A really good Sunday Roast is a very fine thing indeed. But how to define ‘really good’?
Perhaps surprisingly, the element that comes first for me is roast potatoes. Yep, spuds over meat (though that’s a very close second). Roasties that are beautifully fluffy inside but have a properly crunchy exterior (that doesn’t give up its crisp at the first sign of gravy or steam from the heat) are paramount!
The meat is still very important, and whether it’s beef, lamb, pork or chicken I look for plenty of flavour, tenderness and moistness. And there’s an extra thumbs up for restaurants that source British meat, of course.
Next, the gravy. It has to be generous on the plate (or a jug of extra on the side) and with bags of flavour that complements the meat and spuds.
Yorkshire puddings are a wondrous thing so anywhere that includes them with all roasts, not just with the beef, gets another extra thumbs up.
When it comes to the other vegetables, I’m a little more relaxed though not, of course, without opinions! I really dislike pickled or fermented cabbage – fine with big fat bratwurst but not with my Sunday roast, thanks… And peas, whilst usually a benign vegetable choice, have a habit of scattering all over the plate in a way I don’t think works with roast meat and gravy.
Give me savoy cabbage and carrots and I’m as happy as Larry. Add something special (such as a slice roasted squash) and it’s yet another extra thumbs up!
With a dearth of options in my local neighbourhood for a really great Sunday roast, I am more willing to travel further afield. A few weeks ago, Pete and I headed down to Hatchetts in Mayfair, which we visited for dinner shortly after they opened in July. Hatchetts have now introduced a Sunday roast to their offering and it’s a cracker.
Having had no breakfast, and with my belly rumbling, I accepted the offer of bread and ordered a starter, though we shared one between us to so as not to spoil our appetite for the roasts to come.
Smoked salmon (£9) dotted with dollops of caper and raisin puree was served with lightly toasted brown soda bread. The light smoke on the fish and sweet sharp puree mean we made very quick work of the dish.
Time for the roasts! I chose the Marinated leg of blackface lamb, spiced autumn squash, rosemary gravy and mint sauce (£18). I was not disappointed.
Two thick slices of beautifully flavoured and tender lamb with four perfect roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding, a pile of savoy cabbage, one medium carrot and two slices of (different) roasted squash. Oh and a generous lake of glossy and deeply flavoured gravy and some homemade mint sauce.
This really was a superb plate of food – one of the best roasts I’ve had for a long time. Very little I’d change – a touch less salt in the savoy cabbage and the carrot cooked more briefly to retain more bite and texture but those are minor niggles.
Pete was just as happy with his Organic Sussex chicken breast, confit leg croquette, roast shallots, thyme gravy (£16.50). On his plate the slightly oversalted cabbage was balanced out by the sweetness of the roasted shallots. The chicken was full of flavour and beautifully cooked and the two leg meat croquettes provided an extra texture and taste. Yorkshire pudding comes with all roasts here, so he didn’t miss out on that either. And the spuds and gravy were, like mine, excellent.
Being greedy bastards, and mostly because we’d spotted it when ordering our mains and couldn’t get it out of our minds, we ordered a Sticky toffee pudding, bourbon caramel, crème fraiche ice cream (£6) to share. This was bloody fantastic too! The pudding itself was moist and rich – featuring coca-cola soaked prunes we were told – and the caramel sauce providing a perfect balanced bitterness. We couldn’t detect the bourbon, nor much of a crème fraiche tang in the ice cream, but the dish was delicious as it was and we didn’t miss either.
The London pubs I’ve visited for a Sunday roast in the last year or two – and I mean the gastropub kind here, not your local Wetherspoon – price their roasts between £12 and £16, sometimes more. Taking that into account, I think the Hatchetts offering is well worth the extra two or three quid more and I’d absolutely recommend it.
At the moment the downstairs dining room lacks atmosphere – not enough locals have discovered just how good the food is. Sadly, it’s not a particularly attractive space either; very 1980s. A polished concrete floor and some fun wall art are the only concessions to the current decade. The more casual upstairs bar area is far more appealing, and benefits from natural light during the day too so I’d suggest asking for a table there instead if it’s not too busy.
If you are a fan of really excellent Sunday roasts, this is definitely one to add to your list.
Kavey Eats dined as guests of Hatchetts Restaurant.
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!27 Comments to "What Makes A Great Sunday Roast? | Sunday Dining at Hatchetts in Mayfair"
That does look excellent. My roast philosophy is similar to yours.
