As the nights draw in that wee bit earlier and pumpkin spiced lattes have reappeared on every Starbucks menu so my hankering for hearty comfort food has returned. Salads are all well and good in the summertime but when the air begins to cool and you find yourself having to plan your outfits around warmth and potential rain showers you need something a little warmer ahead of, dare I say it, Winter!
But Autumn’s only just arrived. Let’s enjoy her company and settle into Sunday walks, kicking leaves in the park and indulging in that quintessentially British meal: the roast dinner.
There are so many bars and bistros in London boasting how their culinary efforts in this department are unrivalled but if, like me, you’re far from an expert it can be a bit tricky to sort the bravado from the brisket, so to speak. Fear not! Help is at hand!
Waaaaaay back in the Summer I won a competition with London’s newest lifestyle magazine, About Time, to enjoy a roast dinner with a twist at Harvey Nichols’ newest pop-up restaurant, Hereford + York. Rather than competing with every other bistro on the block the team identified the thing that sets the British roast dinner from its counterparts around the world and created an entire menu around the one and only Yorkshire pudding.
Sophie and I called in one balmy Summer’s afternoon – not your typical roast-dinner-eating weather but with our bellies empty we hopped up to the bar in eager anticipation of what was billed as the best roast in town.
The lovely team behind the pass were Brandon and Iria who recommended the salmon filled Yorkie but I couldn’t be tempted to stray from the original – and arguably the best – roast beef.
Our supersized H+F christened ‘Yorkies’ were piled high with succulent roast beef, onions and cress before being drizzled with a peppery horseradish sauce. A word to the wise: this is not date food unless you really want to showcase how good you are at getting cress stuck in between your teeth! Our Yorkies were delicious, if a little heavy for the season but definitely the perfect Autumnal warmer after a day out enjoying the fresh air.
I caught up with Michael Vivian – one of the restaurant’s three co-founders- to find out what makes the perfect roast dinner…
Preparing the perfect Roast Dinner is about two things: quality ingredients and timing.
“Meats have been roasted in the Britain dating back to prehistory and it is probably the technique for which we are most famous (don’t forget the French call us “les Rosbifs”!). However it’s the Yorkshire pudding which is probably the king of our kitchen. It’s lighter than a sandwich, more succulent than a wrap and far tastier, and it was that which inspired us to show how versatile it can be!
The name Hereford + York comes from the origins of the ingredients – Hereford Beef and Yorkshire Puddings. We always make sure that our beef is British and farm assured – we’re passionate about being able to track all of our produce from field to service.
Each part of the meal is relatively simple and therefore the quality of the ingredients should always really shine through.
As the techniques involved in every part of the dish are not too complicated, the skill comes in making sure everything comes together at the right time – there’s no shame in having a timetable stuck to the fridge!
Of course the great thing about a roast is being able to share it with family and friends along with a tasty red wine!”
Hereford + York’s time at Harvey Nichols has now come to an end but judging by their social media pages it looks like a new pop-up home has been found. Keep an eye to the team’s Twitter feed for updates on their relaunch and make sure you’re at the head of the queue when they do.
Thanks to About Time and Hereford + York for a lovely afternoon – it’s definitely one for every foodie’s bucket list! I’d love to know if you have any weird and wonderful foods you’d like to try. Maybe you’ve tried a great modern twist on a classic dish? Feel free to share comments in the section below, I’m always up for trying a good recommendation! Bon appétit!xx