast potatoes later on.

    They were something of a mixture – some were really crispy but not quite soft enough inside, though probably were excellent when they were made. Some were more notably tired, and one or two were quite freshly made and crispy.

    I gave up on the Yorkshire pudding as it simply tasted of burnt.

    Roast potatoes and chicken at The Laundry, Brixton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I thought that the chicken was strange – cut into two parts, the breast and the thigh. The former was remarkably flavourless, bar some kind of vague chargrilled vibe on the top. Also it had a kind of toughness of being undercooked, even though it hadn’t been undercooked.

    The thigh was better, though that is like saying that immigration policy under Labour will be more humane than under the Tories, t’was ever thus. Also helped by my deciding to break my anti-condiment vibe, and spreading the garlic and chilli butter on top.

    As well as bottomless veg, The Laundry also offered bottomless water. So do all restaurants, you may think, however this water was masquerading as gravy. Not only was it watery but it was annoyingly sweet – perhaps just in my opinion, but you are here to read my opinion. Infused with caramelised onions – the gravy wasn’t getting my vote. Yes, I did vote Labour, and I did have a word with Lady Thatcher on the way home to explain my reasoning. I think she understood.

    The Laundry

    Unusually, myself and my regular accomplice differed quite strongly on our opinions and scores for The Laundry, for she liked the sweet gravy, and her beef, scoring it a 6.90.

    I’m not sure I really liked anything, bar the occasional crispy roast potato.

    The gravy I disliked the taste of, plus how watery it was, the yorkie just tasted burnt, the chicken was odd and the carrots too crunchy. As proven by my regular accomplice, I think some will enjoy it more than others, and the Spanish woman on the table right next to us was effusive in her praise for her first ever roast dinner. I wasn’t, though of course I lied when asked about it, and said it was “good”. I was way too hungover for any conversations otherwise.

    It’s possible that I’m being a bit harsh here, but I’m scoring it a lowly 5.31 out of 10.

    Yep, the first roast dinner under the Kier Starmer era is a rank disappointment. Things can only get better? Sigh…I’ll grab my toolbox.

    I’ll be back next Sunday, all being well, at a British restaurant where I will apparently be surrounded by love. Gosh there’s a load of shite written on their website. Hopefully the roast won’t be too. Toodlepip.

    Fair use – general election

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  • The Sekforde, Clerkenwell

    Published 4 July 2024, 6:09 am

  • Welcome to this historic occasion, a roast dinner review of The Sekforde, in Clerkenwell.

    Why historic, I hear you ask?

    Well. It is the last ever roast dinner review…with the Tories in government.

    Boris Johnson with a cake.
    Image via Number 10 under license ATTRIBUTION 2.0 GENERIC

    Now, we are having our cake and eating it.

    Fuck business? Nah. Fuck Johnson. Fuck Truss. Fuck parties in lockdown, fuck Brexit, fuck Michelle Mone, fuck spending a whole government banging on about small boats, fuck legislating so that Rwanda is magically a safe country despite Kagame being the “African Putin”, fuck the “hostile environment”, fuck “let the bodies pile high”.

    Fuck the Online Safety Bill, fuck the protest laws, fuck the Minister for Brexit Benefits, fuck all of the lying, fuck the gambling on the election date by insiders, fuck driving to Barnard Castle for an eye test, fuck Dominic Cummings, fuck Track & Trace, fuck sucking up to Nigel Farage, fuck calling a referendum, fuck damaging UK GDP by 5% a year, fuck Tractor porn.

    Fuck Jacob Rees-Mogg, fuck Andrew Bridgen, fuck Nadine Dorries, fuck Matt Hancock (in a cupboard), fuck David Frost, fuck Priti Patel, fuck Suella Braverman, fuck Lee Anderson, fuck Dominic Raab. Have I missed anyone? I quite like Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne, so not adding them. Your mileage may vary.

    Fuck Disrespecting D Day.

    Every Vote Counts

    And if a woke Thatcherite feels like this, gosh knows what all you actual lefties reading feel. Your turn to screw up the economy now, anyway.

    I still cannot quite believe that I’m about to vote Labour for the first time in my life, I still don’t trust them with the economy, but if they enact planning reforms then they might accidentally cause more economic growth than they take away. And that’s the risk I’m taking. Probably.

    The Sekforde. Let’s hope I’m not adding that to my list of things to fuck by the end of this review.

    Inside The Sekforde, Clerkenwell
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Entering The Sekforde was like entering a surprisingly old school pub in London, though one with a certain elegance and charm – it was looked after. Restored between 2015 and 2018, it hasn’t lost its feel of an older pub, though the basement room, which I assume you can hire out did feel rather nice, was quite airy and comfortable.

    The beer choice wasn’t so charming – Neck Oil, Gamma Ray, Five Points XPA…yawn, you know, the usual “craft beers” that haven’t been craft beers roughly since the days when Hooch was “the drink”.

    Wine, however, was decent and a glass of Malbec was a reasonably priced £7.00. Just wait until you see the price of the roasts – I noted that all pub profits are all donated to the Sekforde House Trust which is their educational charity.

    Every Sekforde Counts

    So. When was the last time you saw a roast dinner for less than £20 in central London?

    Sunday roast menu at The Sekforde, Clerkenwell
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    OK, I’m sure you can find one in a Greene King somewhere, but I mean in a proper pub – somewhere you’d actually recommend to someone who values flavour above piles of generic Brakes frozen doof (an unintentional spelling mistake but I like it enough to stay).

    Topside of beef for £20.00, chicken or pork belly for £18.00, or a red wine braised lamb shank for £24.00. I actually fancied the lamb shank most, but ordered the pork belly for the novelty of ordering a roast under £20.00. Oh there was a nut roast too for you veggies out there that I’m sure read my meat-focused blog religiously. Plus a kids roast.

    Pork belly Sunday roast at The Sekforde, Clerkenwell
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Huge portions of vegetables – it is almost as if they knew I had spent a week in Europe and therefore have pretty much just eaten bread and red meat.

    So let’s start with the carrots – all large and very soft, and a little buttery too. As fun and floppy as Ed Davey.

    Parsnips, 3 of them, again rather large – mine were a little al dente for my preferences, but otherwise pretty wholesome and packed plenty of flavour.

    Every Second Counts

    The green cabbage was pretty turd – indigestible and raw – as horrid as Nigel Farage.

    Meme showing Farage is a cunt

    Yet the red cabbage, not normally my favourite, was rather pleasant – fruity with just minor pollution of the gravy.

    The standard 3 roast potatoes, which whilst not as bad as some previous examples I’d had, were rather stale – it was as if they had had 14 years in government, you could call them the Rishi Sunak of roast potatoes. Tired and stale, with a vague earlier attempt at being decent roasties. Yet nowhere near as bad as Johnson.

    Close up of pork belly at The Sekforde, Clerkenwell
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    A respectable homemade Yorkshire pudding, a little burnt-tasting on top, but quite fluffy also. No, I’m not describing a politician as fluffy. I don’t even know who the Green Party leader is.

    The pork belly was a pretty solid effort. It was enjoyable, but a little on the cooked earlier side, crackling crispy, some fatty juice still around, but it had dried out enough to take the edge off the enjoyment.

    And, finally, the gravy was watery and lifeless, if inoffensive. Yep, the Kier Starmer of gravy. You know this game.

    The Sekforde Arms

    Although The Sekforde Arms didn’t especially excel anywhere, there was nothing particularly to add to my earlier list of angst.

    Plenty of vegetables, pork belly was decent enough. I did quite loathe the green cabbage, and the roasties were on the stale side – but neither pissed me off as much as Brexit.

    Meme

    My accomplice enjoyed her topside, and rated the roast a 7.75 out of 10.

    I was happy enough, £18 for a half-decent roast – life could be a lot worse. My rating is a 7.05 out of 10.

    No plan for this coming Sunday, though not having a hangover on Monday would be nice.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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  • Café Kitty, Soho

    Published 19 June 2024, 6:17 am

  • It was vaguely 20’C in summer, Gareth Southgate’s England were playing that evening, Nigel Farage has announced he’ll be Prime Minister in 2029, and I was going for a roast dinner at Café Kitty in the same building as a children’s theatre. What’s not to like about that?

    Elon Musk liking a tweet that seems to show cartoon versions of pretty young girls in revealing clothing

    No, Elon, not those type of children.

    Yay, we are all free to like posts about salad, or in Elon Musk’s case, like dubious posts about scantily dresses young girls or fascism, and nobody will ever know we like salad/are fascist (delete as appropriate). Though to be fair to Elon, he’s happy just retweeting fascists outright.

    Someone bring back Buzzfeed listicles as I’d love to see a list of the stupidest things Elon Musk has done to Twitter since buying it with Saudi debt. Like, seriously, what happened to BuzzFeed? Are they still a thing or are we totally bored of them?

    Anyway. Kids. Café Kitty is on the first floor of Underbelly Boulevard, fairly newly open in Soho. Underbelly apparently do kids theatre on a Sunday afternoon, and for some reason the theatre toilets involve walking through Café Kitty. Ambience this was not, especially when the kids started playing with the piano. Points deducted already.

