How To Get A 10 Out Of 10

You’ve probably looked at my reviews, maybe even read them, and at least occasionally thought that I’m absolutely beautiful and deserve multiple threesomes with hot latino women, ideally with DD breasts – nothing too big.  You may also have thought that I’ve been a bit harsh with my scoring (of roasts – not women) and wondered, what the heck a place has to do to get a 9 out of 10, or hell, even a 10 out of 10.

Beauty is always subjective, except in my case, but the following is a good guide if you want a high score.

The Basics:

Freshly cooked.  One of the main reasons that The Crown scores so highly is that all the food is freshly cooked and HOT when you sit down to eat.  They only serve for 4 hours, they are normally fully booked, each table has its own time slot and the freshly cooked food keeps coming out.  This is impossible to do if you are serving roast dinners midday to 9pm, and very difficult for anywhere without a loyal following.

Value.  The price doesn’t really matter but if you are going to charge upwards of £15 then make sure the quality is high, and the quantity is appropriate.  Roast dinners are not Michelin star fine dining.

Presentation.  Personally I’d prefer a big pile of food, totally hidden by an even bigger pile of very thick gravy.  Presentation is highly unlikely to give extra marks, but it will lose marks for looking prettier than it tastes.

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Atmosphere.  No jazz bands.  No pianos.  No wannabe posh shite.  No twats in oddly-coloured striped jackets drinking Pimms.

Vegetables:

Some vegetables are favoured over others.  I’d suggest 3 types of vegetables would be the most appropriate amount for me to be able to judge vegetability of the establishment.  These are some of those that most turn me on/off (I am touching my left nipple right now):

Cauliflower AND broccoli cheese.  Cauliflower cheese can be the tastiest of vegetables, but supplied with broccoli (still need a spellchecker) then this becomes luxurious.  The two vegetables complement each other so well.  Of course, it needs to be creamy – not too much, and it really does help if there is actually some evidence of cheese.  Both The Crown in Playhatch, and The Bull in Wargrave do this exceptionally.

Carrots.  They must be roasted for top marks.  There is absolutely no excuse for not using some herbs or pepper.  Don’t just give me plain old blanched/steamed carrots.

Broccoli is pretty boring by itself.  Tenderstem broccoli is somewhat more interesting.  If you are going to insist on plain old broccoli then don’t dish it up as if it has been grown in a lake.  And don’t give me yellow-ended crap.

Parsnips.  Always a treat.  Again, roast them please.

Sprouts.  Why don’t I ever get sprouts?  Cooking them with bacon or pancetta would be a true treasure.

Red cabbage.  Just leave it out.  I’ve seriously had enough of it.  Just because the plate looks more colourful does not mean it is a good idea.  Imagine having every single colour on a football kit.  Ridiculous.

Any vegetable pureed.  No no no no no.  I am not a fucking baby.  More of a child.

Leeks and mange tout are glorious vegetables – especially creamed leeks – give me creamed leeks and I will, erm, you know, cream myself.  I’ll get my coat.  Guess what colour my coat is?

Peas.  Just don’t even think about it unless you want that plate thrown back at you.  At best, I will throw some on the floor, in the ashtray, in empty glasses, on the table – anywhere I can because if you want their lack of discipline to infect all of my dinner, then I shall afflict my lack of discipline upon your establishment.

Roast Potatoes:

They need to be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.  You know, roasted.  Not microwaved.  Not deep fried.  R O A S T E D.  Easily the most difficult part of a pub roast dinner but one with a heck of a lot of points to be gained from.  And to get those roasted edges, they need to be par-boiled and chuffed up beforehand, in my experience.

Do not make them too large – something around 6cm by 3cm by 3cm are the dimensions that I personally aim for, though smaller would work too.

For extra points, cook them in goose or duck fat and please do not be afraid to use herbs – fresh rosemary on roast potatoes is to die for.  Garlic, thyme, onions – all simple but taste-adding ingredients when roasting your potatoes.

Yorkshire Puddings:

I am yet to make the perfect Yorkshire pudding myself so I appreciate that there may be a bit of hypocrisy here.  Then again, I am not a qualified chef.  Though I doubt half the chefs cooking roast dinners in pubs have any kind of qualification – those that do, do jus.

Large.  They must be large or very large.  Do not overcook them, do not turn them into sponges.  They need a soft, soggy bottom (not ultra soggy) and fairly crispy edges.  Must be served with at least a little gravy inside of them.

Meat:

The meat is the area which goes right most often when I’m on my dining visits.  So I haven’t got too much advice here.

Beef should be pink inside.  Bonus points if the option is offered to have it more well done.  Cooked with mustard powder or something similar would highly impress though beef can talk on its own.  Note that I do not want a steak.

When it comes to chicken, Malmaison’s corn-fed chicken breast is the one that has most impressed me.  Hmmmm breasts.  Now touching my right nipple.  Do make sure chicken comes with stuffing.  And there needs to be more than a chicken leg.  Don’t go all Nando’s on me with cheap factory-fed, ill-looking chicken breasts.  And don’t forget herbs.  Or butter, salt, pepper, lemon – all these can bring out some extra taste.

Pork belly is probably the joint that can most impress – but equally it can easily go wrong.  Make sure that crackling is salty, crunchy yet soft enough for my dark brown crystal-meth teeth to handle.  There should be some fat.  All pork joints are helped with herbs.

Lamb is probably, just, my favourite meat.  It doesn’t need to be as pink as beef should but it should be pink inside.  If you are going to provide a lamb shank, then a half-alert me will know if it is from a cash and carry.

