I have decided that my ideal job would be to become a connoisseur of Sunday roasts. Could you imagine having a Sunday roast every single Sunday. It literally would make my life. The traditional Sunday roast seems to have taken a bit of a U turn, and whereas you could only get a plate of meat and veg in traditional carvery’s , it now seems there are a lot more restaurants in Manchester that are bring their versions of the cult classic dinner. I was invited along to Neighbourhood with some of my fave bloggers to sample the Neighbourhood Sunday Roast, and having sent in my choice of meat in advance, I was practically salivating at the thought of a lamb lunch.
I’m a huge fan of Neighbourhood, and since it has had it’s revamp, I love the atmosphere and vibe even more. It’s a great place for lunch, as well as for cocktails of an evening. Being surrounded by friends and having a good old gossip on a Sunday afternoon is nothing short of perfect, and it was lovely to finally meet bloggers who I had only spoken to over social media, such as Elsa from Else Eats. I do have to say that the service in Neighbourhood is second to none. Attentive wait staff made sure our every need was catered for, bringing water and topping up drinks as well as checking if we were enjoying our meal. I couldn’t be happier with the service that I received.
After having placed a pre order for lamb, I was a little disappointed to be told that the lamb was from the old menu and the new menu featured roast chicken or beef. Being a red meat fan, I chose the beef and was hoping that it was cooked to my taste – pink in the middle. As we didn’t order starters, we were brought a bread basket with a selection of accompaniments including a delicious olive tapenade as well as a green basil pesto dip. The pesto was my favourite and I’m sure I polished off nearly the full bowl with all the bread I was eating.
Service in between the courses was really quite speedy, and it was only a few moments from the wait staff clearing the table, to bringing drinks and then our Sunday lunch. This is where I have to be totally honest with you but when my roast first came out, I was actually sat waiting for the rest of it to come out in separate serving dishes. A slice of meat, two roast potatoes, a small amount of cabbage and carrot and a Yorkshire pudding was present on the plate. Now, I like to eat, and I may sometimes eat too much, but the portion that I was served was extremely disappointing for the £17.50 price. Having eaten at many restaurants who are offering Sunday Dinner, this is definitely the most expensive one for the amount of food that you receive. I was hoping that the food would redeem itself against the small portion, but sadly my potatoes were lukewarm and my Yorkshire pudding tasted stodgy like it had been overcooked and sat out for a long time. The meat, however, was delicious. Not exactly piping hot but enough to not warrant sending it back. It was cooked perfectly and considering it was a large slice of meat rather than several thinner slices like you would get elsewhere, it was cooked well throughout, with minimal fat, a tasty exterior and cooked medium rare. Boats of gravy were present on the table for those who wanted it, and although I enjoyed my meal, I wasn’t exactly overfull when I had finished. I would have preferred a big serving dish full of vegetables to be brought out as a side rather than the minimal cabbage and carrot that was served. Compared to the huge piece of chicken option, the beef was very much paling in significance, so it’s worth bearing in mind.
I had to have dessert and I opted for the Lemon Meringue. Served with fresh kiwi, mango and passion fruit, the lemon meringue more than made up for the main course. A thin butter biscuit base with a generous slice of tart lemon topped with delicious meringue that melted in the mouth. A great palette cleanser than rounded off the meal with just the right balance of zest and sweetness.
Throughout the meal, I was drinking Pornstar Martinis which from Neighbourhood are one of my favourite drinks. Sweet, tart, with just the right amount of creamy foam on top, with a flambeed passion fruit and a shot glass of Prosecco. I’m not sure which prosecco they use, but I did have a glass before I left.
When it comes to the food in Neighbourhood, I have never had any problems with any of the food that I have had in the past, but I feel that the Sunday roast is just lacking that wow factor, especially when there are restaurants surrounding Neighbourhood that offer a far superior meal, and for a more reasonable price. For example, Artisan which is directly opposite has a great Sunday roast that is £5 cheaper, whilst further down Spinningfields, The Refinery offers one of the best roasts that I have ever tried, which for the same price absolutely knocks socks off Neighbourhood. I do feel that if Neighbourhood want to succeed in the Sunday roast market they definitely need to up their game. For a comparison, I had lunch out of the city, and although I didn’t get a photo of the serving dish full of cauliflower cheese, green beans, carrots and broccoli, you can see that just from the initial presentation of the meat, potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshires, it certainly has the wow factor, and is even more impressive at just £9.99 for the one course.
Aside from that, I had an absolutely lovely time catching up with friends and it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon before heading home to go back to the daily grind.
*Sunday Roast was provided FOC, however all opinions are my own.