Pork, Lamb & Beef @ The Crown, Playhatch 04/09/2016

If there’s no good spuds, in your neighbourhood,
Who you gonna call?  Roast Dinners Around Reading.
If there’s a mass-produced dinner,
And it doesn’t look good,
Who you gonna call?  Roast Dinners Around Reading.
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
If you’re seeing watery jus, running off your plate,
Who you gonna call? Roast Dinners Around Reading.
Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puds,
Sleeping in your bed,
Who you gonna call? Roast Dinners Around Reading.
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
Who you gonna call? Roast Dinners Around Reading.
If you’re sexy and alone,
Pick up the phone,
And call Roast Dinners Around Reading.
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
I hear he likes hot girls,
I ain’t afraid of thick gravy,
Yeah yeah yeah yeah.
Who ya gonna call? Roast Dinners Around Reading.

Yeah………………maybe not.

So we have laid our dear departed Roast Dinners Around Reading to rest forever.  And we thought it most appropriate that we should have the wake at The Crown in Playhatch.  The number one roast dinner around Reading.  He/she/it would have wanted it this way.

We have tried our best to replicate the amazing writing skill that the ever so talented and beautiful Roast Dinners Around Reading had.  Apologies if we have not quite captured the delicate essence and unique hilarity of this most edible of bachelors.  We tried to programme an algorithm to write it for us but all it did was write the words “gravy drug sex” over and over – with a few other bits inserted about (or into) Keith Vaz.

A lot of people were invited.  Not many people came.  Nearly half of those that promised to come didn’t turn up.  Everyone was late.  Was it something he said?

Probably.

For those that don’t know, and there should not really be any reason anyone is reading this that hasn’t been, The Crown is a carvery.  But not like a Toby carvery.  It does very nice meat, gorgeous…oh wait a minute that’s what the review part is for.  Oh and it is miles better than that place next door run by the witch that hated our hero, our legend, our beautifully derranged creative master that really deserved to be paid lots of money for writing such wonderful reviews.  Well, quite a bit better than next door anyway.

Have I waffled on enough yet?

The price has gone up since last time – now £15.00 a head.  But has the quality gone up to match or is this Farageinflation?

Once everyone had arrived, we were advised to go up.  The first person grabbed a plate.  The rest waited a few minutes for some more plates to arrive.  There was enough gravy for the first person in the queue, but then we had to wait a few more minutes for a new vat to arrive.  A whole new vat of gravy, just in his lordship’s honour.

It was possible to have carrots but I decided against it, as all the potential ways to describe carrots (including comparing the taste to anus) have been used by our dearly departed leader.

Likewise I shunned the red cabbage.  There could be no disrespect.

The broccoli cheese, however, was excellent.  Very creamy, somewhat cheesy – the cream stayed separate to the gravy and didn’t infiltrate.  The broccoli itself (I can spell actually it without a spellchecker) was perfectly crunchy, but not too much so.  Absolutely spot on.

However, the roast potatoes were not.  I had about 28 roast potatoes (it being a carvery), and they had all been roasted.  Some time ago.  Quite fitting, I guess, but they were a tad tricky to eat, quite hard to slice through, chewy to…chew.  But still actually properly roasted.

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Also a disappointment were the Yorkshire puddings.  Not massively so but they had been cooked just slightly longer than ideal, and therefore were rather too crispy.  Otherwise an excellently largish size, softish bottoms (like when I used to squeeze his lordship’s arse on occasion, normally after a crystal meth pipe) – just a bit overcooked.

I sneakily asked for some pork after asking for beef and lamb – but this isn’t the Toby Carvery, and they do not limit you to the thinnest, tiniest strips of almost ghost-like meat.

The pork was excellent, a loin of pork, with a thin layer of tasty fat going on overhead. Which reminds me – shout out to Edible Reading.  Easy now, bro.  Glad to hear the pigs no longer have you on their suspects list.  Wicked news, innit.  Now get back to writing, you fucker.  Even if it is Erotic Reading.  Yes, maybe you could review brothels as your new venture?  The Queen of Gravy would have loved that.  Yeah, you missed your chance to have dinner and smoke crack with her.  You snooze, you lose.

The lamb was good – unspectacularly good with not really much to say about it.

Oooh whilst I remember, we ordered some crayons for the child at the table (no his Lordship has passed away – another child), and they never turned up.  Thankfully we had an imaginary train to keep us all amused.

Onto the beef – the beef de resistance.  It was rather pink in the middle, slightly rarer than medium-rare.  Very succulent, very soft, very, very nice.

And finally, what you have all being waiting for (apart from to find out whodunnit) – the gravy.  Well, it was close to perfect.  Very gravy-like in taste, lots of bits from the meat inside, lots of juices – and pretty thick too.  Not too thick for most southerners, not anywhere near as thick as the weirdo wanted.  But easily the best gravy around Reading.