All meat should be succulent, never dry.  Fat is good.  Gristle is bad.

And why not do something different – turkey, venison, duck, buffalo, alligator, kudu.  Think out of the box.  Always thinks out of the box.

Gravy:

Oh my word.  Gravy.  The most important element.  Let me just start off by saying don’t even go there with jus.  I have, very occasionally had a nice jus.  Twice I think.  Once at the Black Boy in Shinfield.  Most times it is some pathetic ugly-tasting red wine attempt and just looks like a cheap oil painting.

Gravy should have some consistency and have as much influence as possible from one of the meats that have been cooked.  Herbs, onions, mint, whatever, throw it in but make it thick and tasty.  Not too tasty though, as I don’t want the rest of the dinner fighting to be tasted.

In terms of thickness, my requirements are for a thickness similar to glue.  I don’t expect it though as I am well aware that most people prefer their food thicker than their gravy rather than the other way around.  Just make sure it is thicker than water.  And that there is extra available on request without charging me extra.

Extras:

Herbs.  Have I mentioned them?  Do not forget herbs.  This is not Burger King.

Imagination.  Do something unusual.  Step outside the box.  Be brave.  Please just imagine how many times I have eaten carrots.  I was most impressed with being served not only duck, but romanesco cauliflower at The Greyhound in Finchampstead – which I had never even heard of.  Please do something different.

Service.  I am still a tiny bit Neanderthal so being served by a really pretty Mediterranean girl will always help.  But it helps if they know the menu, have a favourite, have enthusiasm, 30 seconds to talk to me and look interested in whatever crap I am waffling in an attempt to be funny.

But let’s face it.  Nowhere will ever get a 9.

Beef @ The Cricketers, Littlewick 10/07/2016

I’d like to start by welcoming viewers to Gravy Match Special. Unfortunately Geoffrey Boycott cannot be with us this morning and my gravy boycott is over.

There were a number of options for the roast on Sunday, but given the state of the pitch and the sunny skies, myself and my batting partner plumped for The Cricketers in Littlewick.

A rather unexpectedly idyllic setting just off the A4 towards Maidenhead, sat right across the road from the local cricket pitch – the pub itself felt a little like the England cricket team in the 1990’s in some ways.

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If I recall correctly, they had chicken, pork, beef, lamb shank and possibly a nut roast option too. All were £12.50, except the lamb shank at £13.99. Probably.

We won the toss, and I therefore decided to have the beef, as per the recommendation from the barmaid.

It was a good batting pitch so I was hopeful of getting a good score – a nice seating area outside in the sunshine gave distant views of the cricket match itself.

The dinner arrived after around a 10 or so minute wait – the proper food on the main plate, with a shared and not especially generous side-plate vegetable portion.

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No surprises in the batting order, so I started with the carrots. These were perfectly decent, probably steamed, but very ordinary. The kind of inoffensive sliced carrots my mother would make. That said, it glided nicely towards silly mid-off for 2 runs. Off the mark.

Next up was the broccoli. Over-blanched and a touch soggy with yellow ends suggesting broccoli that should have been eaten last week. That was not a good shot, and is he caught behind? It seems to have clipped the bat and has been sent for review.

Out! Yes a poor shot. They shouldn’t be serving broccoli like that.

Out then came the cauliflower. Inoffensive, average – he played a shot off to leg side and made it back for a single.

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There were four roast potatoes. Quite large in size with some element of roasting, albeit possibly in a deep fat fryer, clipped over the head of the second slip and rolled away for a slightly lucky run.

Oddly for a beef roast dinner, it came with a stuffing ball. It did seem a little too round and I couldn’t quite work out why it was there or what to do with it – do I eat it with a slice of beef? Or just on its own? Again it was nothing special, and sliced towards the gully for a single run.

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Then the bowler attempted a Yorker. Or A Yorkshire pudding. Actually, it wasn’t much of an attempt as it was one of those stick it in the oven efforts. Off the pad. No runs. Poor.

There was a little dinky surprise with a cocktail sausage wrapped in bacon. Pleasantly hit but just a single run. It was a little cold and had that kind of burnt bacon covering. Not especially appealing.

And then onto the beef. Two slices of rather well-done beef, accompanied with quite a bit of gristle and fat – not succulent juicy fat but unnecessary tough fat – and the beef itself was quite tough. At first it appeared to be a beautiful shot in the air towards the boundary, but it was hit straight towards the fielder and caught. Disappointing.

Gravy. It was quite thick and there was plenty of it, however it did taste a little Bistoish. A loose ball which deserved to be whacked for 4, but he missed it. Well, what can you say.

So at the end of the day’s play, a disappointing 6 runs for 2 wickets. Or a 6.2 out of 10 if you are being a little more traditional.

It’s a shame. I wanted to give it a higher score as it really is in a very pleasant location with friendly staff and has a good feel to it. But it is what it is.

I don’t particularly have a highlight (bar the cricket bat table number thing) or a lowlight. It did all blend into an innings of averageness. You won’t go away particularly disappointed. But I doubt you’d return there for a roast either. But do give the pub a try – especially if the cricket is on.

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Next weekend there will definitely not be a roast dinner. I have absolutely no intention of being able to eat anything next Sunday, nor be able to use a computer on Monday. But I might still conjure up some kind of special feature.  Hoooowwwwwwwwwwwwwzzzaaaaaaaaaaatt?


We don’t like gravy, yeah.

We love it.

Chicken @ The Butler, Reading 26/06/2016

You know this roast dinner strike thing?

Well, I’ve been speaking to Mrs T. She isn’t too happy with me. She isn’t even speaking to me. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of drinks that have fallen off my Margaret Thatcher coasters over the last week.

