A Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I spontaneously felt like going out for a good roast - preferably in East London, close to home.
A quick google search suggested a few pubs and restaurants, including The Water Poet in Spitalfields, on Folgate Street. Now, I remember this pub because I used to live in one of the buildings opposite the Water Poet on Folgate Street as a child, right next to London's well known time capsule Dennis Sever's House. I remember my father used to go there for a few pints with friends on a weekend or after work, but I haven't been there in years and years.
Having arrived without a booking, we weren't surprised to find the pub hustly and bustly in the middle of a busy Sunday lunch service. The pub is beautiful, large and has many interesting nooks and crannies away from the main seating area. We weren't able to get a seat in the main pub area but were placed in an afar room, but as we just turned up we were happy to get a seat at all.
I quite liked the room actually, it had a nice quirkiness to it. Having looked at the lunch menu beforehand we were quick to order our roasts with the waitress - 6 hour roasted old spot pork belly with russet apple sauce for me and free range cornfed breast with chestnut, cranberry and pork stuffing for Paul, both for £13.50. Both the dishes were served with roasted potatoes, carrot & suede puree, parsnips, yorkshire pudding, gravy and savoy cabbage. Our drinks arrived quickly, the food was a bit of a longer wait, which was fine - we were eagerly chatting and the waitress was very very friendly and keeping us up to date with our order. When our food arrived I was astonished at the sheer size of it all - what a massive plate of food! Brilliant!
Being a pretty picky restaurant eater things can unfortunately be spoilt for me quite easily. I pick up on details and if they bug me, they can ruin my experience a little at times. However, this left me happy and rubbing my stomach! The pork was succulent and delicious, the apple sauce was great, the savoy cabbage had a nice bite to it and the carrot and suede puree was perfectly seasoned - everything was piping hot, something that is VERY important for me with roasts and something that I've been disappointed with both at The Princess of Shoreditch & The Star of Bethnal Green. And everything that was there was there in abundance!
The only slight let down were the potatoes, which you could tell would have tasted great a few hours ago but were only good when we had them - but this remark is basically just to show that I'm being reasonable and objective while rating this roast and really not a big point ;) Our service, let me say, was fantastic - the waitress was sweet and attentive and having worked as a waitress for a long time it's not often that you'll hear me praise the service but when I do really like someones service attitude you won't hear the end of it!
All in all, if you're looking for a filling roast (we had absolutely no room for dessert and we ALWAYS have room for dessert), go to the Water Poet. It'll work a treat.