Yo. It’s Lord Gravy. International Lord Gravy. Back on my travels and this time in Malta – to the Rusty Spoon in Bugibba.
Or maybe outside of London I should be called Emperor Gravy? Emperor Lord Gravy? World King…no that makes me sound like some other arrogant, useless British twat.
Albeit I’m less useless than he of “got the big calls right”, for I’m adventuring the world, trying to find the best roast dinners for all my fellow Brits abroad, and wannabe Brits from abroad. I’m somewhat less useless anyway.
Quite possible the only people reading this will be a small handful of devoted followers from Roast Dinners in London (no idea why either) – though ideally in the long-term, Roast Dinners Around The World will become a global compendium of the best roast dinners outside of Blighty. Call it an Empire, if you wish.
Tell me you are not in Deptford without telling me you are not in Deptford:
Ahhh. Yep, can confirm that it is raining in London as I write this.
So here I was in Malta. Not only was it Sunday, but England were playing later in the day, so I had the opportunity to be proper Brit abroad. Short shorts on – locals still in their coats as it is only 20’C. You Maltese know how long it is since 20’C was recorded in London?
I did pretty much zero research on where to go for a roast dinner in Malta. Firstly, I searched for “roast dinner” in Google Maps.
I went through them all and went; “shit”, “shit”, “shit” – until I got to Rusty Spoon and thought, “mayyyyyyyybe”.
Ideally I want to find the best roast dinner – and I just don’t imagine Woodhut Pub & Diner, or Fat Harry’s Pub to serve a gastronomic delight. Sure, I’m judging by name and a handful of photos on Google Maps.
But also, I found a Facebook group for expats in Malta – and Rusty Spoon was nominated by a few as the best roast dinner in Malta. Blame the expats (you didn’t vote to reduce your rights in 2016 did you?). In an ideal world, I’d move to Malta and review them all. Maybe I might accept guest reviews? Albeit that would need someone to even read this blog, let alone be into it.
I like to do the “Ahhhm not gerring a fuckin bus on mi olly day” thing (plus I don’t use the buses in London either unless I really, really have to), so I did the sensible thing and walked along the coast, around an 8-10 mile walk from Mellieha to Bugibba.
Yep – definitely not in Deptford. Some of the scenery on the coast in the north of Malta is absolutely stunning, and if your knees can take the fairly steep slopes, I highly recommend it. I’m fat and I managed it, but you do need a little bit of fitness.
Anyway, I’m not here to talk about pretty things. Well…most roast dinners don’t count and I wasn’t expecting a roast dinner in the Mediterranean to be pretty.
Several hours later, Google announced to me, “your destination is on the right”.
Oh yeah, it was!
Rusty Beer Drinker
And it was time for a beer.
I ordered a Leffe. They’d run out. I then ordered a Paulaner. They’d run out. They did have a Hoegarden, which was pleasant enough sat outside.
Inside Rusty Spoon was busy – there were no tables free when I arrived. It was kind of dark inside, though that was perhaps also my eyes adjusting from all this weird unusual blue sky stuff.
I don’t particularly remember much about the inside – soz. Though if you do want to visit Rusty Spoon during lunch hours on a Sunday, and sit inside, you may need to book in advance. There were plenty of tables outside the front – some in the shade, some in the sunshine.
Possibly the best roast dinner in Malta, according to themselves. Well if it was London then I’d be the judge of that…but I’ll have to take them at their word as this is possibly the only roast dinner I’ll eat in Malta this decade. Possibly.
For €13.95, options included roast chuck of beef (I have no idea what a chuck is), pork loin, boneless leg of lamb, half chicken or a mix.
Kind of disappointed that there was no rabbit option, given that it seems to be the national dish of Malta – but also as Brit Abroad™ having a roast dinner with any kind of imagination is probably going against the trade description act. I drank my beer quickly, if that helps the image. And I’m fat. And had short shorts on.
