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  • St John’s Tavern, Archway

    Published 10 April 2024, 7:46 am

  • It was time to welcome Lord Gravy back to life in the UK, with a roast dinner at St John’s Tavern in Archway.

    Ahhhh feel those gravy vibes.

    I love going on holiday, but there’s something satisfying about returning to a land of M&S sandwiches, mind the gap announcements and a lazy Sunday afternoon eating a large roast dinner, accompanied by a couple of nice beers. Bliss. At least it is when it goes right.

    You may have noticed that there was no addition to Roast Dinners Around The World from Palermo in Sicily. I didn’t find a chicken shop, I didn’t find a Starbucks, and, no, I didn’t find anywhere professing to sell British food. Hell, I didn’t even find an Indian or Chinese restaurant in Palermo. They seem to be into their Italian food there.

    Tell me you wouldn’t eat all of that gorgeous Italian-ness.

    Whilst in the UK, we can only experience the best of British cuisine on a Sunday, possibly because Henry VIII named it “Sunday roast” and since Brexit everyone is scared of the government’s Henry VIII powers and therefore Sunday it is (possibly this has the same level of truth as The Daily Express).

    Yet what is the most popular page of RDLDN that people visit via Google searches?

    List of popular searches for my website - top being "where to get a roast dinner not on a Sunday"

    Saturday roasts will become a thing, if I have anything to do with it. And if my boss has anything to do with it – they seem to prefer the talkative Tuesday version of me to the grunting post-Sunday Funday version of me. Quite how people do jobs that involve talking on a Monday, I do not know.

    St Rishi’s Cabin

    St John’s Tavern is a rather large pub and I assume recently renovated – a quick Google search suggests they are in the middle of renovating – they aren’t, and they need to update their meta description, or maybe just have a meta description in the first place.

    Google search for St John's Tavern which says "coming soon".

    It was quiet inside, especially in the pub half which was almost scarily quiet – is there a pandemic coming that I don’t know about? Thankfully the politely spacious dining room had more of a buzz to it, decorated with various artworks that were for sale, mostly featuring flowers and trees. Pretty, and I do need some art but also I need some curtains especially now it is getting lighter.

    We noted the grill in the kitchen which was flame-cooking the beef and some sausages too, on occasional.

    Roast dinner menu at St John's Tavern, Archway

    Considering it was quite an upmarket renovation of St John’s Tavern, I was surprised to see the prices for roasts under £20.00.

    Alas, they didn’t come with any sides. I’m not sure about this concept – on the one hand it does make things a little more interesting to be able to pick your own vegetables, plus if you are on a date and your opposite orders new potatoes, you know that is the final date.

    But also I can see this as a way to bump up the prices – why charge £25.50 for a roast dinner, when you can charge £18.00 for a roast dinner…oh and £1.50 for a Yorkshire pudding and £6.00 for some carrots. And maybe people order too many sides…because they do, and I do. Actually, I didn’t this time, but normally I would.

    St Jacob’s Compassionate Corner

    One of my accomplices wanted the chicken, and given that it was a sharer, I agreed to share it with her – as long as she did the slicing.

    Chill…I did the gentlemanly thing and sliced the chicken, which was thankfully easy to do. I forgot to photograph the cauliflower cheese…well…it was an awkward reach.

    So, starting with what you could see which is the shared bowl of carrots and parsnips – the two chunks of roasted carrots that I had were roasted on the softer side, flecked with cumin seeds which I did appreciate.

    The parsnips, alas, needed a bit longer in the oven than the carrots and were therefore a little undercooked – nothing too much, also with the cumin seeds.

    The purple sprouting broccoli looked more like tenderstem broccoli to me, it was also a bit too al dente, and had an odd flavour – neither chilli or garlic as advertised, something more like miso, though I’ve had miso like twice so don’t quote me on this. What I can say categorically is that none of us really liked it.

    St. Nicola’s Retreat

    Nothing especially amazing so far, but the cauliflower cheese was excellence – soft enough cauliflower without being mushy, and a proper cheesy, creamy mixture, replete with mustard seeds. You can skip the broccoli when you visit St John’s Tavern, but the cauliflower cheese is a must.

    Chicken Sunday roast at St John's Tavern, Archway

    Standard three roast potatoes but all were large – perhaps too large as they were quite dry and in places not especially cooked through. Also they had a rather grey appearance – they didn’t taste off, though neither did they taste especially fresh either. Bonus points for some crispy edges.

    Mostly the Yorkshire pudding was enjoyable, soft to the bottom – at least once soaked with gravy. Though the top was a bit burnt – not to the point of being inedible, but notable enough.

    By the way, you know how if I move to Spain I’m going to have a blog called Tapas Or Crapas, written in Spanglish? Have I actually told you this before? Not that I’m ever moving to Spain as obviously I’m loving life in Croydon so much, but I’ve decided that if I move to Sicily I’m going to start a blog called Pizza or Pizzo. I’m sure the mafia won’t mind. I did spend a bit too much of my holiday in Palermo going, “mafia?” to my accomplice.

    By the way, the chicken was banging here. Plump, corn-fed, easy to slice. Totally yummy chicken, though the breast arguably just a tad dry.

    Beef roast dinner at St John's Tavern, Archway

    My accomplice’s beef was also excellent – roasted on the open fire pit that I was admiring in the kitchen. Damn it…I’ve just seen that yet again she had better roast potatoes than me. What is this?

    Finally, we had good gravy too. Proper meat-stock kind of gravy, a reasonable consistency. Happy with life, happy with my holiday and happy with this gravy.

    St John’s Tavern

    Other things to like about St John’s Tavern include them probably winning award for the best beer of the year – serving a Polly’s Pale Ale, wow. Someone really knows their beer here.

    Also the camp Frenchman serving us was delightful – service was good throughout, professional yet with a quirky friendliness.

    There’s plenty to like at St John’s Tavern – there was some excellence about the roast, including the chicken, gravy and cauliflower cheese – though also some areas for improvement, such as the roast potatoes…shock horror. Not entirely sure what that broccoli was about (I would have preferred hispi but I left the sharing plate choice to my accomplices), parsnips needed longer too.

    But overall, this was a very good roast dinner – I’d love to come back one time and try the Iberico pork on the grill, and I wish I wasn’t still 10kg overweight and could have dessert every week – as their crumble looked delicious as it came past me.

    Accomplices scored it a 7.50 and a 7.85, respectively, and my score was a 7.83 out of 10. Have I really had 5 very good roast dinners in a row?

    Next Sunday I’m going somewhere that requires bravery, and stamina. I’ll leave you with dreams of infinite gravy boats…

    A lot of gravy boats waiting for action.

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  • Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho

    Published 27 March 2024, 9:52 am

  • If you name’s not down your not coming in, to read this review of Sussex Bar & Restaurant in Soho.

    OK, you are in.

    Booze is back in my life, and hence so are reviews of roast dinners being published closer to the next roast than the one I’m reviewing. Albeit I’m currently in Sicily and it’s unlikely that I’ll find a roast dinner here on Sunday – Sicily, the place where restaurant research dies a death, because they simply don’t do crap food here. Well, if they do, you have to research it.

    Yeah, I even wore a t-shirt yesterday…remember warmth? Obviously I’m assuming that you are reading in March when I post this, and not August.

    Life seems to have had a Sicilian theme recently, from watching Operation Mincemeat on Friday, to seeing Lisa MAFIA on Saturday (accidentally, please don’t judge we just needed food and went to Boxpark, and I live in Croydon), and now, erm…yeah there’s no connection to this review of Sussex Bar & Restaurant. Maybe the carrots were from Sicily?

    What I didn’t realise before I went, was that I’d been to a restaurant in the same group as Sussex Bar & Restaurant quite a few years ago – Rabbit, in Chelsea. And scored it a lowly 6.15 out of 10, for the smallest roast dinner ever. Oh, but I did go with a Mediterranean young lady…so there’s your semi-Sicilian connection.

    Miniscule Of Sound

    I had reasonable hopes for Sussex Bar & Restaurant, but also a reasonably whopping hangover.

    Firstly though, I have a gripe. Is it not obvious that I voted for remain? Is it not obvious that I loathe the scourge of Brexit and its pied-pipers of sunlit uploads, cakeism and lower priced food/energy bills (because that happened, right?).

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

    Maybe I need to make my opposition to Brexit even clearer? Tell me, am I missing some opportunities here? I know some reviews I manage not to mention Brexit…but I’d still like to think you know me! Tsk.

    Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho, Roast Dinner Menu

    They were rather quiet for Soho, with plenty of free tables – apparently they haven’t been doing Sunday roasts for that many months – though they are famous for their beef wellington. 5 accomplices this week, and guess how many of them were up for sharing a beef wellington? Yep, I ordered the pork.

    5 accomplices this week, and guess how many of them were up for sharing the bone-in sirloin? Yep, I ordered the pork.

    Pork or lamb were the solo roasts at £26.00 each, sirloin sharer was £70.00 and the beef wellington sharer was £84.00. If you are vegetarian or vegan…then I guess you’d need to look at the side plates…or Mildreds.

    Ministry Of Roast

    Pork Roast Dinner at Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho

    Starting with the roasted carrots, which were perfectly cooked and really brought out the carrot in them.

    The cabbage was rather on the luxurious side, buttery and peppery – I couldn’t really ask for much more in life. Except for this new Bible from Donald Trump, at the bargain price of just $60. It’s what God would want, no? I’ll check with my Sicilian friends this weekend during the slashing men with long hair and beards parade, which seems to be advertised everywhere. Must make sure I’m cleanly shaven that day.

