Our weekly search for Leeds' best roast leads us to a multi-course fine dining tasting menu
Food’s an emotional thing; a conduit for feelings and memories transcending the boundaries of just taste, and there’s surely no meal that conjures as much sentiment and nostalgia as the Sunday lunch?
We’ve all got our individual preferences and traditions. Whether you prefer perfectly uniform Yorkshire Puddings or unique misshapen ones; roast or mash (or both); or correct gravy etiquette is indoctrinated in us from a young age. Maybe a childhood of eating a roast on the settee while watching the Formula 1 has conditioned brings on a phantom waft of Bisto and causes you to drool like Pavlov’s dog whenever you hear the name “Heinz-Harald Frentzen”.
The “best” Sunday roast is a subjective topic to say the least and, to be honest, it probably doesn’t exist. To get philosophical for a second; the “best” roast is an abstract concept, it's nestled in our individual psyches, rather than on a plate, in a pub, in Leeds, under some gravy. That’s not going to stop us trying to find it, though.
Over the next few months we’re going to seek out and taste-test Sunday roasts from a variety of pubs and restaurants around Leeds, and giving weekly mini-reviews of the venue, atmosphere, and delve deep into the roast itself:
Sunday menu (Celeriac, suckling pig, granny smith. Smoked salmon & trout paté & potted shrimps. Roasted root veg, walnuts & honey. Yorkshire pudding. Venison, mash, veg & gravy. Treacle tart, thyme and clotted cream ice cream.) £50
It almost feels disingenuous to include this on a round-up of Sunday roasts. I mean, yeah, there’s meat and veg, Yorkshire Puddings and gravy, and a treacle tart afterwards, but it’s hardly Picture House Carvery. Think of it as a remix of the Sunday roast; a freeform jazz interpretation on the theme; it’s post-roast.
Like all the best remixes, it observes and absorbs the reference material, honing in and riffing on certain elements, and condensing others to their very essence. Roasted root veg - usually a side-dish - become their own course; analysed in macro detail and rebuilt from the ground up. Flavours and textures are magnified - the caramelised scraps are obviously the best bits, so they’re made separately and used as a totally separate part of the dish.
Another course is dedicated to a couple palm-sized Yorkshire Puddings, with an antique sherry miniature full of Class A-potent gravy and a aerated horseradish creme, inviting you to make your own savoury eclair. On the other hand, and entire bonfire night roast pork sandwich, and all the flavour it possesses, gets concentrated into a few mouthfuls of celeriac veloute, studded with slow-cooked suckling pig and granny smith apple.
Still, even the most abstract remix knows that you do not fuck with the chorus. So the main event is still meat and two veg: we had ruddy-cheeked venison haunch as well as a venison and licorice pie, a swoosh of buttered mash, with tendrils of crispy fried parsnip.
This is all over the course of a few hours in a relaxing environment where everything is considered on your behalf. For an extra £30 the amiable staff will refill your glass with an expertly-paired wine with each course, filling your head with everything you could possibly need to know about it in the process. You’ve never had a Sunday lunch like this before.
Meat: 10. Veg: 10. Yorkshire pud: 7. Dessert: 8
HOME, 16/17 Kirkgate, Leeds LS1 6BY. Website