It was about 6 weeks ago that I last pressed the random number generator button to choose my next roast dinner destination, and it chose the delightful-sounding Uncle Tom’s Cabin in Cookham, recommended to me by a local nightclub promoter.
I really do try to stick to my random number generator choices but there have been a variety of logistical developments over recent weeks.
None more so than this week, arriving back home from a nightclub in London at 11am, having been out for the best part of 24 hours without sleep. But I have a mission to achieve and my not-so-subtle plea for a driver last Monday was met by my favourite Blairite, sorry, Brownite?? Milibandite? Oh no he is a Corbynite nowadays, and we took a rather long rambling drive in circles around Cookham before deciding to use our satnav to direct us up a winding road to not much more than a cabin on a hill.
It appeared to be a family-run business, the building was little more than a quaint hill-top cabin befitting of the name – but one that clearly had some history to it. It probably seated no more than 50, split into two rooms around a centre bar and was on the cosy side, despite the bright white walls.
The furnishings were comfortable and upmarket, as were the clientele (upmarket that is – I didn’t sit on anyone to be able to test the other adjective). It is highly doubtful that any of them had ever voted for Tony Blair, let alone have any sympathy for Jeremy Corbyn.
I really fancied pork, but it wasn’t available…and I guess I should leave my new-found sexual fantasies out of this, so I was left with the choice of chicken, beef or lamb. And it had been a while since I had lamb so my friend noticing that I was incapable of most forms of communication ordered for me. You can find my videos on Youporn.
For my getReading readers, I was left with the choice of chicken, beef or lamb, all priced reasonably at £13.50 or £14.00, if my rather patchy memory serves me well as you won’t find any information on their rather useless website.
I’ll try again. For my getReading readers, I was left with the choice of chicken, beef or lamb, all priced reasonably at £13.50 or £14.00, if my rather patchy memory serves me well.
I am so never going to get my copywriting business off the ground. Innit bruv.
Thankfully it didn’t take long to arrive and it was very well-presented and unusually for a well-presented dish ticked the quantity box too. But did it tick the quality and taste boxes too?
For the second week in a row my oblongified plate was endowed with roasted carrots. One carrot chopped in half with both ends defenestrated, it was rather on the sweet and buttery side and thoroughly enjoyable.
Arguably my favourite part of the dish were the parsnips. Again roasted, and also slightly roasted…less than I would have done and arguably much nicer that I have ever achieved, they did have a slightly nutty taste but also wondrously sweet too.
The roast potatoes, however, did not match the heights of the parsnips. Both roast potatoes (yes we didn’t even manage 3) were close to perfectly soft on the inside, however whereas the last couple of weeks I had been blessed with those cooked in duck and goose fat – this time it seemed to my admittedly defunctional tastebuds to possibly have been cooked in vegetable oil or similar, and had a rather greasy skin to them. I know the correct English is dysfunctional but I was clearly defunctional.
That said, they were very large, and one side one of one of the potatoes was slightly crispy, and though they did disappoint – they were far from bad roast potatoes.
No Yorkshire pudding for the lamb (apparently they only go with beef…try doing that up north). Instead I was blessed with…cabbage. It was pointless and really added nothing to the dish but there wasn’t anything else wrong with it apart from the needless nature of it. My compatriot did have a Yorkshire pudding with his beef roast and was very disappointed with it, stating that it was both soft and spongebob-like. He might have said sponge-like.
There was absolutely no shortage of meat offered, with 5-6 admittedly fairly thin slices of lamb, all appealingly folded to give them impression that there was more than there was, but it really was a healthy portion size. It wasn’t the best lamb I have ever had, it was medium with a marginal hint of medium-rare, and could have had a bit more texture to it but I am being a bit picky (shock horror) and it was good.
I even enjoyed the jus. A predictably thin and somewhat oily liquid, it was decorated with rosemary, possibly chives, definitely mint – maybe, just maybe some garlic too. Perhaps I should have photographed the menu. I appreciated the thought and effort, even if it goes without saying that I would have much preferred it in gravy format.
And then I was free to go to bed.
A lot more thought had clearly gone into this than the majority of roast dinners I have reviewed. But the curse of expectations stuck – I thought that it could have been really good and it was just good. Maybe just a little better than good.
The service throughout was very good – despite the small restaurant size there was no rush for us to leave. The price was fine, the food was good. I’d really like to visit again – albeit probably not for a roast. There are probably only 7 places out of the 41 that I have reviewed that I would ever go back to for a roast dinner.
I’m going to give it a 7.3 out of 10. My accomplices feel that I am being marginally too generous – but we never, ever agree on anything. Especially politics. Or food for that matter.
Next weekend I am going clubbing in London again. HELLO FRIENDS WITH CARS I LOVE YOU HINT HINT.
The random number generator has picked somewhere that Edible Reading highly rated…somewhere I have walked past a few times and always been really tempted to go in. But if I’m dining alone then I’ll just be going to some hole in Bracknell…assuming I make it out of my previous evening’s hole.
Is it bed time now?