Pollo @ South Hill Park, Bracknell 13/08/2016

Hola mis amigos.  Hello my friends.

Si, yo escribo en Español esta semana. Por qué? Porque necesito practicar mi Español por cuando yo hago Roast Dinners En Eivissa (Eebeefa a estos que votar Brexit – bastardos).  Yes I am writing in Spanish this week.  Why?  Because I need to practice my Spanish for when I do Roast Dinners In Ibiza (Eebeefa to those who voted Brexit – bastards).

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Es mi numero uno sueño.  It is my number one dream.

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Espero tú entiendes Español? Me gusto mucho Español y las mujeres Español, hmmmmm.  I hope you speak Spanish?  I like Spanish a lot and the Spanish women, hmmmmm.

Entonces. Ayer yo caminado a South Hill Park en Bracknell. Cuando hablo con nadie de Hull, digo ese Bracknell es como un estado de consejo pero todos gente trabajar y votar Tory. En Hull, tú no camina en estos barrios.  So.  Yesterday I walked to South Hill Park in Bracknell.  When I speak with anyone in Hull, I say that Bracknell is like a council estate but everyone works and votes Tory.  In Hull, you do not walk in these neighbourhoods.

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Es extraño pero in el media de barrio mierda, allí este un casa grande – múy grande y viejo. Y unos gente me diga ese ellos hacen la major cena de roast en Bracknell. No dificil! Mi mejor es The Golden Retriever con un 5.3. Bracknell es malo por comida. Bracknell es malo por todos.  It is strange but in the middle of this shit area, there is a large house, very large and old.  And some people told me that they make the best roast dinners in Bracknell.  Not difficult!  My best is The Golden Retriever with a 5.3.

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Hola mujeres Español. Soy guapa y rico. Mis cajones son grandes.  Hello Spanish women.  I am handsome and rich.  My testicles are large.

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Ellos vendieron pollo, vaca y hmmm no recuerdo. Cerdo? Adémas un trio por £13.00. Pago £11.00 por mi cena de pollo.  They sold chicken, beef and hmmm I don’t remember.  Gammon?  Also a trio for £13.00.  I paid £11.00 for my chicken dinner.

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Esperado diez minutos, y mi cena llegado. Tú recuerda Eldorado? El mejor television por de BBC.  I waited ten minutes, and mi dinner arrived.  Do you remember Eldorado?  The best television from the BBC.

La vegetales llegado en un plato separado de mi carne. Me disgusto con el salsa múy poco pero ellos me oferió un enorme taza y sasla. Muy felicidad.  The vegetables arrived on a separate plate from my meat.  I was disgusted with the very small amount of gravy but they offered me an enormous cup of gravy.  Very happy.

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Comienzo con los vegetales. Los zanahorios fueron delgado y ordinario. Dos brocoli fueron además ordinario. Tres coliflor (gracias Google translate) fueron además ordinario. Hmmm.  I started with the vegetables.  The carrots were thin and ordinary.  Two broccoli were also ordinary.  Three cauliflower (thank you Google translate) were also ordinary. Hmmm.

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Ellos paracen como ellos hacer en un fabrica. No le club nocturne.  They seemed like they were made in a factory.  Not the nightclub.

Los chirivía (Gracias Google de nueva) fueron profundo frito. Que de puta madre?! Ellos fueron cinco, pero no como todo. Yo siempre como todo. Malo.  The parsnips (thank you Google again) were deep fried.  What the fuck?  There were five but I did not eat all.  I always eat everything.  Bad.

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Las papas y además profundo frito. Que de puta madre. Como las papas pero no felicidad. Siquiera ellos bastante suave en el interior.  The potatoes were also deep fried.  What the fuck.  I ate the potatoes but I was not happy.  At least they were quite soft in the middle.

El Yorkshire pudding (seriousamente, Google?) fue múy grande y el parte mejor de la cena. Hacer en casa pero no cavidad – como un Yorkshire balo. Beuno pero no múy bueno.  The Yorkshire pudding (seriously, Google?) was very large and the best part of the dinner.  Made at home but without a hole – like a Yorkshire ball.

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Proxima de ultimo, como el pollo. No un pollo actualmente – es fue un pollo de Bernard Matthews, o similar. Tú conoce el tipo. Hacer en un fabrica. De nueva. Puta madre.  Next to last, I ate the chicken.  It was not actually chicken – it was a chicken from Bernard Matthews, or similar.  You know the type.  Made in a factory.  Again.  Mother fucker.

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Finalmente la salsa. Tambien conocido como gravy en Inglés. Es gustar como Bisto. En Inglaterra, ellos normalmente hacer múy bueno gravy. No aqui. Ellos hacer Bisto. Mucho sal.  Finally the gravy. Also known as gravy in English.  It was like Bisto.  In England, they normally make very good gravy.  Not here.  They made Bisto.  Lots of salt.

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Donde esta las putas?  Where are the prostitutes?

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Entonces. Es no le mejor cena de roast en Bracknell. Mi clasificación es un 4.2 de 10. Pero un casa bonito, y los jardines son múy grandes y bonito tambien.  So.  It was not the best roast dinner in Bracknell.  My classification is a 4.2 out of 10.  But a beautiful house, and the gardens are very large and pretty too.

El semena proxima, voy a ir norte de Reading. Espero es mucho bueno.  Next week, I am going north of Reading.  I hope it is very good.

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Tú vendes drogas? Me gustan.  Do you sell drugs?  I like them.

Puta madre ese múy dificil. Hola mujeres bonita, quieres un novio bonito, guapa y rico (pronto)? Enviar me tú foto. En un vestido. No desnudo – quiero una señora – no una puta.  Mother fucker that was very difficult.  Hello beautiful women, do you want a beautiful, handsome and rich (soon) boyfriend?  Send me your photo.  In a dress.  Not naked – I want a lady, not a whore.

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Chicken @ The Butler, Reading 26/06/2016

You know this roast dinner strike thing?