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

    Maybe I just couldn’t ask for any more in cabbage.

    Parsnips needed a little crisping up, but in terms of flavour they wowed – bear in mind that I’d had a beer or 10 the day before and was a tad wobbly still, that I can compliment flavour should sound impressive.

    Only two roast potatoes, and not quite crispy on the outside – well, perhaps a touch tough, but inside were really fluffy and again the quality of potato seemed excellent.

    Ministry Of Bone Marrow

    Then we encountered a genius masterstroke, and I’m not just talking about my idea to write a blog about Sunday roasts (but that is genius):

    Yorkshire Pudding With Bone Marrow at Sussex Bar & Restaurant, Soho

    A Yorkshire pudding filled with bone marrow. You had to upgrade to this, which cost, I think, an extra £2.00, however the combination of bone marrow and crispy yorkie was dreamy – along with the gravy which I’ll mention more of later. Oh…and it was freshly-cooked – not that I should have to mention this, but…London. Which meant that the crispy bits were still appealing – and the yorkie was definitely on the crispy side.

    The pork was thinly-sliced rolled pork with a little bit of fat, and not really anything in the way of crackling – well, what would have been crackling was kind of just toughness. Despite the minor crackling disappointment, the pork was really tender, full of flavour and really rather ace. Just imagine what proper crackling would have given to it though.

    Finally, the gravy was silky, sticky and meaty – one of those gravies that really bring everything together. Not that it needed much bringing together…as quality was high throughout.

    Sussex Bar & Restaurant Enters The Ministry Of Roasts

    So was there anything to complain about? Well, the beer choice was a bit whatever, the roasties could have had crispier edges (though others on the table raved about theirs), the crackling really should have been done properly.

    But I’m really picking at the edges here, and everything had quality throughout – you could tell that thought and effort had gone into procurement of the ingredients, let alone the cooking. A good chef can only go so far with mediocre ingredients (hello certain pub chains).

    I mused in the morning as to whether this could get into the list of best roast dinners in central London, thinking maybe it might score an 8. In the end, it isn’t far from a 9.

    Several accomplices scored in the 9’s – a 9.00, a 9.20 and a 9.50 – better than Blacklock was high praise indeed from one, though on the flip side she wasn’t so keen on the wine selection. I cannot say that I know enough about wine to comment. The other two accomplices scored very highly too, an 8.75 and an 8.80.

    Which is where I am too. My score is a whopping 8.86 out of 10 – which at the time of writing makes it the 6th best roast dinner in London, and puts it on the list of best roast dinners in central London. High praise for high quality.

    Hopefully Sussex Bar & Restaurant won’t be so quiet on Sundays for much longer.

    No roast next week as I’m in Sicily – chances of finding a roast here seems only marginally higher than finding a Sicilian priest reading from Donald Trump’s new Bible. Instead I’ll be back the week after…apparently I booked a roast dinner whilst I was re-toxing, shortly after agreeing to go to New York. And shortly before falling over outside my flat.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4vs7OkhCWU?feature=oembed&w=500&h=375]

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  • The Rose & Crown, Enfield

    Published 18 March 2024, 8:21 am

  • And then it was time to almost escape the confines of the M25, with roast dinner 285 out of 2,064 – this time at The Rose & Crown (almost) in Enfield.

    Countryside yo.

    The Rose And Crown, Enfield - countryside yo
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The random number generator picked The Rose And Crown last week and I was like, “are you fucking serious” when I looked at the mission to get there. 3 different routes – all ended with a train every 30 minutes. Time it wrong and that’s a long wait.

    Technically I guess it is in Clay Hill, but nobody reading will have heard of Clay Hill, except the person that recommended here – so Enfield it is. Soz.

    So why roast dinner 285 out of 2,064?

    The Death Clock

    Yep, I looked up when I was going to die on The Death Clock. The answer Wednesday 9th September 2071, which if correct, blows my theory about Terminator 2 being written by a director who has time-travelled to try to direct us away from our future doom on July 4th 2032, who figured out the only way that he could get people to take him seriously was to make a movie and employ Arnold Schwarzenegger to get under our psyche – and to stop AI being developed to control killer drones.

    You think that’s crazy? Wait until you hear about about the NFL being rigged by the FBI, to ensure that Taylor Swift would turn up to the final to brainwash NFL fans into voting for Joe Biden just from her eyes through the TV set. Those spoons don’t bend themselves, you know.

    Just a meme, chill

    Kate Middleton at it on Photoshop again, I see.

    Anyway, assuming nobody develops AI drones that decide to kill all the enemy humans out there (if all other middle-aged white men on social media can be pleasant that would be a start) then it looks like I’m going to live for another 47.5 years.

    Let’s assume the last 5 years or so, I’m just a dribbling old man, high on tramadol, shouting out of my 17th floor flat windows at passers-by about how things were better in the good old days of increasing child poverty, lockdowns and ULEZ – and all the robo-taxicopter companies have banned me because I screwed with their AI antennas.

    Therefore let’s call it a round 42 years of roast dinner reviews left. I average around 45 reviews a year so that’s another 1,890 reviews. Take off a couple of pandemics, war with the USSR when Vladimir Vladimirovich Vladimorostov Vladiverygoodson Putin reaches 100 years old and I have to go sit in a trench in Kent directing our non-AI drones because, uh, people finally took notice of Terminator 2, and then take off the 6 months where I marry a hot Venezuelan woman I met off Tinder and move to Spain, until I realise that she isn’t actually in love with me. And I guess I’ll need a few weeks off from penis enlargement surgery that Valentina said would make me even more handsome than I already was. Which I reckon makes it 1,779 more reviews, if I have my math done correct.

    But this is the only review there will ever be in Enfield.

    The Journey Of Doom

    2 hours and 14 minutes it took to get home. Was it worth it? Yeah, I quite like my new flat, thanks.

    The Rose And Crown is so far out of town, that I even saw one of these:

    No ULEZ sign hanging to the side of a camera
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Pretty sure it would be more effective over the camera, but I’m no professional vandal. Not any more, anyway.

    Thankfully, the beer choice was bang ordinary – as I’ve reached the point of my detox where the cravings are real, so much so that when I wake up on Monday morning, when my detox period officially ends, I might crack open one. But the choice at The Rose And Crown was never going to tempt me – Neck Oil being the game in town…yawn. But I guess this kind of area probably isn’t crying out for craft beer.

    Death To Putin

    Options on the menu were plentiful:

    Roast Dinner menu at The Rose And Crown, Enfield
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    And everything was under £25! In fact, the most expensive was the lamb shoulder at £18.50. Other options were topside of beef at £17.50, ham at £15.50, braised beef cheek at £18.00, chicken breast at £17.00 and two different vegan/veggie options at £15.50 each.

    I was considering the ham because I never get the option, and the lamb shoulder because, well, I fancied it – the waitress had no hesitation in recommending the lamb. £18.50. Just £18.50. Depending on what I order, next Sunday’s roast could cost twice that. Less than half the time to travel there though.

    Lamb Shoulder Roast Dinner at The Rose And Crown, Enfield
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Gosh is my photography skill improving? Or is this Google’s new AI camera stuff?

    Let’s start with the braised red cabbage, which was actually nice – none of this winter spice crap that pubs used to seem to keen on (wonder if my regular moaning and the trend away is another small victory for RDLDN?), though there was a little bit of gravy pollution with some purple liquid invading.

    Green cabbage was ever better, really nicely seasoned, notably peppery and neither soggy nor crunchy.

    Finally for the vegetables, carrot and swede mash, which was light and airy, yet both carrot and swede flavours came through.

    Crispy Roast Potatoes?

    Lamb Shoulder Sunday roast at The Rose And Crown, Enfield
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I had 5 small roast potatoes (my accomplice 6 larger ones…hmmm…sexism?), all crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle – and tasting of potato. Really rather good. Maybe there is reason to go to Enfield. Tell me you’ve looked up the journey from where you live?

    Alas, burnt Yorkshire pudding – mine was anyway. It was quite fluffy, and like the roast potatoes had clearly been made the same day (shocking that I have to even write this, but hey, London chefs). Alas it was overcooked and burnt on top, so a bit of joy from the bottom, but I gave up with the top half.

    The lamb shoulder was proper melt in one’s mouth stuff. It fell apart upon upon light prodding almost as quickly as a Donald Trump libel defence, and was just silky, sexy, fatty, juicy lamb. Wish there had been more.

    Chicken Roast Dinner at The Rose And Crown, Enfield
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    My accomplice enjoyed her chicken – not with quite the enthusiasm that I had for my lamb…but just look at how much roast potato there is compared to what I received?

    Finally, the gravy, though somewhat on the thin side, was quite meaty too. Decent gravy, complimented the roast.

    Alas, I was still hungry – the portion side was a little on the small side for my breakfast-less requirements after a very long journey. So I did something unusual. Dessert.

    Rhubarb And Custard Cheesecake at The Rose And Crown, Enfield
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Rhubarb and custard cheesecake, which was huge – the sugar overload gave me jellied legs on the walk back into Enfield. Too large a portion, and it became a bit sickly towards the end – there is only so much tarty sugary stuff I can handle, but until I got bored this was a delight, thin biscuit case, loads of custardy-cream, with the tart topping of rhubarb. All the desserts are made on site, apparently.

    The Rose And Crown, Maybe In Enfield, But Really In Clay Hill

    I have to say that The Rose And Crown is a pretty damn good pub, at least in terms of food. The building itself is a pleasingly renovated old pub with the old timbers showing – plenty of light inside too, which helps with the photography, and, well, actually being able to see each other.