    Parents of toddlers probably judging me as an arsehole right now, but in much the same way that Jay Rayner doesn’t want dogs licking his leg whilst eating a meal, I don’t want children playing a piano whilst eating a meal. If I wanted entertaining by children whilst eating a roast dinner, I would go to a Hungry Horse pub.

    Meow Meow

    Thankfully this interruption was fairly brief, and the waiter/manager glanced a knowing look to us, and closed the lid to the piano. Points redeemed.

    Inside Café Kitty, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    As well as Café Kitty being strangely located on the first floor of a theatre with no sign outside, although there is something suggesting “a restaurant” when you enter the theatre, it was strangely quiet inside. Well, I guess the two things are connected as there is no way Café Kitty will get much in the way of passing trade, as it stands, unless you count toddlers needing a wee, which is more pissing than passing.

    That said, Jay Rayner and Giles Coren (I wonder if he is still voting Tory? I’m endeavouring to find someone still voting for them) highly rated the venue, so you might have thought it would have some bookings. Or the fact that they are the sister restaurant to Cora Pearl, which I rated highly, and which you definitely need to book ahead. Cora Pearl does feel more like a restaurant though.

    Roast dinner menu at Café Kitty, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    As always, I was here to judge the roast dinner, and my choice was between roast chicken at £26.00 or beef sirloin at £30.00. I didn’t fancy either, though it certainly wasn’t a moment to start thinking about an onion tarte tatin – I’d rather start supporting Scotland. Yes I did support Germany against Scotland. I prefer techno to bagpipes, ok?

    Anyway (possibly my most-used word on this blog), I went for the beef, pretty much only because the previous roast dinner I’d had chicken.

    It was going to be a long day ahead waiting for the 8pm kick-off in the Euros, to see if we could win our opening game of the tournament for only the second time ever – Gareth Southgate was manager then also, fact fans. Hence I thought it sensible to order both wine and beer – Jute for the IPA which was fruity and friendly, the house red was good also, but I’m not going to pretend I can describe wine.

    Kitty Ket

    It was one of those serve yourself efforts – at least in that I had to add the greens and cauliflower cheese cream myself, so if you don’t like the presentation, then you know who to blame.

    Beef Sunday roast at Café Kitty, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Starting with the carrots, which were thin, soft and sweet – the honey flavour was on the strong side.

    Parsnips not quite so successful, a bit of a mix here – again flavoured with honey, but some parsnips had a pleasurable texture – others were chewy.

    Elon Musk liking a tweet that says "milk your tiny penis, pervert"

    Gosh does this mean that I can go back to liking Rishi Sunak’s tweets and nobody will know that I secretly think he’s the greatest Prime Minister since…Theresa May?

    Spring greens were an oily bunch, perhaps a hint of garlic involved, but otherwise somewhat of a chore.

    You’ll probably have noticed me moan about the lack of cheese on the cauliflower cheese cream already, but I shall emphasise once more – if you are going to do cauliflower cheese, then it should taste of cheese. At least it was well-balanced in terms of softness, there was cream and some chives (I think)…but…to paraphrase someone with an even-wilder tweet liking history than Musk, MAKE CAULIFLOWER CHEESE with GRATED CHEESE AGAIN.

    Kitty Galore

    The roast potatoes looked the part:

    Close up of roast potatoes at Café Kitty, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Alas, there were pretty tough inside. 5 of them too, but only one I’d class as good – the rest needed longer in the oven. Though they did actually seem more deep fried than oven-roasted…but let’s trust the menu’s claim of goose fat as much as we trust a political manifesto. Labour won’t put up taxes. Absolutely not. Absolutely no chance. Oh no. Well, not as much as the Tories put them up, anyway.

    The Yorkshire pudding looked overwhelming, but I’d say it was probably the best part of the roast dinner. Sure, it was far too large considering the lack of gravy, and the outside arguably a tad on the dry side – yet the inside was really rather fluffy. Not award-winning, but good.

    It was certainly better than the beef. I think I need a close-up:

    Close up of fatty beef at Café Kitty, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I complained more about my beef than the other two who’d ordered beef, but mine was distinctly chewy and fatty – just look at all the chewy rind encapsulated in there. Sure, it was rare – bravo, and there was some slightly dark-feeling flavour going on, almost like a hint of treacle. But quality – nope. Yes, I ate it all, but I always do – and I always certainly will do when being charged £30.00 for a roast dinner. Yes, I am giving my head a wobble.

    Finally, the gravy was just pretty watery, both in terms of viscosity and flavour. There were hints of some gravy flavour, it wasn’t pure watery, but not enough for it to rescue a debatable roast dinner.

    Café Kitty

    My first thought, apart from some general deflation and worry for it being an omen of an upcoming deflating performance from England that night, was did I over-rate Cora Pearl when I went there?

    I don’t think I did, as though they shared watery gravy, the beef at Cora Pearl was far better, as were the potatoes – which were the two things (along with the watery gravy) that really let Café Kitty down.

    The waiter/manager, who was actually quite a star all the way through (though had almost as many staff as customers to look after), asked us what the highlight was – I guess it was the Yorkshire pudding. Or the carrots?

    Alas, I wasn’t really sure what to say. This isn’t a bad roast dinner per se, but it needs a lot of improvement, and maybe that is another reason why the restaurant isn’t that busy on a Sunday yet. I loved Cora Pearl when I went, so I hope Café Kitty becomes successful in time, but in terms of restaurant vibe and quality of roast dinner, it isn’t there for me.

    Scores around the table were a 6.00 and 2x 6.50’s. My score is a sadly lowly 6.25.

    No roast next weekend, at least not in London as I’m back on my travels. I shall be back the Sunday after…nothing is booked and football may well get in the way again. Damn you, UEFA.

    Copy of an Elon Musk tweet where he boats about a bot purge, yet 6 million Layla's have liked his post

    Bot purge going as successful as Rishi Sunak’s election campaign, yo.

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  • The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

    Published 3 June 2024, 7:38 am

  • I’ve been to The Cadogan Arms in Chelsea and now I want a fight.

    I’m not really the fighting type. “We charge for extra gravy is that ok?”.

    Fuck no is it ok, give us enough in the first place.

    That’s in my head, of course.

    “Yeah totally fine and I’m totally fine with the £1 charity donation on the bill that you didn’t tell us about for your virtue signaling so you can say how much your customers were forced to you raised for charity. Oh and the 13.5% service charge.” Though they did earn their service charge…fair play to my accomplice who asked them around 25 times for something, to really get her service charge’s worth.

    It’s probably the King’s Road that annoyed me. Walking back, searching for somewhere to have a beer in the sunshine – something which in 2024 seems as rare as a policy from Kier Starmer (no wonder they are 20 points ahead in the polls), and as I weave in and out of people who should practice walking on side streets first before attempting main roads, my shoulder bag’s strap snaps, the bag falls onto the floor with a thud, along with my new work MacBook.

    Said new MacBook, which as per the Apple ownership rule 1.12 I am obliged to point out to you is very expensive and powerful, was only returned to me 8 days ago. MacBook ownership rule 2.23 also requires me to point out that it was completely my fault that the screen just randomly stopped working and is absolutely nothing to do with the build quality.

    The expensive, powerful MacBook still works. But I need a new bag. And we didn’t find anywhere to have a beer in the sun. Oh well, I’m sure it will be sunny again at some point in the next month.

    Ravey Davey

    It’s a bit unfair on The Cadogan Arms to start on a ranting mood – though they didn’t always help matters.

    The Cadogan Arms is one of the few places on the to-do list that I had the highest expectations for. I’d mentioned a while back about having 3 interesting roast dinners coming up – and this is the 3rd.

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    Alas, Booking Office 1869 was more style than substance, and Clink Restaurant was more…society than the Big Society.

    Still there’s always someone out there to cheer us up:

    Ed Davey falling into a lake
    Fair Use

    Not building any houses.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Get on your bike…still not building any houses.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    And we’re not in favour of re-joining the EU either!

    I Need More Gravy

    Anyway, The Cadogan Arms – it’s even more highly rated than a Lib-Dem election stunt, and rather gorgeous inside. A classical feel to it, deep dark wooden panelling with a gorgeous lit-up backdrop the the bar itself.

    I was amazed at getting a Steady Rolling Man for £6.00, but less so when I realised that it wasn’t a pint. Apparently they cannot sell it in a pint as it costs too much, though when I later ordered two halves in a pint glass, it came to £7.70 which is just standard in 2024. Also a surprise that they think £7.70 is too much for a pint of beer, when their cheapest bottle of wine costs £38.00, and an expresso martini is £14.00.

    Roast Dinner menu at The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

    Now if you are going to charge £34.00 for beef it needs to be a classier cut than rump for me…granted I’m then left with a choice of chicken at an eye-popping £31.00 or the vegan at an eye-gouging £28.00. When I started reviews regularly in 2017, the average price was £15.61.

    I went for the chicken.