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We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to gravy.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I am back off roast dinner review strike. If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman; if you want a roast dinner reviewed, ask a 60-year old pot-bellied transsexual virgin crystal-meth addict.

Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth. And I didn’t have many of them so I looked for somewhere with a less-expensive roast, and decided upon The Butler in Reading. Each £9.50.

An over-looked pub on Chatham Street, so overlooked that I hadn’t ever been in 18 years of living here. Slightly dishevelled but welcoming, televisions in the corners so I could watch the football, with a variety of seating – including some rather psychedelic sofas near the back.

It was very quiet so I had a large choice of tables. Possibly not a good sign but I ploughed on and ordered the chicken. I was impressed that each had a different form of gravy – I was nearly tempted by the beef (cooked rare) but it came with an “& red wine gravy” – and I have bad memories of red wine gravy, not to mention the off-putting misplaced ampersand.

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Is that blurry or am I still fucked from the weekend?

They all sounded appealing so I sat down for 5 minutes whilst a fairly packed plate was microwaved.

I started with the cabbage which I didn’t finish. White and tasteless, this was the most pointless item for many a month.

The batons of carrots were fairly average, a little roughly cut, slightly on the soft side.

Speaking of soft – the broccoli had been long over-blanched, very soft and soggy, to the point of losing its colour. Any woman who understands the problems of cooking broccoli will be nearer to understanding the problems of making a roast dinner.

Not exactly anything over-enamouring so far but this changed with the cauliflower cheese which was rather wow. The strength of the cheese, with perhaps a hint of paprika gave it a kick – really, very impressive. If only I had had a whole bowl of it. You could do business with this cauliflower cheese.

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The new potatoes were fairly standard – four or five earthy morsels with enough bite.

Also standard were the roast potatoes – three, of course, standard, and sadly the standard roasted-earlier microwave standard. They were a touch chewy and bouncy inside. I’ve had far worse, but they were not massively appealing, after all, if you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to make fresh roast potatoes, and you would achieve nothing but good roast dinners.

There was a ball of stuffing – possibly homemade, after all the roast dinner had an endearingly homemade touch to it. Sadly it didn’t have much flavour to it – it seemed to have no herbs, perhaps more sausagemeat – possibly some nuts and onion, also a touch on the dry side.

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Some places (mentioning no names, Nando’s) offer out the most pathetic excuses for a half chicken that you could imagine. The Butler does not. This was a full-sized half a chicken. I’m assuming that it was cooked in the white wine that the gravy was made out of, as the chicken seemed oddly pale at first look.

It was a succulent chicken and I did struggle to finish it. The white wine flavouring didn’t come out overly strongly, but it certainly gets good marks.

There is no such thing as society: there are individual Yorkshire puddings, and there are families. The Yorkshire pudding was homemade and a good effort. Well-risen, quite soft on the bottom.

Being powerful is like eating gravy. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. Well, it was special – not often you see an establishment make the effort so that their gravy stands out. This was filled with herbs, mostly parsley, and an unusual light cream in colour. I wouldn’t say that I loved it – the flavour wasn’t overly strong, it was thicker than water but being a northerner, I’d prefer it thicker. But I do very much appreciate the effort and inventiveness.

Overall it was a really mixed bag. Some parts excellent, more inventiveness than normal – but also some parts very average. The highlight was the wowtastic cauliflower cheese – the pointless cabbage the lowlight.

I’m going to give it a nice, round 7.0 out of 10. Or am I? Maybe a 6. Or a 5. To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning. It definitely gets a 7.0.

Iron out the imperfections and this could be a slightly unexpected go-to place for roast dinners in the centre of Reading. We are not exactly blessed with roast dinner venues in the town centre so I would certainly recommend giving this a try.

Next weekend I’m in Hull for a family wedding despite trying my hardest to offend the groom by repeatedly stating that all firemen are lazy, overpaid striking scumbags. I might be back in time but don’t count on it. The weekend after I’m going clubbing and considering I went clubbing this weekend and had a grand total of two bacon sandwiches in 48 hours, I’m sure that you can imagine that there is zero chance of me eating a roast dinner. The weekend after I might be away too!

So you might have to wait 4 weeks for your next review. But I’ll try to do something for you, otherwise you’ll have to be patient – I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end. Gosh I might even do a feature. Well, it’s better than nothing?

Unless the 25 powerful Margaret Thatcher quotes website that happened to be a porn site that I clicked on at work this morning gets me the sack, in which case goodbye forever. Ooops.

Strike Demands

Right.

As advised by my honourable trade union leader, I should set out my demands to return to work following this necessary post-Brexit strike.

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Obviously the unacceptable and dangerous working conditions are the main criteria, though I shall also touch on fair recompense.

These are my requirements to end the strike:

  1. A crate of chicken Goldenfry gravy for when I am too hungover to make some decent gravy.
  2. 1,000 Facebook followers and 5,000 Twitter followers.
  3. A public apology and a free roast dinner from the landlady of The Shoulder of Mutton for all of her hurtful words last year.
  4. A swimming pool built in my garden.  Filled with gravy.
  5. A minimum of two naked attractive young ladies (ideally from Yorkshire, Spain or Iran), covered in gravy, to caress my nipples with said gravy.
  6. A crown from The Crown.
  7. Roast dinner for two at Buckingham Palace, with the Queen and at least 3 members of the royal family.
  8. A statue for David Cameron at Westminster.
  9. A film/TV contract for Roast Dinners Around The World.
  10. Some kind of honours, ie a knighthood.

