Sunday Roast Review: The William IV

May 12, 2010

The William IV
Kensal Green
Beef, Lamb, Pork, Chicken & Vegetarian
From £11.95
Roasting: 5.8/10

Last sunday’s roast got me thinking about a takeaway roast. You could call it Roast-to-Go. Or Roast Pack. Or even better, how about a roast delivery service. Mr Roastingtons. Delivery girls would scoot around on electric mopeds with seperate heating compartments for different vegetables and an electronic gravy dispenser. They would bring cutlery and napkins and ask you how thick you would like your beef sliced. They could bring beers. And a dvd. And they would rub your shoulders while you ate and tell you everything is going to be just fine.

I arrived at Mr Roastingtons as I ended up working at a friend’s office on sunday, and a busy day ahead meant the sunday staple of a lazy roast lunch was quite rushed. For sake of convenience we settled on The William IV in Kensal Green, although the excellent Paradise is just around the corner, as is the Regent, one of the sister pubs of last weekends carve-fest at The Stag. Having only heard praise for the Paradise, we had already decided this needed to be tackled properly over the course of an afternoon, which unfortunately wasn’t an option this time around.

The primary reason for choosing The Willam IV wasn’t the pork belly. Nor was it the name. No, it was a far more exciting feature than that. A virgin offering on our sunday roast circuit, it was the cauliflower cheese. For me, this is the ultimate companion for crispy spuds and juciy meat. There is no other. I absolutely love it. As something I usually only get when we do a roast at home, you can imagine my incoherent babbling when I found it on their website.

And you can imagine my subsequent disappointment when 2 of the pork belly arrived and there was not a cauliflower in sight. Gutted. To be fair, I did notice it wasn’t on the menu when we arrived, but a part of me thought that it would somehow still appear. It didn’t.

Does the belly not qualify for cauliflower cheese at The William IV? Perhaps we should of ordered the beef, but at £15.95 I feel there has to be something quite special, something unique, to justify that kind of price. Like cauliflower cheese. While I accept that many pubs post sample menu’s online, if this is the case then please state this on the website. You’ll have far less disappointed punters and roast bloggers if you do.

Anyway, what didn’t disappoint were the spuds. Points not for crispiness, but for originality. It was like they had been boiled, almost to the point of collapse, then rolled in a mildy spicy seasoning of indeterminable constitution, before being briefly roasted again. It was like eating a nugget of mashed potato, with a spicy salty outside. Great flavour, and the texture meant they were ideal for mopping up gravy.

Following on from the Water Poet’s pork belly isn’t an easy task for anyone, and unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. I still can’t understand how you can overcook pork belly. The fat content alone means it’s very forgiving to roast, and it’s this fat that gives it the flavour and tenderness that lends itself so well to slow cooking and braising. Yet ours were still overdone and chewy. Disappointing. The crackle was great though, and a decent serving, enough to keep Renardo quiet.

The rest of the plate was passable. The presentation was immaculate, but our carrots were grossly undercooked, to the point of being raw, the broccoli was the same. Admittedly we were one of the first tables in but that is no excuse not to have the veg ready. The gravy, although flavoursome, was minimal, a little more would of been ideal to combat the toughness of the meat.

Ideally, we should of ordered the lamb or the chicken to compare, but with the menu stating the veg was identical for all plates the only difference would have been the meat. The beef would need to be some kind of kobe special to justify the extortionate price, for £15.95 you expect a sunday roast that is second to none. And judging by our experience I remain sceptical that it would be.

The service was one redeeming factor, very friendly and attentive. We do like good service. We also like Aspalls on tap. Leffe and Hoegaarden were available, and if you’re after a real ale then Greene King’s IPA and speckly chook were on the pumps.

Our final impression on the roast was that it was overpriced for what it was. To justify the £12-£16 price bracket we expect to see stricter quality control in the kitchen, and if not something different for the veg then at least a better standard of produce. You can get carrots and broccoli at any pub in London. Make them stand out.

We have yet to try the Paradise and the Regent, we shall do so in due course, but already I’m confident that for the price you could do better nearby. Otherwise, give Mr Roastingtons a call and get it delivered straight to your door.

★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Potatoes ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Veg ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (3)
Yorkshire (N/A)
Gravy ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5)
Serving Size ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ (4)
Menu Variety ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Service ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Value for money ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ (4)

Total Roasting: (5.8/10)


8 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The William IV”

  1. Midget 2 Says:

    Hmmmmm, although disappointing it still seems like your roast was better than our Dim Sum! Let the Midgelets know when you go to Paradise, we’ve only been there for dinner, not a roasting 🙂

  2. Lorraine Says:

    Take away roast is available in Essex, pretty good pies too

    • Lorraine, you are amazing. How we have not heard seen this site is beyond belief. There’s already talk of a road trip. Lets just hope the Yard of Ale deliver to cars…

  3. Fungus Says:

    I’m wondering whether you’ve blown your load too early on those first restaurants heh

  4. John Forbes Says:

    I love your reviews, but one thing grates: your ghastly habit of writing “should OF”, instead of “should HAVE”.

    Please take a remedial writing class ASAP.

    But keep the reviews coming.

  5. […] Charlotte’s Place, The Hole in the Wall, The Fat Badger, The Windsor Castle, The Mall Tavern, The William IV, The Abingdon, The Crabtree, The Sun in […]

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