    Reading through the website blurb, The Rose And Crown is an independent pub run by a husband and wife couple, the former having been a chef at some rather interesting places, including The Fat Duck in Berkshire. There is cheffing heritage here, you can see why the food is good…and why perhaps it is worth travelling for.

    Beer choice was thankfully meh, at least for my inner city craft beer desires.

    Crispy roast potatoes, silky lamb and generally good vegetables – the only thing that went wrong was the burnt top of the yorkie, but at least it was cooked freshly. I did wish my portion size was a little larger.

    My accomplice scored hers at 8.20 out of 10, and my score was very similarly positive – an 8.19 out of 10, just so I’m not doing exactly the same as my sibling. It’s unlikely I’ll ever be back, but I’d happily recommend it – maybe those in north London with access to a car might want to add it to their list of places to go on a sunny day, with a little walk in the nearby countryside – seems a nice area to the north.

    Next Sunday, I’m going to central London. Phew.

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  • Roast Dinners In London Awards 2023 – Part 1

    Published 15 March 2024, 8:50 am

  • Welcome to the Roast Dinners In London Awards 2023. Part 1. Yes, it is that long. Yes I do write that much shit. Yes, I know nobody gives a stuff about 2023 come January 2nd, and now it is 12th March and I’ve just written the opening sentence.

    Let’s start with some statistics, because that’s an even more appealing way to get someone interested in a review of 2023 months after.

    Rachel Riley spelling orgasmic on Countdown
    Copyright – Channel 4

    In the UK, I reviewed 42 roast dinners and handed out an average score of 7.29 – neither is a record, but both are respectable. The highest score that I handed out was a 9.10, the lowest score a 4.44 – and gosh that was a miserable roast that I’d love to forget about.

    The average price I paid for a roast dinner was £22.69 – up 10% from 2022, which I guess is expected given my pay rise was, oooooh, 4.5%.

    There were more roast dinners in east and south London than normal, 10 a piece, 10 also for central London. Just 6 each for west and north London – the easiest areas to get to. Don’t say that I don’t put lots of effort in for you.

    Best Service

    There are multiple reasons to go to Barge East that very few other restaurants can match – one, a love of small boats – is there anything more quintessentially British than being on a small boat? Nigel?

    Two – they do roast dinners on bank holidays, which allows me to review more than I otherwise would.

    But three – the service is really good. Very relatable staff, the kind that make you feel at home and want to have a chat with you – and nothing was too much trouble, including off-menu cocktails.

    I don’t often admire service in pubs/restaurants, rarely is it anything more than perfunctory, but this was.

    Best Plate

    Best plate? Yes, you are reading this and you will keep reading it, and you will be back for part 2 when that is published hopefully closer to 2023 than 2025.

    Roast dinner at The Duchess
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It’s a bit unlucky that a pub with a score of 8.13 is only getting an award for “best plate”, but such is life. I’m still using Tupperware pots as bowls in my new flat. Such is life also.

    Yet who can argue that The Duchess in Marylebone provided a damn cool plate? Especially in a world of rimmed plates, bowls, too small plates – The Duchess provided a right-sized plate with a funky pattern. And a damn good roast too.

    Worst Plate

    There is a clear winner for worst plate of 2023, though they do get other very honourable mentions elsewhere – The Red Lion And Sun, in Highgate.

    Roast dinner at The Red Lion And Sun
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I’m not sure that you can quite get how small these plates were – but given the plentiful food (much of the suckling pig had to remain on the sharing platter), these were annoyingly small plates to work with. Large starter plates – yes. Small main plates – yes. Huge roast dinner plates? Hence the award.

    That suckling pig though…might get a mention later.

    Do You Want Me In Your Venue?

    Heresy approaching…

    Brexit graph.

    No, I’m not about to talk about how Brexit has still not led us to the sunlit uplands of Singapore-On-Thames, but I’m sure that is right around the corner. Keep believing.

    Blacklock. This is their only mention in the awards, and it isn’t a positive one. If someone asks me where the best roast dinner in London is, and, you know what – this happens often, then I still say Blacklock.

    But the service when I went to Blacklock in Covent Garden in January really wasn’t up to scratch. One waitress in particular had “I don’t want to be here” vibes – usually Blacklock is completely the opposite vibe. There was a mix-up over the vegan roast (we both checked before that they could cope with a vegan roast), and a rude comment from aforementioned waitress when we asked for some vegan gravy. They split the group into two completely separate tables, again despite confirming the opposite beforehand on the booking. They didn’t even check for allergies – which feels pretty key. Even the gravy was a bit too salty…along with the waitress.

    I’ll still be going to Blacklock again though.

    Best Stuffing

    From get stuffed to getting stuffing.

    It was New Year’s Day and I had the worst hangover ever. Again. That and my regular accomplice had gone to hospital, with something that turned out to be a tad serious. My world was falling apart.

    Roast dinner from Kieran's Pop-Up
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    But then I had some life-saving stuffing from Popup With Kieran, who does irregular roast dinner pop-ups around Ealing. Herby, crispy on the outside – it may have been Paxo or homemade, I was in no position to judge, but this was as close to life-saving as stuffing was possible to be.

    Best Atmosphere

    Am I really giving the “best atmosphere” award to a venue with live jazz?

    Inside Clapton Country Club
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Clapton Country Club is a gorgeous venue down an alley – most days it is a studio or a wedding reception, but on Sundays it does something really special. Sunday roasts.

    It has an industrial feel, married with a glitterball and lights, the acoustics actually work nicely – I could hear myself despite having musicians. And I didn’t actually mind the musicians – some people will totally love the vibe.

    Oh and it has a really good roast dinner too.

    Most Creative

    Really this award should go to me – who else could write enough crap to fill 42 reviews of the same meal over the course of a year. Plus the ones from Spain.

    Hmmmm Spain.

    Hmmm…

    Hot Spanish woman
    Image from Gokhan Altintas under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    Sorry, that’s clearly totally irrelevant to a roast dinner blog. Not sure what happened there.

    Actually nowhere was really that creative in 2023, so you could argue that I’ve written this for totally no reason, like doing the whole awards, like my whole fucking blog. Seriously, why do I do this every week? Let’s not think any more. Thinking is bad.

    Renegade Urban Winery in Walthamstow is my only possible winner here – root vegetable mash which had swede, carrot, tomato, onion and maybe even something like star anise. And sprout tops were the other vegetable – I didn’t even know they were a thing. Education…that’s why I do this blog.

    Oh, and Amazon – get this back in stock NOW.

    Furthest From Expectations

    Ahhh expectations. Sometimes one’s expectations are too high – back in 2010, I thought Boris Johnson would be the perfect next leader of the UK after a decade of stability and economic competence from a David Cameron government. Hell, I even once thought I’d lose my virginity at university – I quickly discovered that the charms of Hullish chat-up lines like “duh yah want sex with meh” don’t work so well in the south…some people were actually there to get a degree.

    There’s two that really come to mind here. Firstly, The Swan At The Globe, on Bankside. This is what they promise:

    The Swan advertising a far better looking roast dinner than what we saw
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    And this is what we received:

    Roast dinner at The Swan, with Suella Braverman laughing
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024 (with a bit stolen from Twitter)

    Happy birthday, mother. We did actually have really good roast potatoes, and for some reason my mother enjoyed it, but this fell well short of expectations.

    However, the winner here is the uber-hyped, Fallow.

    Soooooo many Instagrammers had hyped Fallow up beyond any reasonable doubt that this was the Blacklock-beater, that I’d saved it for my 250th review.

    Roast dinner at Fallow
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It was broadly a good roast dinner, especially the vegetables – but with an overcooked yorkie, puny piece of pork belly and it being expensive for what it was – it was nowhere near God-level expectations that I’d been led to believe. Moral of the story – don’t use Instagrim.

    Much Better Than Expectations

    On the flip side, sometimes expectations are low or moderate, and surprise comes – a bit like finding a bottle of Punk IPA on the Costa Del Sol.

    Speaking of which, I was about to move there and therefore doing a whole Goodbye Harrow thing. There isn’t many pubs in Harrow, even less that I’d want to go to. I’d heard The White Horse do decent roast dinners, so I went thinking maybe it was be a 7 at best, and if not then I can have a rant about how boring Harrow is.

    Roast dinner at The White Horse
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Proper amounts of seasoning, especially pepper, good gravy, creamy mashed potato, glorious chicken breast and a secret sausage or two. It was a roast dinner like your mum would make.

    They even sold Neck Oil. Neck Oil…in Harrow, well I never. Proper craft beer here though in Croydon. And lots of weirdoes…says the person with a roast dinner blog.

    Most Overpriced Roast Dinner

    In a year where the average I paid for a roast dinner jumped to £22.69, there were a few that were a tad eye-popping.

    The Barley Mow in Mayfair…yeah I know, Mayfair, but still…£30.00 in 2023 for this:

    Roast dinner at The Barley Mow
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It’s a very nice pub, with a respectable nothing-special roast dinner. Which costs £30.00.

    I don’t mind paying £30.00 for a great roast dinner, I don’t mind paying £30.00 (or more) for a really good experience – I paid £62.50 for a roast dinner at The Harwood Arms and that is going to get a lot of mentions in part 2, and was worth every penny.

    But this was nowhere near £30.00’s worth of quality or experience. Plus service charge.

    Ugliest Roast Dinner

    I’m not amazing at presentation myself – be it food on a plate, or my somewhat ugly face.

    And then some places think that I should do the presentation for them, not knowing that it is going to end up on a blog…Whole Beast, looking at you:

    Ugly roast dinner from Whole Beast
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    That was actually a very good roast dinner…but does it look it?

