Tredwells & Beautiful – The Carole King Story ( Happy Birthday Mum )

Tredwells & Beautiful – The Carole King Story: A Birthday To Remember.
A while back, sitting in my mums back garden it dawned on me that this year my mum would hit the grand old age of 70. I’m probably going to be a little biased when I say she doesn’t look it but that’s not really the point. 70!.. SEVEN – OH. It just didn’t seem possible. My mum couldn’t be 70, my mum was always supposed to be 40, 22 – 25 years ahead of me. I would then remain comfortably in my mental state of 18. It’s frightening knowing that one day she might not be here. It’s even more worrying that she may not know just how much she is loved by all of us, family and friends.
With lots going on this year my sister SB was the first to come up with some suggestions on what to do to celebrate. Some options realistic/or otherwise included:
A long weekend in either Cornwall, on the Isle Of Wight, or at Potters in Norfolk. 

Afternoon Tea ( or lunch ) on the Orient Express.

There were countless things to be fair, all of which I’m sure our La -Dee -Da would have enjoyed but the bottom line was, somewhere along the line these things had to be paid for. After two or three secret gatherings the trio of younger Rollos, that’s my sister, brother and moi, came to the conclusion that on a number of occasions our mother had mentioned the Carole King musical Beautiful. I don’t mind a sing – a – long, but I had no idea who Carole King was I admit. We did however all agree that it was affordable and something we could all chip in to pay for, maybe we’d take her out for dinner first. If we could keep it hush hush then even better.
The musical itself is based at the Aldwych Theatre on The Strand in central London. After numerous calls we ended up gathering a total of 19 hearty souls including the birthday girl. Getting the tickets was surprisingly easy. Even more pleasing was the deal the theatre runs for groups of 10 or more. Premium seats at a very reasonable rate. Tickets were purchased, pretty much all together and stage one was complete. The golden oldie had no eye deer.
So far so good. Then came a secondary issue. I’ve touched on this before in past blogs, that people can be extremely fussy when it comes to what they choose to eat. I have no issues with that at all, but it did make it essential to find the right place for food. Somewhere exceptional, memorable, but that gets the basics right most importantly. Having been lucky enough in the last few months to eat up in London a few times I did have a couple of ideas. One place that we had visited was called Tredwells. We went there on a Sunday and I had heard beforehand tremendous musings about the Tredwells Roast dinner. 
I have to say it lived up to the hype. A sharing dish for two, it was a knockout. I do love a roast dinner, and the Tredwells roast was about as good as it gets! After discussing this with my siblings it was decided that We couldn’t go too far wrong choosing Mr. Wareings restaurant in Covent Garden. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a traditional British Sunday roast!
My point of contact at the restaurant was Stefan. Admittedly a little cheekily I asked if it was possible to do the roast dinners for our group on my mums birthday, which fell on a bank holiday Monday. I was a bit concerned that this may have been a no – no but thankfully they agreed to my request. Credit where it’s due Stefan certainly earns his money. He was incredibly helpful with everything. In fact all of the staff I spoke to were extremely friendly and accommodating.
On the day of our mothers birthday our group met up “secret squirrel” at my brothers. The old girls face was a picture as she arrived with my sister. 15 of us jumped on the minibus, and took off towards the big smoke. Mum was still oblivious to where she was going. We arrived at Covent Garden after about an hour. During the trip we had gone through an infinite amount of versions of “happy birthday to you”. Firstly it was sung to the birthday girl. Then it was my niece who got the HBTY treatment. I should add it was also her birthday, RB being a sprightly 22. Then it was the turn of my mums best friend Lucie. It was to be her birthday the following week. My other niece, a 2nd RB, got the HBTY choir chorus. My turn next, middle of June. Then my 3rd niece, end of May. 
By the time we got to Lucies hubby, whose birthday is in September or thereabouts ( I think ), we were on the edge of the west end. Hopping off the bus into the hustle and bustle of Cov Garden my mother had not a scooby. We made our way over to The Roundhouse pub, a 50 yard walk from Tredwells. We were to meet the last 4 of the group here. My mums sister, accompanied by a niece and her daughter. Last but not least was JD. A nephew and his good lady. It was quite funny, him sitting there, 5 yards from my mum, her totally oblivious to him even being there. It wasn’t expected but her face as she realised was a joyful picture.
