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.

20160904_151507

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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Gammon @ The Shoulder Of Mutton, Playhatch 07/06/2015

Gammon @ The Shoulder Of Mutton, Playhatch 07/06/2015

So the random number generator decided that I should go back to Playhatch, the scene of the greatest ever roast dinner (except those I’ve cooked myself, of course).  Until I realised that England had a friendly against Ireland at 1pm.  And I don’t usually miss England games.  And according to the website, The Shoulder Of Mutton only serves roast dinners until 2pm.

What was I going to do?  Roast dinner in the gorgeous sunshine, or watch the football?

And apart from the fact that the last time England and Ireland played in Ireland, there was a riot, why exactly was the game kicking off at 1pm?

I chose gravy over football.  Was it a wise decision?

Confusingly when I called in advance, they seemed to suggest that they served roast dinners until 7:30pm.  Contradictory to their website.  Dear businesses – people do actually use the internet.  And then when I arrived, they didn’t have a record of my booking.  Not to worry, as there were plenty of free tables.

Now let’s be Frank Spencer about this.  A pub serving a roast dinner within 100 metres of The Crown, is going to end up being compared to The Crown.

I’ve been told both that they do really good roasts, and also really disappointing roasts.

I was initially very encouraged as the menu had slightly unusual choices – gammon, turkey and mutton are not often offered, and I really like trying different foods – on a slight tangent I went to a Moroccan restaurant in Windsor on Saturday night, and their spicy sausages would have gone down a treat on a roast dinner.

Anyway I chose the beef.

Only joking.  I plumped for the gammon, and after a 10-15 minute wait in the gorgeous sunshine, the food arrived, looking on the home-cooked side – with the vegetables on a side dish, and extra gravy upon request arriving in a gravy boat.

I’m never really sure about vegetables being in a side-dish.  I feel that it is just for presentational purposes, however it really worked here as the cream from the creamed leeks somewhat infused the carrots, and to a very minor extent, the broccoli.  Damn, I spelt it wrong again.

Carrots were flat and fairly thin.  They tasted like carrots.  Did you know that carrots in Spanish, are zanahorias?  I really am scraping the barrel on how to describe carrots.

Likewise the broccoli was broccoli.  Both the zanahorias and the brócoli (it’s not spelt wrong – it’s Spanish) seem to have been steamed, and had the added complexion of the cream from the creamed leeks, which was a nice touch.

I don’t ever recall having creamed leeks on my adventures, so again marks for doing something different.  As I have demonstrated above, there are only so many ways I can make carrots interesting now I am on review number 27.  Although they were creamy, there was something missing, as creamed leeks really should be a taste sensation.  But they were good.

Now onto the not-so-good parts.

The roast potatoes did taste like they were out of a bag and put in a deep fat fryer.  There were 4 potatoes, all small.  Two slightly crispy, one of which was fairly uncooked inside.  The other two not at all crispy and not cooked enough inside.  Oh Betty.

The Yorkshire pudding was one of those small sponge-like ventures, and over-cooked.  Not good at all.  Ohhh Betty.

But we got stuffing.  Yes there was stuffing, and it was home-made with both sage and orange evident on my tastebuds.  I was quite impressed.  All roast dinners should come with stuffing.  Perhaps not beef and lamb, but all others should.

Onto the gammon – the reason why I was rather excited.  It was a tiny bit overcooked for my preferences, giving it a slightly dry complexion.  Average at best – the last time I had gammon was at The World Turned Upside Down, and it wasn’t as good as that.  Albeit that was the only thing I enjoyed at The World Turned Upside Down.

There was plenty of gravy, and it was real gravy.  Well, except in consistency where it more resembled a jus, especially with the many oil spots.

One day I will go on a photography course.

Overall it definitely gets extra marks for trying to do something different, the pub is nice, the garden was really nice in the sunshine, the service was good and the price of the roast was a pleasing £11.50.  And I can go into celebratory mode – they forgot to charge me for my second cider.

But there is much room for improvement, especially for the more crucial components.

And the question will always be asked – why are you going to The Shoulder Of Mutton when The Crown is just 100 metres away?  Unless The Crown is fully booked, then you should always go to The Crown.

I’m going to give it a 6.1 out of 10.

Next Sunday I’m going to another chain.  My expectations are higher than they were for the Wetherspoons, and hopefully it beats the Toby Carvery.  But it certainly has the potential to be dreadful.  Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Betty.

So how was the football?

