Published 4 July 2022
by Josh Barrie
We are aware of the classic adage: pub roasts are never as good as those cooked at home. Even if people aren’t entirely proficient in the kitchen, they are free from the shackles of volume and unmarred by hot lights.
Still, a lot of pubs aren’t doing themselves any favours. Most will forgive meat a little over or a Yorkie that’s succumbed to sinking, but floppy carrots, wet from the microwave? Roast potatoes given a new lease of life in the fryer?
I went for a roast in rural Devon yesterday. It was £12.95, so I wasn’t expecting something of Blacklock or Camberwell Arms quality. For the money it was probably a little over average – the meat was tender enough and blushing pink and the peas had plenty of flavour. It is 2022 and there is no excuse for bad gravy and thankfully this pub managed to manoeuvre.
But I became depressed by my carrots, all thin and spindly, sagging like a picnic on a hot day. Also by my potatoes, which, while crisp, were so greasy I thought I’d need a sheet or two of blotting paper.
There’s no denying the importance of a pub roast, especially in the countryside. They are the Sunday lifeblood and vital to reputation. I suspect there was a reason, on a Sunday at 1pm, the dining room at this village boozer was only half-full. This is not about high expectations – I quite like middling places free from pretence. It’s about wanting these places to stay open.