Finally it was time to make our way over to the restaurant. For a high profile event ( family wise ), I was relatively ( boom boom ) relaxed. So many things could go wrong. For a start the cake my sister had ordered hadn’t turned up. Thankfully though that little troublesome moment was as bad as it got. The cake made its appearance later. We marched in, and up the stairs onto the mezzanine floor. The table was well spaced out with plenty of room in a very pleasant setting. I had taken an executive decision ( I will admit probably for the first time in my life ) and had chosen starters to share. Give people too much choice and it could all go wonky, decide for them and it’s all they can have. It gets eaten or it doesn’t. 
I chose, ( or we ) chose to go with a platter to share of Pork Sliders, Chorizo Jam, Charred Bread and Glazed Chicken Wings. I’m guessing that the starters were gleefully accepted with a large thumbs up judging by the empty boards that the food was served on. I did have a little dabble myself. I can very much understand the reasoning for putting the individual items together. They go together like … ( I was going to try and sing a line from the Grease film but I can only remember Chang Chang and wop bam boo ), so instead I will suggest that as single plates the food was lovely, but as a dish served together… It was like being hit by Mike Tyson… A knockout , although an altogether far more pleasant experience.
 I couldn’t stop eating the wings. As for the Chorizo Jam, big tick in the starter box. If you do go to Tredwells and have a starter, try the Sliders. If the Wings are your auntie, then these bad boys are definitely your favourite uncle. I believe on the whole the Chicken Wings were the favourite component. The meat just fell off and you could sit there eating them all day. Well you could if you didn’t have a main course, dessert and musical to get through.
I’ve waxed lyrical in a previous blog about about just how good this roast dinner is as a main course. Simply put its the best I’ve eaten barring her indoors and my own mother, ( I have to put that as GB will read this at some point ). There isn’t too much food, but there is more than enough. The spuds are about as good as they come, and the veg is varied and cooked to perfection. Minor issue was Tredwells didn’t have extra Elmers, but did try to rectify it by offering up some mash. It’s no substitute though. As its a sharing dish you do have interaction, and it does get people talking. It’s not just a roast dinner believe me, it’s the perfect roast dinner. The beef is immense, the chicken magnificent. My cousin JD isn’t the smallest of humans, but after gnawing on the wings he struggled to get through the beef. The most triumphant achievement though, the birthday girl was happy!
The desserts were varied. Some had the luxurious Chocolate Brownie. Extremely rich, possibly a fraction too much. They couldn’t finish it. I had the Gin’n’Tonic Cheesecake with a few others, ( people that is, not desserts ). You could definitely taste the G & T in it. I’m not sure if it was more like a Panna cotta. Luckily I’m happy with either so I was sorted. The big winner though dessert wise was the Warm Ginger Cake. The smell was unbelievable and the taste was better. A pudding straight out of the top drawer. GB had the WGC so now and again pretending to be mingling I’d dive down towards where my lovely was sitting just to sample this little bowl of delightfulness. Thumbs up for the Coconut Mousse as well. Both peeps that chose this were very happy bunnies.
On the day we were looked after by Kendall. What a great ambassador for Mr. Wareing. Kendall made sure all our needs were met, was conscious of what was going on at all times and made sure the whole experience went exactly how we’d hoped. We got a bit of the birthday cake after another HBTY song for both our mum and then for RB. I should say as well that all the staff were a credit. Polite, attentive, knowledgeable and nothing was unattainable, except of course for my extra Elmers. For those not in the know, Elmer Fudds = spuds.
As a special occasion it’s hard to see how many could match the Tredwells experience. Based on value for money, service and food it has to be right up there in the highest echelons of great restaurants based in London.
We paid up and strolled out into the sunshine for a slow walk to The Strand. The Aldwych Theatre is a grand old theatre. It’s very well placed and has a great atmosphere inside. As I said at the top I had no idea who Carole King was. I do now!… What a songwriter. Did you know CK wrote “The Locomotion”, “You Make Me Feel ( like a natural woman )”, “You’ve Got A Friend” and “Up On The Roof”…. Hah, well now you do my friends. 
Kate Brayben who plays Carole has a superb voice. Excellently supported by the rest of the cast its a magnificent musical. I did love The Drifters and odd cameo of various famous singers of the era including Neil Sedaka ( all played by the same character ). The lighthearted rivalry between the duo of Carole King/Gerry Goffin and Cynthia Weil/Barry Mann is portrayed in a creative and humorous way. It’s funny but with some poignant moments. I loved it. I think our mum did too. It also proves that dreams can come true if you have the self belief. The fact that Carole didn’t necessarily believe herself to be good enough to sing her own songs is remarkable when you look at her career.
A couple of things to note. The song Beautiful is off of the album Tapestry. The album Tapestry was No.1 for 15 consecutive weeks stateside and was in the US billboard charts top 100 for an incredible 6 years!