    Chicken roast dinner at The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

    I’m surprised YouGov haven’t done a poll to ask people which vegetable the political leaders are (well, maybe they have, I haven’t looked), and I’ve no idea which political leader the carrot is so this is fairly pointless, but then again most of what I write is. The carrot was really soft and had a hint of tarragon to it.

    The cabbage was slippery, so you could compare it to Rishi Sunak…or Kier Starmer…or Ed Davey…or…do the Green Party have a leader? Anyway, soft, slippery and a little buttery.

    Then we had a thick lump of…bravo to Tommy Robison for scraping 10,000 thicko’s for a march through London…I was a bit worried as that’s more scumbags that I realised we had, but then I remembered that approximately 32,000,000 people will be voting for non-fascist parties in a few week’s time (Tories are just about non-fascist in my book, your mileage may vary), so fuck Tommy Robinson and fuck all the morons paying your cocaine habit. Do I need lawyers for that? No, I think his boasting covers it.

    Oooh your hard, a bit like the stalk of the broccoli – I quite admire The Cadogan Arms for just serving a chunk of broccoli, and not even bothering to cut it up. There was totally nothing special about it, it was just broccoli, steamed with a bit of a bite to it, but not too much, bar the stalk.

    Wavey Wavey

    Four roast potatoes. Four! Is this a new Ed Davey stunt?

    The vegetables were fairly ordinary, but I hadn’t disliked them – and I didn’t dislike the roast potatoes either. In fact…shock alert…they were good. Soft in the middle, I’d even go so far as saying they were pretty fluffy. And some evidence of crisp on the outside – I’d say the photo makes them look crispier than it felt like at the time, but take nothing away, these were good.

    Roast potatoes at The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

    The Yorkshire pudding was a bit dead really. Kind of tough and tearable texture, it felt a bit old, a bit heat-lamped – though I’ve had far worse.

    I’d made the right choice for the meat, as the beef was tougher than I’d expect – quite chewy with lots of fat. I do like fat, but what I tried just hadn’t been rendered enough. It doesn’t look that good, does it?

    Beef roast dinner at The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

    Thankfully, for me, the chicken was really plump and juicy. The skin was a bit soggy, and that it had been slow-cooked meant it looked paler than a patriot (sigh), at least before they start thinking about bloody foreigners – yet it was supreme compared to the beef rump.

    And there was some stuffing inside, and by the side – by the side was a little piece of pork sausagemeat stuffing, and inside was a more creamy and herby affair – I’d suggest something like Philadelphia, though the menu doesn’t allude to any such thing.

    Finally, the gravy. Yes, there wasn’t enough of it, and yes they charged us £1.50 for extra. Mine was pretty ordinary and watery, it did have a fair flavour to it – but when I tried some of the extra gravy, which was the bone marrow gravy, that did pack a bit of a punch to it. Alas – also very watery.

    The Cadogan Arms. I’m Not Too Ravey About It.

    Of the 3 roast dinners that I was looking forward to, this was the one I had highest expectations for, and I guess it proved true – though all 3 fell short of expectations.

    In fact, last week I said, “if it isn’t in the 8’s, I’ll be shocked”.

    Meme - "Hi Rishi, it's Michelle from Mone Military Uniforms"

    Well, I be shocked…just. I cannot quite put it in the 8’s.

    I do worry my ranting has given The Cadogan Arms more of a negative slant than it deserves, I stress that it was still a good roast dinner – very good in places, with fairly crispy roast potatoes and an impressively plump chicken breast to enjoy. On the flip side, the yorkie was dead, there wasn’t enough gravy and they charged for extra, plus it was rather pricey.

    My accomplice who got her money’s worth of service charge scored it an 8.00 – disappointed on the beef, but really liked the venue. My vegan accomplice a 7.50 – who wasn’t convinced celeriac and mushroom worked well together, and my regular accomplice a 7.30 – also disappointed with the beef.

    My score is a 7.73 out of 10. High expectations letting me down, but it is the best roast dinner that I’ve had for a few weeks.

    No roast dinner next weekend as I’m in Bilbao, and, yes it is going to rain most days there, with little sunshine…even worse…nowhere sells a roast dinner in Bilbao. I’ll be back the weekend after when everything gets a bit complicated and UEFA start putting England games on roast dinner days. Going to be a tough Monday following.

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  • Clink Restaurant, Brixton

    Published 28 May 2024, 7:17 am

  • Did you see the big news this week? Lord Gravy went to prison – Clink Restaurant in Brixton, that is.

    Gosh I bet there are some chefs that would have liked me to stay in prison, for the crime of revealing watery gravy and shit roast potatoes to the world.

    AI-generated image of a roast dinner in a prison
    AI-generated

    Alas for them, I was only in Brixton prison for 2-3 hours.

    Also alas, you will have to rely on my dubious powers of description to have an image of the roast dinner this week, “the carrot was long, orange and nice” for example – for no phones were allowed inside.

    Not only that, no smart watches, no wallet, no paper, no tissue, no drugs – I took only a bank card and the key to a locker inside. You can read more about the security guidelines here – we were also advised not to have boobs on show, wear t-shirts with cannabis logos on, etc.

    It’s a curious way to get into a restaurant, and this is the only photograph I have for you. You start by reporting to a portacabin, leaving all your items in a locker, and exchange your passport for a lanyard.

    Outside The Clink Restaurant, Brixton

    Go To Jail

    The guy who I assume is running the charity side of things here then takes a group of visitors at a time into the prison itself, through security, searches and then into the restaurant building – which is a pretty nondescript bland looking restaurant, the kind of which might class as posh in somewhere like Dunstable or Barnsley. Nondescript – except for the fences with barbed wire outside the “windows”.

    You can read more about the concept behind Clink the charity here, but briefly it is an opportunity for those behind bars to gain City & Guilds National Vocational Qualifications in hospitality – in 2023 they trained up 830 students across their UK restaurants, and placed 52% of them into employment when they left prison.

    If The Clink Restaurant isn’t something that food-obsessed folks like me and, I assume, most reading can get on board with and support, I don’t know what is. Especially when police have just been told to stop operations which might result in a large amount of arrests because there isn’t any space in jail. Cool. Thankfully we can all ignore this and instead worry about how we’ll cope with a few thousand desperate people wanting to claim asylum in this country, because this is apparently the priority. That and getting 18 years to do national service.

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    It being a prison, there is no alcohol, however the alcohol free pale ale by Days was a decent enough alcohol free beer. They also offered fizzy drinks, coffees, non-alcoholic cocktails, seedlip (whatever that is) and kombucha (also whatever that is).

    Also the menu is a flat 3 course menu at £42.50 – there’s a link to the one we had here, though I guess at some point this page may not exist, so maybe refer to this link where the current menus are listed.

    It did take a fair while for our drinks order to be taken, and then for drinks to arrive – Clink Restaurant isn’t quite the smooth ship that you’ll find at your standard city centre restaurant, service could be slow, one cup of coffee was placed down at an angle that surprised me, there was a reluctance to clear our tables, it also wasn’t so easy to get attention.

    But, one has to remember that these are people who probably are having a much more difficult day than we are, that are training for hopefully a brighter future (we all deserve a second/third/fourth chance at life, whatever it may be) and are then going back to a cell after lunch, whereas I was going to a really excellent beer shop in Brixton called Ghost Whale. Perfection should not be expected.

    Do Not Pass The Whitehouse

    So, starters. On the menu was an option of a spring salad, a braised beef shin croquette, a parsnip soup and something else – comparing it to the menu online, I’ve realised that it was actually different to that, and no I don’t have a photograph, nor a photographic memory of menus.

    AI-generated image of a beef croquette in a prison
    AI-generated

    I do have my friend, AI though – we are friends, right, AI? You are just augmenting my software engineering job and not replacing me…right?

    The beef shin (I think it was beef shin anyway) resembled a scotch egg in appearance, with some pickled carrot strips underneath (bravo AI on the carrot strips that I didn’t even ask you to draw), and some fairly tasteless blobs of aioli (or similar) around the edge of the plate.

    It was presented nicely, the braised beef was juicy, the outer crust of the croquette a little softer that I’d find ideal, but altogether this was a pretty decent starter.

    Two accomplices had the parsnip soup which they were highly complimentary of, though that was pretty much where their compliments ended for the day – that and the coffee. Albeit the soup was cold, so I’m told.

    Do Not Collect $200m In Taxes That You Owe For Defrauding Your Country

    For mains, there was a choice of leg of lamb, sirloin of beef, lemon and thyme chicken, beetroot wellington (vegan) or pan friend fish…I assume cod, as per their menu currently online.

    As I don’t have a photograph of the roast dinner, I thought instead you’d like to see a collection of images of people who’ve committed crimes and should be in jail.

    Donald Trump.  Should be in prison.
    Image via Gage Skidmore, under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED
    Vladimir Putin.  Should be in prison.
    Image via Palácio do Planalto under license CC BY 2.0 DEED
    Xi Jinping.  Should be in prison.
    Image via Global Panorama under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED
    Prince Andrew.  Should be in prison.
    Image via The Open University under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED
    Boris Johnson.  Should be in prison.
    Image via BackBoris2012 Campaign  under license CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED
    Nigel Farage.  Should be in prison.
    Image via Steve Bowbrick under licence CC BY 2.0 DEED

    OK I’m bored of that but I think you get my drift. I’d ordered the vegan beetroot wellington and was pretty damn hungry when it arrived.

