By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
I ordered more beer to soothe my disappointment. I'd heard somewhere that "bangers" were called that because during WWII rationing, sausages were made with water and steamed in their jackets until they burst — banging up against the lid of the cooking pot. I'd also heard somewhere that "bangers and mash" is a sex position, which sounded promising — but my meal arrived before I figured out exactly what it might entail. The kitchen was out of peas, so I got an extra banger, which seemed more than fair. This dish is classic pub grub, and the perma-winning combo of mild sausages and hand-mashed potatoes — with just a few lumps — was made even more alluring with a few ladles of brown gravy and a sprinkle of fried onions. Score one for the Brits.
The Pakistani dishes were not nearly as successful. The aloo gosht salin was a diminutive mound of thick, auburn-hued stew atop what was supposed to be brown rice but was really dry white rice with a ridiculous amount of cumin added to it; it sat alongside a slice of pita cut into triangles and a small cup of tan, murky cilantro chutney that tasted like par-blended Mexican salsa. The stew was overcooked — or over-held — with the lamb chunks dry and feathery and the potatoes mealy. And while the stew was under-seasoned, it was also spicy-hot past the point of comfort. Saag paneer is a favorite of mine, and I've eaten it so many times, in so many different places, that I can pick up on even subtle variations in texture and taste. But there was nothing subtle about this awful version. The spinach was undercooked in a barely there, unflavored sauce, and the paneer nuggets were scorched into brown, flavorless, rubbery hunks, heaped on the same rice I hadn't liked in the aloo.
Pakistani food is supposed to be a feature at the Bulldog, but this dog won't hunt. Turns out that Cortez hasn't been in the kitchen for years, and although the current cook is still using James's recipes, he has no prior experience with Pakistani food. While having the recipes is no doubt helpful, as with any recipes, they are open to interpretation, modification and human error. I can understand the Bulldog wanting to preserve the novelty of its Pakistani dishes, but as badly prepared as these are, they're more of a liability than an asset. If the Bulldog isn't going to make better Pakistani food, it should drop it from the menu all Gordon-Ramsay-bollocks style and focus solely on the Brit staples.
Hair of the dog may mask hangover symptoms temporarily, but using gut sauce to cure a headache is only going to make you hurt worse later.
Slide show: Inside the British Bulldog
That's too bad, I remember them having surprisingly solid Pakistani food a few years ago. Sounds like it went downhill (at least, that half of the menu did).
So we open with a discussion of hair of the dog, then we move into unappetizing descriptions and picture the looks like some part of the dog all right but it for sure isn't the hair. These reviews just get better and better each week. At least it doesn't take up too much of my time because I'm still skipping most of it.
@ybarcewski Well aren't you a peach!