In this particular era a lot of upcoming singer/songwriters were all living in the same block of apartments vying for a chance to have their song accepted by the agent who rented out their abodes. Quite often it seems they were asked to come up with a song for a particular group and then met up on the Friday to see whose song was best suited to the act in question.
Next time you have a Sunday free, book a roast at Tredwells and then go see Beautiful – The Carole King Story. It’s an awesome way to spend the day!
PS. Happy birthday Mum… Love you loads x


A Social View Tredwells & Matt Goss

A Social View – Tredwells and Matt Goss – a win double!

It’s certainly not every day that I write a review whilst on board a cruise ship. I’m on holiday. First proper break in two years so it’s long overdue. GB is on the sunbed next to me reading the excellent Girl on a train by Paula Hawkins. I’m three quarters of the way through the equally absorbing Hotel Alpha written by Mark Watson. The weather it’s fair to say is warmer than an otter in a sheepskin jacket, ( although I must confess I’m still very much un – tanned as opposed to suntanned.   

Let’s rekindle back to the 25th January. I’ve never spent a full on weekend in London. When something is so close you tend to take it for granted. I’m as guilty of that as the next person. It’s a Sunday, nothing opens until 11am. After breakfast at the EDITION, which might I add was exquisite we decided to go for a stroll around London TAAAAAARRRRRNNN. It was a cold but beautifully sunny day.
We made our way through the centre of town, coffees in hand up to Horseguards Parade via Leicester Square and The Strand. There was a re-enactment of the English civil war going on. I’d love to say it was fascinating, but although they all looked the part there wasn’t much happening. I’ve seen more action down my local pub. Along The Mall We went, onwards to Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Corner. At this point for some reason, mainly due to being naive and stupid I decided to tweet Matt Goss. Okay maybe I’m not so naive..
Why Matt Goss you ask?, that’s a bit random ain’t it Rollo? well if you’re  asking you obviously haven’t read my last blog. How very dare you…. ( just kidding, welcome to you all )… Well, in September last year my sister – in – law Aine ( pronounced on – ya ), had mentioned that her lesser half had purchased tickets for her, to go see the aforementioned former Bros, and now solo singer at London Palladium. Wifey was a HUGE Brosette. She was hardcore. The Gibson Blackwatch shoes from Shelleys. She had the dungarees, the leather jacket and at one stage had ‘BROS’ shaved into the back of her hair. Thankfully I met her afterwards!
As we romantically dove tailed down Through Green Park my phone pinged. Or should that be dinged? Is there a difference between a ping and a ding? It definitely wasn’t a ring, but here’s the thing, I’ve run out of words that fit in. … So anyway, I have a butchers at the dog ( that’s my dog n bone, we didn’t suddenly swipe a shih-tzu from someone to add to the story), and Matt Goss is following me. Or maybe he hit the wrong button!.. Scrolling along I notice that someone else I follow on Twitter is due to see Matt Goss that evening. 
Glynn Purnell is not just a brilliant chef but an extremely funny guy. His restaurant, coincidentally called Purnells is 100% on my list of places myself and GB are heading for ASAP. More importantly though he was heading to the palladium for Mister Goss’s performance. 
Quick joke: what do you call a zoo with just a very small dog in it? A Shih-tzu!
Being the nugget that I am I tweeted Mr. Purnell, and asked if,  highly unlikely that it was, he bumped into my wife,  that he would give her a kiss and wish her a happy anniversary. He replied that of course if she spotted him to say hello. Well what were the chances EH!.. Before the evenings entertainment kicked off however we had lunch booked with the in – laws. We made our way back up towards Oxford Circus. 
My brother – in – law Burky knows every nook and cranny of the west end. He gets to a bar in 5 minutes when it would take me 20 minutes to just remember the name. Having met up, the first pub we ventured to was The French House. I can’t really explain the reasoning for what was going on outside but a group of 6-8 chaps stood outside dressed in Victorian style clothes. They were filming something or other and obviously having a laugh doing so. A rather tall fellow,in a top hat,  dressed up like a member of Madness would go outside now and again, speak two or three lines and then they would all break out into a ‘Nutty Boys’ style dance. Alcohol and comedy, a win double. 