    Lol, as if I’d ordered the vegan – but you can’t see it so who knows.

    AI-generated image of a roast dinner outside a prison (or possibly a concentration camp...yikes)
    AI-generated

    Anyway, the cabbage was alright, though quite tough and undercooked in places.

    Beetroot was raw and cold, and didn’t belong on the roast dinner at all. Plus the purple juice then infected the gravy…what little gravy there was. Can you see any gravy on my plate? No, I could barely see it either.

    I enjoyed the swede and carrot mash, which was soft and…well there isn’t really anything else to say.

    The parsnips were also good, and the flavour had been brought out nicely – they were soft too.

    Lock Him Up, Lock Him Up, Lock Him Up

    Things went downhill during roast potato season. They looked the part – they really did, I can assure you that. Probably crispy edges. However they probably were the part multiple hours ago – I guess again I need to remember to respect that Clink Restaurant isn’t any ordinary restaurant, and by this point I’d assumed that everything was served cold so that prisoners wouldn’t be able to throw hot food at prison guards in an attempt to escape – though a couple of the roast potatoes could potentially have made weapons.

    Anyway, alas, the roast potatoes were cold and old – and the coldness, along with the plastic cutlery made them a chore. You could call it criminal.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMXvQDkjxGs?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

    The cold theme went into extreme with the Yorkshire puddings – plural, aha – we had two really notably cold Yorkshire puddings. Not quite fridge cold, but cold. On the bright side, they were the softest, fluffiest yorkies in a long time. If you can get over the fact they were cold, then these were really good Yorkshire puddings. If you cannot get over that…then, well, maybe play a game of throw a yorkie over a prison fence on the way out.

    The sirloin of beef was respectable – two slices which were moderately thickly cut. Somewhat tender, lacking much in the way of seasoning, herbs or flavour, but it was pleasant enough.

    I’d describe the gravy but I barely had any. I tried to ask for extra gravy, but our waiter was more interested in the girls on the next table. Kind of understandable.

    And For Dessert…

    I’d chosen a rhubarb and hibiscus crumble for dessert, though there was also sorbet, lemon and raspberry sponge, milk buns and a chocolate tart of some description to choose from, going from memory.

    One accomplice had only eaten the parsnips, swede mash and one cold Yorkshire pudding – so I didn’t dare tell her that the yellow substance that the crumble came on, crème anglaise, reminded me of prison slop that you see in the movies.

    So I wasn’t sure about the crème anglaise, however the rhubarb crumble was nice, the tang of the rhubarb and the sugary coating of crisp crumble, is what I was there for. Damn I do love rhubarb crumble…even in a prison.

    AI-generated image of rhubarb custard on creme anglaise
    AI-generated

    That’s actually a pretty close representation.

    The Clink Restaurant – It’s For Charidee Mate

    Sure, this wasn’t the perfect roast dinner. Before I give scores, I will remind you that I treat everywhere the same on this tinpot blog, the scores are mostly just based on the roast dinner itself – though anything especially annoying or delightful may skew it slightly. The aim of this blog, apart from to outlast 100 re-incarnations of UKIP, is to provide a list of roast dinners, from exceptional to exceptionally bad, that you can cross-compare.

    You’ll have worked out that I’m not scoring The Clink Restaurant as highly as I’d like to. I’m not giving extra points for their mission. However, you should give The Clink Restaurant extra consideration for their mission – by eating here you are doing something good for the community, something good for society.

    If I have a bang average roast dinner at a Young’s pub, then all I’m helping is their shareholders…now I do love capitalism, but there isn’t a warm glow when other people’s stocks go up in value at the end of a day (the stocks I own are a different matter). There is a warm glow when you know you’ve hopefully gone a little way to helping someone find their path not only out of prison, but hopefully out of going back to prison ever again.

    With that said, I guess only the parsnips impressed. The yorkie was properly soft and fluffy…but cold.

    On the downside, the roasties were tough, the cabbage tough too…and I guess a lack of seasoning, herbs etc. Oh and the raw beetroot on a roast…no thanks. Though mostly it was just pretty ordinary…in a not so ordinary setting.

    My accomplices scored it a 6.50, a 7.10 and a, erm, 2.00 out of 10 (as she only ate two things).

    My score is a 6.60 out of 10.

    Please don’t let my score put you off. It’s not a fair comparison as I’m comparing what is effectively a training restaurant to 293 other professional pubs/restaurants with full-time employees. You should still go to The Clink Restaurant, both for the experience, and to do your bit for the community. I may well go back for non-Sunday meal at some point.

    Yeah, I didn’t mention the election. Don’t worry…I will. Next Sunday’s roast should be much better…if it isn’t in the 8’s, I’ll be shocked.

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  • 10 Best Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Published 24 May 2024, 7:38 am

  • Welcome to the ultimate list of the 10 Best Roast Dinners In London, updated for 2024.

    Why is this the ultimate list?

    Because I’ve actually eaten all of these roast dinners myself, as opposed to just asking around, reading TripAdvisor and copying other lists.

    And all of my reviews are anonymous – nobody knows I’m going, nobody knows I’m there. I don’t get extra roast potatoes, no pre-arranged videos of the chefs, none of my gawping face recording videos making it obvious who I am and why I deserve special treatment (I don’t deserve special treatment). As far as possible, I’m just like you, booking a roast dinner and going there to hopefully enjoy it.

    Sure, there’s likely some missing from this list – I’ve eaten nearly 300 at the time of writing, but there will be some roasts on some other list, or some other irritating video that deserves to be on here. Fine.

    Why don’t I just look at your league of roasts?

    Why don’t you just look at my league of roasts?

    Sure. Go for it.

    However, this list has been refined to remove those which were great when I reviewed, but I’m so sure are so great now – at least from reports I’ve had…oh and online reviews. Sue me.

    And they are all definitely still serving Sunday roasts, definitely still in business and don’t take a break for the summer – to the best of my knowledge.

    Without further ado, this is my 10 Best Roast Dinners In London.

    10. Cora Pearl, Covent Garden

    Well, I went here in 2023 so I’m certain Cora Pearl is still valid and excellent.

    Cora Pearl, Covent Garden roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    The venue is totally gorgeous, styled after a famous courtesan called Cora Pearl, mostly it has a playfulness that isn’t too hidden, along with a hint of elegance, along with a touch of art deco. If you like eating in cool, slightly quirky yet elegant places – this is a must visit.

    But most importantly, their roast dinner hit the mark – and I’ve had at least two people report back to me that it is still very much on form.

    The famous crispy potatoes deserve their fame, the yorkie was fluffy and the sirloin juicy. Vegetables were good too – just wish the gravy had a bit more to it in terms of consistency and flavour. But you cannot have everything.

    Visited: 2023.

    Rating: 8.49.

    9. The Black Lion, Kilburn

    Strangely enough, fewer people seem up for going to Kilburn than Covent Garden, so I don’t recall anyone reporting to me that my findings at The Black Lion in Kilburn are agreeable.

    So I am also relying on Google reviews here – yet they are all 5 stars, so I’m confident enough to keep it here.

    The Black Lion, Kilburn roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

    It was really the gravy that did it for me – gloriously think and meaty, the roasties pretty crispy, veg was good, and The Black Lion has a gorgeous ceiling too.

    And it was the only one to make my list of good, affordable roast dinners in London. What more do you want?

    Oh, for it to be in zone 1. Sigh.

    Visited: 2022.

    Rating: 8.55.

    8. The Gipsy Queen, Kentish Town

    This is the one on the list that makes me most nervous.

    Roast dinner at The Gipsy Queen
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2019

    It was 2019 when I visited – back before I realised that you had to hold a phone steady when taking a photograph.

    The Gipsy Queen is a proper community pub, yet they have a great beer selection too. Not long after I visited, I had reports of the roast dinner not deserving anywhere near the score I gave it – however a year or two ago, they made a point of rehiring the previous chef, and ever since then Google reviews are much more positive, and along the lines of my experience – albeit without the rocket leaves.

    They simply did all the most important parts with excellence – a fresh, eggy and properly fluffy Yorkie, very good roasties, beef close to divine and thick gravy.

    And I think it is still under £20.

    Visited: 2019.

    Rating: 8.68.

    7. The Red Lion & Sun, Highgate

    I’d been meaning to go here for ages and finally in 2023 a group of us got around to it – and also realised that you could pre-order suckling pig.

    The Red Lion & Sun, Highgate roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    There were a few annoyances like tiny plates, tiny jus thimbles and blunt knives – but that suckling pig more than made up for it.

    Roast potatoes were actually excellent, suckling pig was dreamy, the jus really grew on me – it aged really well.