Well, I’ve been speaking to Mrs T. She isn’t too happy with me. She isn’t even speaking to me. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of drinks that have fallen off my Margaret Thatcher coasters over the last week.

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We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to gravy.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I am back off roast dinner review strike. If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman; if you want a roast dinner reviewed, ask a 60-year old pot-bellied transsexual virgin crystal-meth addict.

Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth. And I didn’t have many of them so I looked for somewhere with a less-expensive roast, and decided upon The Butler in Reading. Each £9.50.

An over-looked pub on Chatham Street, so overlooked that I hadn’t ever been in 18 years of living here. Slightly dishevelled but welcoming, televisions in the corners so I could watch the football, with a variety of seating – including some rather psychedelic sofas near the back.

It was very quiet so I had a large choice of tables. Possibly not a good sign but I ploughed on and ordered the chicken. I was impressed that each had a different form of gravy – I was nearly tempted by the beef (cooked rare) but it came with an “& red wine gravy” – and I have bad memories of red wine gravy, not to mention the off-putting misplaced ampersand.

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Is that blurry or am I still fucked from the weekend?

They all sounded appealing so I sat down for 5 minutes whilst a fairly packed plate was microwaved.

I started with the cabbage which I didn’t finish. White and tasteless, this was the most pointless item for many a month.

The batons of carrots were fairly average, a little roughly cut, slightly on the soft side.

Speaking of soft – the broccoli had been long over-blanched, very soft and soggy, to the point of losing its colour. Any woman who understands the problems of cooking broccoli will be nearer to understanding the problems of making a roast dinner.

Not exactly anything over-enamouring so far but this changed with the cauliflower cheese which was rather wow. The strength of the cheese, with perhaps a hint of paprika gave it a kick – really, very impressive. If only I had had a whole bowl of it. You could do business with this cauliflower cheese.

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The new potatoes were fairly standard – four or five earthy morsels with enough bite.

Also standard were the roast potatoes – three, of course, standard, and sadly the standard roasted-earlier microwave standard. They were a touch chewy and bouncy inside. I’ve had far worse, but they were not massively appealing, after all, if you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to make fresh roast potatoes, and you would achieve nothing but good roast dinners.

There was a ball of stuffing – possibly homemade, after all the roast dinner had an endearingly homemade touch to it. Sadly it didn’t have much flavour to it – it seemed to have no herbs, perhaps more sausagemeat – possibly some nuts and onion, also a touch on the dry side.

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Some places (mentioning no names, Nando’s) offer out the most pathetic excuses for a half chicken that you could imagine. The Butler does not. This was a full-sized half a chicken. I’m assuming that it was cooked in the white wine that the gravy was made out of, as the chicken seemed oddly pale at first look.

It was a succulent chicken and I did struggle to finish it. The white wine flavouring didn’t come out overly strongly, but it certainly gets good marks.

There is no such thing as society: there are individual Yorkshire puddings, and there are families. The Yorkshire pudding was homemade and a good effort. Well-risen, quite soft on the bottom.

Being powerful is like eating gravy. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. Well, it was special – not often you see an establishment make the effort so that their gravy stands out. This was filled with herbs, mostly parsley, and an unusual light cream in colour. I wouldn’t say that I loved it – the flavour wasn’t overly strong, it was thicker than water but being a northerner, I’d prefer it thicker. But I do very much appreciate the effort and inventiveness.

Overall it was a really mixed bag. Some parts excellent, more inventiveness than normal – but also some parts very average. The highlight was the wowtastic cauliflower cheese – the pointless cabbage the lowlight.

I’m going to give it a nice, round 7.0 out of 10. Or am I? Maybe a 6. Or a 5. To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning. It definitely gets a 7.0.

Iron out the imperfections and this could be a slightly unexpected go-to place for roast dinners in the centre of Reading. We are not exactly blessed with roast dinner venues in the town centre so I would certainly recommend giving this a try.

Next weekend I’m in Hull for a family wedding despite trying my hardest to offend the groom by repeatedly stating that all firemen are lazy, overpaid striking scumbags. I might be back in time but don’t count on it. The weekend after I’m going clubbing and considering I went clubbing this weekend and had a grand total of two bacon sandwiches in 48 hours, I’m sure that you can imagine that there is zero chance of me eating a roast dinner. The weekend after I might be away too!

So you might have to wait 4 weeks for your next review. But I’ll try to do something for you, otherwise you’ll have to be patient – I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end. Gosh I might even do a feature. Well, it’s better than nothing?

Unless the 25 powerful Margaret Thatcher quotes website that happened to be a porn site that I clicked on at work this morning gets me the sack, in which case goodbye forever. Ooops.

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Chicken @ The Admiral Cunningham Pub 19/06/2026

Can you believe that we are almost at the 10 year anniversary of Independence Day? That great day when a very small but very wise majority of people voted Brexit?

My how things have changed for the better since then. We’ve got our country back and it’s all thanks to King Nigel. I wish eternal health and happiness to our saviour and wise dear leader.

I remember when you used to walk through the streets and rarely would you see a piece of street furniture adorned with the flag of England – now renamed Nigeland (thank you spell-checker, though now all politically correct fools are in the correctional facilities, I don’t need to worry about a misplaced ‘r’ and an extra ‘g’) – and we all have responsibility for decorating street furniture. I have now upgraded my house so that in my hallway there is a full-size picture of our great leader – one assumes it is just a matter of time before legislation means an A2-sized framed picture will no longer be enough. And rightly so.

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There wasn’t much choice of venues as I couldn’t get a visa to visit Reading – I was thinking of visiting the Irish pub in Reading, or maybe even going to the Belgian Arms near Maidenhead, but both now have massive tariffs that make them utterly unaffordable to the average unemployed bum from Bracknell.

So I plumped for The Admiral Cunningham in Bracknell, a 40 minute walk from my house (about 2 miles and 4 furlongs), through street after street of beautiful Nigeland flags. One of the few pubs now not owned by Wetherspoons.