These minimal demands are fair recompense for the public work that I carry out on a weekly basis and the danger that I face.

Only on receipt of all 10 of these demands will I resume reviewing roast dinners.

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Long live lesbians.

Food @ The Exit Arms, Leaversham 26/06/2016

What you looking at?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told you what to expect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You didn’t believe me, did you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now look what you have done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Racist.

 

 

Nigel Farage

 

 

I told you there would be consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lol

 

 

 

Yeah keep scrolling

 

 

 

24136F6300000578-0-image-a-30_1419294361323

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m on strike.

 

 

 

 

o-BACON-facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t believe me, do you?

 

 

 

 

 

CS6Av5HWoAE0yIO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Well……………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1412297679191_wps_46_ED_MILIBAND_ENJOYS_A_BACO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are you still scrolling down?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

469359412

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scumbags.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t even think about telling me to get over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

eating-cam-2006_3258101k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strike means strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor+Boris+Johnson+eating+G+chocolate+souffl+RuugL2E6eUhl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not joking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boris-Johnson-and-Rosie-B-001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve got what you wanted.  You got what you deserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS CONTROL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NO MORE ROAST DINNEUR REVIEUWS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All cats are dead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gravy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

 

 

 

Have you seriously voted to ban immigrants from the UK?

 

 

 

 

None_ushuaia-ibiza-beach-hotel-luxury-boats-6

 

 

 

 

 

Stick your gravy up your arse.

Chicken @ The Admiral Cunningham Pub 19/06/2026

Can you believe that we are almost at the 10 year anniversary of Independence Day? That great day when a very small but very wise majority of people voted Brexit?

My how things have changed for the better since then. We’ve got our country back and it’s all thanks to King Nigel. I wish eternal health and happiness to our saviour and wise dear leader.

I remember when you used to walk through the streets and rarely would you see a piece of street furniture adorned with the flag of England – now renamed Nigeland (thank you spell-checker, though now all politically correct fools are in the correctional facilities, I don’t need to worry about a misplaced ‘r’ and an extra ‘g’) – and we all have responsibility for decorating street furniture. I have now upgraded my house so that in my hallway there is a full-size picture of our great leader – one assumes it is just a matter of time before legislation means an A2-sized framed picture will no longer be enough. And rightly so.

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There wasn’t much choice of venues as I couldn’t get a visa to visit Reading – I was thinking of visiting the Irish pub in Reading, or maybe even going to the Belgian Arms near Maidenhead, but both now have massive tariffs that make them utterly unaffordable to the average unemployed bum from Bracknell.

So I plumped for The Admiral Cunningham in Bracknell, a 40 minute walk from my house (about 2 miles and 4 furlongs), through street after street of beautiful Nigeland flags. One of the few pubs now not owned by Wetherspoons.

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Everyone working there was English (of course, with all foreign and foreign-looking people having been rightly repatriated), and they had a choice of traditional English food and good ol’ roast dinners (all pubs now having to serve roast dinners every day, by law) on offer.

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Yes as the king promised 10 years ago – they’ve all gone.

Pork, turkey, lamb, chicken, beef or mixed were the options at either 75 shillings or 80 shillings (£7.50 or £8.00 in old currency). Kids options were available at 40 shillings (£4.00) or super-roasts at 100 shillings (£10.00). Very pricey considering that the value of the pound collapsed in 2016 and has never recovered despite our conversion to new shillings as we took control of our country.

One reason that I was particularly looking forward to visiting the Admiral Cunningham was that it still had the honour of a 1 star food safety rating. Since King Nigel took over, all European food safety legislation has been annulled, but Reading council (who now run Bracknell) are still as backwards as ever, despite being run by UKIP (obviously, given that all other political parties are banned), and those pubs without a zero rating are allowed to keep their ratings. I can only think of a handful of places with any rating so eating at a 1 star venue is a real treat.

I ordered chicken and just like the new British Rail (well, English Rail to be more accurate since the break-up of the United Kingdom), it seemed to be quite slow in arriving but maybe that had more to do with how tired I was.

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The carrots and cabbage came in the same side-pot and both were soft and succulent, the carrots in particular – a hint of butter and were both surprisingly nice.  The carrots had been straight prior to cutting despite the fact that carrots no longer need to be straight since we left the European Union.

I could have had peas, which as you know are my favourite vegetable (or at least they are now since my time in the correctional facility for my idiotic and unpatriotic vote for remain back in 2016 – amazing what a 4-year diet of cold peas can do to you), however I simply didn’t fancy them, and upgraded to cauliflower cheese instead which was 10 shillings extra.

This also came in a small pot, with a good half an inch of cream (can you remember the days of metric measurements? How outdated – thank God (Nigel) that we have our country back). The cauliflower itself was perfectly done in terms of bite though could have done with more in the way of cheesiness.

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This time of year is one of the lucky times where we can actually get hold of potatoes post import/export-ban. Rumours are that there are mountains of unused potatoes in what is left of the European Union (Turkey, France, Ireland and Albania) – I cannot believe how badly run that shithole is. Even in Ireland they have plenty of potatoes. The two roast potatoes that were supplied to me were quite earthy and dirty, not at all roasted on the outside and semi-solid on the inside, but one has to be positive with what blessings we have nowadays. Crap roast potatoes are better than no roast potatoes.

The Yorkshire pudding was dry, burnt and crispy – and far too brown. Pretty rubbish, really.

There was half a chicken supplied. The drumstick was dry, overcooked and almost a touch stale – as if it has been on the table since last Christmas. The thigh was more appealing, quite soft and tasty with the fat. The breast itself was good enough – although a tad on the dry side. For a half a chicken it was a little small but larger than the old Nando’s chickens before it was banned for being foreign muck (now owned by Wetherspoons and converted to Chicken Chefs).

