After spending over a year trying to avoid economy bangers and ridiculous egg situations on my search for the ultimate fry up I am still hungry for more. Having eaten breakfast it is now time for lunch, Sunday roast to be precise. Join me as I try out different roast dinners, I will be trying everything from civilised restaurant's to rowdy pubs and supermarket cafe's to stack it high carverys. It's a difficult job but someone has to do it so join me on my search for roast dinner perfection!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The Rivergarden - Norwich

36 Yarmouth Road

Sunday lunch menu served between 12pm and 5pm

Back in August 2014 I visited The Rivergarden for breakfast (read that review here) which was delicious! They no longer serve breakfast but trying their Sunday lunch seemed like a great reason to return again.

Here are their winter opening times.

The bar is close to the main entrance.

The blankets are a nice touch, grab one and get cosy beside the fire.

The area around the fireplace looks like a lovely relaxing spot.

Board games are available here, anyone for a game of Cluedo?

The Rivergarden feels homely and welcoming throughout.

Our table was laid out really nicely, I loved the use of scrabble letters on the reserved sign.

Up to three courses are available on the Sunday menu, it all sounded delicious but we were just having the main course today. I'd been thinking about turkey all week with it being only a week away until Christmas so was delighted to see it on the menu, cauliflower cheese caught my eye too, love it!

I went for a pint of Guinness, perfect with a Sunday roast.

The items to share arrived first, a root veg selection, some cauliflower cheese and extra gravy.  In these situations I worry about getting my fair share, there was plenty to go around though which was a relief.

The root veg selection consisted of thick cut parsnips, whole carrots and onions. All incredibly tasty and cooked really nicely.

The cauliflower cheese was delicious, it's one of my wife's favourite ever dishes so she was over the moon when it arrived.

The stacked presentation was impressive with the roast potatoes making a good foundation to support the turkey, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding.

I rotated the plate and spotted a pig in a blanket, always a wonderful sight. Time to add some veg and some of that cauliflower cheese to this impressive stack of Sunday goodness.

It was a low light to take good photos in but I carried on regardless. The thick slices of turkey were nice and moist and the large pig in a blanket looked superb.

Hidden beneath the Yorkshire pudding lay a slice of stuffing.

The Yorkshire pudding was a good size and nicely cooked.

At the heart of a good Sunday roast is a decent roast potato and these were excellent!

I requested some cranberry sauce and covered the turkey in it, delicious!

My wife chose the veggie option, Glamorgan sausage. I tried some and really liked it, it was quite cheesy with a distinctive mustard flavour.

I'd already been to The Rivergarden back in 2014 for breakfast and really enjoyed it, because of this I had high expectations for our visit today. We were going for a family lunch so my initial thought was to keep my iPhone in my pocket and to sit back and enjoy the lunch. I was keen to add another place to the roast inspector blog though and nobody else in the group minded if I reviewed the meal so out came the iPhone...

Upon entering - The Rivergarden as the name suggests has a river that runs beside its stunning garden at the rear. As it was a bit chilly we didn't venture out there today though, instead we had reserved a table inside. The interior is warm and welcoming with a number of different areas to choose from, the first thing you see is the bar by the main entrance. Just beside this is really cosy looking area with an open fire, board games and armchairs. Beyond the bar is where we sat at a nice big table facing another beautiful fireplace, just beyond that and down some steps is the dining area beside the windows that look out to the garden. Our table was beautifully laid with a selection of glasses, cutlery, condiments and a reserved sign made using scrabble letters. Once seated we were given menus and shown the Sunday menu blackboard, we were able to order drinks at the table and simply paid at the bar on the way out. A very straightforward ordering process with everything you need on the table in a stunning environment, excellent! 9/10

Service - We were greeted with a smile, shown to our table and told that somebody would come along shortly to take our drinks order. Whilst ordering drinks we were given menus to choose from, we  decided what we all wanted quite quickly and placed our order. Wine glasses which we didn't need were taken away from the table to give us more space and we were offered a bottle of water for the table. The food all arrived together which is always nice when there's a group of you eating, we requested some cranberry sauce and settled in to the meal. We paid at the bar on the way out and was made to feel welcome throughout the meal, all the staff here were really friendly and efficient. 9/10

Type of roast - Ready served with shared vegetables. 

Meats available - Beef or turkey. 