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Everyone working there was English (of course, with all foreign and foreign-looking people having been rightly repatriated), and they had a choice of traditional English food and good ol’ roast dinners (all pubs now having to serve roast dinners every day, by law) on offer.

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Yes as the king promised 10 years ago – they’ve all gone.

Pork, turkey, lamb, chicken, beef or mixed were the options at either 75 shillings or 80 shillings (£7.50 or £8.00 in old currency). Kids options were available at 40 shillings (£4.00) or super-roasts at 100 shillings (£10.00). Very pricey considering that the value of the pound collapsed in 2016 and has never recovered despite our conversion to new shillings as we took control of our country.

One reason that I was particularly looking forward to visiting the Admiral Cunningham was that it still had the honour of a 1 star food safety rating. Since King Nigel took over, all European food safety legislation has been annulled, but Reading council (who now run Bracknell) are still as backwards as ever, despite being run by UKIP (obviously, given that all other political parties are banned), and those pubs without a zero rating are allowed to keep their ratings. I can only think of a handful of places with any rating so eating at a 1 star venue is a real treat.

I ordered chicken and just like the new British Rail (well, English Rail to be more accurate since the break-up of the United Kingdom), it seemed to be quite slow in arriving but maybe that had more to do with how tired I was.

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The carrots and cabbage came in the same side-pot and both were soft and succulent, the carrots in particular – a hint of butter and were both surprisingly nice.  The carrots had been straight prior to cutting despite the fact that carrots no longer need to be straight since we left the European Union.

I could have had peas, which as you know are my favourite vegetable (or at least they are now since my time in the correctional facility for my idiotic and unpatriotic vote for remain back in 2016 – amazing what a 4-year diet of cold peas can do to you), however I simply didn’t fancy them, and upgraded to cauliflower cheese instead which was 10 shillings extra.

This also came in a small pot, with a good half an inch of cream (can you remember the days of metric measurements? How outdated – thank God (Nigel) that we have our country back). The cauliflower itself was perfectly done in terms of bite though could have done with more in the way of cheesiness.

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This time of year is one of the lucky times where we can actually get hold of potatoes post import/export-ban. Rumours are that there are mountains of unused potatoes in what is left of the European Union (Turkey, France, Ireland and Albania) – I cannot believe how badly run that shithole is. Even in Ireland they have plenty of potatoes. The two roast potatoes that were supplied to me were quite earthy and dirty, not at all roasted on the outside and semi-solid on the inside, but one has to be positive with what blessings we have nowadays. Crap roast potatoes are better than no roast potatoes.

The Yorkshire pudding was dry, burnt and crispy – and far too brown. Pretty rubbish, really.

There was half a chicken supplied. The drumstick was dry, overcooked and almost a touch stale – as if it has been on the table since last Christmas. The thigh was more appealing, quite soft and tasty with the fat. The breast itself was good enough – although a tad on the dry side. For a half a chicken it was a little small but larger than the old Nando’s chickens before it was banned for being foreign muck (now owned by Wetherspoons and converted to Chicken Chefs).

I do like a bit of stuffing and there was a perfectly rounded-corner square of herby stuffing. It would have been improved were it oven-cooked as opposed to microwaved but so be it. Surprising how they managed to get the corners that smooth and slice it so perfectly by hand, but that goes to show how things have improved under the dear leader.

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Finally the gravy was good. Maybe I would say that as 4 years in the correctional facility (or Nilag as those of us who have been through it know it as) and the lack of gravy that was part of my punishment for that most disgraceful and unpatriotic decision of mine to vote remain, mean that I am forever grateful but you know, some gravies are still jus-like despite all the posh people having had their estates rightly handed over to the king and now just surviving on hand-outs like me – this was quite thick, albeit gloopy and with a shortage, despite me being allowed a little thimble extra. Which is better than Christmas dinner in the gulag which came without gravy.

Overall I’m going to give a reasonably healthy 4.4 out of 10, which is a good score in foreigner-free 2026. The carrots were the highlight – the lowlight being the roast potatoes, which shows that some things haven’t changed in 10 years, though at least we have control of our country now.

The bill originally came to just over 12 shillings (£12.40), I gave them 15 shilling (£15.00) and £1.60 came back in the way of change with a new receipt for just under 14 shillings (£13.60) – I presumed that this was King tax, however then I remembered that I had had 2 apple juices so they must have originally charged me just for one.

Sadly since the king suffered liver disease and converted to Islam, pubs are no longer allowed to sell alcohol, though there are still underground liquor dens – clearly I cannot allude to the details of any in case I am stabbed with a bayonet on the way home.

I quickly left, via doing a line of gravy powder in the men’s toilets (drugs being unable to enter the country, obviously, as nothing can get in via the giant impenetrable dome that has been built over the country) and headed home ready for an 18-hour shift tomorrow preparing ammunition for World War 3.

Next week is probably my last ever roast dinner review, though I appreciate that I have been saying that for 11 years now.

Time for my hourly prayer to King Nigel. LONG LIVE KING NIGEL. I wish you health and happiness for eternity oh dearest and greatest one. Thank you for taking us out of the European Union, and a massive thank you to everyone that voted to leave in 2016.

Sing it now – We’ve Got Our Country Back, Oh We’ve Got Our Country Back, We’ve Got Our Country Back, Oh We’ve Got Our Country Back.

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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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“Chicken” at Running Horse, Bracknell 14/02/2016

He went where on Valentine’s Day?  A Hungry Horse pub? At the very least, I know Edible Reading is mouthing those exact words. And maybe you are too.

Bad times: My last review had the lowest amount of readers during its first week than any other review in recent months.

Bad bad times: I didn’t even get one application to join me for the Valentine’s Roast Dinner. Which is to be expected, as half of my readers are either male or happily married females, the other half are homosexual.

They are now, anyway, as I seem to be getting reposted on Reading’s premier LGBT website. I could be part of the gang – I’d be very happy to represent the “L” in LGBT.