I do like a bit of stuffing and there was a perfectly rounded-corner square of herby stuffing. It would have been improved were it oven-cooked as opposed to microwaved but so be it. Surprising how they managed to get the corners that smooth and slice it so perfectly by hand, but that goes to show how things have improved under the dear leader.

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Finally the gravy was good. Maybe I would say that as 4 years in the correctional facility (or Nilag as those of us who have been through it know it as) and the lack of gravy that was part of my punishment for that most disgraceful and unpatriotic decision of mine to vote remain, mean that I am forever grateful but you know, some gravies are still jus-like despite all the posh people having had their estates rightly handed over to the king and now just surviving on hand-outs like me – this was quite thick, albeit gloopy and with a shortage, despite me being allowed a little thimble extra. Which is better than Christmas dinner in the gulag which came without gravy.

Overall I’m going to give a reasonably healthy 4.4 out of 10, which is a good score in foreigner-free 2026. The carrots were the highlight – the lowlight being the roast potatoes, which shows that some things haven’t changed in 10 years, though at least we have control of our country now.

The bill originally came to just over 12 shillings (£12.40), I gave them 15 shilling (£15.00) and £1.60 came back in the way of change with a new receipt for just under 14 shillings (£13.60) – I presumed that this was King tax, however then I remembered that I had had 2 apple juices so they must have originally charged me just for one.

Sadly since the king suffered liver disease and converted to Islam, pubs are no longer allowed to sell alcohol, though there are still underground liquor dens – clearly I cannot allude to the details of any in case I am stabbed with a bayonet on the way home.

I quickly left, via doing a line of gravy powder in the men’s toilets (drugs being unable to enter the country, obviously, as nothing can get in via the giant impenetrable dome that has been built over the country) and headed home ready for an 18-hour shift tomorrow preparing ammunition for World War 3.

Next week is probably my last ever roast dinner review, though I appreciate that I have been saying that for 11 years now.

Time for my hourly prayer to King Nigel. LONG LIVE KING NIGEL. I wish you health and happiness for eternity oh dearest and greatest one. Thank you for taking us out of the European Union, and a massive thank you to everyone that voted to leave in 2016.

Sing it now – We’ve Got Our Country Back, Oh We’ve Got Our Country Back, We’ve Got Our Country Back, Oh We’ve Got Our Country Back.

Beef, Lamb & Pork @ Crooked Billet, Wokingham 12/06/2016

Yesterday was the most important day of my year, arguably for many years.

Sunday was not. All I needed to do was recover from a hangover, buy a new shoulder bag for work to replace the one that now stunk of piss and ale, have a roast dinner (of, course) and make it home in time for my food shopping delivery.

Simple. Bar the hangover. Just one minute after I posted wondering whether I was going to be able to follow my original plan, my wonderfully craziest friend (and I have a few in that category) messaged me and we were game on. And he invited his even crazier friend.

Can you see where this is going?

I was originally going to go somewhere in Reading but I wanted to impress, and managed to book a table at the surprisingly quiet, Crooked Billet, near Wokingham. I’ve tried on 3 previous occasions to book a table there but always without success.

You’d really have to know this place exists. We found it at the end of a rickety country lane, over a ford of which we decided not to attempt – probably our last sensible decision of the day.

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There were a variety of roasts on offer, pork, chicken, lamb, beef and nut roast at £14.50. There was also a mixed option of pork, lamb and beef at £16.50. As I was feeling utterly incapable of making a decision, I went for the mixed roast, despite having had two large sausages rolls for breakfast.

I had little doubt that I was going to get an excellent roast and I was immediately wowed upon delivery. It took a while, 30 minutes or so, though we did have a starter, plus a pre-starter but that was something not supplied by the venue.

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Easily the largest plate that I’d been served in a long time but I know where to start. The carrots.

Or carrot. After 69 roast dinners reviews I thought I had seen it all when it came to carrots but this was served simply as one long delicate yet delicious stick of orange. Easy to cut into chunks, moist and succulent.

For my personal tastes the mange tout were too crisp and squeaky but others prefer them this way – horses for courses. I do love a mange tout or two and it was exactly what I was going to do do do, come on let’s do the conga.

Yeah maybe not.

Then there was a fine selection of tenderstem broccoli (thank you again spellchecker) – not just average broccoli. Marginally on the tough side of average but very well-appreciated as a healthy higher class vegetable.

There was some blanched-looking dark green stuff which was possibly cabbage – it tasted good but some of the core was just a little too tough to munch.

We had a little pot of cauliflower cheese too. Nicely crisp on top with the taste of cheese evident too. The cream was thick enough not to infect the gravy. Very good.

Before we go on and you might want to skip this paragraph – don’t say that you were not warned. I know that I normally have a fair linguistic talent however I’m struggling to work out how to insert this naturally (worryingly apt language for what I am going to say) but my crazy friends’ crazy friend would like me to insert a sentence explaining that he believes that the only use for celery is to try to insert it in bodily areas that you would not normally associate with the insertion of celery. Ideally before or during sexual intercourse.

This was pretty much the deal to ensure that he kept his hands off my privates during dinner so I hope that you understand this situation. Sadly I did end up seeing his nob – thankfully not in the restaurant.

Erm…moving on. You are going to miss me, aren’t you?

Three fairly small roast potatoes were included. They were actually properly roasted but sadly they had lost their crispy edges. However what they lost in crispiness they more than made up with the exquisite taste of the goose-fat that they had been roasted in. Even if you had never had roast potatoes cooked in goose fat – you’d know these were. Superb stuff.

