Here at Bitten we already know the Porterhouse well for their frankly amazing steaks so when they invited us down to try their Sunday roast menu we were both excited and apprehensive! We’ve all got horror stories of roast dinners, my grandmother was a school cook and I clearly remember her on an in term Wednesday, putting the cabbage on to cook before the start of school bell had even rung. My mum cut corners in the 1980s with Bernard Matthews roast joints, with that weird “sausage” casing and the ovenproof plastic wrap holding it all together… I was saved by my stepmother’s roast chicken, with butter and herbs and proper gravy, and crunchy roast potatoes that Aunt Bessie had kept well away from!
These days, I prefer to not relive some of these formative memories by roast dinners at home. Usually a good cut of beef, crunchy fluffy spuds, cavolo nero with a bit of a bite, a gratin of broccoli, cauliflower and leek, roasted carrots or parsnips and always, always Yorkshire pudding. Sadly the husband will insist on Paxo but I can forgive him for that.
But I’m always up for someone else doing the cooking! We arrived on a chilly Sunday and took our seats in the Smoke Room, luxuriously decked out in rich colours, leather and copper. Espresso martinis arrived and were very much enjoyed! It was suggested to us that we sample one of each of the roasts that day, beef topside £16, pork stuffed belly £16 and the vegetarian alternative which was a goats cheese, spinach and mushroom puff pastry pie £14 to share.
The food arrives on one plate which we both agreed we’d prefer to have the veggies in serving dishes. Sunday lunch is a family, community affair and should be a sharing experience. Plus it means you can help yourself to more of your favourites! Vegetables on this day were decent sized wodges of roasted carrots (no julienne nonsense on my roast thank you!), piquant red cabbage with a sweet tang, green beans and a swede puree lightly smeared on the plate. That puree was amazing and I wanted more! Smooth, sweet and nutty, I probably would have avoided it if it had been in a sharing dish but to discover it hidden on my plate was perfect.
Roast potatoes were crispy with Nigella style edges and fluffy interiors. The Yorkshire pudding was good – a bit of a brag here but I do make flipping awesome Yorkies so I’m always going to say mine are better!
A generous helping of rare roast beef slices for me and a thick slice of sage stuffed pork belly provided the meat fix with both being tender and full of flavour. This may sound odd but the beef had a proper meaty flavour which can sometimes be lacking in topside and this shows the quality of the butchers used.
I’m not a fan of goat’s cheese but valiantly tried the vegetarian option, excellent flaky pastry, thick slices of mushroom, spinach and a huge amount of the cheese on the precipice of ooziness. The work wife, who does like all cheese, pronounced it very good and it comes with it’s own veggie gravy.
After all this, we decided that we might as well go all in and share the sticky toffee pudding £6 with butterscotch sauce before rolling our way home. Vanilla flecked ice-cream, toffee sponge and warm butterscotch sauce is heaven and a perfect way to finish a cracking Sunday lunch!