    The Red Lion And Sun is a proper, great pub too. Albeit when I say proper pub, I really mean proper north London foodie pub. And the landlord is a legend. He hasn’t even paid me to say that, but he will one day buy me a beer – you reading this, Britney?

    Visited: 2023.

    Rating: 8.70

    6. The Fox & Pheasant, Chelsea

    The week before I visited The Fox & Pheasant in Chelsea, I’d been to Blacklock in Soho – so comparisons were obvious, yet I was even more impressed with The Fox & Pheasant – at least their roast anyway, and that is what you are here for.

    The Fox & Pheasant, Chelsea roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2021

    Proper Chelsea vibes inside with all the cute dogs wearing bow ties, and some properly pretty young ladies/gentlemen – definitely not like me.

    Yet despite it being Chelsea, The Fox And Pheasant served proper northern gravy, really good pork belly, a great yorkie, and smoky parsnip puree that was just divine.

    And, yes, Google reviews keep using words like “amazing” – some of the most recent photos look even better than what I had.

    Visited: 2021.

    Rating: 8.75.

    5. Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho

    I didn’t really have any expectations for Sussex Bar & Restaurant in Soho, when I visited one probably rainy day in 2024, as pretty much every day has been rainy in 2024.

    Yet we all came away majorly impressed.

    Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    They specialise in beef wellington, but sadly there was nobody willing to share it with me. Instead I had the pork which was really good, and also upgraded to have a bone marrow yorkie – and this was dreamy.

    The quality of ingredients was excellent, vegetables all super, crispy yorkie with bone marrow a dream – pork and gravy really good too. Like, everything was really good.

    Visited: 2024.

    Rating: 8.86.

    4. The George, The Strand

    The oldest one on the list, visited in 2018 and again it gives me some nerves in recommending it. I know the restaurant upstairs is still excellent, and a couple of people have reported to me that The George’s roast dinner is still very good – so hopefully it deserves its place on the list.

    The George, The Strand roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2018

    It was the inventiveness that pushed it over a 9.00 for me – especially the mustard seed mash. Amazing cauliflower cheese, crispy roast potatoes, possibly the plumpest chicken I’ve ever had.

    Is it still a 9 out of 10? No idea, but the Google reviews and attached photographs still look excellent, so I doubt you’ll be disappointed, and maybe it is still truly excellent.

    Visited: 2018.

    Rating: 9.02.

    3. The Ladbroke Arms, Holland Park

    Remember when we got to 40’C in London? Well, this roast was the day before – there was a certain trepidation in the air as people wondered what 40’C in London would be like.

    I, on the other hand, was marvelling in the delights of the roast dinner at The Ladbroke Arms. Roast on Sunday, roasted on Monday.

    The Ladbroke Arms, Holland Park roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2022

    Let’s get it out of the way – the gravy was tomato-based. If it wasn’t – this would have been number one, but it was still good enough.

    The pork belly and cabbage were particularly sensational – like unimprovably superb. The roast potatoes and carrots were also excellent. Why isn’t every roast dinner like this? Well, it could be for you, if you just visit all of my top 10.

    Visited: 2022.

    Rating: 9.05.

    2. The Harwood Arms, Fulham

    Well, I’ve written so many superlatives for The Harwood Arms that I’m kind of bored writing about it now.

    The Harwood Arms, Fulham roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    You tend to have to book this on the day that they release the tables – which is 90 days beforehand. There aren’t that many tables, and it is a Michelin star pub, so very much in demand. And pricey too – but also very well worth it.

    The Cote De Boeuf was sensational, the vegetables all excellent with different flavours, service superb and the yorkie was stuffed with some kind of braised beef concoction. Plus dessert was superb too. Worth the money and worth the wait – I don’t need to check Google reviews to know this will still be superb in 5 year’s time.

    Visited: 2023.

    Rating: 9.10.

    1. Blacklock, Shoreditch

    What is one of the most important moments of anyone’s life? Losing their virginity, of course. Blacklock virginity.

    Blacklock, Shoreditch roast dinner - number one in the Best Roast Dinners In London
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2019

    I’ve been to Blacklock three times for a roast dinner – the Covent Garden one annoyed me but was still close to excellent, Soho was excellent apart from the beef and overdone yorkie.

    Blacklock Shoreditch, however, was the one. My one. The number one. And is still top of the league table.

    It’s the best roast in London – amazing gravy, great roasties, wonderful service, that white chocolate cheesecake is just totally divine. I think they do pork and lamb better than they do beef, at least in my experience – yet a flick through the Google reviews and the beef looks miles better than I had in 2019. And, yes, there is still the City and Canary Wharf branches to review too.

    Another one that you need to book well in advance, around 6 weeks or so – though you could always try a walk-in. Just have a back-up plan!

    Visited: 2019.

    Rating: 9.29.

    Honourable Mentions

    If the head chef of Wood Street Bar & Kitchen in Barbican reads this he’ll be onto me…but there are no recent reviews of roasts there, I know he didn’t serve them last summer, and there is no mention on the website of roast dinners being served. So I cannot add somewhere to the list that I don’t know whether they will have roasts…but their food is excellent nonetheless.

    The Red Cow in Farringdon and The Dove in Hammersmith are two that scored higher than some roasts in this list of best roast dinners in London, but I just don’t have the confidence that they are still worthy of being here.

    The Little Blue Door in Fulham served a gorgeous roast once upon a time. No more, alas, but a super fun venue to go to.

    And then there are two closed restaurants – Mac & Wild in Fitzrovia, and Madame Pigg in Dalston – both superb. Madame Pigg is worth keeping an eye out for though – he still does some pop-ups, and I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t be superb. I dearly hope he has another crack at a venue soon.

    Thanks for reading this ultimate list of best roast dinners in London – feel free to send me your recommendations as always, sometimes I even don’t ignore them.

    The post 10 Best Roast Dinners In London 2024 appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • Roast Dinner Awards 2023 – Part 2

    Published 22 May 2024, 6:47 am

  • Gosh is there a part 2 to my roast dinner awards? I could just forget about it and not do it – like anyone is really expecting me to finish, and like anyone cares about 2023 now it is April May.

    It’s hard to find the time, you know.

    What I should have done is had a week off roast dinners and…

    Image via Number 10 under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    No, it’s not happening, Liz. Neither am I having a week off – only lockdowns, masks, Christmas and holidays can stop me. And even on holiday, I always look for a roast dinner for Roast Dinners Around The World.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to do a part 2 of a BBC series and play the highlights of the previous episode for 5 minutes (I guess their SEO plugin tells them to do that). Let’s crack on, see if I can actually finish it before summer starts ends.

    Worst Vegetables

    Two places come to mind that really pissed me off with their vegetable offerings.

    Firstly we had The Grapes in Limehouse – one of those “must visit” pubs apparently, but actually a dingy, dirty dive that we are sending tourists to. Well, not me, I’m not.

    What offended me most was the cauliflower – as refined as interview responses from Lee Anderson – boiled to a light extent, but mostly tough and unappealing. I didn’t finish finish my one floret.

    Yet though not inedible, the winner of worst vegetables goes to Ganley’s Irish Bar.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    All the veg was very basic, but the roast came with thick gravy – thick until they added a reservoir’s worth of water with the soggy cabbage.

    Best Vegetables

    Last year…well, the awards that I published last year had a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize to variants of hispi cabbage.

    Not this year. It would be boring to give the award to The Harwood Arms, yet they did the basics of carrots and broccoli really well.

    You could have an argument for Fallow, a roast that disappointed in terms of expectations but was still very good – the carrot and swede really was superb – creamy and swedey with a very slight hint of herbs.

    My winner of best vegetable for 2023, and we are not talking vegetables like Liz Truss’ economic policies, goes to (that was 2022 anyway) – The Dox & Fox in Wimbledon.

    A Young’s pub. Serious.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Of course the roast potatoes were shit, and yes, the Yorkshire pudding was spectacularly bad. Yet the celeriac puree was outstanding – a proper wow. Really creamy, rather peppery, proper wow.

    Don’t bother going here for a roast dinner. Maybe keep an eye out to see if they do a celeriac puree shake or something.

    Best Cauliflower Cheese

    I’ve stopped ordering sides of cauliflower cheese as a rule, but when someone asks me if we should, then…well, you know I’m a people pleaser. I want to make people happy.

    For sale on Ebay

    See…I’ve literally only put that there to make a friend happy.

    There’s a very good argument for 3 winners here. Whole Beast offered a cauliflower cheese that had been brined overnight, rubbed in their BBQ rub and smoked. With 6 types of cheese (allegedly), and cheese and onion crisps on top. Yet, as great as it was, it did overshadow the rest of the roast dinner.

    Again, I could happily give this to The Harwood Arms who offered exquisite cauliflower cheese – proper, sticky, creamy, cheesy sauce too.

    Yet the winner is Cue Point. Perhaps partly because I’m in love with Mursal, who runs Cue Point, seems to have a fiery attitude and stands up for liberalism and peace – always something I admire, though perhaps more pertinently for the purpose of this blog (as much as I am kinda political too) is promoting Afghan meats. And damn is Cue Point’s meat sexy.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    The sauce was so damn sexy, peeling away like cheese-strings, it made fantastic dipping sauce for the roast potatoes – and the cauliflower itself was cooked well, with a crunch.  We actually ordered extra as a dessert – it was that good.

