A roast dinner is one of my absolute favourite meals. Crispy on the outside fluffy on the inside potatoes, melt in your mouth chicken that has been rubbed with thyme and butter, basted in its own juices, honey roasted carrots and parsnips, broccoli that still has a satisfying crunch, gravy made from the left over meat juices, and last but not least, a traditional sage and onion stuffing. I don’t know how you feel about a home cooked roast dinner but for me, its not complete without a Yorkshire pud. Aunt Bessie’s of course!
I’ve noticed over the last few years that many pubs and restaurants have been upping their game where the roast dinner is concerned. Restaurant quality prepared veg, delicious gravy and a choice of roasted meats, means everyone can get the roast dinner they want. Sam and I headed to one of our local pubs in Mountnessing, Brentwood last weekend. The George & Dragon is a lovely pub, furnished to a high standard with a restaurant quality feel and an amazing seasonal menu. We grabbed a glass of wine and headed outside for some fresh air while we waited for our table.
Once we were seated we instantly started browsing the menu. We both knew we wanted a roast dinner from the Sunday menu so first thing first was to read through the options and decide which one we wanted. We had been looking forward to this meal all day. I chose roast lamb rump with roasted squash and a lemon and thyme stuffing wrapped in bacon. Sam chose roast rib of beef with with coarse-grain mustard seasoning and roasted red onion & garlic.
For starters we ummed and aahhed over a fair few. They all sounded tasty. We settled on salt and szechuan pepper squid with an aoili dip and bacon wrapped scallops with squash puree from the specials menu. I say ‘we’ as in Sam and I, as we always share starters. We are both foodies so when dining out we often find it difficult to choose just one option when so many sound so good. Sharing is a way for us to get the best of two worlds. We often swap bites from our mains and desserts too. I am not sure if other couples do this but we do.
Once we had decided our mains and starters we both had a quick look at the dessert menu. We never actually order dessert till after our mains, just in case we don’t actually fancy a pud and just want a coffee or something instead. But I always like to browse the menu and get a feel for what is there and what I might fancy eating after my main. The sticky toffee pudding with bourbon vanilla ice cream instantly caught my eye.
The starters arrived and my taste buds were already tingling.
The ailoi tasted so fresh with that strong, slightly hot, garlicy taste, the calamari, garnished with lemon juice was cooked to perfection. A light crispy batter on the outside and soft, succulent flesh on the inside. There is nothing worse than rubbery, over cooked squid. The bacon wrapped scallops on a bed of butternut squash puree were nothing short of absolutely delicious. The bacon was salty and crispy which made the scallops inside taste that bit sweeter. The puree added a mellow touch and reminded me of the autumn weather. Mmmm! If you are dining at The George & Dragon I would definitely recommend trying these. They are on the specials menu and a little pricey at £10.50 but absolutely worth it. Such a yummy, seasonal combination.
The Main Attraction:
We spent the next twenty minutes or so chatting away, about our future house (edit: now all moved in!) and things we wanted in life. That’s something I always enjoy about restaurants and food in general. Its a time to actually connect with people, talk and enjoy your surroundings. I found myself admiring the artwork on the walls, they had various vegetables and plants painted on pallet wood. Just behind me was a giant wine glass, that we imagined filling with our wine cork collection!
The waiter brought our mains to us, they were a feast for the eyes and the smell was just amazing. The yorkshire pudding was placed on top of the meat and vegetables, it was huge, fluffy with that slightly shiny crust. My lamb was underneath but I could already see where it had been seared on the outside and was still pink in the middle. The vegetables were chunky, potatoes were crispy and the gravy was an amazing colour. I was already happy with my choice just from looking at it! Sam’s roast rib of beef was equally visually appetising, the yorkshire sat on layers of sliced roast beef, gravy gently running down the sides. Mmmm!
After finishing our mains we were decidedly full but we were already thinking about dessert. After about ten minutes or so the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, and as he was laying down the menus he told us that they had run out of sticky toffee pudding! That was a shame as we both quite fancied a good sticky toffee pud. There is something quite autumnal about it, that oozy, sweet brown toffee and the satisfying cakey texture.
Anyway, after a through browse of the dessert menu, Sam settled on a warm belgian chocolate brownie with bourbon vanilla ice cream and I settled on an bramley apple and blackberry shortbread crumble with custard. Both desserts arrived and looked equally visually appetising. My crumble had just come out of the oven so it was still piping hot, I poured the custard over, and ate little bites. Mmmm. I’ve always loved apple crumble and adding the blackberries gives it a nice twist. S
Sam’s brownie was utter chocolate perfection. Gooey, fudgy and warm, the ice cream made it all just melt in your mouth soft. Thats something else Sam and I do, we always make sure we can have a bite of each others pudding. Again, best of both worlds the way I see it. I couldn’t have managed a chocolate brownie to myself after the roast, so it was nice to have a bite.
We didn’t stay for coffee as we were both so full after dessert that it was home time! I have to say, I do love a lamb roast, not for every Sunday meal as I’d have to say my favourite is lemon and thyme roasted chicken, but for a special occasion every now and then or just because, lamb is delicious.
What is your ultimate roast combination?