The venue: The Royal Standard, 86 Tanners Hill, SE8 4PN
The Sunday dinner: Chicken
The price: £15.95
Juggling my roles as a captain of industry, strategist, motivational speaker, excellent girlfriend, and ‘before’ model for hair thickening products, doesn’t leave me much time to look for potential Sunday dinner venues. So, as a solutions-focused inspirational leader, with a strong track record in efficiency gains, who consistently delivers on time and under budget, I realised it would help if I undertook research to speed up my quest to find a decent Sunday dinner gravy.
With a dedicated @OnTheGravyTrail Twitter account, boasting a wide social media reach (just under 25 followers), it made sense to use it to make this, somewhat desperate, plea:
It went viral, receiving two retweets; one from my own personal account, which must have been hacked, because I wouldn’t be as self obsessed to do something like that, and the other from my mate, Lashes.
I was flooded with two responses, both from Mr Jus’ cycling friends. One suggested a Toby Carvery, which I will visit in time, the other put forward today’s venue. But could I trust him? No. I couldn’t. He’s a cyclist and they’re a funny bunch. Another of Jus’ cycling buddies, who shall remain nameless, (CLUE: STAMES JANNARD), recommended The Babadook to us and it was one of the shittest films I’ve ever seen. Another (NOEL JATALE), suggested we all dine at a local Italian, where I was charged ’18’ for five bits of ravioli. I was livid. My point being – never trust a cyclist. I needed further reassurance. I made contact and asked the venue to score its gravy thickness out of ten. And guess what they told me, guess what they told me? They said:
I was impressed. Here was a place I could get on with. Responsive to potential customers. Able to provide photographic evidence. Prepared to offer a bespoke gravy service (good – because it doesn’t look that thick in the images). I chose to graciously forgive their typo. I headed to the website to peruse the menu, and was a little hurt to discover, after my initial elation, that all Sunday dinners are £15.95 a pop. Which is pushing it. Pushing it real good. Mind you, earlier this week, I bought a £3 sandwich reduced to 19p (I experienced a sense of pure happiness about this for a good few minutes), so it all evens itself out in the end. Sort of.
I felt a little uncomfortable when we arrived at The Royal Standard, which was through no fault of its own. I had over-defined my eyebrows and put on a stripy top and basically looked like an angry pirate. Five points removed. The place was nice and quiet, save for the volume they’d set Sky Sports at. It was at a similar level to that Mr Jus employs when he’s semi-erect, watching one of his Jason Statham films. It was just too loud. Mr Jus remarked that the decor was akin to a teenage boy’s bedroom makeover on Changing Rooms. I asked if he wanted to upgrade his interior design review and say DIY SOS, which is a little more upmarket, just in case the interior designer was local and hard and would want to punch him if he ever read this review, but he stuck to his guns.
The waiter arrived. He was a good guy. I mentioned that I’d been told I could request my own gravy thickness. My comment was met with a knowing smirk. I like to think it was a smile of respect, rather than an “Oh here’s that silly bitch” acknowledgment. I guess we’ll never know. Regardless, I felt a little like a minor celebrity, and felt confident enough to bet Mr Jus £100 that within the year, I’d be invited to review a Sunday dinner for free. He felt so confident this would never happen that he readily accepted the wager, the unsupportive twat.
The meal was served Jenga style and was resplendent with a rich gravy that, unfortunately, wanted fuck all to do with the Yorkshire pudding. I’ve been wetter at the prospect of a cervical smear test.
I asked for more, like Oliver Twist before me. They provided more. But it was supplied like this:
It made The Rosendale’s gravy boats last week look like QE2s. It was thick enough, I’ll give it that. But it was too sweet. Sugary. Use gravy granules, not Tate and Lyle, mate. I don’t know how much more I can stress this. The chicken was cooked to perfection, with a lovely layer of skin, which I tell myself is fat free, but the roasts had vacated the oven too soon. Four vegetables adorned the attractive plates, but I’d have liked to have seen five dozen peas, ideally. A bit of stuffing wouldn’t have gone amiss either. It was good. Slightly above average, I guess. It’s a shame, because I want to be more generous, because of their social media interaction, but I have to be honest and say it didn’t blow me away. Maybe I’ll never be satisfied. With my Sunday dinner or with my life.
Final score: 21/33
You may have noticed there has been little mention of Mr Jus so far. Sadly, he passed away after his calamari starter.
That’s an awful thing to say and it has made me anxious and feel bad, but I’ll leave it in anyway, because it made me laugh a bit.
He’s not dead. I just haven’t written much about him because I’ve decided to respect our relationship and keep it private. It’s wrong to share such intimate information with my 32 readers. I’m joking, of course – I completely lost my shit at him at the start of the week. Justifiably so, but because I was so angry, I was unable to calmly get my points across. I just appeared rabid. I’m a considerate partner, who waits a respectful length of time before going absolutely crackers. I’m kind and generous, loving and supportive, fun and filthy (drawing the line at anything involving shit). Mr Jus says the only thing he doesn’t like about me is when I don’t let him defecate on me. That’s a lie. He’s not into that. The thing he doesn’t like is when I fly into one of my rages.
POLITE, HELPFUL, NOT-DIRECTED-AT-ANYONE-IN-PARTICULAR, TIP: DO NOT FUCKING PUSH ME TO THAT POINT, THEN.
Thankfully, I remained awake until 6am following our heated debate, mulling over the issue, which afforded me the time to create a succinct written argument and explanation to send him. It was well thought out, measured, passionate – think of me as a sort of Atticus Finch for the WhatsApp generation.
The following evening we discussed the matter in a calm, rational way. It was good to work together to resolve the issue, to accept the other person’s point of view and to work out a mutually agreeable compromise. It shows maturity. Especially because I WAS IN THE RIGHT ALL ALONG. Not that gloating helps. We were both at fault in some respects. Strongly weighted in Mr Jus’ favour, of course. Let’s say 90/10.
I suppose that as well as reviewing Sunday dinners, I like to give an insight into my love life and pass on relationship tips to my readers. Oh, I hear you bitches at the back saying I’m not qualified to review dinners, let alone dish out relationship advice. But you shouldn’t underestimate me. And I’ll tell you why.
Because I’ve avoided having to sit through Mad Max for just over a year now, for starters. We’re also getting a mustard coloured bath mat. Yes, it took me three weeks of tiresome negotiation, and he’s still fucking sulking about it, but these are just two examples of how very influential I am.
He also suggested that I drop into this post that he’s ‘highly creative’. But I haven’t done that. Instead, I’ve exposed him for asking for it and now he looks like a dick as well as me.
Finally, I just thought I’d share that my gym routine is going exceedingly well. I calculated that based on my current speed and fitness levels, I could run a marathon in just under 16 days.
May my inspirational stories and aspirational lifestyle help you through this coming week.