So much so that in desperation on Saturday night, I tried to open an account on Brenda, but the photograph of my manboobs was rejected for being too male. Do women not have copious volumes of chest hair down south? I then tried uploading a picture of Margaret instead, but again it was rejected for being too male.

Even Margaret wasn’t having any of it. Stiffer and more wooden than ever, she sulkily refused to even talk to me yesterday, let alone go out to dinner with me.

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Thankfully, my favourite homosexual socialist rescued me from the ignominy of eating alone on Valentine’s Day, and as I was determined to treat Valentine’s Day with the respect it deserves, the Hungry Horse in Bracknell was the only sensible choice – despite my accomplice’s pleas to go to a Wetherspoons instead.

We pulled up to what looked like a miserable pub, in a miserable area of a miserable town. I really wanted to photograph the exceptionally fat young woman smoking on the steps outside to greet us, but public humiliation of anyone other than myself, isn’t really my style. Unless they cook shit roast dinners.

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Inside we were immediately surrounded by screaming children running around in circles. Unbelievably (or maybe not), some people were actually here on a date. And occasionally there where yelps of joy from beyond the bar area – but that was due to London Spurs beating Manchester Hunter in the soccerball game, as opposed to any romantic moments.

The options on the menu were gammon steaks, chicken breasts, lamb shank, beef topside or butternut squash and sage bake. I figured that chicken was the option they could fuck up the least. You could either have a classic version – 2 for £10, or a big plate. I went large which was £7.69…not sure if there was a special offer on that or not, as my bill did seem a couple of quid lower than it should have been. Different meats were slightly differently priced – the gammon being the cheapest at just short of 7 of your earth pounds.

It took less than 10 minutes to arrive and it looked as miserable as expected.

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Firstly, carrots. Now I do actually have something constructive to say this week. They were very thinly sliced and fell apart as soon as they came into contact with the fork. Sadly no spoon was provided.

The cauliflower was also close to mush and absolutely free of taste.

At least the green beans had some kind of structure to them, though again had been in water far too long and were rather soft, not to mention a kind of dirty green colour.

Eeeeeuurrrggh. Worse was to come as despite having asked for no peas, I discovered two little green devils hidden away in the treasure-trove of delights.

At this point, I was wondering if there was a reason this had been served with a selection of condiments in the dirty silver cutlery bucket – were they recommending the ketchup, mayonnaise, etc?

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There were 5 roast potatoes. All best described as anaemic, plastic and rubbery, with minimal microwaved warmth, not to mention being on the dry side.

Speaking of dry – the chicken. I have never, ever been served, seen or tasted such dry chicken in my life. They might not have been originally cooked this year. They didn’t even taste of chicken – though there was some kind of vaguely sweet chargrill taste to them – like a poor man’s Bird’s Eye Chargrilled Chicken breasts. I really struggled to eat the second one. I have absolutely no idea why I bothered, other than that northern stubbornness to not waste food. Was it actually food?

With all of the above stated, I still had high hopes for the giant Yorkshire Pudding. Why would you accept a small yorkie when you can have a giant yorkie? Sadly, the outer edges were difficult to tear, and the base had soaked up all the brown water, becoming a soft yet stodgy layer of batter. And yes – I ate all of it. I am mincing as I re-read this. Or should that be wincing?

As you may have worked out, the brown water was the gravy. It was water. It happened to be coloured brown – hopefully from some addition of Bisto. Like the rest of the meal, I garnered little or no taste from it. I had also asked for extra gravy and it was served to me in a soup bowl. A soup bowl.

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Nobody asked me how my meal was. And yes, I would have told them.

There were so many highlights to choose from. Leaving was one. That it wasn’t quite as bad as the Wetherspoons is another. I’m not lacking in lowlights either – I’m going to choose the food as the main disappointment of the experience. It was quite a northern affair – I’ll give it a River Humber geolocation tag.

If you have little money, don’t care about taste and are happy to get fat, then give it a whirl. A 1.4 out of 10 seems most appropriate for this Valentine’s vaginaplasty of rot.

My disappointment was further fulfilled as I hoped for a toilet door to kick down but someone had beaten me to it. I did try to steal one of the fake metal horses on the way out but sadly they were screwed down.

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Next Sunday depends on whether I have some company. If I don’t, then I might just make myself a salad.

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Chicken @ The Dog & Duck, Wokingham 29/11/2015

I eventually woke up on Sunday, still with a monstrous hangover from Friday night, a fair chunk of a cold but even worse than any of that – a missing earphone to block out the noise of Bracknell.

I set myself just one goal for the day and that was to get a roast dinner and go back to bed.

Fortunately the choice of venue was the Dog & Duck in Wokingham, chosen by Mymatedave TM. I do believe that it is important to mix with as wide a variety of society as possible, and everyone should definitely have a mate called Dave. He was pretty much the first person that I met in Reading back in 1998 and a love of pies, beer and of course, roast dinners has helped keep the bonds of friendship 17 years later.

On the way I was wondering whether John Redwood frequented this establishment (for some reason I always want to call him Sir John Redwood), but upon arrival I found that it was not in the most salubrious area of Wokingham – in fact it looked like your typical chav-hole, albeit with some redeeming features on the front of the pub (ignoring the BT sports sticker).

As a venue it did seem a bit confused – I couldn’t tell initially what it was trying to be, but I eventually settled on it having been a chav-hole a while ago, and now possibly under new management, who were trying to take it a little more upmarket.

The clues as to it potentially being under new management continued – as I’m pretty sure I overheard the landlady say that it was the first week that they were doing roast dinners. Had I realised this in advance, then I would have gone elsewhere. One of the many things that I have learnt from the illustrious Edible Reading, is that you should give new places a chance to bed in before you judge them.

However, I wasn’t going to up sticks and find somewhere else to go, so you’ll just have to bear in mind that (assuming I overheard correctly), this was their first roast dinner serving.

I’m really not feeling this review. I’m kind of tempted to delete the whole lot and start again. It doesn’t really flow, does it? Do you think John Redwood reads my reviews? Is there anyone more famous than John Redwood in Wokingham?