The Yorkshire pudding was a decent homemade effort – it hadn’t risen incredibly and was quite medium sized but it was good.

Then comes the meat. Where to start?

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I shall start with the beef, which was on the edges just a touch dry but it had a certain flakiness to it of earlier-cooked beef. It had been cooked medium-rare – soft and pinkish on the middle but crispy and grey/brown on the outside. The fatty parts were included too which were divine.

Then the pork which was succulent and juicy, not forgetting the bits of fat that were included to enhance the taste. It also came with a strip of crackling which was perfection – crunchy on top, soft and juicy underneath. Even my crack addict teeth were able to crunch it.

Perfection almost came with the lamb which was just delicious. Sometimes the flavour of lamb doesn’t come out properly, normally when it is quickly cooked but this was superb. As I said, delicious.

All came in sizeable thick slices and it really was a struggle to finish.

And it just leaves to mention the gravy, which was innocuous and very thin. Nothing wrong with the flavour, it was light and complimented the food nicely. But not what you’d call a gravy up north.

There is room for improvement.  It was all very good or excellent but it wasn’t a 9.  It didn’t quite beat The Crown at Playhatch but it was the closest I’ve come to beating it.

It gets a rather marvellous 8.6 out of 10.

So many highlights from quantity to all of the meat, oh and the cracking – but the goose-fat taste on the roasties was that moment.  As a lowlight the gravy was far too thin for my liking but still good.  On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it gets a Stafford.

And how did the rest of my day go?  Well, I bought a new bag from town.  And then I bought another type of bag down Oxford Road.  And I made it home nearly 4 hours after my food delivery.

And had 3 hours sleep before my most important day of the year.  Oops.

Next week I am going to tell you how to vote in the EU referendum by way of a roast dinner review, the result of which will not be pre-ordained in any way, oh no, just like Boris’ leave campaign was nothing to do with his leadership desire, oh no, all to do with being faithful to his wife as any good, honest husband would always be.  In out in out we’ll shake it all about.  By the way I did decide against posting the photo of my friend’s willies that I had to take on Sunday.

Lamb @ The Catherine Wheel, Goring, 05/06/2016

Finally I am someone again.

Yes not since the giddy Get Reading days have I had some public abuse, but finally someone has recognised my talents and called me a clown.

What I suspect though, is that she actually really enjoys this blog, and is just getting into the spirit of things. Either that or she runs a pub that does crap roast dinners.

Speaking of being someone, this week I headed out to The Catherine Wheel in Goring, a rather well-to-do village west of Reading – a very pleasant area of the country. One of the 10 places on my must-review bucket list, it was recommended to me by my secret 4th housemate in my previous house that never paid any rent but did take the bin out once. Jolly nice chap though.

A table was booked for 3pm, I even had an attractive young lady coming – though, alas, story of my life…I was stood up again.

The pub itself featured low ceilings and wooden beams. It took a good 10-15 minutes to get someone’s attention at the bar, not because they were slovenly but because they were really rather busy. A good sign.

I was shown to my table and advised to come to the bar when I had decided what I wanted. I asked if I could order straight away, which caused some confusion. But yes, I was allowed to order straight away rather than sit down, pretend to look at a menu and then walk back to order, risking losing my seat in the sunshine. You’ve put the menu on your website for a reason.

Beef, pork and lamb were the options, though they did have a vegetarian option – don’t ask me what! I paid £14.95 for the lamb, I think. There was also the possibility of having a roast dinner sandwich – if only I didn’t need to lose weight, I could have had that for starter.

One day I’m actually going to have designate pie day. I’ll have pork pie for lunch, a proper pie for dinner and apple pie for dessert. But I’m not sure what to do for breakfast – any ideas? Must be a pie.

There was around a 30 minute wait for the food, which normally I don’t mind, but I was more hungry than I was horny, and I’m going through a horny phase at the moment. But the rule is, the longer the wait, the better the roast.

One other thing to note, the charming and very nicely dressed lady that I assumed was the landlady, was polishing the cleaned glasses properly. Attention to detail. I approve.

So I was sat, very happily, in the sunshine when my roast arrived. It looked good. I didn’t even have to ask for more gravy.

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I started with what appeared to be mashed swede. It had a rather light orange colour, for swede, tasted rather buttery and on the sweet side. I have never enjoyed swede as much as I enjoyed this.

Onto the mange tout – one of my favourite vegetables and not something ever supplied with a bad roast dinner. Sadly they were a tiny bit undercooked for my preferences, being rather squeaky and crunchy – but horses for courses.

On the other hand, the cauliflower cheese was exceptional. Really creamy and really cheesy – plenty of it too. Truly delicious.

But swinging back the other way a tad like in the gay club in Ibiza, the roast potatoes were not very roasted. Whilst they were soft in the middle, there was no evidence on them having been roasted. Good potatoes – but not good roast potatoes.

Also roasted were a couple of parsnips. Not quite as sweet or nutty as normal, maybe it was the oil that they had been roasted in.

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A homemade Yorkshire pudding was included, marginally sponge-like in texture, close to a medium size.

Two large slices of lamb were included, assumedly leg of lamb, one quite thick at 6mm, the other half the thickness. Medium-cooked, with cracked pepper on the top, this was very good and rather succulent lamb.

Finally, the gravy. It seemed to have a hint of mint and red wine in it, which may just have been my hangover from 2 bottles of wine confusing my basic northern taste buds – it was a nice gravy, a thick one too, though it did become a little tiresome towards the end.

