My Beef with the Roast

My Beef with the Roast

I have an announcement to make—provocative, controversial, treasonous even—but enough is enough. Needs must. I can no longer stew in silence as certain (several) establishments across the country (London) carry on belligerently peddling the most achingly disappointing meal EVER. It’s time for intervention.

Ladies and gentlemen I believe it is high time we lay to rest that quintessential weekend tradition that is… the Sunday roast.

I appreciate the gravity of this, but hear me out. Whilst conducting a thoroughly unscientific, wholly one-sided and not terribly exhaustive study of pubs, restaurants, cafes et al. across England (London) I have come to the conclusion that the Sunday roast is the most overrated, boring, unimaginative, tired and insipid meal on the planet. There. I said it.

You still with me? (I suspect I may have lost a few. I have that effect.)

To those remaining—bravo. I commend your open mind and cool head. Moving right along. It’s not just me. There has been a subtle yet palpable shift in Britons (Londoners) palates– subconscious even– as evidenced by the meandering queues and hour-long waits at trendy new brunch venues, signalling if not the end of this once most cherished of Anglophile dishes, at least the overdue dawn of its steady decline.

“Let’s head out for lunch,” I proffered to the clan this Sunday— the thought of improvising a midday meal with a nigh empty jam jar (maddening) and some unloved crusty ends of the loaf reserved for the ducks on Long Pond doing little to inspire my culinary creativity. Of course motivating my lot out the door early any day beginning with ‘S’ requires only slightly less effort than Sisyphus and that darn boulder (hat, gloves, coat, trainers, loo, ‘scoot? Or bike? Scoot!’ loo, ‘no, bike!’ helmet, loo… you catch me? And ok, I’ve been known to potter a bit myself.)

Miracle of miracles we rock up at 12:25. Perfect. In time for our chosen establishment’s absurdly elusive brunch I hear such good things about. We’re seated and handed a menu conspicuously lacking the French toast and huevos rancheros I had been craving. What gives? “We’re now serving our roast menu.” Huh? It’s 12:27??? On a Sunday? Who in their right mind fancies a hunk of tepid beef and wilted vegetables at this hour? Not many, as I spy four subsequent parties (true) summarily turn on their heels and head elsewhere for their morning-after-the-night-before Full English fix. Quite. (The word oblivious springs to mind.) I’m stewing now, gritting my teeth and seriously contemplating heading to predictable but consistently satisfying Pizza Express nearby. But that would be rude, right?

Drinks on the table, I cave and order the chicken– a stringy, bland slab of poultry swimming in Bisto accompanied by rubbery pudding, overcooked potatoes and soggy vegetable medley steamed by an industrial laundromat and garnished with peculiar waxy lettuce resembling something out of my son’s Lord of the Rings Lego set (aahh, so THAT’S kale)—about as appetising as a crusty jam sandwich. So so SO disappointing. Eyeing my plate it occurs to me there’s something utterly retro (but NOT edgy-cool retro), naff and wholly irrelevant about this meal– like After Eights, The Ambassador’s Ferrero Rocher and salads with citrus wedges.

We may be well into Lent, but it’s not too late to give up that certain something. So may I suggest those stuck for inspiration during this liturgical season of sacrifice, consider giving up the has-been roast. It’s time we let it go and open our minds to the bready, eggy, fluffy splendour of that which we call BRUNCH. Well, if you can set your alarms for it.

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