There were three vegetables on the plate – the tenderstem broccoli was plentiful, and had plenty of bite to it too. All of the vegetables seem to have been steam-cooked.

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The carrots came whole and with their skin on (the best way). They were slightly larger than baby carrots – although they did seem somewhat undercooked in the middle which is a theme that we will return to.

There were also parsnips, again they seemed to have been steamed and surely parsnips should be roasted? Too bright a light yellow colour, and a little under-cooked too.

I would just like to add that I absolutely love immigrants.

A few minutes into the meal the cauliflower cheese arrived, that I would have totally forgotten about otherwise. It was really creamy – really, really creamy, with quite a bite to it again, and also a sprinkling of fresh parsley. It could have done with just a few minutes in the oven to crispen the top of the cauliflower – it kind of seemed more like the cream was added to the cauliflower afterwards rather than cooked with it.

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There were three roast potatoes (back to the Berkshire standard), all slightly oily on the outside – soft enough on the inside but next to no roasty crispiness on the outside. I was at an advantage having a roast dinner at midday so they wouldn’t have been stood around all day and were freshly cooked. But they could have done with a good 10 minutes more roasting.

The chicken was…a little, erm undercooked. Well, the drumstick was anyway, it even had a couple of spots of blood near the bone which I completely avoided (see mum, I do listen to you occasionally). I like my meat pink and I’m not obsessive about avoiding pink chicken like my mother is, but the drumstick could have done with quite a few minutes more in the oven – I wouldn’t have served it to myself.

No such complaints with the important part of the chicken though, the breast, and there was plenty to eat too. There was a good half a chicken (not a Nando’s half, an actual half) and it came complete with skin. Hmmmm chicken skin.

I really liked the stuffing ball. 3 weeks in a row I’ve had stuffing – it must be Christmas? No complaints on the undercooking, it was a herby delight with a crust to the edges.

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The Yorkshire SpongeBob wasn’t so impressive. How the hell do you turn a Yorkshire pudding into a sponge? I’ve made some Yorkshire puddings in the past that closely resembled pancakes but I really do not understand how they can turn into a sponge ball? How can they go that wrong? Edible but not much else.

A decent effort on the gravy. A fair consistency, it seemed to have a hint of chicken stock but it did linger for some time on the tongue. Perhaps a touch too much salt.

The overall theme was clearly that it needed a little more cooking. It was well presented (as if that matters) and reasonably tasty but didn’t jump off the plate and make me want to eat there again.

As I mentioned earlier, it is perhaps unfair to review somewhere if it is their first week doing roasts, so maybe there is much more to come. They were using tenderstem broccoli which is a promising sign – many places will only give you bog-standard broccoli. Plus there were occasional hints of herbs. Hopefully someone will go in a few weeks and tell me how good it has become.

I’m going to give it a 6.6 out of 10. Slap bang in the middle of averageness – as I mentioned, I suspect there is more to come from this pub once they are properly up and running. Service was good throughout – the wrong beer was initially brought out, we hadn’t realised but they did and came and replaced it. They were keen to ensure we enjoyed our meal, whether we needed anything extra (gravy, of course) and I do wish them all the best on their new venture.

The highlight was probably the stuffing ball, the lowlight was definitely the sponge. On the Yorkshire-Surrey scale it rates a Nuneaton.

Well my review is written and I’m still not happy with it. It is as if I had never written a review before. It seems very undercooked? Does John Redwood go out for roast dinners?

Next weekend I’m up in Hull to see my grandma but I’ll be back in time to grab a roast somewhere. Forgive me if I decide to go somewhere in Bracknell or on the Waterloo train line.

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Chicken @ The Swan, Pangbourne 21/06/2015

Chicken @ The Swan, Pangbourne 21/06/2015

Before I go on, I am looking to move the page from Blogger to WordPress over the coming week, so there may be a short period where the website is unavailable.  Wordpress gives me more options in terms of design and also plug-ins, with a bit of luck and work, I should be able to add some interesting features for you in the coming months.

So for the first time in these reviews, the random number generator took me to Pangbourne.  Is there anywhere else near Pangbourne that should (or shouldn’t!) be on my to-do list?

I’d heard mixed reviews about The Swan – some are highly in praise, others in disdain.  From what I gather, it seems to switch periodically between joy and pain, depending upon pub management, so my expectations were confused.

Having a glance at other tables as I came in, I was struck by the amount of people eating almost irrationally perfectly round burgers – with just a couple tempted by the roast dinners.

Ominous?

Some of the comments I’d heard about The Swan were that the service was poor – I remember many years ago going for drinks and it taking forever to get served, however the young lady that greeted me was very pleasant and helpful – she was enthusiastic about the chicken in particular, along with trying to upsell to me – though upselling to a Yorkshireman is close to mission impossible.

Upon her advice, I ordered the chicken.  The only other option was the beef, and a wise man once told me only to order beef if you are confident the venue will know how to cook it.  And I wasn’t confident.

So 15 minutes later, it arrived.  And my initial thoughts were that it was well-presented.

But it was jus, not gravy as advertised by the menu.

I’m going to start with the “gravy” for a change.  As you can see it was very thin and watery – some of it delightfully splashed onto my decade-old misshapen t-shirt to add to my slightly shabby look of the day.  It was however inoffensive, adding nothing in the way of taste of substance – which given the distasteful jus’ served in some other wannabe venues, was a relief.

I did order more and it came in a very inconvenient milk thimble, which wasn’t the easiest to pour, or hold given how hot the liquid was.

The vegetables were a mixed medley, in more ways than one.

First up was the swede, which came in baby-bite sized chunks, and was very much on the soft side, with a slightly bitter, yet slightly nutty taste.  Not bitter in a bad way, may I add.

Then there were some fine green beans which were slightly less cooked than my personal preferences – they had that slightly squeaky rubbery texture to them.

And definite points for the roasted peppers – an unusual inclusion on a roast, I hadn’t even considered roasted peppers on my own roast dinners previously, and it kind of worked.  Slightly sweeter than a pepper assumes normally to be.

