Beef & Pork @ The Rowbarge, Woolhampton 31/07/2016

Welcome back to Roast Dinners Around Reading. Not sponsored by IKEA.

I accept that this might have been a tad more appropriate had I done it last Monday or the Monday before – timing in humour is as important as legs as are to chairs. Such as this wonderful Brown Dunoon Dining Chair from World Stores – everything for the home.


I did give IKEA an opportunity. I wrote to them and offered them the opportunity to sponsor Roast Dinners Around Reading:

Dear Sir

I note that you have recently opened a new store in Reading.

It is hard not to notice, as roughly every hour, the local ex-newspaper, Get Reading, will publish a story about your new store. They didn t get that excited when the new chicken shop in town opened. I do like chicken. Especially chicken roasts.

Anyway, I thought I would introduce myself. I run Roast Dinners Around Reading, which is a weekly blog reviewing a roast dinner in the local area. As you are new to the area, I thought that you might be interested in having a read – I also have a handy league table so that you can easily see the best place to go for a roast dinner –

Therefore I wondered if you would like to sponsor me. I can mention Ikea in every sentence (ie the carrots were as sturdy as a good solid oak bookcase from Ikea) and nobody will guess that you have sponsored me. Maybe I could even put a photo of a dining table up?

If you are interested in my wonderful and exciting offer, then I will leave it for you to suggest suitable recompense.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards
Lord Gravy

ps Does your canteen sell roast dinners on a Sunday?


I received a response a few days later, though sadly, not quite was I was expecting:

Dear Lord Gravy,

Thank you for your email detailing your exciting offer.

Unfortunatley we will have to decline this offer, however we wish you the best of luck with your Blog.

Kind regards,

IKEA Customer Services


Not only did they not answer some of my questions, but there was also a spelling mistake. You wouldn’t expect any form of inaccuracy from a flat-pack furniture store, would you?

You certainly would get a top quality wardrobe from PineSolutions, were you looking, such as the below Arabella Painted 2 Door 2 Drawer Robe for just £249.00:


I like writing to companies. Sainsbury’s are particularly good value, I quite often write to them. A few years back they went through a stage of stocking Goldenfry gravy granules – the kind of northern granules – they make super-thick cement-like gravy. No proper northerner uses that Bisto shit. Of course – those that are not lazy/on benefits/not always drunk/not always on drugs will make their own from meat juices (not sure why I went 10 years with only eating Goldenfry) but when you have a Sweeney & Todd pie, there isn’t much you can do other than granules.

Anyway, they stopped stocking them back in 2011:

Dear Sir

Why can I not find Goldenfry gravy (chicken) in the Reading Central store on Broad Street any more? Gravy is a vital commodity in my life and makes me happy nearly as much as ecstacy, minimal techno and good sex do.

I can only find Bisto now, which to me is rather substandard.

Your other store in Friar Street does not sell it, and I don’t think it ever has.

I hope you can put this right, it will encourage me to visit on a more regular basis, after all, evil Tesco Express is much closer to my house and despite how much I despise it, they offer me the same choice of gravy and a much shorter journey to purchase it.

Kind regards


Yes I know I spelt ecstasy wrong but that’s because I don’t really take it so how would I know how to spell it?

Dear Person

I’m sorry you’ve been unable to buy Goldenfry gravy in our Broad Street store. I can understand your disappointment as you clearly hold this gravy in high regard.

Unfortunately this has been discontinued in this store and in our Friar Street store. Our buyers carry out regular reviews of all items to determine how well they are selling in each store. It was decided that because this item was not a big seller, it should be withdrawn to make room for another more popular item or to give us the chance to introduce a new product.

I’ve submitted a product request for this item to be restocked in our Broad Street store. Although this isn’t a guarantee, it does alert our buyers that there is a demand for it here.

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and lhope to see you in store again soon.

Kind regards
Customer Manager


Myself and Sainsbury’s have now got to the point where we have accepted that we are in a relationship of sorts. Actually this is enough crap for one day, isn’t it?

What isn’t crap, is this wonderful sofa from  Got to love a bit of mustard, not only on a roast dinner.  Just £1,680and they have finance available.

rufus_3_seater_sofa_rich_mustard_yellow_lb2 FSSNO130LINMSD

It’s a good job that most of this is copy and pasted otherwise I’d never get the time to write all of this on my “lunch break”.

The random number generator has been sacked and I am going where I want to for now, and this time it was the Rowbarge in Woolhampton. Based along the A4 next to Midgham train station – a truly gorgeous setting next to the river with plentiful outdoor seating – though it was still very busy when we arrived – we had to wait for a car parking space.

Popularity tends to mean quality, just like these excellent Osaka Crystal Flush Ceiling Lights from Wayfair:


They do roast dinners from midday until 9pm though booking is recommended – as is this excellent bookcase from Furniture At Work:

shopping (1)

They also have daily printed menus, so the selected of roasts on offer changes – we had choices of chicken, rare beef, pork loin, rare beef and pork loin, and finally, lamb. No vegetarian option. Yes, I did actually look. The prices ranged from £12.95 to £17.95.

Great value, just like these kitchen cupboards from Wickes at just £40.00 each:


We found a table outside, sadly in the shade given how busy it was inside. The table was good but not quite as good as this table from..actually I’m nearly as fed up of this as I am about articles about IKEA.  You get the point.  Have a picture of my roast dinner instead.


The meal took around 15 minutes to arrive. First into my satisfaction tunnel, was the mixture of carrots and cabbage. Quite uninspiring – it almost could have been from a package. But definitely more of a Sainsbury’s bag than an Asda bag – they were perfectly cooked carrot batons and little pieces of ripped cabbage. And the excellent gravy really added context.

Oddly no other vegetables but it wasn’t as if the plate was sparse.

There were either 4 or 5 glamorous roast potatoes. All quite sizable with a hint that they had been roasted in duck fat though I could be wrong there. They did have that kind of cooked a couple of hours ago texture but overall a pretty decent standard.

The pork loin came in 3 x 3mm slices – it is very difficult to ascertain much difference between different pork loins. Ordinarily good, reasonably succulent with a nice-sized rind of fat around it. It came with crackling which was very crispy.

Also in terms of trimmings, there was a slice of stuffing – really tasty, packed full of herbaceous delights, even more so than my next-door neighbour’s cigarettes.


We were promised rare beef (yes I brought along my friend that I disagree with on everything – though oddly we both went for the same meal), yes apart from that tiny bit of pink that you can see on the photograph, it was not rare. At least mine wasn’t, as I seemed to have the more well done part. Also a little lacking in quantity.

Any slight disappointment was short-lived due to the excellent Yorkshire pudding. OK, mine didn’t have the perfect structure but it was perfect in terms of soft bottom and crispy edges. And large. How Yorkshire’s should be.


And the gravy was very good. A meat stock type – enough thickness to satisfy me and a savoury taste to compliment the whole dinner. Well done on the chef for that part.  I can also clarify that I have not upended gravity.

It could have been a top 3 challenger – it looked impressive upon arrival. But a few imperfections mean that a 7.7 is my rating. I was going to give it a 7.6 but that is what my friend that I disagree with everything on gave it, so 7.7 it is.

The highlight was the gravy, or maybe the stuffing. The lowlight was the ordinary vegetables.

Next weekend I have to make a flying visit to Hull but hopefully I will be back in time for another roast dinner adventure.

See what you missed, IKEA?

Also I should add that it is the best place to go for a roast dinner if you are expecting nuclear war to break out.  Vote Trump.


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