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?

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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.

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Beef Rib-Eye @ The Walter Arms, Sindlesham 08/05/2016

There are few things I despise more than anaemic roast potatoes and jus. Working in a boiling hot office is one. I’d gladly not only sacrifice sunshine for the next 4 months, but also decent roast potatoes and proper gravy, just to have comfortable working conditions.

With a bit of luck, they’ll get rid of me soon. Come on, make me redundant! Hurry up!

Normally I start writing my review on a Sunday evening and finish it at lunch on Monday, and just about get it published before my lunch finishes.

Today it is currently 24.2’C in the office. It was 23.2’C less than an hour ago. It gets much hotter in here from lunchtime. I’m angry. I’m fucked off. I’m in a serious state of loathing already. The world can fuck off. You can all fuck off (after sharing the page, please). So I’m writing this review when I should really be closing my eyes, not thinking and doing the same that I do every single day in my oh so boring job.

Yesterday’s roast was shit. 0 out of 10.

Next weekend I’m not having any more roast dinners because I will be in custody for burning down the office. 24.3’C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even the hot Spanish girl in my office has just said it is hot. 24.4’C. Though I think that was meant as a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, ok you can have a proper review. I like some of you. I like Edible Reading anyway as he/she/he-she always shares the love. 24.5’C.

My life-partner, the random number generator, picked The Walter Arms near Winnersh as my destination this week. Co-incidentally the place recommended to me last weekend by one of my freely-swearing amigos. 24.6’C. I’m struggling not to swear every time I look at my digital thermometer.

We arrived at midday…yes…we. I had someone join me. No it wasn’t my imaginary girlfriend. No I didn’t take my life-size cardboard cut-out of Margaret Thatcher. 24.7’C. Anyway we arrived at the venue – the front looks like a church and we nearly walked past. They had two outdoor areas – one was a field, the other a very pleasant courtyard, allegedly with waiter service, although I only saw waitresses and they definitely were not transsexuals. 24.8’C.

We found a table half in the sunshine for your favourite fat 50-year old meow-meow-addicted virgin with an inverted nob, and half in the shade for my favourite UKIP-voting homosexual socialist with balls too big to wear shorts, complaining about the heat whilst wearing a jumper that allegedly was not a jumper. 24.9’C. 25.0’C.

The menu reads like one of those trendy places – split into starters, mains, mouth amusers and smorgasbords. What the insert swear words. Seriously. There was also a section for roasts, with beef, pork, chicken and lamb the options, and prices ranging between £12.95 and £14.95. 25.1’C.

You could also order Sunday Sundries, sigh, such as cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire pudding or roast potatoes. Cauliflower cheese being a favourite, I ordered a side dish. 25.2’C.

We sat in the temporarily-wonderful warm sunshine that I now despise, drinking a pint of cider and 15 minutes later a well-presented roast dinner arrived, with a side bowl of mixed vegetables and the cauliflower cheese.

Did I mention that it was very nicely presented? Hardcore. You know the score.

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The bowl of mixed vegetables was very ordinary. Generally quite crunchy and not on the enjoyable side of crunchy. Not difficult to eat but usually the less you cook vegetables, the more flavour they keep. Nein. Nicht. Nada. Not this time. Mange tout, very thinly sliced carrots, straggly cheap green beans and some random leaves – none were distinguishable from each other. Very bland. 25.3’C.

Inside the yorkie, were a few small cubes of roasted carrots, and a larger handful of roasted swede. The swede was the tastiest part of the roast dinner – which was a shame because I don’t especially like swede.

A little disappointed, I progressed onto the anaemic-looking roast potatoes which were anaemic. Slightly dry yet rubbery on the outside, somewhat fluffy on the inside. They were not enjoyable but they were edible. 25.4’C.

Redemption should have been possible with the cauliflower cheese. However there was absolutely no hint of cheese, and it was very creamy – the cream seemed like it was out of a packet. Worse still – it infected the gravy so the cheap cream taste accompanied everything I ate. 25.5’C.

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The yorkie was acceptable but it looked suspiciously like it was out of a packet, as the edges were just a little too round, stable and pre-formed. 25.6’C.

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The beef was rib-eye – one of my favourite cuts and not often it is supplied in a roast dinner. The best part of the roast dinner by some way though far from amazing. It was succulent and juicy, with a good amount of tasty rib-eye fat but it was just missing something. A little cracked pepper, a little mustard powder – something to distinguish it. A good piece of beef but just a tad ordinary. 25.7’C.

It was alleged to be a gravy – a red-wine gravy at that, but red wine gravy on a roast dinner rarely works for me, and on the plate it was rather thin, albeit mixed with the cheap cream from the cauliflower cheese. It didn’t work for me – I’m probably too northern for it.

I like the pub, the courtyard is perfect for summer afternoon drinking. But I didn’t like the roast dinner. It wasn’t overly bad but it was overtly bland. 25.8’C.

My current state of loathing does mean that I may be being a tad more harsh than I should, but I’m going to give it a 5.8 out of 10. The highlight was the beef – the lowlight were the anaemic roast potatoes. On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it gets a Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Looks are not everything in life.

Last week I nearly right-swiped a transsexual on Tinder. Which led to a conversation at work about whether you would date someone who had a sex change. I’m open minded to most things but it isn’t for me. They probably find it harder to get a date than I do. Actually, maybe not. It’s still 25.8’C.