Next up were the roast potatoes.  And they were actually roasted.  But the big question is – when were they roasted?  As it certainly wasn’t any time close to been presented.  They very much had that cooked 6 hours ago and microwaved feel to them.  On the bright side, there were 4 of them.  Ooooh the generosity.

I was a little disappointed about the amount of chicken served, especially given it was one of my more expensive roasts of late – just a chicken breast.  Albeit a nice-sized chicken breast – not one of the under-developed chickens that a certain chicken-franchise seems peri much to specialise in.

It was tender and there was surprisingly enough of it.  By the end of the meal, my somewhat over-sized belly was full, despite not having eaten since breakfast, 8 hours ago.

I didn’t quite understand the stuffing.  Served in thin-burger form, I was a little confused.  Stuffing should come in home-made lumps, like at The Shoulder Of Mutton.  Not in flat burger form.  It didn’t add anything to the meal, I didn’t even taste any particular herb.  It was just kind of there.  I wonder if they put it on top of their burgers?

Finally, the Yorkshire pudding.  It was fairly large, soft on the bottom (post-jus) and crispy on the edges – cooked just right.  A really good yorkie.

My closing thoughts after eating matched my thoughts upon the roast arriving – more style than substance.

But this has to be taken into context of very good presentation.  There are points gained for an excellent Yorkshire pudding, and creativity on the vegetable side, though points lost for assumedly-microwaved roast potatoes and the drearily-thin but inoffensive jus.

Also it was a touch on the pricey side for what it was – £14.00 plus a 10% service charge.  If I had realised that there was a 10% service charge I would have walked to the bar to get my beer – £4.50 for a pint of Estrella plus 10% is almost London prices.  Given that I had two drinks, I could have saved myself 90p.

Generally I don’t stray away from my immediate rating too much, I allow a little time for my thoughts to settle, and the more I think about this dinner, the more contented I am with it.

I shall give it a score of 7.1 out of 10.

I really do wonder why so many people were having the burger though.  Touching upon something that the indelibly descriptive Edible Reading tweeted about the other day, perhaps there is need for someone to find the best burger around Reading?  If I had the time and money, I would be onto it.

There really should be more than 2 food blogs for the local area.  Best sandwich, best fish and chips, best kebab, best breakfast, best salad, a vegetarian-only blog.  Maybe one day my mission will be complete and I can tackle another subject.  But until then, I shall just sit here and hope for someone else to grab a keyboard.

Next Sunday I’m going to somewhere that has been highly recommended to me by several people.  It is two months since I’ve had an excellent roast dinner.  It feels overdue.

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Chicken @ Back Of Beyond, Reading 24/05/2015

Chicken @ Back Of Beyond, Reading 24/05/2015

So this is the first roast review of mine that Get Reading will be posting.  Probably not in it’s entirety as I do tend to waffle on tangentially at times, not to mention the occasional pea-influenced obscenity.

I decided I should kick off in style, and what better way to do it than review a Wetherspoons?

I am sure this is exactly what Get Reading readers are looking to read about.

Forgive me but I am not going to review all 3 Wetherspoon’s pubs in the town centre.  I chose the one with less clientele that appear to live there.  Did I manage to come across not to snobby there?!

The choices were chicken, beef, turkey and a vegetarian option.  For just £6.99.  And I got a pint of Stowford Press cider for just £0.99.  Quite why other places sell it for £4.50 I don’t know.  Also worth mentioning that you could have a large for £1.50 extra.  I declined, which is not the sort of thing I normally do.

Slightly off-tangent, but I went to the Purple Turtle yesterday, and ordered a slightly unusual beer and the barmaid said, “it is £4.50, you know?” in a do you really want to spend £4.50 on a beer kind of way.  £4.50 sounds a good price to me nowadays.  I have to say I do like what the Turtle are doing in terms of trying to bring something different music-wise to the town.  But that is a story for someone else to tell.

Anyway, back on topic and the barman serving me was exceptionally unwelcoming and made me almost feel a tad uncomfortable in ordering.  Every response was grunted with a real unwillingness to want to serve or even be polite.  Quite awful.  I did ask what vegetables it came with, and he nonchalantly suggested carrots and broccoli whilst looking in the other direction.  I always have to correct broccoli in the spell-checker.

Perhaps he just took a dislike to my bright purple chinos.

So I sat down, opened Facebook (not to check in, may I hasten to add), had a sip of my £0.99 cider and the dinner arrived.  It took just 3 minutes.  3 minutes.  They clearly wanted rid of such an undesirable as oneself.

I know what you are thinking, at least my regular readers, not the 7 and a half new followers that Get Reading have kindly sent my way.

Peas.

Apologies to regular readers for repeating myself but I have a phobia of peas.  I just cannot have them on my plate.  It’s all down to the lack of discipline.

I dealt with it my pouring my gravy on the Yorkshire pudding and then scooping the peas into the gravy pot.  I did consider pouring all the peas onto the table or the floor but decided it was probably a tad immature.

So after spending longer removing the peas, then it took them to “cook” my roast dinner, I tucked into the carrots.  Well, I had three of them, for they were cool, rubbery and just tasted of water.

The broccoli (YES!  I spelt it without the spell-checker!), was vaguely better.  Soft, floppy but slightly less-watery.

If you look carefully at the mash, you can see the almost perfectly rectangular edges which suggest how it was packaged.  It was edible, but my disdain for it was almost on the level of the barman’s disdain for service.  I had one bite which was enough.

Onto the roast potatoes.  Which would be a trade descriptions act offence.  They more resembled potato croquettes,  There were 4, one of which was pretty much uncooked, the others were cooked but perhaps more likely put in a deep fat fryer 10 days ago, frozen then microwaved 10 seconds after Mr Miserable pressed the send button on the till.  They were awful.  I really do not see how they could have been worse.

The Yorkshire pudding was ok.  Think Aunt Bessies 4 minute in the oven job, and you are nearly there.  But not quite that “good”.