    Cue Point don’t get everything right, they sometimes seem to completely screw up looking at Google reviews, but most of the time their food, especially their meat – and here, the cauliflower cheese, are sensational.

    Worst Yorkshire Pudding

    I’ve got 7 places on my shortlist for this award – no other award comes close, even worst roast potato only has 4 places on the shortlist.

    We used to have a jus problem in London, but it seems to be over and yes, I am taking full credit. We used to have a roast potato problem in London, but this is improving, and yes, I am taking full credit for it also.

    Now, we have a serious Yorkshire pudding problem. I’m not giving the award for worst Yorkshire pudding to The Wilton Arms, despite describing it as “dried out shit”. I’ve love to give another “worst” award to The Grapes, for their fucking miserable roast dinner – but their Yorkshire pudding was only burnt and dry on top. The Duchess’ yorkie I described as “an over-sized Quaver of heatlampitis”. Still not quite bad enough to win this award.

    The Trafalgar Tavern – a gnawing, rubbery texture, somewhat dry, somewhat burnt, right-wing – and yes, shit. But not quite shit enough for this award.

    The Dox & Fox in Wimbledon, the surprise winner of an award for best vegetable was back to the usual Young’s pub form with their yorkie – outright inedible, bar the very bottom layer which was still around as crispy as burnt bacon. Still not the winner of worst Yorkshire pudding for 2023.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    It’s a real shame but I have to give this award to Renegade Urban Winery in Walthamstow, an otherwise very likeable roast dinner, plus superb venue. All publicity is good publicity, right?

    Obviously this was inedible – though I tried. I don’t know what week this was cooked in, and it had quite possibly been cooked for a week too. Even the bottom part was burnt. This was just abominable…most of the ones I mentioned were, but this just made me laugh. Like…bin it, don’t serve it, give us an extra roast potato as an apology instead.

    London – sort out your Yorkshire puddings!

    Best Yorkshire Pudding

    Ahhh I can be nice again.

    Photo via Gage Skidmore under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

    The yorkie that really surprised me was my journey to The Star Of The East in Poplar – properly soft throughout, a little eggy with some crispness to the outside, and almost definitely cooked the same day. I was impressed.

    However, it wasn’t quite on the lines of the beauty from Cora Pearl:

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    I was really taken by the whole vibe of this very cute restaurant near Covent Garden – Cora Pearl was a famous courtesan, apparently, so the vibe is a slightly seedy yet glamorous boudoir, playful decoration with a touch of art deco – and I do like a bit of deco to my art.

    Why was this Yorkshire pudding so good? Soft, fluffy and small – it was almost lickable inside. It was just really rather delectable.

    Worst Roast Potatoes

    Getting into the business side of things like we’ll get into the Donald Trump investigations over the coming years.

    He’s not a potato though.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Definitely not a potato. Speaking of things that were potatoes before certain establishments got their hands on them and left them overnight to rot, let’s take a look at the worst roast potatoes of 2023.

    Bistro Union offered two tough, chewy and stale roasties – yet one excellent one. I can only assume two were left over from the week before. It gets worse…of course it does.

    I want to give more awards to The Grapes, for their roast dinner really pissed me off.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Almost certainly deep-fried, and they smelt like they’d been fried in the same basket as fish. WTF?

    Not quite as bad as The Green Goose though.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Pretty much the chef had dumped a load of waxy, summer-style cheap potatoes in an oven tray and left them – some of them were grey inside and they tasted stale too.

    Abominable.

    Yet they still don’t win the award of worst roast potatoes of 2023. This goes to…the place where I arranged our group Christmas roast dinner, a place that I thought might be really good. Somewhere I’d been saving for special group occasion. The Old Fountain in Shoreditch.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Thankfully there were only two of them each – but they were utterly grey and stale. They were soft, but didn’t actually taste like they’d seen an oven…or even a deep fat fryer. I don’t even want to think…did they really serve us uncooked roast potatoes that had gone soft?

    Best We Cannot Actually Be Arsed To Attempt Roast Potatoes

    I’ll try to make this award shorter – there is only one nominee this time.

    It is sadly a thing that some pubs/restaurants have concluded that they are not going to attempt roast potatoes. Mostly this is unacceptable.

    But I’ll make an exception for Cora Pearl.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    The crispy potatoes were arguably the highlight of the meal – basically they were layered sheets of potato, with some creaminess, roasted to bring them to crispy delightfulness then cut into potato-sized portions (I think they do their chips the same way).

    Banging.

    Best Roast Potatoes

    You won’t be too surprised that I’m only considering two places for the nomination of best roast potatoes, even if I feel that the standard had improved during 2023, in the same kind of way that Jeremy Hunt’s handling of the economy improved from Kwasi Kwartankeditproper’s 11 hours as chancellor.

    Firstly The Wilton Arms, who would have been serving perfect roast potatoes had I not turned up at 5pm – properly crispy on the outside, fairly soft on the inside though unusually hot. Hello microwave.

    So, only just, the winner of best roast potato of 2023 is The Red Lion And Sun in Highgate.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. These were close to perfect, a tiny bit fresher and they would have been perfect.

    Shit Meat

    There’s only one place that comes to mind here but boy does it come to mind.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    And mouth.

    Holy shit this was shit meat. Congratulations to The Green Goose for making me consider veganism for 20 minutes of my life.

    I can imagine the conversation in the kitchen, “hey I’ve burnt the pork belly, what do I do?”. “Oh just put some thyme on top, the customer won’t be able to tell it is burnt then”.

    It was burnt. How? Why? Why serve it? Why the hell are you sending that to a customer? Somehow it was even slightly pink inside yet totally overcooked.

    Sure, I could have cut off the burnt part, but the rest of the pork belly was dry and overcooked too. This was just a true abomination.

    Want to see it again?

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Someone needs a new career, I’m afraid. And it ain’t me. Well, it will be in a few years once AI takes over.

    Sexiest Meat

    You’ll be pleased to know that there are no shortage of candidates for sexiest meat.

    I’ve fawned over them already (well, maybe the owner also) but Cue Point’s beef brisket was just gorgeously smoked.

    The Baring is barely getting a mention in the awards which is undeserved – it was my send-off roast before I moved to Spain for a month to not find a Spanish wife because I’m still ugly with a sun tan, but the beef here was sexually sensational. Yet it isn’t the winner.

    Goodman’s rib of beef was excellent, though not a patch on the striploin which my accomplices had – so I’ll have to pass on them being the winner.

    Barge East’s bank holiday Monday porchetta was excellent, if a tad salty, and the suckling pig at The Red Lion And Sun was also superb, juicy and tender, with sooooo much meat.

    But there is only one winner, and it ain’t too surprising.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    The Harwood Arms. Of course. With 3 separate types of beef on one sharing platter – you pay for it, but fuck me it’s totally delicious and totally worth every pound.

    The Cote De Boeuf was divine and very much worth the £12.50 each supplement. The fat was gooey and rendered perfectly, the meat itself was just totally melt in your mouth – succulent and juicy.

    Also there was a cube of short rib, which was notably more fatty, but gloriously so in a kind of gooey way, topped with shallot and some kind of salsa verde type thing.

    Also this:

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    Forget that the yorkie was burnt – they didn’t get nominated for that, but inside there was this concoction of braised beef, I think bone marrow, and some onion/fennel too.

    You know when you go to a restaurant and they cook something nice, but you realise you could do that yourself? Well, there is no way I’d get the Cote De Boeuf that perfect, I wouldn’t know how to get the short rib that gooey, and the braised beef concoction – maybe I’d get something good, but I doubt that good. This was proper sexy meat, three types and all three significantly better than I could do myself.

    Worst Gravy

    Gravy standards have improved over my time reviewing roast dinners, and I am taking credit for it.

    Yet there are some places like Browns that insist on still offering rich, wanky jus.

    Or Bistro Union, who offered pretty much slightly browned water – a la any Young’s pub you might want to have a roast dinner at too.

    But the winner is…

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    The Apollo Arms in Clapham served me a…yuck…jus, that was also yuck. It was sticky, it was sweet – it left an increasingly yacky aftertaste. It was sad.

    Best Gravy

    I did spend some time considering whether best gravy should come before best meat – but a great gravy really makes a roast dinner, and can improve lesser parts. A sexy piece of overnight smoked beef brisket ain’t improving those undercooked roast potatoes.

    So really, this is the most important award – except perhaps best roast dinner. To be even nominated is truly sexy.

    Image via Paula Satijn under license CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED

    The Talbot in Dalston didn’t provide enough gravy, but what it did provide was really good, proper thick gravy.

    Whole Beast provided…white gravy, which didn’t go down a storm on Twitter from people judging a photo – this is post Elon Musk, so you would have thought whites would have supremacy. However, it was made from the chicken juices, with a heavy smoky flavour – and…and…THICK. Were it not white, it may well have won the award.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    So the winner of best gravy 2023 goes to The Old Nun’s Head in Nunhead. They may not have wanted to give me any vegetables, but it was proper thick meat-stock gravy in all it’s glory. It was score-bumping gravy. It was quite possibly award-winning gravy…lo and behold it has won the award for best gravy of 2023.

