Beef @ London Street Brasserie 07/12/2014

It’s probably my last roast dinner review before
Christmas.  Next Sunday I am cooking the
house Christmas roast dinner and the weekend after I am away.
So I decided to treat myself to one of the more expensive
options on my to-do list, London Street Brasserie.
I forgot about the idea of booking ahead and we were lucky
to get a table in the bar area – otherwise it would have been a 2 hour
wait.  It is a popular restaurant for a
good reason or two.
It was a slightly confusing pricing structure.  Having looked at it online, I had concluded
that it was £16.50 for two courses, with a surcharge of £3.95 if you wanted
cauliflower cheese.
However on closer inspection, it was actually £16.50 for two
courses and a £3.95 surcharge if the main course you desired was the roast
dinner.  Or £12.80 plus a £3.95 surcharge
if you just wanted a roast dinner.  My
friend asked the waitress for an explanation of the pricing structure and was
given a rather curt “how many bloody times do I have to explain this” kind of
response, a rather inauspicious start.
Apologies for the repetition but I had to review roast beef
again – it was the only roast on offer.  As
far as I can tell they only offer one option each week.  It was my intention not to repeat meats but I’m
not the first person from Hull to break a rule.
Our roasts arrives in a timely manner after a 15 or so
minute wait, along with the apparently slightly ungenerous medley of vegetables
to share between 3 of us, though this notion was dispelled when the cauliflower
cheese arrived 2 minutes later, with an apology for it being late.  Definitely enough vegetables overall.
 
The medley of vegetables contained carrots, green beans and
mange tout (appropriately-named vegetable considering the DJ “Eats Everything”
played in our town on Friday night), topped with parsley.  My
imagination seems to recall some broccoli in the mix but the photographic
evidence does not concur.  The vegetables
were on the right side of crunchy, the mange tout perhaps a little much so.  Personally I cook my vegetables a little
softer, but…carrots for courses, as the saying goes.  A real food critic would probably appreciate
the crunch more than myself.
There were just two potatoes.  Decent size, cooked through but without a hint
of crispiness.  If you are only going to
give us two roast potatoes then surely they could be on the crispy side?  It isn’t too difficult – Jamie Oliver taught
me – just chuff them up (his words, not mine innit pukka bruv).  I
am however content with the quantity as the plate didn’t lack depth – especially with
the size of the Yorkshire pudding.
Controversially ignoring my usual order and skipping back to
the vegetables – the cauliflower cheese was really nice.  Soft cauliflower with a creamy mild cheese – I
cannot tell you which cheese – I can tell the difference between Red Leicester
and Cheddar but that is about my limitation.
 
It does look quite superb doesn’t it?
The Yorkshire pudding, however, was not so impressive.  It looks impressive but so does Blackpool
Tower.  It was overcooked – more crunchy
than the vegetables and not even soft-bottomed given the lack of gravy.
  

Now is probably a good time to talk gravy.  It was that discoloured water-based
concoction which foodies probably salivate over but confuses us northerners.  It tasted nice, but there was very little of
it and had a viscosity possibly lower than superfluid helium.  We asked for more gravy but it still didn’t
satisfy requirements – however the little flat hipster-style gravy pan was pretty
funky.
Thankfully I am finishing on a high.  The sirloin of beef consisted of two large
slices, around 4-5mm thick, cooked perfect to my tastes – quite rare on the
inside, medium on the outside with a slight crisp to the edge.  It really was excellent beef.
What else?  Apart from
the initial curt response, the service was good, the staff all smartly dressed
in black – there did seem to be an abundance of fairly young good-looking
girls, which kind of reminds me of Waitrose in Bracknell where all the staff
are fresh-faced and good-looking.
I like the restaurant, there is a good feel in there or ‘ambience’
as my posh southern friends from Bracknell might say.  At £16.95 it was the most expensive roast
that I have reviewed so far and not the best.
Expectations can be problematic in life.  Like when you pay a load of money to go see a
really good DJ/band/opera in London (or whatever your thing) that you are
really excited about – and coming back with a slightly flat feeling for you may
have had a better night out than the night before down your local when you went
out for one beer and had a ton of fun but it doesn’t seem like it because you
expected so much more.  So trying to tie
in the slightly unexpectedly disappointing analogy, I had high expectations and
these were not met.
But it wasn’t a bad roast.
I have had really good meals in there in the past – a quite
exquisite lamb shank particularly sticks in the memory.  Really, really good.
If you are going to go on a Sunday then I would suggest
choosing another option – £16.50 for two courses at lunch is a good deal for
what is a very good dining experience.
It scored a respectable 6.6 out of 10.  I dearly wish I could have rated it higher and I will definitely be back to eat there.  But not for a roast.
Oh gosh I forgot to mention the Watercress.  How could I?!  It had a rather tangy taste to it.  Or maybe it wasn’t watercress?  Forgive me if I’m wrong, we don’t eat salad
where I come from.  It was less pointless
than the side-salad at Sweeney & Todd but I still didn’t understand it.  Maybe I should just be quiet and appreciate
something different?
All being well, I will be back in 3 weeks.  I wish all my readers and enjoyable festive period.
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