And penultimately onto the roast half chicken, seasoned with black pepper.  It was perhaps the driest chicken I have ever been served in my life.  Think back to Christmas 15 years ago, when your Grandma over-cooked the turkey, and you were still eating it a few days later.  That level of dryness.

It was quite abominable.

The gravy wasn’t too bad.  It was at least, gravy.  Though by time it was on my plate, it was very much of a watery-consistency.  In hindsight it may have been better to dip the food in the gravy whilst it was in the pot.  Then again, in hindsight, the Iraq War might have been better if we had sent more troops.

Or maybe, just maybe, in ultra magical hindsight, it was better just not to go in the first place.

Gosh, that was a good analogy.

Sometimes I say, please share just for my own vanity.  But this time, I ask that you share this review for the sake of your fellow human.

I am trying to think whether it is worse than The Pheasant Inn.  I think when it comes to the quality and taste of the food, it was marginally better than the totally abominable Pheasant Inn.  However the overall experience was generally heinous – at least The Pheasant Inn was hilariously bad, and had cute barmaids, this was just dreadful from minute one.

There is scope to be worse, but this was the worst roast dinner I have ever reviewed.  It gets a 0.8 out of 10.

There are so many better places to try – even if you have to go to a Wetherspoons for budgetary purposes, please just save a little extra money and go somewhere else, then go to Wetherspoons for a drink.

Next week will be somewhere town-centre based as I will be short on time again.

I  did quite like the design of the plate.  Oh and I did throw a few peas on the floor.

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Beef, Chicken & Pork @ The St George And Dragon, Wargrave, 29/03/2015

Beef, Chicken & Pork @ The St George And Dragon, Wargrave, 29/03/2015

Gravy is ever so important to me.  Some people have a bad day at work and go home and open a bottle of wine, some go home and have a spliff – I go home and have gravy.

And the most important ingredient of a roast dinner is the gravy.  Not just any gravy either – it should have a reasonably thick consistency, and be made from meat stock at the least.  There is no need to get fancy with it.

At the risk of being compared to Hitler, it should absolutely not be jus.  There is no room for jus.  Jus should be eliminated from the roast dinner.  Albeit The Black Boy did do an excellent jus – the one and only enjoyable jus of my life.

I did say that I was going to go somewhere cheap this week but I couldn’t face the possibility of another poor/average roast – I was due a cracking roast dinner.  Plus I had already had to borrow money to see out the month, so I might as well borrow even more.

The random number generator picked The St George And Dragon in Wargrave, which if I recall correctly had been recommended to me by a couple of colleagues at work.

I did try to book on their website, however it was only myself dining and apparently solo-dining is not an option.

Wargrave itself is a nice village, not a place I had ever been to.  Some gorgeous houses, particularly near the station – I am pretty sure I saw one with a tennis court.  Not something you tend to see on the estates up north where I am from.  And I am not talking country estates.

I even felt a tad underdressed when I entered the pub.  It is one of those pleasant upmarket gastro-pub type places, near to the River Thames, with a nice decking area for the summer and a cushion on my chair.

It all looked very tempting – and I compromised on the trio of roasts.  I am yet to decide whether this is a wise idea – whilst this way I get to taste a wider variety, I do wonder if the quality is diluted.  I have yet to rate a trio of roasts that highly.

It took less than 10 minutes for the food to arrive, it seemed closer to 5 minutes.  I was very surprised.  I had hardly started reading the article on Islamic State (I wonder if this is enough to attract the attention of our security services to bad roast dinners?).

The vegetables came in this little cup.  Transferring them onto my plate was a little tricky, and various bits of leaf ended up on the table.

The carrots were good.  Thick, plump and tender carrots.  The kale and cabbage were rather non-descript.  I really am rather non-plused about them.

It isn’t often a parsnip is offered, and this was a really tasty parsnip – honey roasted too.  It was quite light coloured and I would have preferred it to have been more, well, roasted.  But kudos on the single parsnip.

I was excited about the prospect of goose-fat roasted potatoes.  But I shouldn’t have been so excited.  Whilst I could taste the goose-fat, there wasn’t much roasting that had been done, the potatoes were even slightly rubbery on the outside.  They were not bad potatoes but calling them roast potatoes would is against the trade descriptions act.

When the above menu states Yorkshire PuddingS, I was expecting a plurality of Yorkshire Puddings.  I did get one and it was dry and almost a touch on the stale side.  I am glad that I only got one.

There were also two little flat rounds of stuffing.  This was clearly factory-manufactured and could easily have been on one a Tesco chicken meal-for-one.

Two bits of crackling accompanied the dinner – they looked like Twiglets.  And perhaps tasted closer to them.  Again they seemed very factory-manufactured.

It isn’t really going very well is it?  But as you can see there is lots of meat to come.  My eyes did light up when the plate originally arrived, and I did question whether I was going to eat it all.

But why would you put a pig-in-blanket on top of some bread sauce?  Why on earth would you do that?  In fact why would you put bread sauce on a plate?  Or horseradish hollandaise?  Or apple and vanilla puree?  Or a flipping chunk of apple?!  I was becoming mildly riled by this point.

Sauces should surely be in a separate pot.  There certainly should not be 3 sauces on the plate, on top of gravy (more to come on this subject soon).

The pork loin was decent.  It was quite unspectacular.  Cooked a little more than my preference with no remarkable features.

There was a nice-looking piece of chicken breast but the chicken itself was really dry.  I actually struggled to eat it.

I left the beef until last to try, but it was really quite well done.  Not at all to my liking.  Like the rest of the meal it was a disappointment, although the hint of mustard was appreciated.

Now I did consider writing about the gravy before everything else.  Though my introduction may have given the game away.

Or perhaps more accurately, the jus.  It looked more like some kind of glitter-face paint that I might wear to a disco-themed paint-balling trip.

Shiny, with lots of oil and red spocks.  The taste was red wine but it was so over-powering and quite horrid that it totally ruined the whole dinner.