But no longer the best roast dinner.  Given the disappointing roast potatoes, and slightly disappointing Yorkshire puddings, this trip only gets an 8 out of 10.  Maybe their standards have dropped – or maybe, probably more likely, they just were not quite on the ball this afternoon.

I would like to say thank you to all the guests that actually made it, we had a good mix of Europeans, a token Brexit voter, a gay, a Greek (yes his bank card worked) – it was massively lacking in druggies but they were probably too fucked to eat.  Only one of the Spanish models that he featured the other week turned up, and his sister did too, who is an occasional mini-reviewer for Time Out, but obviously we cannot share her details as it would give away who he was.  Anonymity must be preserved.  Maybe she will be the famous blogger that he dreamed and deserved to be.

If we can ever get the algorithm working, then we are going to go to Japan to try to find a robot to go around and review roast dinners, but at this rate, this seems many decades away.  Most robots in Japan seem to only be for sexual pleasure.  If only he had had the opportunity to review sex robots – that would have made a great blog.  Or even a vlog.  Just imagine – he could have been as famous as Zoella.

So The Crown has lost its crown.  How fitting as we say goodbye to one of the most-loved writers that the world has ever seen.  In the fullness of time, I have little doubt that his works will be thought of as lovingly as Shakespeare is now.

Rest In Gravy.

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Rib Of Beef @ The Bull, Arborfield 07/08/2016

Hiya. I’ve just got back from the salon, and wow, my eyebrows are on fleek now. You should see how beautifully curved and feminine they are. Threading heaven.

Oh yes, I should explain. I have finally had my operation. I have had the change. I am now Lady Gravy.

That won’t be the only change. As I have suddenly realised that all these tight-fitting tops and dresses that I’ve had to buy don’t hide my manly beer belly. I fear that there will be no more roast dinners for me. I guess I will be starting a new blog – Low Calorie Salads Around Reading.

So yesterday, I put my short shorts on (still got the same ones from before the change – they kind of work, or at least will until I have finished my 100 squats a day programme and have a really cute, curvy bum), snorted a line of oestrogen powder, quickly splashed a load of fake tan on my legs…I really must shave them, and headed to The Bull, in Arborfield. Ooh maybe I could start a blog reviewing local tanning shops?

The Bull is a venue that is very much set up as a restaurant inside, and kind of reminded me of a Little Chef in structure, yet with a very pleasantly set garden and roast dinners served from lunch until well into the evening.

We had the usual choices, chicken, pork, beef and lamb, with varying prices from around £11 to £17 – give or take as I was more concerned with deciding what colour to paint my nails than what price the dinners were. I do remember that the rib of beef, which I chose, was £13.50.

By the way guys, before you start fantasising over my new body, I would just like to clarify that my sexual preferences have not at all changed. I still am only interested in lesbians.

10 minutes passed as we sat in the late afternoon sunshine, I had a few odd looks, mostly from the girls, but that is nothing new. Jealousy. Always was, always will be. I will just have to get used to it as I am the most beautiful.

The dinner arrived with a shared bowl of ordinary vegetables.

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I shall start with the ordinary, for I am most definitely not ordinary any more.

Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower which had all been steamed and were very much like my mother does them. Oh hi mum, I have boobs now. Only one piece of broccoli and cauliflower each, with too many carrots. All fine but nothing to write home about, a bit like my change which is probably going to surprise my parents as I haven’t told them either. No this is not because I am still unmarried.

Did anyone watch The Only Way Is Essex last night?

The roast potatoes were large and cumbersome, a bit like my beautiful new boobs. A little greasy on the outside and not at all crispy, but at least they were edible. A bit like my wonderful new boobs. I have had far worse. Again, a bit like my gorgeous new breasts. I only had one bite though as they have too many calories.

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By the way, that was a joke about watching The Only Way Is Essex. Just because I now paint my toenails in matching colour to my dress does not mean I watch shit TV. Fuck off. Oh, I mean, get out of here. Clearly I need a little more language training to be a proper lady. Unless of course you go to Ladies Day at Beverley racecourse (near Hull) which has anything other than ladylike behaviour. Oh damn, does this mean I cannot urinate in on the street now? I didn’t think of that.

The Yorkshire pudding was to a good standard. Large, homemade and crispy, it was very, very good. Again, I only had one bite, and licked the rest as I need to perfect my body. I’d like to be a gymnast by the next Olympics. Do you think I might qualify?

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Thankfully the Atkins diet (that is still the latest diet fad isn’t it?) meant that I could eat all the beef on the plate. And this was good quality rib-eye beef – particularly tasty, a slight hint of pink to it, two slices around 7mm thick. Easily the highlight of the plate. Ooh, maybe I should get highlights? What do you think, girls?

Finally, the gravy was ok. A hint of an attempt at a red wine gravy, and slightly more jus-like than gravy. I’ve had worse.