Contents - Roast Norfolk turkey, pigs in blankets, stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese, carrots, parsnips, onions and jus. 8/10

Vegetable portions - A fairly generous amount of large roast potatoes were served on each of our plates. Between four of us we were given one bowl of cauliflower cheese and two bowls of roast root vegetables, once plated up it was plenty enough to go around. 7/10

Presentation - The stacked presentation worked really well here with everything nicely balanced on the plate leaving enough room to add the other items around the edge. The cauliflower cheese and roast root veg were presented neatly in square bowls seated on a large square board, the extra gravy was served in a traditional gravy boat. 9/10

The food - The turkey was just how I was hoping it would be, nice tender and juicy slices, it was topped with a fairly tasty slice of stuffing. The nice long pig in a blanket was a pleasure to eat, a thin juicy sausage wrapped in a tasty rasher of bacon, I wish all pigs in blankets were this size!  The Yorkshire pudding hadn't overstayed its time in the oven, a great colour with a soft centre and slightly crunchy top. The roast potatoes here were amazing, probably the best I'd been served anywhere recently with a great taste, soft centre and nice crispy edges.  I loved the roasted root veg selection, chunky cut parsnips, whole carrots and onions, all packed full of flavour and cooked just right ensuring they still maintained a slightly firm texture. It's always a pleasure to see cauliflower cheese served with a roast dinner and here it was something to get excited about, the cauliflower was cooked to perfection and the cheese sauce was rich and delicious with a nice crispy top. As Sunday roasts go this was excellent, served nice and hot and certainly a pleasure to eat. 9/10

Gravy and sauces -  A nice rich gravy was already on the plate and extra was also brought to the table, always nice to have the option to add some more. A decent serving of cranberry sauce packed with plenty of whole cranberries accompanied the turkey beautifully. 8/10

Veggie option - Glamorgan sausages with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, roast root veg and cauliflower cheese. 

Value for money - The cost for the main course was £9.95, it's a decent size and tasted great so well worth the money. Starters and desserts are available too, 2 courses cost £12.95 and 3 courses cost £15. 8/10

Overall - I loved The Rivergarden on my previous visit for breakfast and once again felt the same this time having tried their Sunday roast. It looks great inside and feels really cosy and spacious, the blankets, real fire and board games are nice touches that add to that homely feel. The staff are really friendly, efficient and welcoming and the food is delicious, definitely somewhere worth visiting for Sunday lunch and somewhere I look forward to returning to again. 8.5/10


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Sir Garnet - Norwich

 36 Market Place

Sunday roast served from 12pm onwards


The Sir Garnet can be found beside Norwich Market, a stunning building with great views.

Everything on the menu sounded delicious, we just went for the main course though.

We sat on the ground floor with a great view of City Hall in the distance.

There's more seating upstairs.

Wood panelled walls and stunning views right across the market place towards Guildhall can be found on the first floor.

Place your order and pay at the bar.

I couldn't decide between these two lagers, we were kindly offered a taster of each.

We were given some cutlery, salt, pepper and an order number at the bar. We enjoyed a drink whilst waiting for the food to arrive, I can highly recommend the Adnams Jack Brand dry hopped lager (a nice grapefruit kick) and also the Camden Hells Lager.

The food arrived looking impressive and delicious, it was piping hot and ready served on the plate which was a huge bonus.

I went for the turkey roast, I couldn't wait until Christmas!

There was cranberry sauce and plenty of gravy.

Nice thick slices of tender and tasty turkey.

The Yorkshire pudding was huge.

I like a Yorkshire pudding that has a soft and crispy combination going on.

Underneath the turkey I spotted the roast potatoes.

They tasted great with a nice crispy edge.

 The carrots were delicious.

 I really enjoyed the beetroot, not something I'd had on a roast dinner before.

Nice fresh Kale.

My wife thoroughly enjoyed the bean stuffed squash, a delicious vegetarian option.

We certainly left happy customers, a great roast.

We were supposed to have been off to Ipswich for the day but heavy winds had meant that the makers market we were taking part in had been cancelled by the local council. This had also put an end to the roast dinner I'd planned to have in Ipswich. My wife suggested we headed to Cafe Britannia for a Sunday roast instead, after being in there for just five minutes though it seemed far to hectic and noisy to be enjoyable. We then went on to try The Quebec, William IV, The Jubilee, The Coach and Horses on Thorpe Road, The Compleat Angler and Roccos. Each place we tried either didn't have a proper vegetarian option for my wife or didn't appeal to us once inside. At this moment on our trail of disappointment we were suddenly filled with hope as we remembered The Sir Garnet in the city centre. We'd heard good things about it, so rushed there with our fingers crossed...