A good gravy would have masked the dryness of the chicken, to an extent.  A good gravy would have enlightened the pork.  A good gravy could have masked the softness of the goose-fat potatoes.

Instead, it over-powered the taste of everything on the plate – and it being a horrid taste, totally ruined what was only an average dinner in the first place.

Some people would likely have really enjoyed it – taste is after all subjective.

But appearance isn’t all it seems in life.  The dinner looked good on arrival but was anything but.  In a cute metaphor, the pub looked quite upmarket, yet had a leak from the ceiling.

This was the first time that I have questioned doing this blog.  In total I spent £25.00 that I didn’t have, and 3 hours of my life including the travel time for absolutely no satisfaction or enjoyment whatsoever.  What was initially an adventure to a new village soon realised itself into a chore.

I haven’t even enjoyed writing this.

My score is 3.4 out of 10.  Less enjoyable than the Toby Carvery,

Thankfully next Sunday I am in Yorkshire.

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Corn-Fed Chicken @ Malmaison 15/02/2015

Corn-Fed Chicken @ Malmaison 15/02/2015

It being Valentine’s weekend, I had planned on going to the most miserable venue imaginable.  But as happened last week, my original plan was subverted and I had a romantic offer that I could not refuse for five guys.

No, not the burger chain in the Oracle, but five of us guys decided upon a romantic Sunday roast in the Malmaison.

Upon initial inspection, it isn’t the cheapest at £19.95.  However this includes unlimited starter, the roast itself and dessert.

This is a roast dinners review page so I will not go into detail on the starter and the dessert, however they have to be taken into consideration as it is a full 3-course meal on offer – there was no option to pay less and just have the roast dinner.

The starter was a buffet spread, with bread, olives, cured meats, posh sausage rolls, smoked salmon – even a whole blimmin’ salmon.  The chef was also on hand to prepare a salad, if one so desired.  Unlimited starter is dangerous.  I wouldn’t say it was especially special.  It wasn’t anything I couldn’t have prepared myself by opening a packet of sliced cured meats from Sainsburys.

What was special was the dessert.  There were several options, none of which massively appealed until I heard about the dessert de jour – until then I was about to select the cheese and biscuits as default, which did include a gravestone biscuit.

The dessert de jour was…drum roll…chocolate cheesecake.  Did I build up the suspense enough?  It was pretty immense in taste, with 3 distinct sections, though a rather tough biscuit to cut with a spoon.  It was the icing on the…cake.  It was also an impressively generous-sized slice too.

What wasn’t so impressive in size was the roast dinner.

I had the choice of beef with Yorkshire pudding or corn-fed chicken with stuffing and a sausage wrapped in bacon, but no Yorkshire pudding.  WTF?  I requested the chicken dish but with a Yorkshire pudding to be included as my Valentine’s gift.  She was clearly charmed by my beauty as I was successful in my request.

When the main course arrived (we waited a reasonable length of time between courses if you are reading dear Edible – at least 15 minutes between taking away our starter plates and bringing the main course), the main plate consisted of a piece of chicken, one smallish Yorkshire pudding, two small round slices of stuffing and one small chipolata wrapped in bacon.  With just two vegetable medleys between five guys.

And just the tiniest drizzle of gravy.  Can you see it?

My granddad taught me to save the best until last, so let’s start with the mixed medley of vegetables, as is traditional, which really were a mixed bunch.

The carrots were sensational.  The tastiest ordinary carrots I have reviewed so far.  The green beans were good too – slightly flexible but still crunchy, and tasted superb with the gravy.  I never get mine that good.

The parsnips were not so impressive – parsnips really should be roasted.

And speaking of what should be roasted – potatoes.  Why can nowhere do decent roast potatoes?  They were average, at best.  The kind of deep-fried efforts that fall apart – with a solid outside as opposed to roasty-crispy goodness.

Thankfull you cannot really go wrong with pigs in blankets, and this was a high-grade chipolata wrapped properly in some tasty bacon.

The stuffing wasn’t so high-grade – it was how I would imagine a £5 coin to be, in terms of thickness and a consistent circumference.  It seemed factory-made and a little out of place – though it worked well when mixed with the Yorkshire pudding and chicken.

The Yorkshire pudding was a little anaemic, and a little little too.  Too strong a taste of vegetable oil and really not one of the best offerings I have had.

I had always kind of assumed in an I’m from up north what’s wrong with burning coal to heat your house kind of way that corn-fed chicken was something that only rich yummy-mummy vegetarian lesbians had.  Why feed corn to a chicken?

Well it turns out that average-income childless carnivorous non-lesbian blokes really appreciate corn-fed chicken too.  It was so plump and succulent – it tasted like chicken is actually supposed to taste like.  There was ‘only’ a chicken breast but aforementioned plumpness usurped any desire for more.  An excellent piece of chicken.

I did have a bite of the beef too – it looked amazing, though it only tasted very good.

And finally, the dribble of gravy.  All five of us requested extra gravy.  We received one miniature gravy boat’s worth.  So we requested extra gravy again.  And received one miniature gravy boat’s worth.  Either they weren’t getting us, or we weren’t getting it.

It was however a really good gravy, chicken-stock based with a reasonably thick consistency.  Good work.

Overall it was a good roast but it is a difficult one to rate.  Do I take into unlimited starter and the dessert?  Due to them being included in the price, I feel that I have to, to some extent as £19.95 for just that roast dinner would have been extortionate.

Plus service charge.  Which four of us thought was reasonable though far from spectacular service, however the Canadian amongst us was unimpressed.  Apparently you get far better service over the pond.  But do you get good gravy?

This is a roast dinners in Reading blog and therefore the rating is focused on the roast dinner part.  Had I been reviewing the whole 3 courses in that context, it would receive a slightly higher rating.

As it was, I feel that a 7.4 out of 10 is appropriate.  Full marks for meat and carrots, low marks for ‘roast’ potatoes and yorkies.

Next Sunday I am heading east.

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