    However, the award is going to The Roebuck in Chiswick, who presented me (and the winner of ugliest roast dinner really should be something I’ve had no hand in arranging) with this veritable Mark Francois’ arse of a roast dinner:

    Ugly roast dinner at The Roebuck
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Gravy all around the edge, small roast potatoes marooned in watery liquid, some weird pork/stuffing/crackling combination, yorkie on the edge hanging off. Not much thought went into this…it wasn’t a bad roast dinner per se, but it looks ugly yo.

    Nothing To Do With Brexit But We’ve Run Out Of Vegetables

    Believe it or not, some non-vegetarians like vegetables.

    Sadly, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realise that my body appreciates a chunk of broccoli more than it does a chunk of pork belly. A bit like when you are younger, you think “whoa cracking pair of tits” but then 20 years later you think “hmmm good sense of humour, no debt and seems mentally stable”. Granted I’m yet to get to the age where on Tinder women think, “well he might have a good sense of humour”.

    Despite the efforts of The Swan with their one long carrot, there is an even greater winner of the nothing to do with Brexit but we’ve run out of vegetables award.

    Roast dinner at The Nun's Head
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    You could argue The Swan deserve this award for one solitary carrot, given that The Nun’s Head at least attempted 4 different types of vegetables, but the amount of each was so laughably puny that I had to give it to The Nun’s Head. One small carrot, two green beans, three small leaves of cabbage and one small floret cauliflower cheese.

    NOTHING TO DO WITH BREXIT, ALRIGHT?

    Brexit wine festival, with a long queue for £9.89 a pint wine, and no queue for £9.99 750ml of wine.
    Meme from Twitter

    Best Dessert

    And finally for part 1 of the Roast Dinners In London Awards 2023, something to hopefully leave you salivating for more, like I do every week (despite the fact that Google Analytics tells me most visitors are new visitors) – best dessert.

    I rarely eat dessert because I’m trying to be less fat and not get diabetes. Worthy goals.

    Blood orange trifle at The Harwood Arms
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    You’ll hear more about The Harwood Arms in Fulham, in part two, which was an exceptional experience and so close to being the best roast dinner EVER.

    This award is for the best dessert – granted it has very little competition, I didn’t eat any cake or chocolate after eating this in July, until November/December.

    Blood orange trifle – so creamy, the blood orange punchy – every bite was different in terms of the combination of flavours. This was just wonderful.

    And I’ll leave you on that note of joy and positivity until I get around to writing up part two – we might even have a new Tory government by then.

    The post Roast Dinners In London Awards 2023 – Part 1 appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • The Leyton Star, Leyton

    Published 4 March 2024, 8:55 am

  • As everyone discussed the true no-go areas of London, it was time for Lord Gravy to head to The Leyton Star, in Leyton.

    Via Westfield:

    Westfield shopping centre...aka hell.
    Image via MallSecrets.co.uk Picture Ar under license CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

    Now that is my idea of a no-go zone. My parents might have done quite a lot for me over the years…but this year I braved 45 minutes in Westfield shopping centre. They owe me now. But at least Mother’s Day is sorted.

    Did you think I meant Leyton is a no-go zone?

    Whoa scary black people.

    Whoa scary people in Muslim clothing.

    Whoa a mosque.

    Oh my how scary. Granted I did see someone walk towards us with his right hand down his boxer shorts. And yes, I could see most of the boxer shorts as he seemed not to have noticed that his tracksuit bottoms were around his knees. Was it rude of me not to have pointed this out to him?

    Tufton Street

    I guess you could suggest that I thought Leyton was a no-go zone, given that I’ve never had a roast dinner there previously. Leytonstone, yes, Leyton no. Until this visit to The Leyton Star.

    And there are gaps in my map:

    My map of where I've been for a roast dinner

    Bermondsey, Canada Water, Camberwell (not entirely sure if The Camberwell Arms’ “roast dinner” counts which is mostly why it remains on my to-do list still), non-east Dulwich, Streatham, Willesden, Wood Green, Tottenham…284 roast dinner reviews and I still haven’t had a roast dinner in Tottenham. There’s a pretty big hole in the City Of London too, but that’s mostly because roast dinners aren’t served Monday to Friday.

    My point being that bar a few estates that I wouldn’t choose to walk after dark, London doesn’t have no-go areas. I can tell you a few pubs not to have a roast dinner at – more than a few.

    The Leyton Star was once on my to-do list, but after suffering a really rather poor roast at one of their sister pubs in Hackney Wick, the Lord Napier Star, I took it off the list. But then someone recently provided evidence that it should be back on my list, so I relented.

    Plus this Sunday my other priority was sorting out Mother’s Day – The Leyton Star was within walking distance (unless you are an I’m not racist but looks like a no-go area type of social media moron…stick to Toby Carvery in Essex, MATE) from M&S in Westfield, so it made logistic sense.

    The Carlton Club

    If you’ve been to any of the Electric Star Group pubs, you’ll get the vibe – and I’ve been to a fair few of them. Generally located in previously dodge but now hip areas, such as Hackney, Bethnal Green, etc – they tend to be pleasing pubs to look at and be in, good for casual drinks/food/fun if you are in a group.

    The Leyton Star is rather spacious, the usual mixture of exposed brickwork and teal painted walls – generally a clean and airy vibe, yet you can tell this could be a raccous pub in the evening, if they have DJs on, which though the What’s On page doesn’t suggest this, I suspect they do at least occasionally have DJs.

    They also show football, have life drawing evenings, a pub quiz – that kind of thing.

    Oh, but they play jazz – loudly and it is that kind of jazz that just fucking goes on forever, getting insatiably more intense, before dropping back a bit, then GETTING EVEN MORE INTENSE IN YOUR EARS. Urgh. The one lift music track was cool though.

    Roast Dinner Menu at The Leyton Star, Leyton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Roasts are done by Firebird – who have been there for more than a year, so it seems to be at least semi-permanent.

    On the menu was beef rump, confit chicken leg and vegan “no chicken so why even say the word chicken and why not just call it tofu or whatever it really is” pie. I could have miraculously had a roast dinner for under £20, had I fancied the chicken – but I wanted the beef, the recommendation I had was the beef. Even if rump isn’t my favourite cut.

    My accomplice chose the vegan – after checking with me that it’s ok to do so. Why, of course, it isn’t 1989 2019, I’m mature enough to not hate on veganism nowadays – someone else not eating meat isn’t actually a threat to my way of life. Who knew? Granted I may have muttered about a vegan conspiracy in the early days of RDLDN.

    Lis Truss’ Imagination Or Anywhere She’s Doing A Speech

    It was one of those put it together yourself affairs:

    Yeah, the veg was to share between two of us. My thoughts exactly.

    Starting with the carrots which is as reliable a place to start, as blaming the woke, leftist deep state is for why Liz Truss wasn’t able to become the next Margaret Thatcher. But it’s what I do anyway. And the carrots were decent, roasted with fennel, and I think, cumin seeds (awaits to be corrected by the venue in public on social media…fennel looks similar to artichoke, ok, Martin?).

    The stringy bits of cabbage was alright, a bit damp and over-blanched, but alright.

    The one solo strand of tenderstem broccoli was as limp and miserable as a philosemite in Rochdale. It was alright, but it was wet. Gosh, have I really really got to put up with his shite again?

    "You're blocked" notice when visiting Twitter account of George Galloway.

    Oh yeah, phew. Yeah I fact-checked him once a few years ago. He didn’t like it.

    Conservative Party Conference

    Roast potatoes at The Leyton Star, Leyton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    There were 4 potatoes which had probably been roasted – though not quite for long enough. Kind of silky smooth outsides – which isn’t what I’m looking for, almost as if they were new potatoes in texture. Soft enough in the middle, but nowhere near the fluffy expectations. Nothing wrong with these as potatoes – but as roast potatoes, they weren’t quite there.

    However – if I had chosen the chicken, roast potatoes were eschewed for dauphinoise. OMG. That could have been a 4th roast dinner of the year without roast potatoes.

    I liked the Yorkshire pudding. The top of it was a bit crispy, but the bottom was a proper gravy soaking machine. This was actually really good – the menu says “proper Yorkshire” and as a Yorkshireman (albeit I’ve not lived there this millennium) I shall grant them that status officially.

    Beef Sunday Roast at The Leyton Star, Leyton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The beef rump was also good. Thinly sliced, plenty of it, cooked impressively – it was really rather tender, close to melt in your mouth. And the outer edge had been seared well, which added a different dimension.

    Finally, the gravy was proper too. A homemade meat-stock kind of affair – whilst I may not have sung the praises of some parts of this roast, the beef/yorkie/gravy combination was rather excellent – they all complimented each other, and worked together so well, like they should. Like I dream of. Like why I stopped eating beef so often on a Sunday roast because of the disappointments of this combination.

    Oh…vegan pie:

    Vegan pie roast dinner at The Leyton Star, Leyton
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The Leyton Star. It isn’t a no-go, unlike the other headings. You didn’t notice, did you? You don’t appreciate the effort that goes into these headings, do you?

    I had my reservations about The Leyton Star, and clearly so did other people as there were lots of empty tables – it was a little surprisingly quiet.

    The jazz music was irritating and too loud (others may love this), service was slow – though more because they didn’t seem to have enough staff than actually a lack of capability – the person bringing over our food was useful, going back and forth to the chef to check for nuts, and to delivery proper amounts of extra gravy – the initial extra gravy being in a thimble.

    It was a bit cold inside too.