Upon entering - This quaint medieval building has heaps of character with its creaky floor and exposed beams. There's a bar and some tables on the ground floor, head up the stairs for even more tables and stunning views across the market. There's a fairly big outside seating area too, perfect for the warmer months. The first thing I noticed was how relaxing and peaceful it was inside, for me a must when eating out. There were menus on each table, once you've decided simply place your order and pay at the bar. You're given a pint glass containing your order number on a wooden spoon, salt, pepper and cutlery. Certainly a really nice place to enjoy food and somewhere you can easily chat, we really liked it. 8/10

Service - We placed our order and pondered over what Adnams lager to go for, the chap behind the bar kindly let us sample some before ordering which was really appreciated. We returned to the table with our pint glass of essentials and a bit later the food arrived. The staff here were certainly welcoming, friendly and helpful. 8/10

Type of roast - Ready served 

Meats available - Topside of beef and turkey.  

Contents - Turkey, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, beetroot, kale, cabbage and gravy. 7/10

Vegetable portions - I was delighted to discover that everything arrives already on the plate here so you can start eating the food with no messing about. There were four decent sized roast potatoes and a reasonable amount of vegetables on the plate. 7/10

Presentation - This towering Sunday roast was very pleasing on the eye and everything was nicely placed on the plate. 9/10

The food - Nice thick slices of beautifully cooked turkey, really tender and delicious. The roast potatoes were golden and crispy with a soft fluffy centre, they tasted amazing. The giant Yorkshire pudding was pretty good with a nice crunchy edge and softer texture in the middle. I love beetroot but had never eaten it with a roast dinner before, nor hot come to think of it, nice though! I'm a big fan of cabbage, carrots and kale, they were all cooked really nicely and full of flavour. 9/10

Gravy and sauces - A nice rich gravy was already poured over the dinner, it seemed like the right amount for me. A fairly generous amount of cranberry sauce was served in a small bowl. 7/10

Veggie option - Bean stuffed squashed with all the trimmings for £10

Value for money - The Sunday roast costs £10 here, it's filling and delicious so certainly a fair enough price. 7/10

Overall - A lovely pub to enjoy a great Sunday roast, a decent vegetarian option is on offer too which is always nice to see. The building is beautiful and the views across the market place are stunning, definitely a good find and somewhere I will return to again. 8/10

 - Update, November 2017 -

 Just over two years since we first visited The Sir Garnet for a roast we were back again. We were delighted to see the price was the same as it was back in 2015 and my wife was impressed with the vegan option which many places overlook.

 The roast Blythburgh pork was really tender and served in nice thick slices with crackling, perfect with apple sauce. The meat lay over a mound of creamy mashed potato, I welcome mashed potato with a roast dinner and wish more places would serve it. The roast potatoes were big and crispy and the vegetables quite firm so retaining plenty of their flavour. A decent sized portion with everything served on the plate, this is how I like to see it served!

 My wife had the cranberry sauce filled nut roast served with a red wine gravy. 

My wife was too full up for a dessert but I couldn't resist the homemade warmed chocolate brownie. Really gooey and so delicious served with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The White Lion - Norwich

73 Oak Street

Sunday roast served from midday until they sell out so get there early!

With so many recommendations for their Sunday lunch I couldn't resist visiting The White Lion on Oak Street.

We arrived just after midday to ensure there was still plenty of food left. It was also an ideal opportunity to get some photos of this beautiful and traditional pub before it started getting busy.

Real ale and cider drinkers are spoilt for choice here.

We sat by the window where the light was excellent for taking photos. The tables here are large, solid and sit firmly on the floor eliminating any annoying table wobble.

 In the back room there are more tables, the kitchen is through the door in the far corner.

 Another room at the side offers even more seating and bar billiards.

The roast changes each week and the golden slice is a vegetarian option.

I ordered a pint of Milestone Black Pearl, a great stout!

This homemade horseradish cream was to die for, easily the best I'd ever had the pleasure of eating! Thick and creamy with the chunky strands of horseradish giving it a nice hot kick, perfect with the brisket.

My wife requested some ketchup and was delighted when this homemade variety arrived at the table, in her words "lovely and quite tarte"

No messing around with seperate vegetable bowls here, everything arrives on the plate and looks superb!

A delicious wild mushroom stuffing lay on top of the thick sliced succulent roasted brisket.

Being slow roasted for 12 hours created brisket that tasted amazing and almost melted in the mouth, the texture was perfect.

The huge Yorkshire pudding that topped the plate was delicious and perfectly cooked.

