Fore Rib Of Beef @ The Little Angel, Henley 26/07/2015

So the random number generator had picked The Little Angel in Henley, and off I went. They had beef and chicken on the menu – plus a special of leg of lamb, which sadly I couldn’t have because I have reviewed lamb two weeks in a row – last week I was forced to break my rule of a different meat each week.

Wait wait wait…it’s never that simple with me.

I’m looking to move house at the moment. In 3 weeks’ time. And I am moving to Bracknell. There is a good reason – honestly. It does actually make sense. But I’ll save that for another time. So the plan was to get the 1:18 train to Henley, eat dinner at 2pm, catch the 3pm train back to Reading which annoyingly gets in 1 minute after the Bracknell train leaves – wait around 30 minutes then get the 15:54 to Bracknell.

Adding yet more complication into the MIX, ever since I was stood in the sun drinking pints of over-priced watered-down vodka in Ibiza, I’ve been longing to get behind my DJ decks and make a 3-4 hour long minimal techno mix. I decided that Sunday morning was the right moment, and I had enough time before that train.

Except that I wasn’t allowing for the crapness of iTunes which decided to crash time after time after time when trying to burn tracks to CD (yeah I’m not a real DJ yet). I spent about 1.5 hours doing what should have taken 15 minutes. Painful. Even more painful than this pre-amble.

Now I didn’t have enough time to record the mix and get the train. But I came up with an ingenious idea – have a roast dinner in Bracknell. And got on with having a mix.

Until I took a phone call from the landlady who’s room I was going to see, asking if we could postpone. I realised that there was only 2 minutes of the current track left so pretended someone was at the door, put the phone down, mixed the next track in which was 12 minutes long, called her back and re-arranged for Monday lunch.

So the random number generator had picked The Little Angel in Henley, and off I went. They had beef and chicken on the menu – plus a special of leg of lamb, which sadly I couldn’t have because I have reviewed lamb two weeks in a row – last week I was forced to break my rule of a different meat each week.

Are you still reading?

We hadn’t booked a table, as they did roast dinners all day so I assumed it wasn’t necessary. The waiter did ponder for some time as to whether they did actually have a spare table for us. About 75% of the tables were empty. Did he realise I was moving to Bracknell?

I ordered the beef and it arrived around 10 minutes after we had finished our starter of large lumps of bread. I picked up my knife and fork and the waitress came to ask how everything was. She realised her mistake but not before I advised her that I was satisfied with the sturdiness of the cutlery.

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My immediate thoughts were “style over substance” and I had a distinct envy over the pinkness of my friend’s lamb.

Carrot puree. I didn’t understand it. It was smeared in a thin layer, in a semi-circular phase. I just didn’t get the point. My companion thought maybe it had a hint of celeriac to it but I didn’t care. I don’t like my food to come in paste format. Why would you turn solid food into something of a liquid consistency? I cannot think of any need unless perhaps you had had your wisdom teeth out the day before.

Then we had this strange attempt at cauliflower cheese, for which I did not detect any cauliflower by shape, though there did appear to be leeks withstanding. Maybe the cauliflower was also babyfied. However unlike most cauliflower cheeses, it was cheesy. Unlike my 3.5 hour long minimal techno mix which was not cheesy at all. Again I didn’t quite understand it, like most people don’t understand minimal techno. It was just a splodge of cheesy mixture – I ate it, my dining companion didn’t.

On the bright side we received a fair portion of mange tout, one of my very favourite vegetables. They were probably the crunchiest mange tout I’ve ever had – I’d prefer them a little less crunchy but horses for courses, everyone has different preferences on the vegetable crunch rating.

Then something shocking appeared.

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4 roast potatoes. 4! And they were roasted. However, unshockingly, they had not been roasted any time recently and sadly were very much of a rubbery consistency. I really did not enjoy them.

The Yorkshire pudding was good. A medium-sized home-made effort, crispy on the edges, fairly soft on the bottom.

But the beef was appalling. Maybe that it a slight exaggeration. It was overcooked, with lots of fat and gristle. It was not in the slightest enjoyable. My companion did enjoy his lamb, though said it didn’t taste very lamby. It did look a look so much more appealing than my beef. I’m tempted to suggest this was the worst piece of beef I’ve reviewed – possibly even worse than the abomination that was the Pheasant Hotel.

You can probably work out by now that this isn’t going to score highly. I do need to mention the gravy and it was perfunctory. I, of course, had to ask for more.

The service was a little lop-sided – attentive when not required, nowhere to be seen when I wanted something, but it was pleasant enough to leave a tip.

At £14.75 it was on the pricey side, especially when considering the lack of quality.

3.8 out of 10 is about the best I can give it.

I should have gone to Bracknell.

Next week I’m doing something a little bit different, and hopefully a little bit special. Or should I say, we are. Ooooh what could it be?

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