You know when you come across those ideas that are so deceptively simple, it’s as if only somebody super smart could have thought of them?
That’s how I feel about the new Sunday roast offering from Glasgow’s Blythswood Square Hotel.
While the city has no shortage of places that will flog you your meat and trimmings, a Bloody Mary and a side order of Sky Sports on a Sunday, the impression I get is that there is little to set them apart. A few thin slices of your chosen meat, never enough gravy and no opportunity to go back for seconds – why bother, when you could just go to your parents’? None of these are concerns at my current favourite freelance base, though: the Blythswood’s version of the Sunday roast is probably the closest you’ll get to recreating the casual atmosphere of a big family meal, minus the risk of burnt roasties and the arguments over who has to do the washing up.
The Blythswood roast is designed to be shared, with four people (at £25 a head) required to get the best out of your booking. For that you get a whole, locally-sourced roast chicken, carved at the table and served with all the trimmings, plus a classic British pudding to share for afters. The best bit? Once everybody has had their share, the carcass gets left on the table so you can go back for seconds at your leisure. You could even, I’m sure, take it home to make stock or soup with afterwards, although they might have just been indulging me when I asked.
Previewing the new offering for a group of us the other weekend, Blythswood restaurant manager Stuart Chapman talked us through some of the thinking behind the menu as well as ably demonstrating the perfect way to carve a chicken so that everybody gets a bit of leg. He might have been awarded Hotel Restaurant Manager of the Year at the 2017 Scottish Hotel Awards, but it seems that he’s still perfectly happy with all the hands-on bits of running a restaurant.
Chicken was chosen for its seasonal availability, traditional family dining vibe and the fact that most of the local Sunday roast offerings tended to prioritise beef. It of course has the added advantage of looking bloody impressive when delivered to your table – so much so that another restaurant booking immediately switched their order to have what we were having. That said, there’s every chance that the meat will change throughout the year to reflect seasonal preferences and availability.
Once served with a portion of meat, we were then encouraged to dig in and help ourselves to the sides: mushroom and thyme stuffing; fluffy Yorkshire puddings; duck fat roast potatoes; root vegetables; broccoli; Kintyre cheddar cauliflower cheese and generous jugs of gravy and garlic and parsley sauce. There’s plenty of everything for everybody, but the idea of serving yourself is that everybody will naturally gravitate towards their favourites. So I won’t touch cauliflower cheese or stuffing, but I’ll make up for it in roasted carrots and potatoes.
Well, there’s plenty of almost everything: we were asked for our honest feedback, so I had to point out the dangers of one Yorkshire pudding per person. The ones they serve at the Blythswood are huge, of course, certainly compared to your pre-made supermarket offerings, but my two-pud habit is a hard one to break.
Dessert was a deliciously retro baked Alaska made with (my favourite!) raspberry ripple ice cream and served with fresh fruit and tiny pieces of meringue. I’d never actually seen one of these in real life – all I know about baked Alaska is that somebody once threw one in a bin on the Great British Bake Off – so I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this and how well the genoise sponge, home-made preserve, ice cream and meringue all worked together. In fact, this was so good I could easily have eaten the whole pudding.
Drinks aren’t included with the Sunday roast package, but for the quality and the quantity of food that you get I reckon this is still great value at £25 a head. It’s also possible to pay a supplement per person to add a few more people on to your booking with some extra veg and sides, since there is plenty of meat to go around. Personally, I’m well up for a re-run of this so if any of my pals reading this fancy making a Sunday of it sometime soon, just give me a shout.
The Blythswood Sharing Sunday Roast is served in the main restaurant from 12:30pm – 2:30pm and 5pm – 9:45pm, and requires booking in advance with payment of a 50% deposit by 3pm on the Friday before.
I was treated to the Sunday roast for review purposes, but all views are my own and unbiased.