British, Central London, East London, Pubs, Restaurant Reviews
Comment 1

The Old Red Cow, Smithfield

Looking for the perfect place for your Sunday Roast? Of course you are. Well the Old Red Cow isn’t perfect, but you could do a lot worse in the capital.

This independent pub is situated on the doorstep of London’s legendary meat market, Smithfield, so there’s no excuse for shoddy roasts here.

First impressions were good – it’s a homely, cosy little pub that was absolutely heaving on our visit despite being in the middle of bloody nowhere (Smithfield is deserted of a weekend, positively ghostly).

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On Sundays the Old Red Cow only does roast dinners. On this occasion pork belly, roast beef, or some sort of nonsense vegetarian option probably involving nuts and seeds (I jest, I jest, it was vegetable parmigiana).

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The wine list is a bit odd. It’s doing the Innocent Smoothies we’re oh so friendly and kitsch-ed up to our eyeballs thing, you see. Plonk, they say, with a hilarious smirk as if daring you to order it. I did though.

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Then the food arrived, and this just turned the whole thing on its head. They served a roast as my mother serves a roast. By piling it all into a big pot and stationing it in the middle of a table, amidst many a hungry gob. My mother does this so she doesn’t have to worry about who wants which shape of carrot and whether so and so needs 2 potatoes or 2 and a half, before finally deciding that she doesn’t actually care and swanning off down the pub.

Does the Old Red Cow not care what kind of carrot I want? Do they expect us to work out how many potatoes to eat by ourselves? We were left completely unsupervised with decisions like this, and it just wasn’t right you know. Anyway, we were already in the pub.

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The food was quite good, but it wasn’t brilliant. The meat wasn’t as good as the Old Red Cow’s location might have suggested, the roast potatoes were crunchy and fluffy, yes, but they definitely didn’t stand up to my mothers. A carrot and sweet potato mashed concoction was delicious though, and a bit different. All in all a decent roast, but not the perfect roast.

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The desserts were absolutely fantastic though – this Creme Caramel made my day. In fact I’d consider a return visit for that alone, but that’d just be madness, right?

The Verdict? OK – but you could do better for the same money (about £15 per head for the roast, not including drinks) elsewhere.

Gluten Free? Yes if you ensure they don’t add your meal to the big pot in the middle of the table! Make sure you ask.



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1 Comment

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