Overall it was a very good roast dinner, at a very nice pub with very nice weather.

Nobody came to collect my plate or offer me dessert – I could have been tempted. I stayed for a second drink which is quite unusual for when I’m on my own. I blame the sunshine.

My highlight was the exquisite cauliflower cheese – the lowlight, surprise surprise, the unroasted potatoes. On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale, it rates a Nether Heyford. Scores on the doors – 7.7 out of 10.

Next Sunday I think I’m going to go somewhere in the town centre. Yes, Reading town center. Actual Reading. Somewhere also on my bucket list, though somehow I still have 10 places on it.

And hopefully start clowning around again – this was a pretty boring review wasn’t it? Here’s a photo of my rail replacement bus to brighten things up.

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Beef @ The Land’s End Inn, Twyford 29/05/2016

Welcome to yet another bloody roast dinner review. Are you fed up of them yet? The statistics say not, though we are past peak-roast, which was in February. My statistics may not be as firm as they were in my younger days, but they are holding up.

Sometimes I’m fed up of doing them. Which is why I now have a bucket list (still accepting your suggestions).

I wasn’t especially looking forward to it this week, slight hangover in tow from celebrating a Wembley victory for the football best team in Yorkshire, I travelled to Twyford train station then took a surprisingly very pleasant walk through the countryside, along a lake until I reached a rather weathered building – The Land’s End Inn, in Twyford.


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My boss reckons it is in Woodley. Or, if not Woodley, then Charvil. But I believe in disrespecting management where possible, so Twyford it is.

By the way, I might be looking for a new job soon so if you have a role suitable for my skills, talents and over-sized manboobs, drop us a line. Not of ketamine. A call. An e-mail. That kind of line. Hi boss.

Anyway, once inside, I scanned the slightly dishevelled building, noticed a poor choice of cheap common lagers and was served by a young man who seemed to be fed up of my presence as soon as I opened my mouth.

The roast options were turkey, beef, lamb and pork, all for £9.75. I asked for his advice, to which he replied that he did not eat roast dinners. We were not going to get along. Especially given that I did not have a table number ready for him, and they clearly would not recognise me despite my hairstyle which is even more uncommon than a 10-inch multi-coloured Mohican.

I went outside, chose a weathered table with an annoyingly screwed-in umbrella impeding my view, went back inside to inform him, then went back outside to my table.

I was seated around 10 or so minutes when it arrived. “There you go, cutlery is inside”.

Excuse me? You cannot be bothered to pick me up a knife and fork and bring it to my table as part of the service? So I placed my surface (a vastly over-priced tablet) and phone back in my bag, picked my bag up and left.

You don’t really believe that a Yorkshireman wasted food, do you? I walked inside with my bag, picked up a knife and fork, then went back outside to eat my roast dinner.

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Not a glorious start. Seriously, why on earth are you making your customers pick up their own cutlery? At which point, I realised that I was so flabbergasted that I had forgot to ask for extra gravy.

So, the food. It looked very ordinary and so it was. I have so little to say about the broccoli, though at least it was green unlike last week’s abomination, and also had a decent consistency to it.

The carrots were plentiful, batons, probably mass-produced but reasonable enough to eat once a slight scraping of thin gravy was applied.

But what’s this? I’ve been stabbed. Metaphorically shat upon.

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Yes, I found a pea. Despite specifically asking for no peas. I wanted to throw it at a member of staff, but as was the general theme there was nobody to throw it at so I placed it in the ashtray, where it belongs, which was at least half-empty.

Panic over, and no trip to a psychiatric ward necessary. Not in my view, anyway.

Then there was a bunch of cauliflower cheese which actually tasted of cheese. Not the nicest cheese ever, and actually had a slightly off-taste but I took it as cheese and enjoyed it as much as possible.

At first glance, the roast potatoes looked quite good. But it quickly became evident that they had been deep-fried, and not even deep-fried well – the oil used tasted cheap, and they were rather chewy on the inside, once you got past the crumbly outer ring which was acceptable in a deep-fried kind of way.

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The Yorkshire pudding looked exceptionally similar to other Yorkshire puddings that I’ve had. One would suggest that they have been to the same cash and carry that some other pubs also go to. For an aunt-bessie style yorkie, it was fine, crispy edges and slightly chewy bum.

There were a scattering of new potatoes.  Assumedly microwaved, but perfectly acceptable, albeit I had forgotten to write about them until I uploaded the photo.

It was around this point that I noticed someone in a wheelchair nearby, which had the brand name of Karma. Seriously. Has Glenn Hoddle started making wheelchairs? Why on earth would you call a wheelchair company Karma?

I’d like to think that the beef was cooked there, but it did also have the appearance of being mass-produced. On the bright side, there were 4 slices of relatively thick beef. It was cooked medium-style (or the only way possible in Eastern Europe) but was seemingly too smoothly cut to have been hand-cut – hence my assumption that it was pre-packaged. Edible.

Nobody came anywhere near for me to ask for extra gravy, and I didn’t feel inclined to walk inside so I soldiered on with what little watery brown liquid I had – bisto at best.

Someone did at least pick my plate up when I was finished, but there was no interest whatsoever in whether I had actually enjoyed the meal.

In fact the service throughout was poor. A good example of customer anti-service.

Not the best roast dinner but a thoroughly pleasant afternoon.  Had it been cold and wet then it may have been in danger of a much lower score (yes Spanish, if you are reading, I do actually like the sunshine – but only on a weekend).  Trying to be objective – 3.5 out of 10.

