Manchester isn’t short of places to get a decent Sunday roast. But the recent launch of two new city centre menus has really raised the bar when it comes to weekend dining.
One is offering a classic roast executed with aplomb, while the other has added a twist that sees roast potatoes cooked in jamon serrano ham butter. We’re still thinking about them days later. More on these later.
Beastro in Spinningfields has already made a name for itself with its hearty breakfasts, great value lunches and dinners offering a modern British menu. Sunday lunch was the next natural step.
Launched at the end of January and served every Sunday from 2pm-5pm, Beastro chef and co-founder James Taylor says he wanted to create “the best roast in Manchester.”
No harm in aiming high – especially when you can pull it off.
Starters are classic and comforting – pate with duck and orange, devilled kidneys on toast, or roasted carrot and fennel soup. But there are chipolatas with brown sauce, too. And when you know that James is the man behind award-winning sausages Bobby’s Bangers, you know they’ll be good.
And they are. Where else would you get six spectacular sausages as a starter?
The main course meat is just as good. Roast Lancashire beef is served pink, with crisp golden roast potatoes, buttered carrots, parsnips, al dente tenderstem broccoli, and giant Yorkshire puddings.
And there’s plenty of gravy, of course, as deep and rich and meaty as you’d expect from the former Bangers & Bacon boys.
Alternatives to beef include roast corn fed chicken or honey roast ham. It’s not all about the meat, though – there’s the option of roast local cauliflower, too.
Puddings are as hearty as they come.
A fruit crumble is massive, packed with apple and fragrant berries and served with ice cream or vanilla-flecked custard. Sticky toffee pudding is a delightfully sweet and just the right side of stodgy. There’s baked custard, too.
With one course at £12, two for £16 or three for £18, it’s astounding value for money. Find out more here.
Not to be outdone, El Gato Negro on King Street have just this month launched their own new Sunday brunch and lunch menu, with a Spanish influence.
Served from midday every Sunday, the new menu sees classic brunch dishes served with a Spanish twist – think wild mushrooms on toasted Catalan bread with heady truffle butter and Pedro Ximénez sherry reduction, or charred tenderstem broccoli with ajo blanco dressing, grapes and toasted almonds.
There’s also a rich, smoky chorizo and piquillo pepper hash with fried egg, parsley and garlic, and Tombet – a Majorcan ratatouille with poached egg, Manchego, oregano and basil.
The main event, though, is the new Sunday roast – and it’s a cracker.
A roast sirloin of beef, served pink as standard, comes with quince glazed carrots, a thick wedge of cauliflower drenched in cheese sauce made with Spanish Manchego, tenderstem broccoli and a boozy Rioja wine gravy.
A side dish contains potatoes roasted with jamon serrano butter.
Potatoes often let the side down when it comes to Sunday roasts in pubs and restaurants – they’re frequently too hard, or overcooked; anaemic looking or dark and tooth-shatteringly crisp. Not so here.
These potatoes are spot on. Crisp, golden and full-flavoured thanks to being roasted in hammy butter. They’re flecked with little shards of serrano ham for added porkiness. They’re a triumph.
Desserts range from classic creme Catalan and millefeuille with hazelnut, coffee and praline to cute mini doughnuts perfect for sharing (or not), filled with jam or chocolate and dusted with cinnamon, with a with hot chocolate sauce to dip.
The restaurant has introduced three new dishes especially for children, too, so Sunday lunch can be a real family occasion.
There’s meatballs and roasted potatoes, salt cod fish cakes with tomato sauce and tenderstem broccoli, and roast chicken thigh with carrots and potatoes, all at £7. There’s an ice-cream sundae with hot chocolate sauce to finish.
The El Gato Negro Sunday roast is priced £18.50, with brunch dishes from £6.
With two new Sunday lunches to try, weekends in the city centre just got a whole lot better.