Next Saturday night I’m going to a nightclub. I don’t intend on getting home until 10am on Sunday so I expect that there is more chance of being kidnapped by a group of hot Spanish lesbians smothered in gravy than there is of me being able to eat a roast dinner.


Are you going to tell me your number one fantasy?

WHOA the office temperature has gone down to 25.7’C. Where did I put my scarf and gloves?

Do you think gardening leave would be too much to ask for?

25.9’C.

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Lamb @ The Horns, Crazies Hill 01/05/2016

I was supposed to go out on Saturday and enjoy the British countryside, but instead I decided to focus on my web development portfolio and finish off some websites. It was a hugely frustrating day and by the end of it I ended up feeling sad and lonely.

I should have just stuck on Pornhub but instead I watched a romantic movie. It didn’t help. During which I consumed a bottle of rose wine and large bar of chocolate. It’s like I’ve had a mental sex change.

Mental as in the brain – not as in going loco. Sex changers, drug queens and everyone in between are normal and equally loved by me – it’s the thickness of your gravy that counts. May I take this opportunity to offer a heart-warming welcome to all of my trans readers, along with those who used to like transformers and trance music. If you still like transformers or trance music, you may want to check with your parent or guardian as to whether you should be reading this.

So I woke up on Sunday morning to the sound of not one housemate, but two housemates having sex with their respective partners. Yes I am a fat 50 year-old virgin who cannot even see his nob. You have asked your parents, haven’t you?

I considered blasting out Mel & Kim but just stuck on some banging techno and fantasised about northern women gravy wrestling.

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This week the random number generator picked The Horns in Crazies Hill. It was definitely on the boundary of acceptability in terms of how long it took to get there. By myself. A 30 minute walk to Bracknell train station, followed by 3 trains and then a 45 minute walk from Wargrave. I was fearing it being on the top of a hill after my long journey – but no, no hill, no crazies either.

Dear Landlord/landlady. If you are reading then please update your Sunday roast menu on your website. I was expecting to pay £10.95 for a lamb roast dinner as advertised by the website, but on the day it was £13.95. The price doesn’t really bother me but sort your website out! I can make or update websites for a very efficient cost.

I think the options were beef, pork, lamb and chicken, but don’t quote me. I’d had my heart set on lamb and was focused on it. I ordered at the bar on arrival, and barely had chance to try to remember from my heavy partying days who I had bumped into at the bar, got my seat and my meal was there.

Microwave central.

But on the bright side there was a very healthy portion supplied. However I was still feeling the effects of a tab of acid that I took when I woke up.

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Absolutely no shortage of vegetables, with carrots, mange tout, cabbage and traces of leek in the bowl.

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Starting with the traces of leek, it was difficult to discern any objectivity from the occasional white rings as they were quite on the sparse side. But always a bonus point for leakage.

Speaking of bonus points, mange tout are upper class vegetables suitable for an upper class boy like myself. These were on the crunchy side as was the cabbage – but the enjoyable side of crunchy – not the difficult side.

The carrots were a touch softer, provided in multiple baton format.

I was initially perturbed when I saw a new potato. What? No roast potatoes? But then I saw the roasties hidden behind. It was a large new potato – perfectly cooked with a good solidity and a softness inside. A bonus spud.

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The roast potatoes were, of course, not especially fresh and crispy. They were kind of a cross between cuboids and pyramids – they probably have a mathematical name but I am struggling to remember my own name right now. Quite long and appealing for reheated potatoes. They were a pretty decent effort.

Parsnips. There were a few parsnips too – very sweet and a touch soft despite having been roasted – the effects of the microwave again.

The lamb was a touch on the dry side. And a touch on the cooked quite a while ago side.

Bizarrely though, it was really tasty despite the lack of succulence. 3 fairly thick slices, so like the rest of the dinner, no compromise on quantity.

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Finalmente, el gravio was a very watery affair, but probably the best very watery affair that I’ve had. A relaxed yet flavoursome brown water with lots of little meat stock bits in. It was so good that I spooned some of the leftovers into my gob like a posh boy.

And that is that. Nearly.

The delightful young waitress who had been unerringly polite and quizzical about my experience, asked me for probably the third time how I had enjoyed it at the end of the meal. I told her it was good but that I wish there had been a Yorkshire pudding with it.

2 minutes later…

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Yes. A Yorkshire pudding on a small plate and I still had some gravy left over. Definite bonus points for customer experience. I even left a tip.

It could have been the worst Yorkshire pudding ever but I was over-joyed with the touch, and it was actually a good, albeit small yorkie anyway. Well-risen with a soft, crunchy texture.

The fact that it was my first oootdoor dining experience of the year may slightly skew my ratings – but a 7.7 out of 10 seems about right.

I guess the dryness of the lamb was the lowlight, but the flavour of the lamb was the highlight. On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it gets Scunthorpe. By the way did anyone go on Pornhub on April 1st? They had changed it to Cornhub, and there were lots of videos of sticks of corn getting down and dirty with each other. Oh yeah.

I wanted to stay for longer but alas there was only one train an hour and I had a date with a group of friends at the Walkabout, some of whom swear more in a sentence than I fucking do in a fucking year. Yes, I do actually have friends. Or people willing to occasionally entertain my presence in exchange for finding out where the best roast dinner is because they still haven’t subscribed to my ramblings.

Next Sunday is going to be an unusually early roast dinner – and co-incidentally the random number generator has picked somewhere that one of my Sunday friends was talking to me about. Fucking well recommended, apparently.

And yes, probably by myself. Ahhhh.



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