Gravy is ever so important to me. Some people have a bad day at work and go home and open a bottle of wine, some go home and have a spliff – I go home and have gravy.
And the most important ingredient of a roast dinner is the gravy. Not just any gravy either – it should have a reasonably thick consistency, and be made from meat stock at the least. There is no need to get fancy with it.
At the risk of being compared to Hitler, it should absolutely not be jus. There is no room for jus. Jus should be eliminated from the roast dinner. Albeit The Black Boy did do an excellent jus – the one and only enjoyable jus of my life.
I did say that I was going to go somewhere cheap this week but I couldn’t face the possibility of another poor/average roast – I was due a cracking roast dinner. Plus I had already had to borrow money to see out the month, so I might as well borrow even more.
The random number generator picked The St George And Dragon in Wargrave, which if I recall correctly had been recommended to me by a couple of colleagues at work.
I did try to book on their website, however it was only myself dining and apparently solo-dining is not an option.
Wargrave itself is a nice village, not a place I had ever been to. Some gorgeous houses, particularly near the station – I am pretty sure I saw one with a tennis court. Not something you tend to see on the estates up north where I am from. And I am not talking country estates.
I even felt a tad underdressed when I entered the pub. It is one of those pleasant upmarket gastro-pub type places, near to the River Thames, with a nice decking area for the summer and a cushion on my chair.
It all looked very tempting – and I compromised on the trio of roasts. I am yet to decide whether this is a wise idea – whilst this way I get to taste a wider variety, I do wonder if the quality is diluted. I have yet to rate a trio of roasts that highly.
It took less than 10 minutes for the food to arrive, it seemed closer to 5 minutes. I was very surprised. I had hardly started reading the article on Islamic State (I wonder if this is enough to attract the attention of our security services to bad roast dinners?).
The vegetables came in this little cup. Transferring them onto my plate was a little tricky, and various bits of leaf ended up on the table.
The carrots were good. Thick, plump and tender carrots. The kale and cabbage were rather non-descript. I really am rather non-plused about them.
It isn’t often a parsnip is offered, and this was a really tasty parsnip – honey roasted too. It was quite light coloured and I would have preferred it to have been more, well, roasted. But kudos on the single parsnip.
I was excited about the prospect of goose-fat roasted potatoes. But I shouldn’t have been so excited. Whilst I could taste the goose-fat, there wasn’t much roasting that had been done, the potatoes were even slightly rubbery on the outside. They were not bad potatoes but calling them roast potatoes would is against the trade descriptions act.
When the above menu states Yorkshire PuddingS, I was expecting a plurality of Yorkshire Puddings. I did get one and it was dry and almost a touch on the stale side. I am glad that I only got one.
There were also two little flat rounds of stuffing. This was clearly factory-manufactured and could easily have been on one a Tesco chicken meal-for-one.
Two bits of crackling accompanied the dinner – they looked like Twiglets. And perhaps tasted closer to them. Again they seemed very factory-manufactured.
It isn’t really going very well is it? But as you can see there is lots of meat to come. My eyes did light up when the plate originally arrived, and I did question whether I was going to eat it all.
But why would you put a pig-in-blanket on top of some bread sauce? Why on earth would you do that? In fact why would you put bread sauce on a plate? Or horseradish hollandaise? Or apple and vanilla puree? Or a flipping chunk of apple?! I was becoming mildly riled by this point.
Sauces should surely be in a separate pot. There certainly should not be 3 sauces on the plate, on top of gravy (more to come on this subject soon).
The pork loin was decent. It was quite unspectacular. Cooked a little more than my preference with no remarkable features.
There was a nice-looking piece of chicken breast but the chicken itself was really dry. I actually struggled to eat it.
I left the beef until last to try, but it was really quite well done. Not at all to my liking. Like the rest of the meal it was a disappointment, although the hint of mustard was appreciated.
Now I did consider writing about the gravy before everything else. Though my introduction may have given the game away.
Or perhaps more accurately, the jus. It looked more like some kind of glitter-face paint that I might wear to a disco-themed paint-balling trip.
Shiny, with lots of oil and red spocks. The taste was red wine but it was so over-powering and quite horrid that it totally ruined the whole dinner.
A good gravy would have masked the dryness of the chicken, to an extent. A good gravy would have enlightened the pork. A good gravy could have masked the softness of the goose-fat potatoes.
Instead, it over-powered the taste of everything on the plate – and it being a horrid taste, totally ruined what was only an average dinner in the first place.
Some people would likely have really enjoyed it – taste is after all subjective.
But appearance isn’t all it seems in life. The dinner looked good on arrival but was anything but. In a cute metaphor, the pub looked quite upmarket, yet had a leak from the ceiling.
This was the first time that I have questioned doing this blog. In total I spent £25.00 that I didn’t have, and 3 hours of my life including the travel time for absolutely no satisfaction or enjoyment whatsoever. What was initially an adventure to a new village soon realised itself into a chore.
I haven’t even enjoyed writing this.
My score is 3.4 out of 10. Less enjoyable than the Toby Carvery,
Thankfully next Sunday I am in Yorkshire.