Monday, 27 October 2014

Beef, Pork & Turkey @ The Cunning Man 26/10/2014

Moo you looking at?

I decided to go for a walk along the River Kennet on Sunday afternoon – it was a reasonably pleasant day and there was a handy pub an hour’s walk from Reading town centre called The Cunning Man.

It looks nice on the outside, with a presumably fake thatched roof (forgive me for my lack of thatch expertise – Thatcher yes, thatch no) and plenty of outdoor seating – a rather pleasant setting.

I decided to enjoy a pint outside in my very own tepee hut area, albeit still rather dirty with last night’s cigarette butts everywhere, whilst awaiting my dining partner for the afternoon.  It was pleasantly warm – for a northerner – at around 15’C.

The menu sounded good – as you may have worked out by now if there is an option for more than one meat, it is very difficult for me to avoid choosing this.  I am yet to conclude as to whether this is a wise idea – does my greed obstruct my ability to appreciate a particular roast?

We were quickly seated, albeit with some confusion by the staff – our order was taken pretty much straight away, I went for a pee, came back and it arrived.

First impressions upon viewing were of a more generous helping than The Moderation had managed – 4decent baby carrots for a start, which is 3 more than the aforementioned had considered appropriate.

The cabbage was…bland.

The roast potatoes were average at best.  They kind of tasted like they were microwaved.  More soggy and solid than crispy – but I have had worse efforts.

The herb-crusted loin of sweetcure pork was just a slice of pork with no immediately obvious hint of herbs.  I have no idea what sweetcured means.

The chipolator unwrapped in bacon was fine, the stuffing was a very round circle of very average stuffing-meat.

The beef and turkey were fine - turkey probably the best meat of the 3 - but probably only a slight upgrade from the Toby Carvery.  All the meats tasted roughly the same.  1 slice of each around 3-4mm thick.

And the reason why everything tasted the same?  The gravy.  We did ask how thick the gravy was before ordering, and the waitress said it was quite thick this week.  I like a good consistency.  The thicker the better.

This was a good consistency.  It looked promising and we got extra gravy upon request – not sure why it wasn’t poured in the Yorkshire, which is close to a criminal offence, which by the way seemed very similar to a slightly-larger than normal Aunt Bessie’s frozen Yorkshire pudding.  But the flavour of the gravy was so over-powering – again a tomato-based taste, as you can see from the hint of red.  I really don’t get this wannabe-fancy different tasting gravy.  Just some beef or chicken stock will do.  Hell, even serve me Bisto granules if you have to.

So overpowering that I had to have a rest halfway through, despite not having eaten anything prior to this.

Had the gravy been reasonable, then it would have pushed the high 6’s.  A decent amount of food and the quality was fine.  As it is, it was marginally better than The Moderation and it receives a score of 5.4 out of 10.

All that leaves me to say is, if moo enjoyed my review, please share, like and invite.

Sorry.  That was worse than the gravy.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Beef Sirloin @ The Moderation 19/10/2014

The last time I went to The Moderation for a roast, I was disappointed.  It was a couple of years ago so I felt it was time to try again.  They used to do very good roasts 5-6 years ago.

Available choices were chicken, pork or beef, so I plumped for the beef sirloin, to give its exact name, and went for 2 dishes for £12, instead of the £10 roast, which seemed reasonable value.

There were around 15 of us seated and our dinners arrived at the same time which is always appreciated and the waitress had understood my request for extra gravy despite not acknowledging it.

So in the order that I ate it, the one piece of cauliflower was fine.  Crunchy but fine.  As was the one piece of broccoli.

My one baby carrot was really nice.

Photo clarifies that I did get a carrot.

3 of my 5 a day done.

The selection of roast potatoes were reasonably decent.  The larger one was fairly tough inside, but the others well-cooked and reasonably crispy on the outside.

The Yorkshire pudding was disappointing.  A decent size but it was filled like a dumpling.  I am struggling to describe it well, but it was a filled, fluffy bowl.  Not what I class as a Yorkshire.

It was a decent piece of beef sirloin – in steak format as opposed to carved from a joint of beef.  A little pink inside, it was cooked nicely.

The gravy however, was tomato-flavoured and rather watery.  An attempt at modernisation where it is not required.  The extra gravy was surplus to requirements.  Well…mostly.  I certainly didn’t bother asking for some bread to soak it up.  Nor was I tempted to hide under the table and lick the remaining gravy doggy-style.

Inconsequentially, as this is a roast dinners around Reading blog, not a roast dinners and desserts around Reading blog, the chocolate brownie, though unsurprisingly limited in size considering the generosity of just one carrot, was very tasty.

I didn’t hear anyone in my group expelling excitable endorsements about the meal, but likewise nobody complained either.

It was decent and I wouldn’t recommend against it.  But there are better roasts out there.

5.2 out of 10.

Next up might be somewhere slightly outside of Reading.