ARE you a brunch or a roast kind of weekender? – the sort of question served up in those lazy celeb soundbites in the posh Sundays. I’m neither, as it happens. Not that my shrinking fanbase really cares.
Still I’d probably swap an eggs benedict and too much coffee for the rather splendid Sunday Roast option newly arrived at The Refuge by Volta.
Volta is the giveaway. Along with sibling bar Elektrik in the ‘burbs it has established a reputation for its way with joints (we are meaning meat), so it was an obvious next step for co-owners Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey to transfer that option to their latest venture.
So each sabbath you can smash the small plate template of the dining room inside The Principal Hotel BIG time by ordering, as we did, the £39 for two Roast Platter, offering enough flesh on one plate to sate a ravenous wolf. We were proud we also managed a helping each of rhubarb crumble and custard afterwards, even if we almost had to be carried to St Peter’s Metrolink stop.
The platter comes with beef, suckling pig and half a chicken, as well as roast potatoes, carrot and swede, Vimto red cabbage, buttered greens and leaves, a duo of titanic Yorkshire puddings, and a substantial heap of cauliflower cheese on the side. With endless gravy, too, if you so wish.
The beef is grass fed rump of Dexter, that pocket battleship of native breeds, the suckling pig (sliced to daintily for me) from the stalwart Pugh’s Piglets in Garstang; the provenance of the chicken I know not, but it was hefty half a bird, heady with garlic and thyme, while, when the Dexter ran out I slathered the remains of my even headier creamed horseradish over its shining breast and the remaining roasties I shovelled up.
Note: all this is is not for the faint-hearted. Wimps can tackle each of the roast triumvirate on its own (well, not quite, all the other accompaniments bar the cauli pile in on the plate) for £17 an individual roast. There’s even a £15 veggie roast on they way.
A pint each of Beavertown Gamma Ray (£5.60) was a wee let-down with not enough flavour surviving the carbonation and pump chill; happily the obligatory Bloody Mary (£8) came to the rescue, coping well with such an endless sensory feast.
In some distant past we had nibbled on small plates of salt cod croquettes with parsley aioli (£6) and mutabal aubergine dip with smoky flatbread (£4.50) but these were the equivalent of the tiny Oxpecker bird, which feeds off the hippo’s back. The Roast Platter is the dish to wallow in. Perfect spur for a Sunday afternoon snooze.
The Refuge by Volta, Principal Hotel, Oxford Road, Manchester, M60 7HA. 0161 2281111. PS it’s dog-friendly (if you need some help finishing) and the surroundings are glorious.Taste Top 10 Sunday Roasts