21 December 2017

The Roastaurant with McCain

A few weeks ago I was invited to visit McCain's roast dinner pop up at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, to help them settle the #greatroastdebate. What makes the perfect roast dinner? What's your side of choice? And what about the gravy?

I adore a good roast dinner. The day we visited it was snowing (the worst - everywhere was slippery and it was freezing), so the prospect of a hearty roast couldn't have been more alluring. Yes, I just referred to a roast dinner as 'alluring'...

Being a pop up in Shoreditch, the set up was very much wood, exposed brickwork and flowers, with bags and wooden stacks of roast potatoes around the periphery - of course.

We were greeted with a clipboard and pencil to select our roast dinner options. We were both overwhelmed by the choice, so much so that my friend had to ask for another sheet of paper (!) and I had to scribble out my original crosses and circle my final decision.

You had to choose a protein, a vegetable and a side, and could help yourself to condiments (hot sauce, anyone?).

But they made no secret that the main event was the roast potatoes. McCain don't do subtle, clearly - not that I minded, because LOOK.

There was a 2 meter long platter absolutely full to the brim of McCain golden roasties. Absolute heaven.

After we'd chosen our roast components, we dropped off our clipboard and exchanged it for a bowl/mini tray to load up on the potatoes, which by this point were metaphorically calling out to us.

And we also checked out the roast dinner tally - basically what was on the clipboard, but blown up on a chalkboard - to see what was most popular, and if our favourites aligned with anyone else's.

In case it's not clear, the leaders were roast chicken, broccoli and pigs in blankets.

Oh, and gravy was a big deal here. There were five offerings, held in big ol' copper tanks...

L-R: Double reduced roast chicken, beef stock gravy, home style gravy, jerk chicken gravy, vegetarian bouillion gravy (out of shot)

Although unfortunately the roasties weren't veggie friendly.

I opted for the home style gravy with chicken pan drippings first.

I'm an absolute gravy fiend (as my family well know - I'm always on 'gravy duty' when I'm home for a roast) and although the gravy was tasty, the consistency was too watery for me. The potatoes, however, were delicious, with a fluffy, buttery centre.

Apparently one in ten people say they'd put ketchup on their roast, which is, quite frankly, disturbing.

But before I had chance to mull this over, out came our roasts!

Baked camembert (rogue, I know), broccoli and pigs in blankets for me...

Roast chicken, parnsips and a Yorkshire pud for my friend.

Then I added the roasties (obviously) and tried the beef gravy with chocolate in it (sounds weird, tasted better than the chicken one. There was just a hint of sweet cocoa which contrasted with the tangy beef).

I was actually pretty chuffed with my decision in the end because I dipped the brocolli and gravy-soaked potatoes into the melted cheese and it was amaaaaaazing. I've never had poutine before, but I like to think it resembled that. Yum.

I can't deny the above, but I reckon I need more camembert with my roasts in the future. Is it greedy to have both chicken and camembert? Oh, baby.

And finally, when we were fit to burst with potato goodness, and the tables had pretty much emptied (it was chocca when we arrived at half 12), we left The Roastaurant to sniff out coffee and escape the slush.

What's your favourite roast dinner combo? Join in the conversation with #greatroastdebate.

The Roastaurant was really well executed, and although my visit was complimentary, tickets for a full roast were only £7.50 - which in London is simply unheard of. And you could have unlimited roast potatoes. Could bottomless potatoes become the new bottomless prosecco? I'll let McCain fight it out with the Italians...

**I was invited to The Roastaurant by McCain and my meal was complimentary, however all opinions of potatoes, other food and aaaallll the gravy are my own.

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