I decided that Mediterraneans know how to cook lamb better than any other meat, given that I’ve had some amazing lamb kleftiko in a Greek restaurant in…erm…Reading, so that was my decision made.
It took a while to arrive, to the point of my ordering a second pint of Hoegarden (well, second 500ml) – though whether that says more about me or Rusty Spoon, I’m not sure. I’m always happy to wait anyway – increases the chance of the food being freshly cooked.
There were more slices of carrot than my photograph suggests, but perhaps only twice as many. The inner green ring inside concerned me (not enough not to eat it), but apparently is due to the carrot having been exposed to sunlight – then growing more. Maltese tradition?!
Otherwise, they seem to have been steamed and were pretty ordinary.
Likewise the three or four green beans had probably been steamed, were fairly soft but not obnoxiously so.
There was a bit more in the way of cabbage – either roasted or fried, and that had a bit more crunch to it.
Finally for the vegetables, there was a little bit of cauliflower cheese, which was on the mushy side, and not especially cheesy.
Small amounts for each of the vegetables – but overall they came to quite a decent sized portion.
Rusty Spud Muncher
So this is my second roast dinner review around the world, and the second time that I’ve received mashed potato. I think out of 247 (possibly more by time I actually finish writing this) reviews in London, I’ve received mashed potato twice also.
It was kind of lumpy – the Rusty Spoon had gone to the effort to give us a second type of potato, yet not been bothered to make it creamy. It was still damn good.
I think there were two roast potatoes – both actually roasted, both some crispiness, both fluffy inside – and far better than the average in London. Maybe I should go live in Malta? Not sure I could cope with all the sunshine.
The Yorkshire pudding had a satisfying crunch to it, and a bit of softness on the bottom.
Stuffing with lamb? Apparently so, no chuffing cheffing snobbiness here and the stuffing was a delight – a golden crisp to the outside, soft and herby inside.
Alas, the lamb let Rusty Spoon down a bit. Remember what I said about Mediterraneans knowing how to do lamb? I think it might just be Greeks. For this was sadly much overcooked – not to the point of inedible, but to the point of lower enjoyment. Of course, some people like their meat overcooked.
And finally, before I bore you with a summary and, even worse, what else I ate on holiday in Malta, the gravy. It felt like it was Bisto (or similar), but with added flavours or cooking juices. Bisto Plus, maybe you could call it. There was a notably salty aftertaste.
Overall it wasn’t a bad roast dinner. But it certainly wasn’t a good roast dinner, either.
Positives included the roast potatoes almost being excellent (a rare feat in London), the crisp of the Yorkshire pudding and the reasonably exquisite stuffing ball – even if it isn’t supposed to go with lamb (though fuck supposed to when it is this tasty).
On the flip side, the main complaint is the lamb – which was overcooked British-style. The gravy was too salty and Bisto-ish, even if there likely was more effort than just a tub of granules, it tasted like granules were involved.
Service was pleasant, beer choice acceptable, red wine excellent – every glass of Maltese red wine I had on my trip was as such. And at €13.95, it was one of the cheapest meals I had all trip. Bar a burnt sandwich in Valletta – more on that later.
Possibly the best roast dinner in Malta? I’ve no idea, but from photographic evidence on Google Maps, there are definitely worse. Much worse.
Would you like to see a giant cat on top of a block of toilets?
Phew, I knew you would.
So in summary, it was respectable enough. It more or less met expectations, though not my hopes. I don’t regret going for a second.
Maybe if you are a local, and you need some British grub in your life, it is worth a visit. Or if you are on holiday, in the local area and cannot cope without a Sunday roast, then likewise give it a spoon.
My score is a respectable 6.80 out of 10.
Right, now time to bore you further with where else I ate in Malta. Don’t worry, I’ll keep the descriptions to a minimum – I’m no food blogger as you may be able to tell (or travel blogger) so don’t expect anything more eloquent than “good”, “quite good” or “not good”.