    Yet the yorkie/beef/gravy combo really hit the spot – which is rare as normally a chef will have made weird gravy, burnt the yorkie, cooked the yorkie the week before or I simply hadn’t ordered the beef.

    Vegetables were meh – kind of like something I’d knock up when busy at work and just need to quick whack something in the oven, though I appreciated the fennel on the carrots.

    My vegan pie eating accomplice scored her a 7.10, and I’m offering a hearty 7.66 out of 10. If you aren’t scared of Leyton and like your beef, you could do a lot worse than The Leyton Star.

    No roast for me next weekend as I’m up north for Mother’s Day. Well, I will be having a roast but not in London. Maybe I’ll finally start writing the Roast Dinner Awards for 2023. Maybe.

    George Galloway telling you to show some humility because you were wrong that Russia was going to invade Ukraine.

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  • The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park

    Published 26 February 2024, 7:52 am

  • Top of the February to you, here is Lord Gravy with a roast dinner review from an Irish pub for the second week in a row – this time, The WB Yeats in Finsbury Park.

    I chose The WB Yeats mostly because it’s been on my to-do list for years, and thought it was time to tick a few oldies off. That and I wanted somewhere relatively easy to get to…albeit I could have chosen Shinner and Sudtone in Sutton, which has been on my list for years and is just 30 minutes away on the train. But I decided it might be a nice (ahem) walk from Croydon to Sutton, and they look like they have a decent craft beer selection, so will be better to visit post-detox in some spring sunshine.

    Plus I wanted an easy life this Sunday, as I was supposed to be finishing painting my bedroom this weekend.

    My bedroom, slowly being painted.  Very slowly.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Well, I managed half a wall. The door bit is difficult, ok?

    Preamble over, tangents still to come no doubt.

    I would spread the cloths under your feet

    It being a solo dining mission, I was hoping for a pub with a nice quiet corner – alas The WB Yeats was just one room with no corners, where everyone gives you that “oh he’s not got any friends” glance of disdain as you walk in. Possible I imagined it. Sure, I could have found a friend, but I have decorating to do…maybe. I just wanted an in and out roast, without the shaking it about. Or even a beer.

    That said, The WB Yeats seemed to have a half-decent range of beers. It’s that time of stage of detox where I am glancing at beers once more. Oh beer, you old friend, we will meet again in a few weeks. After I’ve finished decorating.

    I walked part of the way to The WB Yeats, down a whole street’s worth of tacky wedding clothes shops – mostly bridesmaids kind of dresses, mostly with those luminescent sales signs to convince you of the urgent need.

    The 156th different tacky bridesmaid dress shop down this road
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024
    The 157th different tacky bridesmaid dress shop down this road
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Why one street needs 157 shops selling ugly dresses I’m not sure – and forgive the weird angled photographs, I thought it might be a little weird for a middle-aged bloke to be taking photos of bridesmaid dress shops. Even if I do occasionally have a plastiphilia urge. The song, you moron.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqZ-JP3u9LY?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

    This doesn’t count as preamble FYI. I should be painting.

    But I, being poor, have only my dreams

    Anyway, so I arrive at The WB Yeats (so many mentions of my SEO keyword that Google is going to LOVE me), and enquire of my table. It’s a busy pub, with very few free spaces to sit. I was thankful that I wasn’t seated at the small table so close to the bar that I would either be staring at waiting punter’s arses, or have arses brushing the back of my head.

    I was however shown to a stool/ledge next to the window. “You mean the one with the guy sat there reading his book?”, I enquired. “Yeah that’s the one”. OK…it’s reassuring that there is another bloke doing the solo thing in a pub, but I don’t especially want to dine with him.

    Another stool and ledge was offered.

    Sunday roast menu at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Fine cuisine is not something I tend to associate with Irish pubs – and my experiences so far in London don’t defy this, with The Boot and Ganley’s Irish Bar coming to mind.

    Yet this menu read rather nicely – especially considering they only serve food on a Sunday. Why? No idea. And the kitchen was closed for a good chunk of 2023 – as I had tried to go here previously.

    Beef picanha, lamb rump, pork belly, chicken and stuffing, or stuffed butternut squash were on offer, all priced between £18.00 and £27.00. I went for the lamb rump, priced at £27.00 (gosh what would 2019 me think of that) – mostly I chose it because I’ve not reviewed lamb for some time. I didn’t want chicken, I’d had pork belly the last two times, so it was either beef or lamb.

    I have spread my dreams under your feet

    The roast took 10 or so minutes to arrive, and then it was time for those smoking right on the other side of the window to watch me eat my roast dinner. I did apply to be on Big Brother once upon a time.

    Let’s start with the carrots which were roasted in baton format, with a slight crunch and some chives scattered on top. Pleasant.

    Then were was a fair mound of red cabbage, sadly plonked in the middle of the plate for maximum pollution potential. Yet I really enjoyed the red cabbage – unusual for me – yes it did leak purple a bit, also it was strongly flavoured but in an appealing way – something like balsamic vinegar, though I’m struggling to place it exactly. What you looking at? I’m not a proper restaurant reviewer, you know. But at least I can spell restaurant. Unlike Time Out.

    Time Out telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos

    One London RESTAURANT. Most esteemed RESTAURANTS.

    Time Out again telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos

    The posh RESTAURANT.

    Time Out yet again telling you that restaurants are now spelt restos

    One of the most sustainable RESTAURANTS.

    Urgh. So peak.

    The spoonful of peak leek was fairly ordinary, but nothing wrong with that. The “root veg mash” tasted mostly of swede – it was quite sweet and soft, but otherwise there isn’t much to add.

    And finally for the vegetables – no less than 5 different vegetables (depending on what else was in the root veg mash) was cauliflower cheese. Except we can make it no less than 6 different vegetables as the cauliflower cheese delightfully had some pieces of artichoke in. Cauliflower cheese itself was perfectly cooked, with cheesy-cream and some chives on top. Impressive.

    Then…nearly as horrendous a modern life shock as new shitty words in Time Out:

    Not roast potatoes at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    OK, I liked them. But this is a roast dinner. These are not roast potatoes.

    Seriously, they are not roast potatoes. Let’s ask AI:

    AI responding to my clarification of what type of potato this is, with "no, the image you sent is not a roast potato.  it is a slice of toast".

    That is a genuine response, and that is the most tears that I’ve shed since Gazza was sent off in 1990. OK I genuinely am totally side-swiped by that and there is no fucking way I’m finishing the decorating today. Wow.

    Anyway, I did like the toast things – they had a crispy edge, were fluffy in the middle – I wondered at first if they might be Pommes Annas or similar, but, unlike Google, I could only detect potato. Glorified square chips, perhaps?

    The Yorkshire pudding was good – soft and small, reasonably freshly cooked too. Given that they only serve food on a Sunday, one assumes they were actually cooked on a Sunday. This Sunday too. See, London…you can do it. You don’t have to cook yorkies the night before.

    Lamb Sunday roast at The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Two slices of lamb perhaps not especially generous for £27.00 – I wince a little as I write those numbers, and look forward to my generous 2% pay rise this year. Yet the lamb wasn’t miles away from sensational. Too much fat for some, but not for me – and I loved how they had crisped the edges, added a little smokiness to it, yet kept the lamb perfectly rare. This was damn fucking good.

    Finally, the gravy was fairly nondescript, but given quite a flavoursome roast, this was totally fine. I think tomato-based, a bit of consistency, definitely home-made and not from granules.

    For in the gentle sway of gravy dreams, The WB Yeats.

    Despite the lack of roast potatoes, this was a good roast dinner. Maybe I should just check that I was actually eating a roast dinner…

    AI telling me that the meal I sent it, is most likely Sunday roast, the potatoes are mashed potatoes, and a Sunday roast is sometimes called a Joint Dinner

    Joint dinner? That was more my university days.

    I don’t think I have any complaints about the cuisine quality from The WB Yeats. Sure, I’m offended about the replacement potatoes – for the 3rd time in 2024 and we aren’t even out of winter yet. It’s almost like they’ve been cancelled. Gosh, I wonder which side of the culture wars roast potatoes come under? They definitely aren’t woke, are they?

    ChatGPT telling me that roast potatoes are unlikely to be inherently woke.

    Yeah I switched to ChatGPT because Google’s AI told me off for trivialising the meaning and significance of the term, “woke”.

    Anyway. Tangent. Toast. I liked this roast dinner – the lamb was close to sensational, easily the best I’ve had in a while, there was really good cauliflower cheese, some hints of creativity, I liked the toast/mashed potato thing that weren’t roast potatoes, and the pub itself was endearing, if still with a few rough edges (which is more of a compliment anyway). Service was also friendly and welcoming. I have absolutely nothing to complain about in terms of quality, there was nothing I didn’t like the flavour of, there was nothing burnt, nothing cooked the night before and left under a heat lamp. Wow – how rare is that?

    Which makes it just about the best roast dinner of 2024 so far…only just, with a mighty score of 8.28 out of 10.

    No plan for next week yet. Apart from doing the decorating I was supposed to this weekend. Maybe.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDsfzJXGAo8?feature=oembed&w=500&h=375]

    The post The WB Yeats, Finsbury Park appeared first on Roast Dinners In London.

  • The Boot, King’s Cross

    Published 20 February 2024, 8:53 am

  • It was time to step foot into The Boot in King’s Cross, for my latest roast dinner review.

    But first, an ode to David Cameron.