Overall I quite enjoyed the dinner. A pleasant afternoon with a good, if mostly unremarkable roast dinner. The beef was particularly excellent.

I shall give it a femininely-shaped 7.3 out of 10.

I actually went into the gent’s toilets too, for old time’s sake, and thought that this was a bit of an odd set-up:

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It reminded me of the toilet I went into in Berlin once, which featured two toilets sat opposite each other.  I guess it must be a thing in Germany to watch each other pee/poo.

Semana proxima, yo escribo en Español. Seriousamente. Hmmmm mujeres Españoles.

By the way, I went for double D boobs. This bra wearing thing is a bit annoying though. Maybe I will become a feminist.

Right, I need to go practice walking in my heels. What is it that Bart Simpson said? Heel, toe, heel, toe. That is right isn’t it?

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Beef @ The Cricketers, Littlewick 10/07/2016

I’d like to start by welcoming viewers to Gravy Match Special. Unfortunately Geoffrey Boycott cannot be with us this morning and my gravy boycott is over.

There were a number of options for the roast on Sunday, but given the state of the pitch and the sunny skies, myself and my batting partner plumped for The Cricketers in Littlewick.

A rather unexpectedly idyllic setting just off the A4 towards Maidenhead, sat right across the road from the local cricket pitch – the pub itself felt a little like the England cricket team in the 1990’s in some ways.

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If I recall correctly, they had chicken, pork, beef, lamb shank and possibly a nut roast option too. All were £12.50, except the lamb shank at £13.99. Probably.

We won the toss, and I therefore decided to have the beef, as per the recommendation from the barmaid.

It was a good batting pitch so I was hopeful of getting a good score – a nice seating area outside in the sunshine gave distant views of the cricket match itself.

The dinner arrived after around a 10 or so minute wait – the proper food on the main plate, with a shared and not especially generous side-plate vegetable portion.

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No surprises in the batting order, so I started with the carrots. These were perfectly decent, probably steamed, but very ordinary. The kind of inoffensive sliced carrots my mother would make. That said, it glided nicely towards silly mid-off for 2 runs. Off the mark.

Next up was the broccoli. Over-blanched and a touch soggy with yellow ends suggesting broccoli that should have been eaten last week. That was not a good shot, and is he caught behind? It seems to have clipped the bat and has been sent for review.

Out! Yes a poor shot. They shouldn’t be serving broccoli like that.

Out then came the cauliflower. Inoffensive, average – he played a shot off to leg side and made it back for a single.

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There were four roast potatoes. Quite large in size with some element of roasting, albeit possibly in a deep fat fryer, clipped over the head of the second slip and rolled away for a slightly lucky run.

Oddly for a beef roast dinner, it came with a stuffing ball. It did seem a little too round and I couldn’t quite work out why it was there or what to do with it – do I eat it with a slice of beef? Or just on its own? Again it was nothing special, and sliced towards the gully for a single run.

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Then the bowler attempted a Yorker. Or A Yorkshire pudding. Actually, it wasn’t much of an attempt as it was one of those stick it in the oven efforts. Off the pad. No runs. Poor.

There was a little dinky surprise with a cocktail sausage wrapped in bacon. Pleasantly hit but just a single run. It was a little cold and had that kind of burnt bacon covering. Not especially appealing.

And then onto the beef. Two slices of rather well-done beef, accompanied with quite a bit of gristle and fat – not succulent juicy fat but unnecessary tough fat – and the beef itself was quite tough. At first it appeared to be a beautiful shot in the air towards the boundary, but it was hit straight towards the fielder and caught. Disappointing.

Gravy. It was quite thick and there was plenty of it, however it did taste a little Bistoish. A loose ball which deserved to be whacked for 4, but he missed it. Well, what can you say.

So at the end of the day’s play, a disappointing 6 runs for 2 wickets. Or a 6.2 out of 10 if you are being a little more traditional.

It’s a shame. I wanted to give it a higher score as it really is in a very pleasant location with friendly staff and has a good feel to it. But it is what it is.

I don’t particularly have a highlight (bar the cricket bat table number thing) or a lowlight. It did all blend into an innings of averageness. You won’t go away particularly disappointed. But I doubt you’d return there for a roast either. But do give the pub a try – especially if the cricket is on.

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Next weekend there will definitely not be a roast dinner. I have absolutely no intention of being able to eat anything next Sunday, nor be able to use a computer on Monday. But I might still conjure up some kind of special feature.  Hoooowwwwwwwwwwwwwzzzaaaaaaaaaaatt?


We don’t like gravy, yeah.

We love it.

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Beef, Lamb & Pork @ Crooked Billet, Wokingham 12/06/2016

Yesterday was the most important day of my year, arguably for many years.

Sunday was not. All I needed to do was recover from a hangover, buy a new shoulder bag for work to replace the one that now stunk of piss and ale, have a roast dinner (of, course) and make it home in time for my food shopping delivery.