After two drinks we hoisted up the anchors ( not a metaphor ), and latched on to the Burky trail towards Seven Dials for lunch at Tredwells. I knew it was part of The Marcus Wareing group of restaurants but I wasn’t sure what to expect. It could have been a gastropub for all I knew. Of course it shouldn’t have been but we have all had lunches or dinners we have been disappointed with. When I first started getting into fine dining and appreciating what actually goes into becoming a top chef, before the days of multi – channeled TV food programmes Marcus Wareing was one of the few names that stood out. The name Marcus Wareing goes back, way back, and I’m not saying Mr. Wareing is old just that he has been at the top of his game as long as I can remember, and my memory isn’t that bad. The guy is a legend. The majority of chefs whose restaurants I choose to eat at now would probably have Mr. Wareing as an idol.
I thought it would be bigger!.. Not my wife’s thoughts on her Christmas present this year ( but I was cunning ), my first impressions of Tredwells as we approached the restaurant. Of course at that time I had no idea there was a whole floor downstairs as well. Our quartet entered the building and within three steps we were approached by a very friendly looking front of house chap. Seated and menus supplied we were soon discussing what choice of cocktails would prevail in the battle of cocktailiers ( my new word )… 
One of us chose to stay with water.. She wanted to stay fresh for Mr. Goss. The remaining three of us went with the following:
Aine : Down The Apples and Pears. Vodka, apple, pear, elderflower, thyme.
Burky : Penny Farthing. Olorosso sherry, goji berry, blackberry.
Moi : New Fashioned. Rye Whisky, marmalade, bitters.
All three of us that went down alcohol way reported most happily that the cocktails were of the highest order. 
Only two of us went for starters. The numbers were dwindling. It’s early doors but I have to say the chicken wings were ‘top of the morning’. Perfectly seasoned, cooked A1. A tip to the top way to start a meal. My sis in law went for a Chicken with Satay Sauce type starter. It wasn’t her favourite starting plate ever but between the four of us we polished off the food presented to us. We were happy little beavers at this point. Little did we know of what was about to come.
I’m not knocking him in any way at all but Burky isn’t big on paying for high dining Fare. His tastebuds aren’t great, and I can sympathise. Until I met her indoors I was a truly fussy eater. I wouldn’t try diddly. Slowly but surely she has turned my palate from miserable to a palate du jour. I still can’t make out the difference between Coriander and cumin but I am getting better. So I was a little unsure of where to book for this lunch. Cordon Bleu! Am I glad that I booked Tredwells.
Both parties ordered the highly rated roast dinner. Myself and GB going for the poultry option, or Chicken if you ain’t down with the kids. Burky and Aine went for the Beef roast for 2. I’d seen the odd picture and read reviews on Twitter but honestly nothing could prepare us for what was put in front of us. For the record this is definitely a picture moment, alas I have none. I’ve no quibble, ( it’s like a nibble but in an orderly Q ), whatsoever in saying this is THE BEST roast dinner you will get in London. The Chicken was just extraordinary. Jam packed full of flavour. I was worried that being a ‘one pot’ roast, the perties ( what GB’s Irish rellies call potatoes ), would be soggy. No chance. Deep in the heart of the chook stood magnificent spuds. Soft and fluffy on the inside, firm and crispy on the outside. Like a leather sofa but without the leathery taste. 
The Beef pot looked equally appetising. Just pink enough to say eat me come on you know you want too…but not so red as to say I’m putting you at risk. GB’s sister isn’t easily pleased, she’s plucky, not difficult, but she is a firm believer in getting what you pay for. When she came out with , and I quote ” that is the best roast dinner ever ” and even more shockingly Burky agrees you know that you have put a pound in the slots and 7-7-7 has just come in. By a country mile the best roast dinner I’ve ever had!.. It must have been good. We are taking my mum to Tredwells for her 70th and my mum is a ham egg n chips girly. I have total confidence in the Tredwells Trademark Roast though. ( TTR )