Large roast potatoes with a nice crispy edge.

Butter softened cabbage cooked perfectly.

Roasted parsnips and carrots, again cooked perfectly.

My wife loved the vegetarian option, golden slice covered in a creamy white wine sauce. I tried some too and was really impressed, delicious!

I had no intention of having a dessert but curiosity got the better of me after overhearing the barman explain the stout posset with baked pear to another customer. Having just eaten an incredibly nice roast dinner I finished off with one of the nicest desserts I'd eaten in a long time. 

Just three weeks had passed since I'd decided to dust off the Roast Inspector blog by visiting The Stanley in Norwich for Sunday lunch. I was keen to visit somewhere else but with so many Sunday Roast option out there it was a difficult choice. Many people were recommending The White Lion's Sunday roast so I headed there with my wife to see what all the fuss was about...

Upon entering - The White Lion has a stunning traditional interior with chunky wooden tables, tiled floors and exposed beams. The pub is divided into three separate rooms with a central bar that can be accessed from all the areas. The front room has heaps of natural light, stools at the bar and nice big tables. The room at the rear is much darker and has more tables, a sofa and a coffee table. The room at the side offers more seating and a bar billiards table. We were drawn to the well lit front area as taking photos in a good light was essential. The Sunday roast was chalked up on a blackboard and kept very simple, a meat option, veggie option and dessert. Place your order and pay at the bar, cutlery and sauces arrive first and not long after that the food arrives. It was really nice to enjoy a Sunday roast in such a peaceful and relaxing environment with no music blaring out in the background. I could chat with my wife and not have to shout to be heard, this is my kind of pub on a Sunday afternoon. 9/10

Service - The chap serving us was relaxed, friendly and welcoming. As we waited at the bar he aknowleged us saying he would be over shortly, this gave me a great opportunity to get some interior shots of the pub. Our order was taken and we chose a table by the window, as we enjoyed our drinks the cutlery, condiments and food all arrived in good time. My wife requested some ketchup and was delighted when a pot of homemade ketchup was brought to the table. We pondered over the dessert wondering how it was made, the chap behind the bar kindly explained it in detail, after this I knew I couldn't resist trying it! We left thinking that as far as service goes this was spot on, we were welcomed and anything we were unsure of was explained. 10/10

Type of roast - Ready served 
Meats available - One meat option on the day but it changes each week.

Contents - 12 hour slow roasted brisket in a rich red wine gravy, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, butter softened cabbage, roasted parsnips and carrots, wild mushroom stuffing and homemade horseradish cream. 8/10

Vegetable portions - Everything is served together on the plate here which made me incredibly happy, in my opinion this is how a roast dinner should be served. The quantity and selection of vegetables served was just right and complimented the meat very nicely. 9/10

Presentation - As the food was placed on the table in front of me I was delighted with this impressive Sunday roast masterpiece that towered up from the plate. Everything was beautifully positioned on the plate and looked perfectly cooked, never had a roast looked so appetising. 10/10

The food - The slow cooked brisket was really tender and tore apart beautifully. It tasted amazing and melted in the mouth. Laying on top of the brisket was a delicious wild mushroom stuffing with a nice coarse texture. The roast potatoes were crispy on the outside with a soft centre, a proper roast potato and a good size too. The Yorkshire pudding was really big, tasted fantastic and had an excellent texture throughout. The veg were all cooked perfectly and consisted of butter softened cabbage, carrots and parsnips. A hugely enjoyable Sunday roast that couldn't have been any better, perfect! 10/10

Gravy and sauces - The rich red wine gravy was sensational and complimented the meal  perfectly. The homemade horseradish cream was by far the nicest I'd ever had the pleasure of eating, the thick cut horseradish gave a really good kick. 10/10

Veggie option - Golden slice with all the roast trimmings in a creamy white wine sauce - £8.50

Value for money - The brisket roast cost £9.50 and was well worth the money. 9/10

Overall - On my search for the perfect Sunday Roast experience I was looking for a number of things and The White Lion seemed to tick all of those boxes! A lovely traditional pub to dine in that was also nice and relaxing with no music booming out in the background. The staff were friendly, informative and made us feel really welcome. The food was incredibly nice, perfectly cooked and I loved how it was all served on the plate. I would never usually have a dessert too but having just eaten such an amazing main course it seemed insane not to, the dessert here was excellent! Be sure to give The White Lion a visit for Sunday lunch, you won't be disappointed and I can't wait to return again. 9.5/10