Simple. Bar the hangover. Just one minute after I posted wondering whether I was going to be able to follow my original plan, my wonderfully craziest friend (and I have a few in that category) messaged me and we were game on. And he invited his even crazier friend.

Can you see where this is going?

I was originally going to go somewhere in Reading but I wanted to impress, and managed to book a table at the surprisingly quiet, Crooked Billet, near Wokingham. I’ve tried on 3 previous occasions to book a table there but always without success.

You’d really have to know this place exists. We found it at the end of a rickety country lane, over a ford of which we decided not to attempt – probably our last sensible decision of the day.

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There were a variety of roasts on offer, pork, chicken, lamb, beef and nut roast at £14.50. There was also a mixed option of pork, lamb and beef at £16.50. As I was feeling utterly incapable of making a decision, I went for the mixed roast, despite having had two large sausages rolls for breakfast.

I had little doubt that I was going to get an excellent roast and I was immediately wowed upon delivery. It took a while, 30 minutes or so, though we did have a starter, plus a pre-starter but that was something not supplied by the venue.

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Easily the largest plate that I’d been served in a long time but I know where to start. The carrots.

Or carrot. After 69 roast dinners reviews I thought I had seen it all when it came to carrots but this was served simply as one long delicate yet delicious stick of orange. Easy to cut into chunks, moist and succulent.

For my personal tastes the mange tout were too crisp and squeaky but others prefer them this way – horses for courses. I do love a mange tout or two and it was exactly what I was going to do do do, come on let’s do the conga.

Yeah maybe not.

Then there was a fine selection of tenderstem broccoli (thank you again spellchecker) – not just average broccoli. Marginally on the tough side of average but very well-appreciated as a healthy higher class vegetable.

There was some blanched-looking dark green stuff which was possibly cabbage – it tasted good but some of the core was just a little too tough to munch.

We had a little pot of cauliflower cheese too. Nicely crisp on top with the taste of cheese evident too. The cream was thick enough not to infect the gravy. Very good.

Before we go on and you might want to skip this paragraph – don’t say that you were not warned. I know that I normally have a fair linguistic talent however I’m struggling to work out how to insert this naturally (worryingly apt language for what I am going to say) but my crazy friends’ crazy friend would like me to insert a sentence explaining that he believes that the only use for celery is to try to insert it in bodily areas that you would not normally associate with the insertion of celery. Ideally before or during sexual intercourse.

This was pretty much the deal to ensure that he kept his hands off my privates during dinner so I hope that you understand this situation. Sadly I did end up seeing his nob – thankfully not in the restaurant.

Erm…moving on. You are going to miss me, aren’t you?

Three fairly small roast potatoes were included. They were actually properly roasted but sadly they had lost their crispy edges. However what they lost in crispiness they more than made up with the exquisite taste of the goose-fat that they had been roasted in. Even if you had never had roast potatoes cooked in goose fat – you’d know these were. Superb stuff.

The Yorkshire pudding was a decent homemade effort – it hadn’t risen incredibly and was quite medium sized but it was good.

Then comes the meat. Where to start?

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I shall start with the beef, which was on the edges just a touch dry but it had a certain flakiness to it of earlier-cooked beef. It had been cooked medium-rare – soft and pinkish on the middle but crispy and grey/brown on the outside. The fatty parts were included too which were divine.

Then the pork which was succulent and juicy, not forgetting the bits of fat that were included to enhance the taste. It also came with a strip of crackling which was perfection – crunchy on top, soft and juicy underneath. Even my crack addict teeth were able to crunch it.

Perfection almost came with the lamb which was just delicious. Sometimes the flavour of lamb doesn’t come out properly, normally when it is quickly cooked but this was superb. As I said, delicious.

All came in sizeable thick slices and it really was a struggle to finish.

And it just leaves to mention the gravy, which was innocuous and very thin. Nothing wrong with the flavour, it was light and complimented the food nicely. But not what you’d call a gravy up north.

There is room for improvement.  It was all very good or excellent but it wasn’t a 9.  It didn’t quite beat The Crown at Playhatch but it was the closest I’ve come to beating it.

It gets a rather marvellous 8.6 out of 10.

So many highlights from quantity to all of the meat, oh and the cracking – but the goose-fat taste on the roasties was that moment.  As a lowlight the gravy was far too thin for my liking but still good.  On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it gets a Stafford.

And how did the rest of my day go?  Well, I bought a new bag from town.  And then I bought another type of bag down Oxford Road.  And I made it home nearly 4 hours after my food delivery.

And had 3 hours sleep before my most important day of the year.  Oops.

Next week I am going to tell you how to vote in the EU referendum by way of a roast dinner review, the result of which will not be pre-ordained in any way, oh no, just like Boris’ leave campaign was nothing to do with his leadership desire, oh no, all to do with being faithful to his wife as any good, honest husband would always be.  In out in out we’ll shake it all about.  By the way I did decide against posting the photo of my friend’s willies that I had to take on Sunday.

