The Traditional Sunday Roast
To the French we are the ‘Rosbifs’ (Roast Beef) because of our love of a good roast dinner – goodness knows why they take offence when we nick-name them ‘frogs’! And, for centuries it has been the UK’s national dish, since the days when folk would drop their joint of meat off at the local bakers en route to church. Even the poor folk, without large open fires at home, could have a roast on a Sunday because the bakers ovens were still hot from Saturday’s bread batch. So from days of old, us Brits have been sharing a good Sunday roast dinner with our nearest and dearest.
And, maybe that’s why we are so fond of our roast beef and Yorkshire puddings here in the UK : it’s not the greatest culinary invention but when you associate it with a day off and enjoying it with family and friends, then of course it becomes the best meal of the week!
These days, however, unless you’re visiting the mother ship, a lot of us have a penchant for a good pub version – there’s no need to stress about a flat Yorkshire and somebody else does the washing up! But not all pub or restaurant versions live up to mums and I just can’t abide a runny gravy or sub-standard roasties. Add to that the perfect cauliflower cheese and proper seasonal veg and it just becomes too many boxes to tick for some places. So, here I am again with my Top Five recommendations for a great Sunday dinner in Nottingham….
Larwood And Voce
Fox Road, West Bridgford
This place has a reputation. A good one though, for a few years Larwood and Voce has been receiving accolades and awards for its Sunday Dinner. And as you know, reputations aren’t built upon nothing – the meat, whatever your preference, is always reliably good and there’s plenty of it. We tend to go for the ‘The famous proper roast’, which is beef, lamb and pork with all the trimmings, and we share it. It’s £17 and it’s plenty for us. If you want your own then prices start at £13.50. Or if you fancy a little more, their cauliflower cheese is pretty good.
The gravy is a little weak but I can overlook this due to the rest being so flamin’ tasty! Gravy is usually the final component which pulls it all together for me but Larwood have perfected everything else that it almost goes unnoticed. Perfectly cooked veg, huge Yorkshires and a generous portion of meat.
Book a table in the gastro-pub style restaurant (and you will need to book because their reputation proceeds them) or turn up and take your chances for a seat in the bar area. Personally we like to skip Sunday breakfast and roll up around 11.30am to guarantee a table but enjoy a quiet read of the Sunday papers before the crowds arrive at 12. Naturally, there’s a sporting atmosphere, being attached to the world-famous Trent Bridge cricket ground but the buzz from the TV viewers all adds to the friendly atmosphere. Our Larwood Sunday morning tradition is a one I’ll be sticking with for a long time. Nottingham Sunday lunch perfection.
The Railway Lowdham
Station Street, Lowdham
The Railway at Lowdham seems to be clearing up on a Sunday, that’s for sure. It won Best Sunday Lunch at the 2019 Best Restaurant and Bar Awards for Nottingham. A quirky little pub with equal parts attention to decor detail as there is attention to diners, and gaining a Great Nottingham Pub reputation very quickly.
It reopened in 2017, kept to its railway-roots with all its quirky train paraphernalia and is actually a very easy train ride from the city centre. So, go on, get the kids on the train for a change and make a little Sunday outing out of it!
Make sure you book because their Sunday belly-pork is doing a Pied Piper with Sunday Dinner lovers. However, they’ll always try and seat you in the bar area if needed. And, I’ve never known a more attentive bunch of staff so if they can seat you, they will!
The Railway have concocted the perfect roast. They’ve not tried to go fancy with bacon in your cabbage or any of that kind of jazz – it’s just good old fashioned fare with high quality (local) meat and veg. You get a generous amount of gravy, the spuds are crispy and the Yorkshire’s tasty. My only suggestion (as the worlds biggest fan) would be to get some cauliflower cheese on the menu. Whatever, they’re still well-deserving of their hard earned awards.
