Sunday Roast Review: The Water Poet

April 19, 2010

The Water Poet
Spitalfields
Beef, Pork Belly, Chicken & Vegetarian
From £10.50
Roasting 8.8/10

He piddled along, a rotund blob of aluminium, rubber and flesh occupying the cycle path. Electric motor straining against the hill, pedals stationary, the garish safety jacket matched his stupid grin perfectly. Twat, thought Crackles as he ducked into the tube. The decision to postpone his bike repairs until the following weekend was of poor timing. It was a ridiculously nice day, far too nice to be wasted on the underground.

Moments later he surfaced, striding east from Old Street roundabout. The Water Poet was 15 minutes from here, but with Renardo stuck on the bus and the other three still enroute he had plenty of time. Earlier in the week Crackles had settled on the ‘Poet’ for its location, its amiable beer garden, for the Aspall’s on tap and ultimately, for the slow roasted pork belly on the sunday menu. On paper, all the boxes were firmly ticked.

With the weather bringing out the punters in droves, Crackle’s standard protocol of booking ahead paid off. One day, he thought, as he and Raggy were shown to the table, we won’t need to book. We’ll just show our Platinum Roaster Card and we’ll walk straight in. People will vacate tables for us. We’ll dine on cushions shaped like yorkshire puddings. But for the time being, we’ll relish this invisibility. Plus, he thought, it makes it easier taking photos.

Renardo swaggered over.
“I say lads, cracking day for it or what.”
It was indeed a cracking day, arguably London’s finest of the year. The day before, Crackles would get impressively sunburnt, resulting in glowing a deep pink for the remainder of the weekend.

Once Hammo and The Birdman arrived it was 4 pork and 1 beef, and the group quickly established from the small truckload of food that had appeared as if from nowhere, that this was rustic roasting at its finest. Attentively prepared, and expertly roasted, the colour palate alone was at once impressive and mouth watering.

3 gloriously golden potatoes sat smugly in just the right amount of gravy. Crackles wasted no time in slicing one open.
“Just the right colour and a fluffy interior” he said, “but they need crisping up.”
“The gravy has robust flavour and consistency is good.” said Renardo, filling in for Industry Boy who was reviewing a roast out in Surrey.
“I like food.” said Hammo.

The crowning glory was a slab of pork belly the thickness of a dictionary. Translucent fat glistening in the sun, the succulent meat tumbled down into the gravy as Crackles drove his fork through the thick epidermis of crackling and into the upper layers. Several times he had to slow himself to savour the rich flavour and multitude of textures. How did they cook it so well?! This was heavenly.

Outnumbered but equally impressive, it was agreed the thick slabs of pink beef on Hammo’s plate were easily as good as the pork. A magnificent medium rare and beautifully tender to chew, it was a roasters delight.

The rest of the elements, Crackles decided with a mouthful of pork and carrot, were an accomplished lesson in the culinary art of roasting. A pearly white ramekin filled to the brim with perfectly tart apple sauce. A length of carrot, shades of deep orange, spanned the plate. A strip of parsnip lay adjacent like an albino cousin. Red onion, slightly charred, added a subtle burnt sweetness to the wedge of cabbage trying to escape the gravy. And on top of this assembly of flavours, as some kind of garnish fit for a king, a hand crafted yorkshire lay in brazen nudity to the spitalfields sunshine. It was, in a nutshell, immense.

Residual morsels gleaned from their ceramic showroom, Crackles leaned back from the gastronomic aftermath. A small mumur of content came from his stomach. It came too soon.
“So, who’s up for a pud then?”
Raggy, the sweet fiend.
2 sticky date puddings and a rasberry cheesecake later, and they lay sprawled in the sun near the Old Truman Brewery. The deserts had been great, there was no doubt about it, but today the spotlight was most definitely on the roast.

Taking a slow sip from an icy can of red stripe, Crackles watched a pigeon circling the old brewery tower. It had definitely been the most consistent roast, and the crackling was easily the best yet. Crunchy and plentiful, he had never seen so much on a single plate. But it was the sum of all the elements that made it so satisfying. The beer garden, the awesome calibre of meat, the rustic vegetables, the reasonable price, the location…

Just then a fixie cruised past, weaving in between the lengthening afternoon shadows. Watching him go, Crackles wondered if maybe, just maybe, he had found his favourite roast so far.

Meat ★★★★★★★★★★ (10)
Potatoes ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Veg ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Yorkshire ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Gravy ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Serving Size ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Menu Variety ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Service ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Value for money ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)

Total Roasting: (8.8/10)

The Water Poet on Urbanspoon

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11 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The Water Poet”

  1. Renardo Says:

    The Belly of Pork was sublime!


  2. I love this! Hammels comment is a winner. Although her choice of beef over pork belly??? controversial. I would like to attend the next one?! location?? xx


    • Controversial indeed, Goldo. Necessary though, as we try not to order the same plate for everyone so as to present a broader review of whats on offer.

      We keep our locations undisclosed until the day, but we’ll be in touch next time Hammel’s getting involved…

  3. lou Says:

    I’m hungry.

  4. Rebecca Says:

    I think I have a crush on this blog…

  5. Younas Says:

    Both choices look superb to be fair. The surprise here is why Renardo didn’t order both the pork then the beef.

  6. Fungus Says:

    lol @ “Renardo”

    I’d prefer “The WBC” though

    epic looking roast

  7. Simmo Says:

    Crackles’ ego is swelling with every review he writes isn’t it!

    Simon says referring to yourself in the third person makes you a big twat.

    Don’t go all A A Gill on us. Just write a fucking review.

  8. Aaron Says:

    Ate here Jan 8th 2012. Arrived at 2 as planned and they were out of beef. For a place offering roasts this has to be the cardinal sin. I got Pork which was nice enough but shoulder or leg rather than belly. I’d taken a bunch of foreign mates there to sample all that is good about roast dinner Sundays. After there was no beef I thought they would like to sample the crumble for desert but that was all gone too.

    Overall 6/10. Service was okish, a bit slow, the food was okish. I will go back to try the beef.


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