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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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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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Beef @ The Royal Stag, Datchet 10/04/2016

This is for you.

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Yes, it is a toilet. But not just any toilet. It is a toilet in the Houses Of Parliament. I took this photograph especially for you, my dear readers.

Sadly they don’t seem to do roast dinners but they do offer excellent tours.

Speaking of toilets, I went to Datchet for the first time ever on Sunday. Actually it isn’t a toilet but they do seem to have an obsession with weddings, with two wedding dress shops, one formal clothing shop for men and a cake shop which seemed to specialise in wedding cakes, all on my 2 minute walk from the train station to The Royal Stag. And weddings are crap. Although the last time I was forced to go to a wedding, we were served a roast dinner. Yes, it was in Hull.

The Royal Stag was recommended to me so I was expecting a good roast dinner. Despite it being some years after the invention of the telegraph, there was no website – when I called (second time around as the first time they hung up and when I dialled back I just received the engaged tone – the kind of thing I do at work when I don’t want to speak to customers), they advised that they do roast dinners until roughly 7pm, however they also added that the roast dinners often run out, so I reserved a beef.

When I arrived at 4pm, the roast dinners had indeed run out – but mine was happily awaiting my arrival – hopefully not literally sat there waiting.

The other choices available were chicken, pork and lamb – all priced between £10.95 and £13.95.

Having initially been directed to the wrong table, I had a cosy table for one in a corner. I like corners, especially at after-parties. Nothing quite like sitting in a corner and inhaling nitrous oxide. Or gravy. The pub itself was quite cosy, though in places probably could do with a little care and attention. It seemed like a pub for locals – and I suspected that they had good reasons for repeated visits.

Dinner took somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes to arrive.

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A vegetable medley was supplied, with green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, chanteys carrots and mange tout.

There wasn’t enough of each of them to make it worthy of a sentence for each – just one lump of cauliflower and broccoli for example – all were on the crunchy side but not too much so and all had taste. If you like your chocolate on a biscuit vegetables crunchy, you’d be impressed.

The Chantilly carrots still had their skin on to give them that edge – and the inclusion of 6 mange tout (yes I counted) provided a bonus fraction of a point as mange tout put all other beans to shame.

Totally unsurprisingly there were 3 roast potatoes, though they were large – you could even call them very large. And they were fluffy on the inside. Totally unsurprisingly you couldn’t call them crispy on the outside – they did have a touch of having been laid around for a while but not disastrously so. I was at least content with them.

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I was more than content with the Yorkshire pudding which was close to perfection. The size of a babies face to quote my recommender (whom I randomly bumped into outside), it was soft on the bottom, yet held the gravy without going soggy and had crispy edges. Hats off to the chef for one of the best yorkies for some time.

For the beef there were two 2mm slices – folded to make it look like there was more than there actually was. You may have noticed an almost complete lack of complaints, for my standards anyway, but for £13.95 I’d expect at least a third slice of beef – it did seem a tad stingy.

Thankfully the beef was very nice, quite pink so on the medium-rare shelf, and particularly juicy too.

And guess what else happened? I received thick gravy. Well – not as thick as cement, as I prefer, but thick gravy as more normal people would enjoy. There was a very slight hint of something about it, perhaps red wine, I’m not entirely sure, but a good THICK meat-stock gravy. I was happy.

But. Oh yeah there’s a but. Quite a big but too – bigger than mine after all the roast dinners I’ve had. Now, I asked for extra gravy. I probably could have survived without as there was just about enough on the plate, but I’m northern and we like our food to be swimming in gravy. In fact, I dream of a swimming pool of gravy. Can you swim in gravy?

More was forthcoming but when I received the bill at the end I’d been charged £1 for what to a northerner is a basic human right. At no point had I been advised of this.

It does have to be taken into context of what was good gravy on a good roast dinner. But it stops me giving them an 8 out of 10 – an 8 probably being harder to achieve than a Michelin Star and they were so close.

Butt I enjoyed my visit. It was a very good roast. The Yorkshire pudding was my favourite part – the lowlights are relatively minor gripes, particularly just two slices of beef.

I’m going to give it a 7.9 out of 10. If you go and I hope that you do, don’t forget to order in advance if you want to guarantee a roast! Oh yeah – it’s a Macclesfield on the Yorkshire-Surrey scale.

I considered staying for dessert, but no dessert menu was offered to me – maybe they didn’t proffer any sweets. But I suspect that like their lack of website, they are simply missing their opportunities.

I enjoyed my visit, so hopefully this review will raise awareness of a good little pub.

Next Sunday I’m going up in the world. In theory it should be the best roast dinner I’ve ever had. In practice it may just be some overpriced poncey crap with jus.

By the way, I do think myself more suitable for the House Of Lords than the House Of Commons. Lord Gravy of Bracknell. I am normal.