    David Cameron and Nick Clegg.  Happy times.
    Image from Number 10, under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    For if it wasn’t for David Cameron, I wouldn’t have been to my first ever lesbian wedding this weekend, and if I hadn’t been at the wedding, arriving back into St Pancras in mid-afternoon, tired and hungover, not especially hungry but needing a roast dinner, with nothing booked – then I wouldn’t have gone to The Boot.

    Yep, this was the same wedding where there was a ballroom dancing class the night before – I wasn’t interested, until I clocked how many attractive women there were – one of the brides originating from the Mediterranean was always going to help.

    Alas, it became clear that there was only one possible dancing partner left. A guy. A taller, well-built guy. We both confirmed to each other that we weren’t gay, said “fuck it” and followed the instructor. Foxtrot. Oscar.

    Speaking of Foxtrot Oscar’s, it’s been unsurprising to see the usual shills announce on Twitter that we should wait and see the results of the investigation into Alexei Navalny’s death – my money is on the first ever lightning strike in temperatures of -26’C. I guess a CIA laser weapon attack is perhaps more realistic. I wonder what Elon Musk thinks? He condemned Putin’s murder of Navalny, right? Right?

    Meme showing people trying to look for Elon Musk's reaction to Navalny's murder

    The Boot Is On The Other Foot

    We definitely stood out like lost tourists with our little suitcases in The Boot. It’s not my natural type of pub – I didn’t feel like I fit into The Dorchester in Park Lane when I went there a couple of years back in my pink shoes. Likewise The Boot.

    The Boot, of course, is at the opposite end of the scale, though my pink shoes were in my suitcase, and definitely not on my feet. If only because they were muddy from trying to push someone’s car out of a muddy field. A tip for you – make sure you are driving the right direction when pulling out of a car park in the countryside after a few drinks.

    The vibe in The Boot was very much Lads Lads Lads – I don’t remember any other roast dinners with such a plethora of manly grunting. There was a pool table, a darts board, fairly grim toilets and Spice Girls videos on the screen. One assumes they might show football games – but there is no website to check any facts against. Maybe ask Elon Musk. Or Londonist.

    There is an Irish vibe going on, and a few Irish accents around.

    The Boot, King's Cross, Roast Dinner Menu
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Menus were on a little blackboard on the tables – leg of lamb, roast beef, corn fed chicken, pork loin or pork belly (not on the board but mentioned by who I assume was the landlady). We guessed a price of £18.50 – two roasts, with a pint and a half came to £47.45. Yes, you did read that Dry February fans – but there was no way that I was drinking nosecco at a wedding with plentiful attractive women all weekend. Apple juice shall return forthwith.

    I chose the pork belly, my accomplice the pork loin. I would never risk beef at this kind of venue, I had a chicken roast the day before – I possibly should have ordered the leg of lamb, but hey. I love pork belly. Albeit my belly didn’t need any food after breakfast:

    An English breakfast, albeit a small one.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Normally I have like a piece of fruit for breakfast before a roast dinner. But when one has already paid for one’s meals as part of the weekend, one is not going to only order a satsuma.

    Sticking The Boot Into…

    Our roasts took around 20 minutes to arrive.

    The Boot, King's Cross, Pork Belly Roast Dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The most interesting of the vegetables were the green beans – somewhat floppy, but garlicky – if perhaps only because they had added garlic sprinkles to them, and not actually cooked them in garlic. A victory of sorts.

    Both the carrots and parsnip had been roasted – the carrots pleasantly so, the parsnip a little under-done and fairly flavourless.

    Parsnip crispy shavings did add a little joy.

    Broccoli was just broccoli – but not too soft or too tough.

    Lace Up Yer Boots

    Behold the roast potatoes:

    The Boot, King's Cross, Roast Potatoes
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Congratulations to The Boot for winning the best roast potatoes of 2024 in the Roast Dinners In London Awards, which will be published around November 2025. Yes I haven’t started 2023’s awards yet.

    Crispy par excellence on the outside, soft in the middle – yet there is a but. You’d need to enjoy your roast potatoes tasting very much of the fat that they were cooked in. Hmmm. I’m taking the victory though. Cheers, Dave.

    The Yorkshire pudding was thankfully pointless, considering I’d had a fry-up that morning, and the day before I managed Eggs Royale, Cypriot cheesey things, a chicken roast dinner, fish and chips, wedding cake, normal cake, cupcakes and toast. Oh and some chocolates. I did not need this Yorkshire pudding – it was dry and floury anyway, and pretty duff.

    The stuffing was probably from a packet – but who cares, because all stuffing is good stuffing, and could cure world hunger. I’m sure there is an Elon Musk post somewhere stating “exactly” to this fact.

    The Boot, King's Cross, Close-up of Pork Belly
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Alas, the pork belly was more regrettable than holding hands with a bloke, dancing around a room with lots of hotties. Some of it was inedible – quite why the bones were served with it was a mystery. But also it had been horrendously overcooked – which is why I don’t risk ordering beef in such home-cooked venues, as I know home-cooking often means home-over-cooking, and this isn’t just a me putting meat in the oven thing, but it is also a me putting meat in the oven thing.

    Generosity protruded with two chunks of pork belly, but it was tough, dried-out and very much hard work. Shit really.

    The crackling itself was separated, chewy and pretty much impossible to eat.

    Finally, the gravy. Which was really good. Meaty and herby, with a good level of consistency – even if it probably had been warmed up in the microwave, as it had that slight “ouch” level of heat to it at first.

    You want to know if the mass-produced roast dinner at the wedding in a gothic country hall in Yorkshire was better, don’t you?

    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I told one of the brides that it was an 8.30. I think she was happy.

    Sticking The Boot In Or Big Boots To Fill?

    This was a strange roast dinner.

    Some of it was really good – and some of it was really tragic. Mostly the pork belly, which was just a crime to meat – I’m so offended that I might have a vegan roast dinner next weekend. Also the yorkie was duff.

    Margaret Thatcher meeting Tucker Carlson.  Possibly.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    No, I didn’t realise that Tucker Carlson had interviewed Margaret Thatcher either. She might have been a closet lesbian.

    Yet I had no complaints on the vegetables, the roast potatoes were banging (albeit oily) and the gravy was not a million miles away from excellence. The Boot offer a proper home-made roast dinner, replete with the expected over-cooked meat, short-cuts, generosity and proper gravy.

    My accomplice enjoyed her pork loin – two out of three thick slices were nice, apparently, and her score is a 7.50 out of 10.

    My score, is a 7.26 out of 10 – I’m broadly equal in condemnation and commendation towards the roast dinner at The Boot. If you are looking for an affordable roast dinner, with the lads, on a Sunday afternoon in central London, you could well consider it.

    No plan for next Sunday. Though I won’t really be having a vegan roast dinner.

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  • The Cleveland Arms, Paddington

    Published 12 February 2024, 8:47 am

  • Another illuminating week had passed, and another illuminating roast dinner was on the way – this time at The Cleveland Arms in Paddington.

    Yep, this is me practicing going to Paddington, as the powers that be, or at least the powers that fund this blog (albeit I’ve been on teams generating 8-figure sums of incremental revenue WHILST WORKING FROM FUCKING HOME so really I’ve been funding them funding me), have decreed that thou shalt proffer most in thy office…if there are any free desks when I arrive, of course.

    At least this was the week where sense prevailed to an extent, as the decree has been lessened for those who may need to deep think. As I do.

    I cannot say sense prevailed elsewhere – for this was the week that shallow-thinking Liz Truss launched her campaign for “popular Conservatism”.

    Liz Truss with a geeky smile
    Image via Number 10, under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    She’s cracked it (possibly more up than it) – what could make the Conservatives more popular, more electable? Yep, Liz Truss.

    Also this week, Meghan gave King Charles cancer. At least that’s what I think I saw in the Daily Mail comments section. Well, at least it isn’t the fault of Liz Truss if we need a new head of state. This time, anyway.

    And then over in the US of ehhhhh, esteemed prize-winning journalist, Tucker Carlson, managed to get what no other western journalist could apparently be interested in, and that was an interview with the democratically elected Vladimir Putin, to interrogate why he had to fight back against the UFO invasion that NATO launched after they impregnated the minds of those in Kyiv with immoral thoughts of freedom and goldfish.

    Sigh. And you know I’m never going to get any decent roast potatoes ever again.

    Oh, that’s smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy

    And no I don’t look in the comments section of the Daily Mail – the only comments I need are your comments on my blog work of literary genius. Holy crap, Tucker Carlson has actually won awards. Now I feel really under-rated. I’ve not even been nominated for an Emmy. 281 reviews now. No Emmy.

    So I’ve never been to The Cleveland Arms, and we did make it to most pubs near Paddington in the 9 or so months prior to the contagious virus that spread around the world – and no, I’m not talking about Liz Truss’ Popular Conservatism.

    It’s a fairly gorgeous pub inside, a small bar area at front, a small and cosy dining area at the back, where we were seated – and also a larger dining area downstairs. Dark wooden panelling, with dark teal walls in some places, or some kind of scratched-off surface in other places – as if someone has peeled off 100 year’s of wallpaper. It had a kind of cosy, comforting vibe – you could almost imagine this kind of pub in a country village.

    Roast dinner menu at The Cleveland Arms, Paddington.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I didn’t really look at the options, as I wanted pork belly – priced at £22.00. But you could have had chicken at £22.00, beef top side at £24.00 or roasted cauliflower at £18.00 should you still be doing Veganuary in February. What kind of psychopath carries on a January misery trend into February?

    I ordered the pork belly, and a glass of apple juice.

    Well, I’ll be hornswaggled

    Our roasts took around 10 minutes to arrive.