The highlight was the quantity of food.  The lowlight was going to be the quality – but the poor service trumps the poor quality.  On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale, it gets a Stoke-On-Trent.

Next Sunday I’m going to one of the pubs on my bucket list.

City Of Culture, we know who we are.  Have you booked your trip to Hull yet?

Chicken @ The Three Frogs, Wokingham 22/05/2016

Dear FirstName.

Don’t worry, no need to close/delete – this isn’t a Labour Party begging e-mail – though if you do want to give me £20 then you are more than welcome.  I’ll use it more wisely – gravy as opposed to gravy train.

I’ve been suffering from a notable case of GMT recently. Grumpy, Miserable & Tired. I’ve relapsed after a weekend of relative joy so I’m in no mood to put a smile on your face. There won’t be any tranny references, no drug references, no prostitutes, no bad jokes, no random digressions, no pointlessness, no politics and definitely no swearing. Just a plain old personality-free review of a roast dinner.

I do need your help though. £20 should do.

Seriously though, I want to know from you which places you think I need to review before I get shot by the mafia or end up like the orange juice man of Ibiza.

Call it a bucket list. I know I’ve been threatening to stop these reviews for about a year but an end point will come and I want to go out in a blaze of glory.

Comment, e-mail me, message me – whatever. If there is somewhere you really, really want to see me review, good or bad, for whatever reason, I want it on my list.

Yesterday’s roast was selected by my only good friend, the random number generator. It was pleasingly within easy walking distance of my house, despite being in another town.

The Three Frogs was the name. Three roast dinners were on offer for £9.49 each – beer, pork and chicken. I went for the allegedly slow-cooked half a chicken. I’d be cynical even if I weren’t grumpy today.

The menu suggested to me that it should be a step up from a Harvester, but not much else. The décor of the pub suggested similar – garish purple-patterned carpet that has been laid in more pubs than your average whore, with ugly haggard tables yet half-decent chairs. More suited for the football fan than the restaurant critic, of which I am only vaguely either.

Shit, I think I accidentally attempted humour in there. Doh.

I had called in advance and reserved a roast dinner. They serve them until close but warned me that they do sell out. And by time I arrived at 4pm, mine was the only one left. Some people might suggest this was a good sign.

I waited around 15 minutes as the queue for the microwave must have been quite long.

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Let’s start with the red cabbage. Never my favourite vegetable, a pile of it was splodged onto the plate. I tried to eat some of it, however there was so much water involved that every time I took a bite, a small river of purple water would run down and infect my gravy, of which there wasn’t exactly a reservoir of.

I quickly gave up and moved onto the broccoli. Unfortunately this had been in some kind of reservoir for it was also soggier than an English bank holiday weekend. It had been boiled/steamed so long that it had just about lost its green colour. Edible.

Also on the soggy side were the carrots. Which was a shame as they were nice carrots – those small chantannoy ones, replete with outer skin, as carrots should be. But could have been mashed with a fork. A plastic fork.

The Yorkshire pudding was average at best. It appeared a home-grown effort, yet was somewhat rubbery and chewy. I’ve had worse.

At least the chicken had some cracked pepper on it, and it was a larger half-chicken than you would get at Nando’s – the most over-rated restaurant chain in the country, living on past glories of when they didn’t use disfigured malnourished mini-chickens, and nobody had yet discovered peri-peri.

I once wrote to Nando’s and offered to write a blog about their restaurant in exchange for two free whole chickens – the deal being that I would have to eat both whole chickens in one sitting, otherwise I would have to pay.

They wrote back to me to thank me for my suggestion, but that the only discounts they have available were for NHS, fire service and police. Why on earth well-paid public sector workers get a discount and average-paid roast dinner reviewers don’t, is another matter. Though I guess they work harder than me. Well, NHS and police, anyway. Hopefully my firefighting cousins will read this and withdraw my invite to the wedding I’m subjected to in a couple of weeks.

I guess that’s why Nando’s was smashed up when Portugal beat England in the football a few years back.

Actually the last time I went to a wedding of one of my cousins on that side of the family, I was served a roast dinner.  It was a pretty good one too. Why on earth don’t we allow firefighters to retire at 40, and double their pay?

Then again, I only got one Yorkshire pudding and those on the top table got two. Vote Tory.

So the chicken. It was tasteless yet edible. The breast portion was a touch dry, the skin was limp and soggy, the thigh nice – the remainder in trace amounts. The cracked black pepper added nothing.

The gravy was a pretty standard Bisto kind of affair – very little on the plate but more was forthcoming on request, albeit not a huge amount more.

Not exactly a great roast dinner but there is something that I have not yet mentioned. Roast potatoes. I can see that you are expecting a variety of rarely-used vocabulary.

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Yes, the roast potatoes were excellent. Almost perfection. Had they been freshly served then they would have been some of the best ever. And despite the obvious cooling and reheating, they were the best this year by some way. Proper crispy edges, fluffy on the inside – there were even 5 of them.

Albeit the one nearest the red cabbage ended up purple.

Surprised?

If only the rest of the roast dinner was that good. The excellent roasties rescued a fairly poor to average dinner – the rating therefore is 5.5 out of 10 – about half of which is for the spuds.

The highlight was the roasties – the lowlight everything else.

On the way out, I was advised that I was the envy of the pub, having had the last roast dinner. Quite.

Next Sunday (hangover dependent) I’m going to somewhere that apparently holds Morris dancing events. Unless I have a willing driver, in which case I’ll get them to head out into the sticks instead.

I hope you didn’t smile. I’m still miserable and grumpy, although I have nearly cracked a smile about the lesbian action at the night I DJ at on Friday.