Beef Topside @ The Horse And Groom, Harehatch 28/06/2015

So the controversy rumbles on. This blog has now been featured on Imgur. Which is apparently almost as popular as Reddit.

Yeah I’ve no idea, either.

All I wanted to do was talk about spuds and gravy. Apparently Imgur is quite popular although I haven’t got a clue why – I just checked out the front page and it is just full of really crap photographs which some 17-year old student in America probably thinks is hilarious.

I couldn’t even find a photo of a cat making a roast dinner.

I’m assuming that I had not heard of Imgur means I can no longer class myself in the category of “young”. A bit like many venues should not class their roast dinner liquid as “gravy”.

Thankfully given that the site was down last week, it added almost no visitors to my site. Do you like the new layout?  I’ve got some exciting things planned – I’m even going to use my Maths A-level education on one feature I have just dreamed up, ooooh! If there are any schoolchildren reading, which is unlikely due to the lack of crap Imgur photographs, then Maths is nearly as important as gravy. But seemingly less difficult.

Excitingly though I think you can say that this blog is finally “cool” – having been talked about on Shit Things To Do In Reading.  Can it get any better?

This is now the 8th paragraph (granted, a slightly ambitious description) so maybe it is time to get to the point of why you are here. Dinner. I had a lady from Yorkshire for company (don’t worry ladies, she is married, you still have a chance with me) and the random number generator picked the Horse & Groom in Harehatch, which is somewhere that had been recommended to me.

And then I walked through the door and my heart sank – I had been here before, a year or two ago, and it is was fairly disappointing.

I sighed internally.

The menu options were topside of beef, leg of pork, chicken breast or braised lamb shoulder. I did have an interesting question the other day about vegetarian roasts, and I did not see a vegetarian roast option. I never consider the vegetarian option but I will endeavour to take notice going forwards.


Beef was the one I hadn’t had for the longest, so that was my choice.

I enquired as to why the beef and pork came with just plain old vegetables, and the chicken and lamb came with seasonal vegetables. There is no difference. But they included peas! In fact, they included a generic pea, green bean and onion mixture, which did not rate highly at all by my accomplice – the peas were ‘mealy’, the green beans squeaky and the onions were pointless and tasteless.  My pea-phobia meant I did not get to enjoy any of them.

So I only ended up with two vegetables – the nicest was the red cabbage, which is never a favourite of mine and it was quite notably sweet and floppy.

The swede was very soft and irrelevant. There was certainly a hint of butter but it just seemed really pointlessly plonked upon the plate.


Game number 1.  Guess how many roast potatoes there were?  3!  One was very large, and definitely not cooked enough inside. The second more of the size you would expect, and as such, not so hard inside. The final roastie was rather deformed but that one did at least come closer to the description of roasted – the other potatoes had absolutely no evidence of a crispy outer.

I’ve had worse roast potatoes but these were very disappointing.

Thankfully the remainder of the dish was much improved.

The Yorkshire pudding was large, soft-bottomed and crispy on the edges.

I clearly made a good call on the beef – two reasonably large and reasonably thickly sliced slices of topside, just a tiny little bit of fat on the outside and reasonably pink on the inside.


I have to say that I am very glad I did not choose the chicken as one that went past me did look rather over-done – though it was only a glancing look which is clearly difficult to judge properly from.

And the gravy? Proper meat stock gravy! Woohoo! Let’s pop out the champagne. Actually I think champagne is rubbish. I much prefer beer. The gravy had a fair consistency to it too. It could have been better but it was definitely the best gravy for some time.



I was particularly impressed with the little gravy jug.

They had done 3 out of the 4 most important parts very well. The roast potatoes were bad but that has not exactly been unusual on my mission so far.  Also I feel that you can get better value for money at £14.00 and the lamb was particularly on the pricey side.

The service was pleasant enough though I sat there for a good 10-15 minutes with the receipt, waiting to pay, until I was advised that I had to go to the bar to pay.

I’m going to give it a 7.4 out of 10 – the same score as the Malmaison received though a vastly different experience.

Next week, hopefully no further controversy, and a visit to a place I have been told is amazing, with my amazing best friend as my treat for me being amazing.

The only problem is, there are two pubs with the same name – and I cannot remember which one was the one recommended.

And finally I will leave you with game number 2.  Which of these photographs was taken by a professional photographer?

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