Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t find a good Sunday roast in a pub? I know I do. After years of studiously avoiding pub roasts as they generally fall into the ‘could of done it better myself category’, I was shocked and awed at the discovery of a good roast, very good in fact, in a good pub, with a good energy about the place. Now folks, open your ears, pay attention, I am going to ask you to remember some numbers and letters…The Water Poet, 9-11 Folgate street. This information is valuable, commit it to memory.
I often wake up on a Sunday with a deep seated desire to eat large quantities of Sunday roast, drink several pints of cider, followed by several red wines and read every Sunday news supplement under the sun. And unfortunately this desire all too often goes unsated. The newspapers are readily available, the booze is never far away but the roast…the roast consistently evades me. I’ve been to many a great restaurant and had rubbish roasts, I’ve been to bad restaurants and had rubbish roasts. If I want a roast dinner I usually gravitate towards my sister or my Mum. They make the sort of roast that I want to eat, this may seem obvious, we all crave the food of our youths to some extent and my sister being a little culinary whizz not only makes as good a roast as my Mum, she actually makes a better one! Now, this is the point where I’m quivering in my boots and praying that my Mum doesn’t read this post. Sorry Mum, but you know that Sis makes the best roast potatoes. Sis makes better roast potatoes than me and I trained for three years to be a chef so don’t be too disheartened. Your swede and carrot mash is better than Sis’, probably something to do with the 100g or so of butter that you sling in there with the salt and pepper. Anyway, now that I have essentially created a family feud, onto the matter in hand.
The Water Poet is a pub that I have been to for drinks a couple of times and always thought it was a nice enough pub, on a quiet little side street not far from Liverpool street. It is one of those unexpected places, it, in a way, stands alone, unencumbered by its surroundings. When you walk in the door, you simply know that you are in a nice place and want to stay a while. And on this particular Sunday, after circumnavigating Hyde park and taking in a bit of art, I was dangerously in need of food and booze. I generally never get my hopes up that I will be able to have a pub roast as there is usually some element of the dish I can’t have due to its glutenous qualities, often its the gravy and I’m sorry but I’m not the kind of heathen who would eat roast without gravy. This is a crime in my book, punishable by death. Harsh but fair. However! On this day, the gods must have been smiling down on me (it was a Sunday after all) as the roast was gluten free. I nearly cartwheeled round the dining room on hearing the good news but managed to restrain myself and instead settled in with a glass of Viognier and some great company and waited for my pork belly.
When a laden plate of food was proffered not too much later, I knew we were onto a good thing. Generous portions, vivid vegetables and lashings of gravy, as requested. Now this was not fancy food but it was food done well. The pork belly was juicy and pink, the vegetables had a nice bite and the gravy was rich and flavoursome. The potatoes, as I so often find, were average but far from bad. All in all, a damn fine plate of food. Go there, enjoy food. Simple.
Just in case you’re wondering what that photo is up there, it’s the art what I saw innit.