    Yeah I’m racist towards gravy. Not too black (Islington Townhouse), definitely not white – but all browns that aren’t sticky or sweet are welcome.

    Worst Roast Dinner

    Get in loser.

    Meme

    There were three memorably bad roast dinners in 2023, three deserved losers. But only one candidate can truly be the loser.

    The Old Fountain in Shoreditch deserve to be crowned ultimate loser of 2023, for providing a tragic roast for our group Christmas meal. The worst roast potatoes in a long time – grey and uncooked. Yorkie too crispy, stuffing burnt, chicken dry. Meh.

    But they saved themselves somewhat with decent gravy and a really good beer selection.

    Again rescued by decent gravy, I still cannot get over how bad The Grapes in Limehouse was. Cauliflower solid, deep fried oversized “roast” potatoes that tasted a bit like fish, overcooked pork and a nasty aftertaste. Pretty grim venue too. Maybe time to be suspicious of places without an Instagram account.

    If you’ve been reading, you’ll already know who the winner is though.

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2023

    It doesn’t need words. Just look at those potatoes, and see how burnt the pork belly is. They actually served this. They even asked if everything was alright.

    Yeah it’s The Green Goose in Bow. Just don’t go.

    Best Roast Dinner

    We are peaking.

    Image via Feggy Art under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    I actually gave 14 places a score of 8.00 or higher in 2023.

    The Prince in Stoke Newington was well up there, with succulent pork belly and thick gravy. The Baring in Islington provided sexual beef and fluffy insides to the yorkie – there was a lot of excellence to the place.

    Cora Pearl were a surprise hit, especially with those award-winning not-roast potatoes. And the suckling pig at The Red Lion And Sun…all worthy runners up for best roast dinner of 2023.

    But the winner…I had to book exactly 90 days beforehand, on the day they open their reservations. It was 3 courses for £65.00, though our Cote De Boeuf was an extra £12.50 each, and it has one of the Michelin star things.

    The Harwood Arms in Fulham. A truly deserved winner of best roast dinner of 2023.

    The Cote De Boeuf was sensational, the vegetables all excellent with different flavours, service superb and the yorkie was stuffed (albeit burnt).

    So close to taking the crown from Blacklock, with a score of 9.10 out of 10. Astonishingly good.

    Image via Ted Eytan under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

    The post Roast Dinner Awards 2023 – Part 2 appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • Booking Office 1869, King’s Cross

    Published 20 May 2024, 7:07 am

  • It was time to make the most of our Brexit freedoms, and have a roast dinner. This week at Booking Office 1869 in King’s Cross.

    Kemi Badenoch telling us that we can have pavement dining thanks to Brexit freedoms.

    Just imagine the scenes in European capitals when it comes to the next election for the European Parliament, when French, Spanish and Italians find out that one of the many advantages of Brexit is that in the UK we are now allowed outdoor drinking in cafes and bars.

    They will be clamouring to leave the European Union so they can also have such Brexit freedoms.

    Roast dinners…how many of them have you seen in EU countries?

    Exactly. And that’s clearly yet another Brexit freedom. Every single roast dinner review I’ve done in London has been since the Brexit vote.

    Kemi Badenoch signing a trade deal that isn't a trade deal

    And look – the next new newest next-ish Margaret Thatcher has got us another trade deal – this time with the wonderful country of Texas, which of course isn’t a country and nor is it a trade deal, but you know what it is?

    BREXIT FREEDOMS.

    Tell me how many other EU countries have trade deals that aren’t trade deals with countries that aren’t countries?

    Book Me A Train Out Of This Stupid Damn Country

    As tempted as I was, being in St Pancras to just jump over the barriers and catch a train out of this stupid country, I was here for the floor tiles.

    Floor tiles at Booking Office 1869, King's Cross
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Zig a zig ah. As soon as I heard that Booking Office 1869 was opening and it was going to be serving a Sunday roast, I was much intrigued. One of those restaurants that I’d love to visit for the experience, for the design of the space, for the feel of being in there – rather than than for the food itself. Of course, I hoped for a good roast too.

    On the looks side, it really didn’t let me down:

    Inside the grand Booking Office 1869, King's Cross
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Perhaps I let it down, wandering in hungover with badly creased denim shorts, my hair scruffier than normal, my eyelids drooping.

    Yet it really was a rather grand space inside – apparently styled after the original 19th century ticket office (in 160 years time I guess we’ll be styling restaurants after the 21st century Euston concourse), there was a feeling of opulence about it though without being in your face posh. Booking Office 1869 is accessible grandeur, assuming you find paying £35.00 for a Sunday roast accessible, of course.

    Once you amble through the hotel lobby into the restaurant, there are multiple people to greet you – there are quite the plethora of staff, all very diligent and quick to do their role. One of the greeting ladies had an impressive fringe, though also kind of reminded me of a Bond villain.

    Book Me A Flight Out Of This Stupid Damn Country

    Sunday roast menu at Booking Office 1869, King's Cross
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Of course, such grandeur comes with a £35.00 price tag for a roast dinner, whether that be sirloin of beef, or corn fed chicken. Should you take the vegan option that comes with your Brexit freedoms, then there was celeriac for £28.00.

    Celeriac for £28.00.

    Celeriac for £28.00.

    Celeriac for £28.00.

    I went for the chicken, which for some reason doesn’t seem to quite require repeating the price to you multiple times. What I do want to moan about is the price of a beer – you might think a bang average pale ale for £6.50 is fine, yet these were served by the schooner, not the pint. Ouch.

    Chicken roast dinner at Booking Office 1869, King's Cross
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It was one of those plate it yourself offerings, so if you don’t like the presentation, then firstly blame me, and secondly stick your blue passport up your rectum.

    The carrot was roasted and was pleasant enough.

    Get Me On A Tractor Out Of This Stupid Damn Country

    I’d sacrificed one of my parsnips to my vegan accomplice, who was unable to eat her Yorkshire pudding, despite the waiting staff insisting that it was made with flour, milk and eggs and was therefore vegan, at least for a good few seconds before he decided to believe us.

    My sacrifice was almost as meaningful as sacrificing our right to live and work in the EU for taking back control of immigration and subsequently more than doubling it, for the parsnip was quite delightful. Perfectly cooked in terms of tenderness, and plenty of parsnippy flavour. Regular readers will know that I was overdue a full-on Brexit moan…it’s here, babes.

    The red cabbage was nice, sweet and fruity though with a risk of purple pollution – not that there was much gravy to pollute at first, though far more gravy arrived later.

    Chicken Sunday roast at Booking Office 1869, King's Cross
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The two roast potatoes were respectable. Not exactly crispy on the outside, but on their way, fairly soft in the middle, relatively freshly cooked – if a little on the cold side.

    My Yorkshire pudding was a bit of a tearable, cardboard-ish texture – again relatively freshly cooked but on the cold side. However the extra “vegan” Yorkshire pudding that my vegan friend couldn’t eat because it had milk and eggs in was much softer and fluffier inside.

    Oh well, at least I haven’t had my happiness stolen by pylons.

    Some miserable woman complaining that a plan to build pylons has stolen her happiness.

    One assumes some government taxpayer compensation for the shocking idea of pylons that deliver electricity to the rest of the country will miraculously regain her happiness. Sigh.

    Whilst we are stealing happiness, my vegan accomplice’s celeriac was undercooked in places, plus there was no vegan gravy. I guess you make your bed, you choose your diet – but offering a roasted vegetable that you haven’t roasted properly as a vegan offering always seems very weak to me.

    Give Me A Jetpack And Get Me Out Of This Stupid Damn Country

    What else do I need to talk about?

    Oh the chicken, which had been spatchcocked and chargrilled. It was pretty good quality chicken, even if the chargrilled flavour did remind of eating chargrilled chicken at a Beefeater in Reading in 2005. The breast was fairly plump, if a tad dry, the thigh was fairly juicy.

    I think it was the right choice – my beef-eating accomplice described hers as “just beef”. It looked pretty ordinary.

    And finally, the gravy, which was a bit too salty for my tastes, but otherwise was a solid effort. Slightly rich, slightly meaty but mostly quite salty.

    Shall we have a look at Pylon Of The Month?

    Pylon of the month from April 2024
    No copyright – via Pylon Of The Month

    Look at those stunners. Though I’m more a fan of February’s entry – this beautiful D90 tension pylon – just look at the strength and power of the left arm there.

    Pylon of the month from February 2024
    No copyright – via Pylon Of The Month

    Pylons – bringing beauty, electricity and happiness to almost everyone in the UK.

    Booking Office 1869. Book me a flying pylon outta here.

    Booking Office 1869 was pretty much as I expected – stunning inside, with pretty average and very much overpriced food, if you are basing your judgement of value on just the food alone. For having such grand surroundings and plenty of staff costs money.