Available 12 – 6pm and roasts range from £12.95 – £14.95
Tom Browns Brasserie
No doubt at some point in your life you’ve bought a new blouse and been to Tom Browns for a celebratory meal of some sort? It’s a special place that usually gets saved for an occasion, after all – who can afford to eat there weekly? But have you tried their roast on a Sunday?? Don’t write it off because it’s not as expensive as you think. Sunday lunch starts at £10.95 and if you’re not wanting a starter or dessert you can keep the bill pretty reasonable.
Despite the modest charge though, I still consider Tom Browns Sunday lunch as a treat because it’s just way too naughty! Those potatoes are so smothered in goose fat your spanx groan with each mouthful, and did your chair just creak? That said, you’ve got to go for an indulgent meal once in a while and this should be the one you choose. The stuffing couldn’t stuff any more flavour in it, the cauliflower cheese would impress the French and the gravy : well, the gravy. Tom Browns always use the finest ingredients and this shows in the joints of meat they bring to the table – high quality produce and always so well cooked. If you were going to take the Queen out for a lunch that epitomises her very own nation then you should book here. I would say ‘well in advance’ too but it’s the Queen – I’m sure they’d pull up a table for Liz.
The starters and desserts are all around £8 and this is where your bill can expand unwittingly but honestly, the lunch is so rich and plentiful I actually think you don’t need a second course.
Open 12 – 5.45pm Tel. 0115 9663642
The Earl Of Chesterfield
Manor Lane, Shelford
Part of what makes Sunday’s so great is the laid back manner in which everything takes place. And what greater place to enjoy it than by taking a leisurely stroll somewhere in the English countryside? But obviously you’ll need that perfect country pub to greet you at the finish line, where the dogs (and horses!) are welcome, along with your wellies, and the ales lined up on the bar is the warmest of welcomes you could receive. Welcome to the Earl of Chesterfield in Shelford.
One of the finest rural pubs in Nottinghamshire, the natives make you feel like neighbours and the bar staff are locally grown teenagers bantering with their adopted village-parents across the bar. You can go posh and book a table in the restaurant or stick to a casual affair in the bar – your choice. And when the weather is agreeable there’s a lovely little beer garden (often with a bouncy castle for the kids) on the side too.
The Sunday roast is what you would expect from Julian Benton, the owner, after years in the industry and a handful of Gastro-style pubs under his belt. The Earl of Chesterfield isn’t a gastro pub though, the food is hearty and wholesome, home-cooked, massive and unpretentious. Just what you need after a good ramble.
If you’re early you’ll get a seat in the bar, otherwise it may be sensible to book.
2 courses : £15.50 Tel: 0115 9332227
Fat Cat, Nottingham
11 Chapel Bar, City Centre
Fat Cat is probably the surprise on the list. A lot of their menu is half price on a Sunday and their traditional roast can be had as a deal – £22.95 for 2 roasts and a bottle of house wine. It’s not a bar we frequent regularly, probably down to the early drinkers that congregate in the bar area, slightly raucous punters wanting an uninterrupted view of the sport on TV. But venture past the bar area and the restaurant is contemporary and modern with cosy booths that would easily seat 6.
But the reason it really made the Top Five – the Sunday Roast. It’s like someone in the kitchen had my tick-box list. I have to tell myself to slow down but it’s so good I might as well inhale it! And there’s no point beseeching Mr MLLH to proceed with ease – his knife and fork are already politely retired and he’s picking at my heavily garlicked chicken escalope. The initial presentation will surely wow you but the actual flavours of everything make you question where you actually are. There’s no way you would associate a noisy sports bar with great food (unless it’s Southbank City) but once you’re past that, you could be in Jamie Oliver’s kitchen eating with Poppy, Buddy and Daisy.
Tel: 0115 9475044
So, there you have my list – all great for their own different reasons and a guaranteed great Sunday lunch whatever your preference. And hey, no washing up!
If you’re after more foodie suggestions for Nottingham or ideas on where to take the kids then check out our many other posts about Nottingham. Thanks for stopping by, now go and enjoy your Yorkshire pudding!
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