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Beef @ The Baskerville, Shiplake 13/03/2016

In years to come, I expect that you’ll look back on this period of your life as a rather special couple of years, thanks to my almost-weekly roast dinner reviews.

For what else can provide you with such joy, love and ecstasy on a Monday? This Monday being an exception, of course, assuming your partner realises that it is the 14th March (Google ‘14th March’ if you are not aware of what I’m on about). Given that I was completely unsuccessful with my offer of buying dinner for someone on Valentine’s Day, I have not attempted to find anyone to cook me steak tonight. I did, however once watch a dwarf give himself a blow job at Manumission in Ibiza.

Which leads me nicely onto yet another utterly grim experience that I put myself through this week for my beloved readers – a rail replacement bus.

I could have got the modern, Reading buses bus from next to my house but no, for the sake of saving £2.15 I walked 30 minutes to Bracknell train station to catch the rail replacement bus and was apparently the only one to buy a ticket. I sat upstairs and immediately was overcome with fart. Right behind me were a group of troublesome tossers, assumedly from the shithole that is Ascot.

The random number generator chose The Baskerville in Shiplake, which I had hoped would be provide a good roast dinner, as I had a guest in tow this week, not to mention it was on the pricey side at £18.00 for the beef, £17.00 for the lamb and £15.00 for the pork.

The Baskerville is split into a small bar area showing a non-existent sport, with a much larger restaurant area with sturdy tables and chairs, candles and weird stick things in small vases. For some reason it seemed as though the ceiling was much higher than it was.

A 10-15 minute wait ensued once we were seated, having arrived quite some time before our booking – the roast was supplied on a plate with a relatively small bowl of vegetables to be shared – though more was forthcoming upon request, for free.

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Starting with the more ordinary vegetables, the large clumps of cauliflower were quite on the crunchy side – the smaller bunches of broccoli being a little on the soft side. Both very ordinary but acceptable.

Then came the honey-roasted carrots and parsnips. Too strong a taste of honey for me, too strong a taste of thyme for my dining partner, yet I don’t want this to detract from the extra effort that had gone into this part of the dish. All too often carrots are served so boringly. Boring these were not.

Almost slightly complex in taste, I enjoyed them but couldn’t eat too many of them. The honey perhaps not complimenting the parsnips so much and they were also quite under-roasted – the carrots being close to perfection in that regard. I definitely appreciated the herbs – maybe my dining partner had simply enjoyed too many ‘herbs’ already during the weekend.

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I really am getting worse at photography.

Sadly the roast potatoes were of the “if only I had booked a table for midday” variety. Roasted, yes but not recently, and hence were rather rubbery in texture. Only 3 but I wouldn’t want any more.

Saviour came with the Yorkshire pudding which was the best I’ve had in well over a year. As close to perfect as they get down here, a fairly large size with a crispy enough texture on the edge, soft but not too soft on the bottom. And somehow the taste was just divine. I don’t know how they managed it – there was just something different about it.  Wow.

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And the beef was, thankfully, excellent too. My brows on fleek were raised somewhat when I saw that it was medium cooked rather than my preference of rare but this didn’t detract from 3 very pleasant slices of good-quality matured beef.

My accomplice originally requested the leg of lamb but they had run out – so had to replace it with lamb shank.  What a delightful disaster as the lamb shank was packed full of meat – a proper bone from a proper animal, pink and just delightful to taste.

Finally the gravy was fine.  A thin meat-stock affair that was totally inoffensive.  Us Northerners have to accept that you lot don’t like your gravy to resemble cement so as long as it is gravy, I’ll accept without much complaint.

So, a good roast dinner – poor roast potatoes, amazing Yorkshire pudding.  On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it rates around a Stanton-On-The-Wolds.

In fact, the drug-ravaged beauty that accompanied me to dinner, even managed to finish all of her dinner.  If you can stomach a full roast dinner after a very fun weekend of nightclubs and after-parties, that is a sign of a good dinner.  I had no difficulties in stomaching mine after spending 80% of my waking time coding websites.  Which should be less fun but I seem to enjoy it a lot.

I’m going to give the roast dinner a 7.6 out of 10 – a notch higher too due to the excellent service that we had throughout.  It was a very enjoyable dinner, with imperfections, but a super host from Tadcaster.  Now that is a proper town.

And then I got a rail replacement bus back which was built in the 1960’s, probably by British Rail and stank of damp (well British Leyland made trains so why not the other way around?).  Apparently people want the return of British Rail.  One assumes these people never travelled by train or bus before privatisation.  Before I go I would like to leave you with a tourist tip – the city of the future is Hull.  Make sure you get your holiday booked.  They still have these buses in Hull.  It still smells of fish in places.  And occasionally, chemicals.

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This may or may not be the bus that I caught back to Bracknell.