My favourite roast is chicken with pan juice gravy. I make it often, always with roast potatoes and some others (butternut pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, asparagus, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, shallots, garlic cloves) whatever is handy and in season really.
I have fond memories of having roast beef with Yorkshire pudding for Sunday lunch when I lived in the UK nearly 30 years ago. I also really miss spring greens, what a marvellous vegetable.
Yeah, at home we do roast chicken more than any other roast – it’s affordable, easy and we love using the leftovers for other recipes and the carcass to make stock! So good!
Not only does the roast look amazing (and I have had some shockingly bad ones in pubs – the potatoes always give it away before you even take a bite of the roast) the sticky toffee pudding looks out of this world.
Yeah the starters and desserts were superb too! And yeah, we’ve had some disappointing pub versions too, or some that are decent but one or two elements fail. So it was really nice to find such a good one!
That is one seriously gorgeous looking roast dinner! For me a good roast starts with a quality cut of local meat that’s been treated well. Gravy is an essential, as are Yorkshire puddings, but then I’m half and half about the potatoes. I like creamy mash with a roast chicken, but a roast beef definitely needs roast potatoes!
Oh my goodness, I’m almost with you… I do love mash with so many dishes but for a roast dinner I have to insist on roasties! ?
Secret to a good roast are ingredients… no good ingredients, no good roast!
Roast dinners are a thing of wonder, can vary so much, and be so full of delicious food. Yum! What makes it good? The meat being cooked perfectly, roast potatoes, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside. And a good selection of vegetables, that should never be soggy. Some pubs and restaurants I’m afraid get things a little wrong. It is good to find a decent quality one that is reliable. Looks like you have found a good one at Hatchetts. All courses look lovely. I imagine you were at bursting point after all that, but plesantly satisfied all the same.
Yes it’s such a thrill to find such a good rendition, there’s so much that can go wrong and lead to disappointment!
I think roast potatoes are so important. You have to rough the edges and baste in hot oil, with a sprinkling of salt. A good piece of British meat is essential as well as lashings of well-flavoured gravy. Pubs can vary a lot with the Sunday dinners they produce but that lamb dish from Hatchetts looks amazing and fantastic that you get Yorkshire puddings too!
You totally get it, that’s exactly how I feel!
I don’t really care what roast meat is provided, beef, lamb, chicken, pork – it has to have perfect, crispy on the outside. fluffy in the middle, roast potatoes and then I’m happy.
A woman after my own heart, Janice!!
I agree with everything bar peas …. peas and roast potatoes, peas and gravy =
heavenly food ! x
You’re a wrong’un, Ming!
Not sure how qualified I am to comment, being a kosher vegetarian, but I can certainly say that the spuds and pud both look amazing! I might just have to have two portions of the pudding and call it a meal….
Since the roasties are so important, I think a veggie Sunday roast could still be a thing of beauty! What do you do for the veggie centre piece?
They’ve got a wild rice and nut roast on their menu, and that still comes with all the veg, tatties and Yorkies. 🙂
Yes, when we went in for a regular dinner review Pete had one of their very appealing veggie mains. :+)
That roast dinner looks amazing! As a veggie, I LOVE all the trimmings. I don’t need anything to substitute the meat, I’d rather just load up on spuds and veg. Though I think that peas have no place on a Sunday roast!
Hooray, glad you are with me on the peas! And yes, actually if the veggies are good enough and varied, like these roasted slices of two different winter squashes, then missing out the meat is not really much of a big deal at all!
We had a lamb roast at Scotland’s oldest pub on Sunday and the atmosphere was as delightful as the food. We don’t eat meat very often but when we do it is at a place that does it right. It sounds like Hatchett’s at Mayfair have it right too. And the prices sound fab for what is included. Good recomm, Kavey. Upstairs table – good tip.
I really hope that they develop a strong local customer base that appreciates what they’ve got on their doorsteps, lucky buggers! I’d love to have this as my local, though it’d be tempting to visit more often than I could afford, even with the reasonable pricing!
What an exquisitely presented meal and oh my goodness that sticky toffee pudding looks out of this world, love the Coca Cola soaked prune idea, might use that one day somehow:-)
Yeah same here, been thinking on that one!
Roast potatoes are definitely the most important part of a roast in my eyes! Always the thing I leave til last, and then eat all the leftovers too 😀
Yeah, I always tell Pete to make enough for leftovers but somehow we never have any left!!!