I went to Villager by Munchies in Mellieha twice, which is highly unusual for me to go somewhere twice. There’s a really shit café in Reading called Munchiees, which for some reason people idolise…and I didn’t when I lived there. So the name Munchies doesn’t inspire me. Granted the one in Reading is spelt with a shudder-worthy double E.
Lunch on my first day was a zingy lemon chicken salad – check me out, all cultured and shit in my 40’s – no longer eating sausages in a giant Yorkie with a pint of Vodka Red Bull every day. Granted, I did have a roast dinner, but that is my commitment to you.
I enjoyed my salad so much that I went back another evening, partly due to the fact that I told the waitress I’d be back and I am a man of my word.
Pork belly confit this time, which was a succulent delight…all that gooey fat. So much for eating salads.
Also in Mellieha I went to…erm…I cannot remember actually because I was fairly drunk and had spent too much money so went to a cheaper restaurant to save €10 and had what I’m sure you can tell from the beautiful presentation is swordfish.
And a load of kebab van style fries and salad. Don’t ask me if I ate the salad, I don’t recall. The wine was excellent again though. And the swordfish was *checks available descriptions* quite good.
Rusty Spooning Still In Mellieha And I Hope You Are Not Too Bored Of My Witterings Yet
I feel like my shit photography here is misrepresenting Porterhouse’s presentation, but I don’t care because they barely served me – one of those places that doesn’t seem to care about solo diners. But I have no life and write blogs about you, so you lose. OK, I lose, I’m a loser.
Fine, I’ll show you how it looked:
The steak and sauce was pretty excellent – as was the peppercorn sauce (which they had forgotten). The sweet potato fries I ordered also turned up as fries. And I had to chase the wine. And the bill. Oh and they didn’t seem to care if I wanted dessert.
I’ve long had a thing about having a steak on the last night of a holiday – but maybe I need to review that because I can have a steak anywhere.
I’ve saved the best to last, at least for Mellieha (yeah more dross to come). Well, the best meal of the holiday was annoyingly on the first night.
This was a restaurant called Mithna, recommended to me by someone at the wine shop – and they actually knew how to look after a solo diner.
Interestingly they served kangaroo – that famous Maltese dish – so I was unable to resist my curiosity. Earthy and rustic, and not more enjoyable than steak but perfectly cooked.
And I had the vegan dessert. Was strange but nice, or “quite good” as per my reserved descriptions. If you go to Mellieha, then Mithna would be my number one recommendation to eat.
Rusty Forking Still Doesn’t End
I tried the rabbit stew, which was everywhere – at a place called Café Jubilee on Gozo.
I’ve only eaten rabbit once before and it blew me away. This didn’t – though it was good enough. The Indian guy serving me asked why I was reading about rail infrastructure in India, and I replied that I liked reading different stuff – gosh I hope you do too. Granted its unlikely you made it here. Literally nobody is going to read this far, are they?
Porticello Restaurant in Valletta served me this stunning crusted salmon fillet – a proper size of fish, none of this tiny 200g fillets from Sainsburys. Alas, nothing else stood out, except how ridiculously windy it was outside. But I guess if the piece of fish is stunning, then who cares if the rocket leaves are limp.
not least, I went to Grano, which is rated 4.9 out of 5 on Google reviews, for a sandwich before I got my flight home.
Looks gorgeous, right?
Alas, I was talking about the young lady in the short skirt, because the bread was burnt to fuck – like all the roast dinner chefs in London that I’ve complained about burning Yorkshire puddings, had descended onto the perfect sandwich place, the last meal of my trip, to burn the bread.
Well, that’s it.
Roast dinner in a foreign country done.
I’ll maybe be back later this year.
Do feel free to add to the comments or e-mail me, if you think there is somewhere better in Malta for a roast dinner – I might even make a special Malta page!