Next weekend is my turn to be a drug-ravaged beauty.  The random number generator has picked somewhere quite abominable but I think I might over-rule it.  Or maybe just stay in bed smoking viagra so I can…no that is a step too far even for me.

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Beef @ Plough And Harrow, Warfield 31/01/2016

Another week, another roast. This week I was quite looking forward to the random number generator’s choice, however I called in the morning to book a table – and it was fully booked. I guess it must be good.

I span again and was chosen a place in Warfield – the Plough And Harrow. I called and booked a table for one – he laughed when I said for one. Is it that weird to eat in a pub by oneself?

The pub is a short walk north of Bracknell, just off Osborne Lane – assumedly renamed in celebration of our great chancellor – who by the way, will not be the next Conservative leader. Not a chance.

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Anyway, back to Roast Dinners Around Bracknell.

Talking about doing weird things in a pub, I ordered a J2O. I am on detox until early March – no booze, no caffeine, no bacon – not even any crack cocaine. It does feel quite weird sitting in a pub by oneself drinking a non-alcoholic drink. It wasn’t helped by the drink being warm either – until I had the brilliant idea of asking for some ice. Genius.

Nearly as brilliant an idea as offering the chance to go on a date with me on Valentine’s Day. I have about as many applications as I expected so far – there is definitely room for more. If you need a reminder of the application criteria – check last week’s review.

After a short wait at an unoccupied bar, the assumed landlady warmly greeted me, offered me a choice of pork or beef, darling – it had to be the beef given how often I’ve had pork of late, darling. Yes, everything was darling, darling. I do like the warmth of darling. I’m guessing the meal was around £12.50 but I forgot to check the price, darling.

The pub itself, darling, was quite small and cosy, though with annoyingly light blue pastel walls. It looked a tad naff in places – the toilets reminding me of an old football ground toilets, but nothing was amiss – although why I used a pub toilet on detox is another matter – I guess I could have snorted some gravy powder. Darling.

It did seem to be a locals pub – though delightfully, they advertise on their website that they had parking for horses. How do you park a horse?

Sadly I am too horseless to be able to test that.

10-15 minutes passed and my roast dinner arrived. It looked decent enough, and came with a side bowl of gravy without me even needing to ask.

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There were a generous four vegetable offerings. Three of them were fairly innocuous – the standard carrot batons were ordinary – the large head of broccoli was pleasant yet undistinct.

The sizeable dollop of mashed swede was fairly pointless, like Bill Turnbull on BBC Breakfast. It was somewhat fruity, slightly nutty – it didn’t have the strongest taste to it, though I’m not generally keen anyway. Swedish ladies on the other hand…

Finally, for vegetables (unless you count potatoes), there was a little cauliflower cheese. More cream than cheese – in fact no evidence of cheese at all, from what I could taste. The cauliflower itself was on the soft side, as was the broccoli, but not too much so – it held its shape without having any crunch.

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Moving on to the roast potatoes, and I was hopeful from looking at them as they looked roasted. They had crispy outsides, albeit finely bobbled – though inside was slightly more solid than one would expect. Not overly so, but enough to detract slightly. They also tasted and felt like they had been in a deep fat fryer – I hope I am not being unfair as these were reasonable roast potatoes. Regular readers will know how much difficulty there is in finding good roast potatoes.

Oh wait a minute – a fifth vegetable! I nearly forgot the parsnips. They were small, sweet and succulent – and roasted too.

There were two slices of beef, around 3mm thick, and 12cm in diameter. Whilst the beef was good quality topside, it was overcooked with just an inkling of pink in the middle. A shame but still a nice piece of beef.

Then there was a proper homemade Yorkshire pudding, verging on a medium size and in terms of texture and taste, it was pretty close to perfect.

The gravy was an average meat-stock based affair – rather on the watery side too.

Overall it was a decent enough roast dinner. Nothing particularly to complain about – but likewise nothing especially stood out, bar the excellent Yorkshire pudding, which was my highlight. I guess the watery gravy was the lowlight, but as I said, nothing was overly bad. Bingham.

A solid unspectacular roast that gets a solid 6.7 out of 10. Definitely nothing weird about it at all, except that guy in the corner by himself.

Next Sunday there is a plan to go to a pub which used to have a bit of a reputation for parties around 10 years ago. I don’t have high expectations. But that plan could change, especially if there is nowhere to park my horse, darling.

Neeeeeeiiiiiiggggghhhhh. Roast me up, darling.

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Beef @ Peacock Farm, Bracknell 20/12/2015

I had plans for my Christmas special. Firstly I decided that it would be a great idea to take a homeless person for a roast dinner, as a Christmas present. Over the course of time, the reality of how stupid an idea this was grew. How was I going to manage this? Just approach a homeless person on the street, “Excuse me, buddy, fancy a roast dinner?”. How would they trust that a random was going to buy them a roast dinner? Would they find it patronising?

After a while, I concluded that it was a ridiculous and unworkable idea.