    Pork belly roast dinner at The Cleveland Arms, Paddington.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Starting with…hmmm…you cannot see any of the vegetables.

    Let’s start with the cutlery, shall we? The fork had clearly seen better days, but the butter knife which I dearly hope they don’t serve with steak, was so ineffective that you could take it onto an aeroplane.

    The plate was white. And round.

    Right, I think I’ve got the right amount of space between photographs now, so I can show you the vegetables. And then write about them. It’s Popular Inscription, don’t you know.

    Pork belly Sunday roast at The Cleveland Arms, Paddington.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    And the carrot was nice. Thanks for attending my TED talk, you can subscribe to my upcoming podcast by subscribing to my Patreon. Once I have £1,000,000 I will launch a podcast. Thanks for subscribing. Subscribe to my Patreon now, for a very special offer of 0% off. Buy two get none free.

    That’s crazier than a Cleveland steamer

    I really did like the parsnip – sweet and nutty, nicely roasted – the boy done good here. Or girl. Or trans…whoa careful or Rishi Sunak will take the piss out of what I’m saying here. Tosser. Though I bet that’s popular Conservatism in some realms.

    Next up was the cabbage, which was very much wilted and mulchy in texture, but tasted good with the gravy.

    We were back to the standard 3 roast potatoes – some evidence of crispy sides, but more evidence that they were cooked some time ago, as they felt tired and dead inside – a bit like Joe Biden’s eyes at 3pm.

    The Yorkshire pudding was soft and fairly freshly cooked, yet seemed utterly devoid of any joy otherwise. It tasted as if the yorkie was doing Dry January. And telling you all about it. Repeatedly.

    Chicken roast dinner at The Cleveland Arms, Paddington.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    One of my accomplices had the chicken which was surprisingly flavoursome, with some kind of Indian spice flavour – garam masala was the one that came to mind when I had the wing.

    Well, I’ll be a spotted hog in a polka-dot dress

    My other accomplice had the roasted cauliflower, which was just cauliflower. Though apparently blanched rather than roasted – which makes it far less interesting. The vegan roast came without gravy by design, but the chef knocked some up on request, so kudos for that.

    Pork belly at The Cleveland Arms, Paddington.
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    My pork belly slice was sadly rather small, and a way off perfection even if there was still some joy. Only one bite had any crunch, generally it was quite soft and gooey, though as in much of the roast, there was a sense that this could be better.

    The gravy was quite consistent, I enjoyed the thickness – though tasted rather beefy.

    And finally, the carrot. I didn’t need to do that weird introduction, did I? Was probably about as effective as Liz Truss’ speech announcing Popular Conservatism – you mean the party getting 46% in the polls isn’t popular? The latest poll I saw had Kier Starmer’s party on 46%. Is that not popular? I’m pretty sure it is Conservatism.

    Oh yeah, the carrot was quite aniseed in flavour – cooked with star anise, I guess, and was long, sliced, with some softness. I liked the carrot.

    Well, I’ll be sipping non-alcoholic cocktails at The Cleveland Arms

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    Yeah, kind of the same.

    The Cleveland Arms offered one of those roasts where afterwards I couldn’t really tell if I had enjoyed it or not. I didn’t really have any criticism in such that nothing offended me. The pub itself was quite gorgeous, the service prompt and warm, the seating comfortable – the toilets poky, you wouldn’t want someone using the urinal next to you unless you enjoy hugging whilst peeing.

    I quite enjoyed the pork belly, I quite enjoyed the vegetables, and I quite enjoyed the gravy. The yorkie was soulless, and the roasties somewhat done earlier – though I’ve had worse, much worse.

    The vegan scored hers a 7.00, my accomplice a 7.20, and I think I’m scoring The Cleveland Arms a 7.07 out of 10. Respectable, and the pub is pleasant to be at.

    There should be a roast dinner next Sunday but there is an obstacle to overcome – lesbians. Yes, my first ever lesbian wedding. No I’m not getting married. So the roast will depend on getting back to London logistics, via our wonderfully reliable train network.

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  • Langan’s Brasserie, Mayfair

    Published 5 February 2024, 8:25 am

  • M.I.A. once sung about going to Langan’s Brasserie in Mayfair, if memory serves me correctly.

    “Going to Langan Langan’s, golangalangalangans”.

    No? Am I making this up? Someone help me.

    ChatGPT telling me M.I.A. did sing about going to Langan's Brasserie, but then throwing an error about breaking content policy.

    Oh. I was just making this shit up.

    Maybe double-check.

    ChatGPT telling me M.I.A. did not sing about going to Langan's Brasserie

    Phew. I’m glad we got that straightened out.

    My regular accomplice received some kind of 40% off deal for Langan’s Brasserie – I’d never heard of the place, but I thought “sod it”, let’s go off-piste and posh it up. Well, I was expecting pish posh – it had the feel of somewhere that would do a wanky Sunday roast, but my accomplice disagreed. And most importantly, 40% off.

    Wronguns

    Langan’s Brasserie is probably the first restaurant that I’ve seen on a tube exit sign. Quite why Blacklock doesn’t have it’s very own exit stumps me…maybe that is to come.

    My accomplice messaged me to advise that it was posh inside, though when I turned up, pretty much the first thing I saw was a bloke in an Arsenal shirt. Even in Blackpool that doesn’t count as posh. Well…maybe it does.

    Lads on tour, in Blackpool
    Blackpool by Mike Carney under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    And before you get on your high horse about some wannabe middle-class wannabe influencer getting sniffy about a night out in one of the best places in the UK to score lower-grade crack, I have been to Blackpool on holiday. True, not as an adult, and also true I prefer sunnier middle-class places like Torremolinos. But I have actually been.

    Anyway, where was I?

    Golden Mile amusements in Blackpool
    Pleasure yourself, image from keith vaughton under license CC BY 2.0 DEED

    Nope.

    Oh yeah, Langan’s Brasserie, the place that M.I.A. didn’t sing about having a roast dinner at…I think.

    It was a slightly curious place, in that I couldn’t really place it. Funky neon signage on the outside, but a bit formal in the restaurant area. Yet the bar area was more art deco, the toilets were gorgeous, the chairs were luxurious and there were loads of staff. Oh, and there is loads of artworks by luminary artists such as David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and…Timmy Mallett. Wikipedia doesn’t make things up too, does it?

    Wow, it seems like Timmy Mallett is an artist. Mallett’s Pallete. Well, hammer me down and stick a plaster on my face. You here to learn right?

    Wangers

    Anyway, this isn’t really flowing is it? I know I can often be a bit all over the place (someone described me as irreverent on Facebook, can you believe?) but this isn’t quite flowing. Besides there is nothing in my head to write about other than roast dinners. Then again, there wasn’t anything else in my head until I started singing “Go Langan’s Langan’s earlier”.

    Langan's Brasserie, Mayfair, Sunday Roast Menu
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Options on the Sunday roast menu at Langan’s Brasserie were Hereford ribeye, Suffolk half chicken, Tamworth pork belly and Blackpool celeriac fondant. All the meaty ones priced at a slightly eye-popping £34.00 (no wonder they let someone in with an Arsenal shirt).

    Oh but with a 40% discount. You do the maths. If you care.

    Langan's Brasserie, Mayfair, Chicken roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Starting with the carrots which were very honey-flavoured – very much so. So much that at first I thought we had ridiculously sweet gravy – note though that we do actually have gravy and not jus. I’ve won that battle, haven’t I? Still working on world peace. Still need to start my roast dinner awards for 2023. Carrots were also soft.

    The parsnips had been roasted in the same tin, and were very honeytastic too…albeit I’m not mega keen on honey. The larger of the parsnips was slightly undercooked, the other was pretty spot on – and there was some delightful parsnippyness in with the honey too.

    For me, the tenderstem broccoli was too al dente, too much rawness to the stalk anyway. Though it’s always a Blackpool Pleasure Beach to see.

    Go lang your wanger

    Langan's Brasserie, Mayfair, cauliflower cheese
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Cauliflower cheese came with the roast – a small pot shared between two, and it was pretty delightful. Creamy, cheesy – the cauliflower was a bit mushy, but overall quite delightful.

    One of my accomplices had stunning roasties – she even left one for me. What did you say? No, I didn’t pinch it. Mine weren’t quite on her level:

    Langan's Brasserie, Mayfair, roast potatoes
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    There were definitely crispy outsides going on, to an extent. But also some undercooked and quite dry insides – nothing horrendous, but nothing especially enjoyable. 4 of them though…weird that in 2024 I either get an illegal amount of roast potatoes (3 being the legal limit in London), or I get illegal types of potatoes.

    On the flip side, the yorkie was really good. A double-egg yorkie – it was turmeric-yellow inside, nicely crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – there isn’t much competition yet but likely the best of 2024 so far. Also quite possibly better than any in 2023.

    Hang on…she did do a song about going to Langan’s.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCL1RpgYxRM?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

    Golagalaga Langan’s

    Regular readers were possibly surprised that I chose the chicken over the pork belly – so was I. However I’d eaten beef the week before at L’Escargot (Langan’s Brasserie also sells snails, fact fans), and the waiter suggested that the chicken was much better than the pork belly. It was a knowing response.

    It may or may not have been better than the pork belly, but the inner part of the leg was undercooked. I’m cool with pink chicken, but this was pink and somewhat raw. The breast was really rather plump, yet also quite bouncy in texture. Seasoning was zero and the skin was soft. It was unconvincing.

    That said, I enjoyed it more than my accomplices enjoyed the beef – all complaining that it was fatty and chewy. It looked too thickly cut for the lower quality of cut, and perhaps needed to be less rare? I know, I know.