Rather than making a song called **Baby Come Back**, I swear if Pato Banton had just promised to take the love of his life to Tredwells for a roast dinner, I bet she’d have been there quicker than a raccoon chasing an acorn. There was no chat during the eating of this main course, no banter. Just huge grins and smiles. It’s only January but I’ve already got two contenders for a best main of the year. Think I might have to split it to a sat/sun category.
I wouldn’t say the desserts were bad, they were actually very nice, I mean a minimum 8 out of 10. The trouble is they had so much to live up too after that. There was a cheeseboard shared by the two sisters and I think I had the Warm Ginger Cake, but I could be wrong as honeycomb rings a distant door bell. Let’s get to the heart of the matter. Courses 1 & 3 could have been hand delivered by Goldenballs himself naked, swinging free handbags round like a hula hoop and it still would have rated below the roast dinner. Okay, maybe I’m under rating the power of Becks but you get my drift. 
Finishing up and paying a very reasonable bill we had a slow stroll down to the London Palladium. The plan was for me and Burky to shovel off one way and for the girls to hang around until the doors opened. It was jam packed so the four of us had a little drinkipoos in a bar in and around Carnaby Street. Wifey was a looking a little glassy eyed bless her. At around 18.30 we split up. The two men partaking in sampling various public houses, leaving our spouses to enjoy their evening. 
Imagine my surprise when less than 30 minutes later I had a text message from GB. 
“I’ve just met GLYNN PURNELL, he’s lovely”… A bit too embarrassed to provide details of who she was, Mr. Purnell was polite enough to have a brief conversation before disappearing in to see the star of the show, Matt Goss. I will hold my hands up to the point where having never really been a Bros fan I just didn’t consider trying to get a ticket. By the sound of it I couldn’t have got one anyway!
Now I can only speak from a third party sense having not witnessed the show myself. I caught Matt Goss doing a spin on Saturday Kitchen the day before the show. Now a huge star in the US, Mr.Goss has a regular stint playing to thousands each night at a Las Vegas hotel. In his own right, in his own way Matt Goss had made it ( twice ). He came across as a very humble and caring bloke. I sort of wish now that I had managed to swing a ticket. He was also doing an extra show , which literally had been arranged at the drop of a hat at the Dorchester on the Monday for a charity close to his heart. A top bloke in every sense.
 Arriving back at the pub where we were waiting the ladies went through a thorough and detailed explanation of the show. Matt Goss has grown up. His voice was magic. His swing style was amazing, his voice suiting a mellow big band style tempo and of course he looked… Well… Like our Matt!.. GB may have been dribbling at this point. Mr. Goss sung old songs, new songs, and the odd blues songs… It was like a national treasure had returned. Many people came, and very few, if any left disappointed. I’m slightly surprised we didn’t end up making another trip to his old house in South London for nostalgia’s sake.
That was it. The group split at Oxford Circus, Burky and spouse heading back towards East London while Wifey and I headed back to our hotel for closing drinks. I had to confess to feeling slightly envious. GB had met Glynn Purnell ( the Yummie Brummie ), and had seen one of her biggest idols in Matt Goss. Actually I think i was just overjoyed. Glynn was a nice bloke and Mr. Goss had been every bit the superstar she was hoping. My missus had a brilliant weekend, and so did I.. Plus I’d had the best roast ever!
If you have no idea who Pato Banton is then place the following in between the ** —– ** back up there ^^

Song too old?  Replace with “Need you Now” Lady Antebellum 
Song too new? Replace with “If you Leave Me Now” Chicago
Hope you enjoyed Tredwells and Matt Goss. As always I loved writing it.. And that’s the point, it’s good for the soul EH!