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Beef, Pork & Lamb Carvery @ The Crown, Playhatch 25/01/2015

Beef, Pork & Lamb Carvery @ The Crown, Playhatch 25/01/2015

Happy Birthday To Me.  Let’s Eat Some Gravy.

Yes it was my birthday weekend, so I could break all the rules I wished which included drinking red wine for breakfast but more pertinently, revisit an establishment that I had already reviewed.

It being my birthday I had decided to invite my friends to come for a roast at the 2014 RDAR winner – The Crown, in Playhatch.  There has to be a good reason to revisit a venue, under new management for example, or a new chef being in place (The Lyndhurst is back on my to-do list), but in this case I just wanted to go back to my favourite, take as many friends as possible and hope it is still as good as last year.

The Crown is a very popular venue and one I had to book 2 weeks in advance for a sizable group of us.  They have two sittings – one at midday and one at 3pm

I packed a very healthy-sized dinner for just £13.00.  A carvery choice that included turkey, gammon, lamb, pork and beef – I had the latter three.  I don’t think I could have put any more on my plate – and I held the queue up whilst I poured more and more and more gravy on – though this time I didn’t leave a gravy trail like I did the other week at a venue in Northamptonshire (there was no protesting that it was nothing to do with me – the trail led all the way onto my table – it was their fault for serving such small plates).

The choices of vegetables were red cabbage, carrots and broccoli-cheese.  I just had the broccoli as it smelt gorgeous, and tasted so too.  The cheese was just the right amount, more than a hint and mixed in a creamy fashion with the gravy.  The broccoli was a tad on the crunchy side but a very healthy vegetable.

I know I should have had all 3 vegetables for the review but my birthday, my rules.

The roast potatoes were a decent effort.  Not really any crispiness on the edges but still soft inside.  If anywhere can do really good roast potatoes this year then they may take the crown off…The Crown.

Yeah I know.

The Yorkshire Puddings were excellent.  There were some flatter offerings but mine had sturdy edges and soft bottoms like they should – I only went for two.  There were little bits of crackling too which were very tasty and not too crunchy.

All of the meats were good.  The beef was a little red on the inside, which is perfect.  The pork was good.  The lamb in particular was very nice.  It is always nice to see large lumps of meat and the portion-sizes were generous.

And most importantly, the gravy.  It had an excellent consistency (I would make it thicker myself but it probably wouldn’t appeal to the average southerner), it was made with a meat stock and was quite a strong taste.  In fact possibly a touch too strong as I did get a little tired of it towards the end of my very large meal.

Sunday was a success.  Several people told me it was the best roast they have eaten in a while.  Everyone was impressed and it remains my favourite roast dinner.

My rating is an 8.7 which is almost the same as last year.

It remains top of the roast dinner league.  However I have a feeling that somewhere will beat it, somewhere will take the crown off The Crown.  A ha ha ha ha ha ha.

It wasn’t funny the first time was it?

If you appreciate my reviews, please do like, share and invite your friends to my page.  Call it my birthday present, if you wish!

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Roast Carvery at The Crown, Playhatch 09/02/2014

Roast Carvery at The Crown, Playhatch 09/02/2014
Next up in the very occasional series of Roast Dinners in
Reading, was a trip to The Crown in Playhatch, just slightly out of town.
The building itself was rather pleasing on the eye but would
the roast be pleasing to the taste buds?
 
It is a carvery that they do, and the choice of meat on
offer was beef, lamb, pork, turkey and gammon.
I chose the beef, lamb and pork (you are allowed 3 types) – the beef and lamb were
excellent and the pork very good, perhaps just a touch on the dry side.  The pork crackling – wow.  But there was only a small pot to share
between all carvery-goers so it was a sparse treat.
It being a carvery, it was a case of as many vegetables and
potatoes as you like.  And very
importantly…as much gravy.
The potatoes were nicely crispy on the outside, though
perhaps a little more squidgy than ideal. Good but not perfect.
The choice of vegetables was carrots, purple cabbage and
broccoli and chesse.  I only sampled the
broccoli and cheese – it was really tasty.
The Yorkshire pudding was large, home-made, and made to
perfection.  A superb effort.
The gravy was unlimited, and had a decent consistency.
 
Overall this was an excellent roast dinner, and worth the
extra effort to drive slightly out of Reading. 
At £13.49 it provided excellent value for money too.
The service was excellent at all times, the pub was clean
and the waitresses were very attractive.
I would advise booking in advance as there were no tables
available in the restaurant and only one in the bar.
A thoroughly excellent roast dinner – 8.8 out of 10.  I highly recommend it.
Maybe I will manage more than one review this year?
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