    Langan's Brasserie, Mayfair, Beef roast dinner
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    I didn’t mind the gravy – they were even kind enough to spoon it over for me. A good consistency, though a little sweet and tomato-based – it wasn’t a particularly meat stock affair.

    Happy Dayz amusements, Blackpool
    Happy Days. Perhaps. Image by philip oleary under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

    Go To Langan’s Brasserie. Maybe.

    Ohhhhh hang on…she was singing about the programming language, Golang, right? “Golang, golang, is my favourite programming language, I write a function, in your junction…”.

    Yeah I’m more writer than lyricist. Hidden talent perhaps. Very hidden.

    Well this was definitely more wanky than wonderful…and that’s what I think of my writing, fuck knows what you’ve thought of this review.

    And the roast too…was a mixed bag. My beautiful accomplice (apparently I normally call her the weird one for not eating gravy) scored it a 7.70, my regular accomplice a 7.10 and the final accomplice a somewhat more disappointed 6.80 out of 10.

    It feels a bit harsh to be considering a score of less than 7, as the Yorkshire pudding and cauliflower cheese were punching. Plus service was good, they sold apple juice (Dry February, lol) and they seemed to cope with us rejecting bread, rejecting a starter, rejecting wine, rejecting dessert and rejecting coffee. Nope, just a roast dinner, oh and with our 40% off please.

    I think there was enough quality to scrape over the 7 mark – a perfunctory 7.06 out of 10, perhaps. It isn’t much of a recommendation really – there’s better upmarket places for a roast dinner in central London – and quite possibly a reason why they are offering 40% off vouchers. That said, we saw a chicken kyiv on another table, and it looked sexy.

    Apparently the restaurant was relaunched with new owners in 2021 – but I’m going to suggest that if they want to compete with the best Sunday roasts in London, especially at that price, they’ve got some work to do.

    I’ll be back next week – a galangalanga go lang…at a proper pub this time. Happy dayz. Oh…do go (lang galang) see The Hills Of California, if you like theatre stuff and it is still 2024 when you are reading. Bye.

    ChatGPT telling me M.I.A. did sing about going to Langan's Brasserie

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

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  • L’Escargot, Soho

    Published 30 January 2024, 8:12 am

  • Ah putain. Yes I had the snails. Oh and we went to L’escargot in Soho for a Sunday roast.

    Snails at L'escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    Straight in there with a picture of my food. What is going on?

    Oui madame, L’Escargot in Soho was the destination for this week’s roast dinner adventure.

    A French restaurant serving le British Sunday roast? Le ros-bif for les ros-bifs? Can you tell I got a B in GCSE French? Did you know L’Escargot did a Sunday roast?

    I fell in love with L’Escargot, pretty much from the doorway mosaic onwards.

    Snail mosaic at L'escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    There was an utterly classic vibe when entering L’Escargot, walking through the corridor, being greeted cheerfully by every member of waiting staff who were giving off a very good impression of enjoying actually being there. The walls, tables and chairs perspired this sense of how much they’ve seen over the years. The restaurant as a living entity gave off this confidence of quality – like they were totally assured that everyone would be happy.

    Rosa Bonheur’s trousers

    And oui, the snails were better than in Paris. I merde you not.

    Inside L’Escargot was painted mustard yellow with large mirrors and had been lavishly decorated as if the owner got harrowingly drunk on the opening night of the RA’s Summer Exhibition one year and ended up with the shock of 200 weird artworks turning up several weeks later. I did something similar once, but opened the mystery box to find that I’d drunkenly ordered a vuvuzela. I am art anyway.

    Speaking of art, we went to Women In Revolt at Tate Britain beforehand to admire the struggle of female equality over the decades – you know I don’t normally do politics on this blog, but it is crazy to think that equal pay for women wasn’t a thing until 1975. Lesbian rights were unheard of even when gay rights were partially decriminalised – men even had the right to have sex with their wives without consent. Mental to think about it, though I am part of le wokisme.

    Women in a washing machine costume
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It didn’t especially feel like the exhibition that I should take photographs of hot naked women at, so you’ve got a photograph of a women inside a washing machine costume – but I can assure you that the standard of naked women artwork was superb. Strangely enough, in terms of men it was pretty much only me and my father there. It’s almost as if guys are not interested in the fight for women’s equality.

    In other equally shocking news, Trump is a peado (allegedly…I have to put that, right?):

    National Enquirer - Epstein Blackmailed Trump!

    Is Trump a peado or a pedo? The internet has confused me. According to the National Enquirer, in case Trump’s lawyers are reading…should he have any that are still willing to work for him.

    Simone de Beauvoir’s Glasses

    Time to talk menus.

    Roast Dinner menu at L'Escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    There was only one roast dinner on the menu – though everything came with cabbage, carrots and roast potatoes. It’s advertised at £35.00 for 2 courses, or £39.00 for 3 courses. Of course, I ordered the snails – my father also had the salmon for starters, of which he was in high praise.

    With beef rib as the only option, beef rib it was.

    Beef Sunday Roast at L'Escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    It was a little tricky to photograph without a shadow – and the presentation is mine as it was one of those build-it-yourself roasts.

    Starting with the carrots, oui madame of course. There’s little to say about them but they were on the softer side of crunch, and tasted rather sweet.

    The cabbage was stand-out – so buttery in feel, and just glorious to taste. Even my cabbage-eschewing mother complimented it – of which I never knew she didn’t like cabbage, but it kind of explains why we had a lot of peas as a child, and no cabbage. Peas ended up behind the cupboard somehow – even back then I knew that you couldn’t trust the blighters.

    Émilie du Châtelet’s Conservation Of Energy

    There were enough roast potatoes in the bowl for everyone to have 4 – a 5th was possible though I eschewed the opportunity as there was dessert to come, and the opportunity wasn’t something I especially craved.

    That said, they were decent enough – a mixture of textures, some soft, some crispy, sometimes a little dry. Better than average, but that isn’t the world’s strongest compliment.

    Then…a shock for which I have dedicated photographic evidence:

    Fluffy yorkie at L'Escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    The yorkie is fluffy inside! It was a nice fluffy, freshly-cooked yorkie – if a little tearable in texture also.

    Can a French restaurant do good beef? Of course they can – the beef rib was superb. Varying in texture, some parts around the edge were quite well done and crispy, though much of it was juicy and on the rarer side, with the accompanying fat of the rib. Really tasty – and you could really smell the beef too, despite having a cold. Yeah, I had to go into the office for a day – and with totally coincidental timing, 48 hours later I had a cold. In fact, I wasn’t even in there for a day, just a morning to pick up a brand new MacBook which I then had to smuggle through Croydon in this massive obvious HELLO THIS IS AN EXPENSIVE MACBOOK box.

    Beef Roast Dinner at L'Escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    There’s only the gravy left to talk about, at least from the main plate – it had close to the perfect consistency, but I wasn’t massively keen on the tomato-base flavour, nor the slight tang. I guess it makes sense in a French restaurant, plus other accomplices really enjoyed it, so this is more a personal preference thing. I’d always prefer gravy that was more meat-stock based.

    Unusually we all had desserts – Dry January tends to be my excuse for eating more dessert. Having FOMO’d it from another table, I went for the chocolate soufflé – which was extremely delicate brown sponge with a crispy outside, some creamy vanilla ice cream popped into the top, with chocolate sauce poured on top.

    It was pleasingly performative, yet didn’t really taste much of chocolate. There was a sense of what could have been. I perhaps should have chosen the tarte du citron.

    Chocolate Souffle at L'Escargot, Soho
    © Copyright – Roast Dinners In London 2024

    L’Escargot’s Snails

    Institution is the word I was looking for earlier when trying to describe L’Escargot – and even more importantly than being an institution, they do a very, very good roast dinner.

    The only thing you could argue that could be improved were the roast potatoes, but the percentage of times that I say that is even higher than the percentage of women to men in the Women In Revolt exhibition.

    If I scored as a whole restaurant experience, service, menu, all the food, decoration, vibe, drinks (alcohol-free mojito didn’t pain me too much) then it would be around a 9 out of 10. That isn’t how I do things – but that is how highly I rated L’Escargot as an experience.

    That didn’t stop two accomplices scoring it that highly – my mother scored it a 9.00, the beef being even better than you can get in Hull, apparently. And better than Blacklock – of which I’d agree, the beef was better than Blacklock’s (but not the roasties, gravy or dessert). My sister, scored it a even more whopping 9.30 out of 10. My father who had the venison with peppercorn sauce, scored his an 8.90.

    I’m a little conflicted here. The beef rib was outstanding, as were the vegetables. Yet the roasties were improvable – so how high can I score it? Especially when I wasn’t keen on the gravy flavour. An 8.27 out of 10 feels about right.

    L’Escargot feels like it should be on every Londoner’s “must eat at once in your life” list. It should be on yours, and you could even order the roast beef. I dearly hope I get the chance to visit on a Friday/Saturday too. Worth noting that they do a 2 course lunch/pre-theatre menu for £25.00.

    On the way out, I saw Jay Rayner’s review on the wall, which made me wonder how many places have printed up my review and put it on the wall. Zero? Maybe less? Someone told me I’m better than Jay Rayner anyway, so maybe I don’t need to be on any walls. Oui, she is related to me.

    Plus the chances of my review being on the wall given that I’ve copied the accusations of America’s first ever incarcerated ex-president of being a peado are slim.

    Next week I’m going off-list – somewhere my regular accomplice thinks will be really good, somewhere I think will be fake posh pish…or at least the roast dinner will be. Who will be right?

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