    It’s not a bad roast. I didn’t really dislike anything – the gravy was a bit too salty, one yorkie was a bit tearable, but otherwise everything was fine.

    Likewise there isn’t much to behold the pylon joy of – the chicken was good quality, and I really liked the parsnip.

    My beefy accomplice scored it a 7.10, my vegan accomplice scored it a 7.00 – and I’m scoring it a 6.98 out of 10.

    I think if Booking Office 1869 want to be renowned for food, then they will need to up their game. But until then, they’ll be able to serve respectable food at fairly eye-opening prices to those passing through, those staying at the hotel and those, like me, who just want to gawp at the rather opulent inside.

    I’ll be back next week, and it will be somewhere that I dearly hope Donald Trump is on his way to.

    Never be scared to mention Brexit

    Confirm I fucking well own that.

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  • Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich

    Published 13 May 2024, 6:39 am

  • From East Croydon to East Dulwich, this time I sauntered into the proper luvvie land of East Dulwich, with a roast dinner at Kix Bar & Kitchen.

    You know when you go somewhere and you realise that you’d rather live there? That happened to me as I wandered along Lordship Lane in East Dulwich, admiring the tree-lined neighbourhoods, wishing I lived there instead of Croydon.

    Maybe it’s the sunshine – hell even Croydon can look alright in the sunshine…well I quite like Croydon anyway. But I do wish that I had the money to have a proper bougie lifestyle in East Dulwich.

    That said – I’d never had a good roast dinner in East Dulwich. Granted I’d only had two – The Herne Tavern and the truly abominable East Dulwich Tavern…I think perhaps 10 years ago, pre-rdldn, I had one in The Bishop which was bang average. For all its chi-chi charms, cuddly dogs and swamped village vibes, my limited research had East Dulwich down as one of those London areas where presentation far suffices content.

    As you’ve likely noticed from the cover image, Kix Bar & Kitchen haven’t quite sussed out the presentation.

    Get Your Kix For Free

    It’s been a week cursed by dictators. The dictator with a tiny cock in Moscow still feels like terrorising citizens of a completely different country that he should get the fuck out of.

    Not quite as serious, but the owner of my football club has decided to sack our manager for finishing 7th in the league, with one of the smallest wage budgets in the league, having escaped relegation the season before, a manager who the fans mostly loved and are attached to, a manager who’s nan is from Hull, and who most the players really appreciated. Apparently we don’t play attacking enough football and the owner would rather lose 3-2 than draw 0-0. OK…your money dude. Well, probably our club’s money that will need to be paid back to him when he’s bored of his toy.

    And then we have CEOs increasingly banging on about everyone being back in the office, for example Boots where the CEO says that the office is a “much more fun and inspiring place” with everyone in attendance.”.

    https://tenor.com/embed.js

    “We really value the team spirit that comes with being together in person”.

    https://tenor.com/embed.js

    I VALUE PEACE AND QUIET SO I CAN GET MY FUCKING JOB DONE.

    I grant you that I don’t hate my enforced one day a week in the office that I keep being reminded I have committed to (I have been committed to it, more like) and must do it otherwise there will be collective punishment of the likes of the CCCP…expecting a hotline to grass up working from home colleagues to be announced any day soon.

    You’ll get your kix on Route 66

    Sigh, but at least we still we all got lots of joy from Eurovision, the wonderful entry from Israel…ohhh, erm…how about the fact that a man in a skirt…ohhh, erm…how about the fact a non-binary person won…ohhh.

    Well, at least Eurovision upset all of the woke levels this time.

    Netta Barzilai, Israel's Eurovision winner in 2018
    Dewayne Barkley, EuroVisionary, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

    Ahhh shit I’m going to be boycotted by my 8 readers now because I’ve featured an image of a previous Eurovision winner from Israel.

    But if every can maybe start boycotting companies that force a 5 day a week return to the office, I’m sure that will make all the difference in the fight for sanity in this world, just as much as boycotting Eurovision will finally persuade Netanyahu (not a dictator but will hopefully be in jail in due course, at least for corruption) to withdraw from Gaza, stop bombing it and allowing the citizens some dignity (at least what is possible when your land is run by a terrorist organisation).

    Maybe I should talk about the roast.

    Come on, we got to kix that gangster shit

    To be fair my opening gambit did talk about roast dinners. Anyway, I was sat in the garden of Kix Bar & Kitchen, and I couldn’t help feeling that I was in the garden of a terraced house in south London. It was a little sun trap sat in the back…and I was close to calling it quits and heading for the shaded front outdoor area. But I persisted – I always feel I should take advantage of our brief moments of outdoor eating potential, before the dictatorship of wasps conquers outdoors once more.

    Back garden at Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Inside was more dimly-lit, and reminded me more of a cocktail bar – Kix Bar & Kitchen styles itself as a Mexican and East Asian fusion, whatever that is, but then does a Sunday roast (joy!), albeit with no Mexican or East Asian fusion to it.

    It does indeed have a large cocktail list – I just had a Lordship Lager, for I am Lord Gravy.

    Roast dinner menu at Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Options on the menu were beef sirloin at £22.00 and jerk chicken at £21.00 – not convinced that jerk chicken is either Mexican or East Asian, so maybe the restaurant is actually Mexican, Jamaican, Yorkshire and East Asian fusion.

    I’m not yet won over by the alleged delights of jerk (I feel eventually this will happen), so I went for the beef sirloin. For vegans, there was also a jackfruit and kidney ale pie, at £18.00. Not for me.

    My roast took around 15 minutes to arrive:

    Been Sirloin Sunday Roast at Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Confirm that not everywhere in East Dulwich prioritises presentation.

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    Indeed. But it was better than it looks. Tell me more. OK, I will. I just need to think of a heading for the next section. A song with the word, “kicks” in it, that I am cleverly shortening to “kix” because I’m so relevant. And funny. And clever. And cool. And boycotted.

    I Get A Kix Out Of You

    Shall we start with the sludge?

    Pile of yellow suldge at Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I can only describe this as a big pile of yellow sludge. The volume, the colour and the presentation were all garish – yet the flavour was not so, in fact a rather mild and slightly creamy puree of swede and carrot. Quite how it made it to quite that colour, I’ve no idea. It was inoffensive to eat, but objectively offensive in being.

    We (me) had a few sticks of tenderstem, soft enough but with a bite, charred on the outside – I liked them.

    You cannot see it very well, but there was also an ever-lasting pile of red cabbage, sat underneath the frisbee which had landed on top of my dinner. Again, far too much of it, soft in texture, mild in flavour – none of that winter spice crap that some pubs insist on, though there was a sweet tang to it.

    Been Sirloin Roast Dinner at Kix Bar & Kitchen, East Dulwich
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The roast potatoes were good – freshly made, some crispy sides, quite soft in the middle – another 10 minutes in the oven and they would have been banging roasties.

    I was advised that the food was delayed due to the chef waiting for the Yorkshire pudding to be ready. I think he/she needed to wait a bit longer for it was as flat as a Rishi Sunak speech in a library, though at least it was actually freshly cooked – miracle. Otherwise it was a bit too soft really…the texture just wasn’t quite right. Decent effort and better than many of the burnt, dried-out ones I get elsewhere. Are we good for boycotting companies enforcing their office staff to go back 4-5 times a week?

    I’ve had better sirloin, but then again I went out for dinner the night before, and two accomplices had ordered a rare T-bone steak to share that turned up well done – so I should perhaps be happy for small mercies. This was OK sirloin, I’m not sure that the quality of beef was the best (nor the worst), the fat needed rendering more – yet it was a generous portion (most is hidden by the representation of “planet” Earth on top of it).

    Finally, the gravy was reasonable if a slightly unusual flavour – more sweet, along the lines of balsamic vinegar and mustard, but also had a fair consistency to it. I’d prefer a meat-stock gravy, but I quite liked it.

    Kix Bar & Kitchen

    Kix Bar & Kitchen is the kind of independent venue that I dearly wish I could write a raving review of, and demand that everyone across south London makes a pilgrimage.

    What I can offer in terms of positives is that the roast potatoes were good, the portion was generous, the service staff were super warm and welcoming, the garden is a little sun trap, the cocktail list is interesting, the vibe is cool and the Monday to Saturday menu looks interesting.

    But damn they have to improve their presentation. Nothing else was really badly wrong – too much sludge and red cabbage for my tastes, the yorkie failed to rise but haven’t we all had those issues? The beef sirloin could have been better but it was, as my mother describes everything (except Sadiq Khan), “fine”.

    Whilst it isn’t a stand-out roast, and nobody from north London is going to read this and book a table – it is still the best roast dinner I’ve had in East Dulwich, and I’d happy come back here another time for the Monkfish tacos, for example. If you are in the area, its definitely worth a visit…I’m certainly not aware of anywhere doing a better roast in East Dulwich.

    My score is a respectable 7.14 out of 10.

    I’ll be back next week. Somewhere stunning…though with prices to match. I’ll leave you with the delights of Nana Banana…if you dare.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4N6mq0IjvA?start=67&feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

    I accept and understand your boycott.

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