And then I realised recently that this week was going to be review number 50. So I concluded that I should go somewhere special. I tried booking a few places but all were fully booked. I guess the Sunday before Christmas probably isn’t the best time to expect to be able to get a late booking.

I then realised that there were no trains from Bracknell either. I didn’t fancy a bus, I was still hanging from a very heavy Friday night so I concluded that it qualified as an emergency situation and that I should go to the nearest place – Peacock Farm.

I was advised before I went by a reader that the food “wasn’t all that”. I’ve eaten there before, and the menu definitely reads better than it tastes. That said, I did have some nice fishcakes there last year.

My expectations were not high.

I sat down, my cider soon followed, and sip of my drink later the food arrived – Wetherspoons-speed. Did they want rid of me that quick? Anyone would have thought that I’d gone to a Michelin star place straight after a night in a crack-house.

There were only a couple of tables so I was lucky. Or not? It does have extensive outdoor seating which is pleasant enough in the summer – some of the décor inside is a little eye-rolling, like the sign saying “On the 8th day God created coffee”. Fuck right off – and I’m saying that as someone unreligious. Bring on Friday’s celebration of capitalism.

The choices were beef or turkey for £10.75. I’d had turkey the week before so I had to break a rule, which is never to have beef unless I was confident that it would be nice. Granted, I have just realised that I could instead have broken the rule of not having the same meat twice in a row. Erm…

Anyway, my heart sank upon arrival – whilst I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be as bad as the Wetherspoons roast, I quickly concluded without eating any of it that it wasn’t going to be a good roast.

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The carrots were your standard mass-produced batons. It is at this point every week where I question why I am writing these reviews. I do spend quite a bit of most Sundays questioning it too, though that is more to do with the lack of motivation to make the effort. I’m cooking the family Boxing Day roast this year (first time I’ve ever been allowed to do more than just the sprouts), and I will be cooking them with oranges and bundles of herbs. These carrots had no such thought added.

The was a blob of mashed swede, a little more mustard-coloured than usual and slightly more appealing than usual, with a nutty yet fruity taste to it.

It took me a couple of minutes to remember what the final vegetable was – some rather washed-out yellow cabbage with the texture of your average dock leaf.

Then there were some roast potatoes. I don’t know how they managed to get them so un-roasted. There was no evidence that there had even been an attempt to roast them. They had this anaemic appearance, yet had some evidence of burnt herbs on top (not to taste) and were at least freshly cooked – rubbery on the outside but squidgy enough on the inside. I had worse last week.

But then it went from bad to worse. The Yorkshire pudding was a true abomination. It was very oily, as crunchy as a biscuit on the outside, rubbery on the bottom. It tasted of oil and I very nearly didn’t eat it. I really do not know why I ate it. I’m struggling to think of worse Yorkshire puddings right now.

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And then we had the beef. I say ‘we’ in the same way that Margaret Thatcher used the word ‘we’. For I was by myself, which made the whole experience even more miserable and lonely than it would have been otherwise.

There were three, thick slices of dry, miserable, over-cooked beef. This is why I only eat beef at places that I am confident will do it well. Then again, they didn’t do anything well. It was at this point that I took a glance to my right, to see the couple next to me struggling to eat their beef roast dinners too. I assume that they have now filed for divorce.

Maybe it is a tad too harsh. The gravy was ok. In that it tasted like gravy – although it was thinner than water. I normally would have asked for more but I had already given up on the idea that I was going to like it as soon as it arrived. At least it wasn’t jus. Just won’t jus. Without you.

It started to rain as soon as I left the pub. It felt appropriate.

I don’t think I have a highlight. Perhaps the swede as it was the only item with any discernerable enjoyment attached to it. Or maybe the rain on the way home. The lowlight was a when I ate some of the dry, over-cooked beef with the biscuit-like Yorkshire pudding in the same mouthful.

It reached a Didcot on the Yorkshire-Surrey scale.

I was trying very hard to forget my two previous roast dinners, but I do think this was worse than both of them, and as such I am rating it a 2.6 out of 10.

I guess that it is a very good job that I didn’t buy a homeless person this roast dinner. They would have wondered exactly what they were being punished for had I taken them here. It would have been an embarrassment.

It does seem that I spend a lot of time moaning about crap roast dinners and I really am on a bad run at the moment. However I do appreciate that it could be much, much worse, so I have decided that I will donate the cost of my roast dinner to XXXXXX in the hope that they can use this more appropriately than I would have been able to. At least I will do once I get paid on Thursday.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas – unless of course you don’t celebrate Christmas in which case I wish you a nice free day off work. I even wish the landlady of The Shoulder Of Mutton a Merry Christmas. I will be back next Sunday in time to go for a roast dinner, so there will be no break from me. My commitment continues…for now.

I’ve made it to 50 reviews. I should make it to 60. Unless something changes, I doubt I will make it to 70.

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