The word 'bottomless' has described a lot of my meals recently. And I am not complaining. London's latest obsession with combining every kind of weekend lunch with unlimited booze is just another reason why I love my city.
So when the South Place Chop House announced the launch of their new Sunday Roast menu served with free flowing wine... well how could I say no? Located on the ground floor of the South Place Hotel, the restaurant is a part of one of my favourite city venues. At the end of last year I reviewed the hotel's Michelin star seafood restaurant, Angler, which sits on the rooftop looking out over the city. South Place's Secret Garden bar has also become one of my favourites with its heated outdoor space covered in tropical foliage and flowing waterfalls. It truly is a secret spot in the heart of the city... so ssh, share it wisely!
The Chop House is the only part of the hotel I had yet to explore, so naturally I was curious to experience their new British menu. Taking up the east corner of the hotel, it is a warm modern restaurant offering up a variety of seasonal meat and fish dishes with an un-fussy yet quality style.
Allyn and I took a seat in the far corner, a bright table surrounded by floor to ceiling windows, sitting on a comfortable brown leather sofa I became more and more attached to as the alcoholic beverages flowed.
We were served thick crusty bread with the hotel's own branded salty butter as eyes gazed over the menu. The Sunday selection offers a range of delicious sounding starters followed by a trio of roasts and other traditionally British dishes. The Scotch egg featuring sharing board caught my attention however I decided to be sensible and shrink my eyes to the size of my stomach.
Instead we swapped a starter for a Chop House customised Bloody Mary. Now I have to start by saying that I’ve never been a fan of Mary. Virgin or not, her tomato base is a peculiar taste but it had been a few years so I thought, heck, why not?! And who can resist a build-your-own menu?
I started with a Chase bacon washed vodka – because, bacon – mixed with red tomato juice and Worcester sauce. Next came the ginger, basil and celery to garnish. Allyn stuck with a more sinister mix, combining Belvedere jalapeño vodka, yellow tomato and Worcester sauce with a celery and basil top.
Firstly, I could taste the bacon. Tick. Secondly I got a scent of the ginger and basil. Double tick. However the main ingredient was and still is a little too much for me. I can’t help but think that a Bloody Mary should just be stuck in the microwave and flung over pasta. I’d just enjoy it so much more.
That said Allyn’s was pretty good. The yellow tomato base made it less rich and sweet and the jalapeño gave it a hefty kick up the backside. So basically just take the tomato out the Bloody Mary and I’m sold.
Moving swiftly on, we took to the wine list. The Sunday menu offers a choice of bottomless Italian white or red, but with a blog post to write and half a vodka infused tomato juice down, I thought I should probably be all boring and grown up and avoid the unlimited wine.
Didn’t stop us ordering a glass each though. I picked a divine Spanish Rioja scented with cedar and vanilla which accompanied my meal perfectly. The only thing I’d say is that South Place… if you’re going to offer up bottomless wine, please give the non-free flowing drinkers a different glass. My beautiful Rioja was suddenly mixed with a less delicate grape before I could stop it. I mean thumbs up for the keen glass topper uppers though.
Allyn and I both picked the sirloin of beef. The other roast options are a sharing portion of lamb which would be perfect if it came with roast potatoes instead of mash, or chicken. And well chicken is chicken.
Each roast comes with a piping hot bowl of cauliflower cheese, seasonal vegetables (aka sweet carrots and broccoli) and praise to the South Place menu creators… bottomless homemade sweetly rich gravy. There is nothing worse than a dry Sunday lunch.
Our waiter kindly asked if we were ok with our beef served to the chef’s recommendations, a nice touch to be considered, before he happily granted our request for extra roasties. If there’s anything a Sunday lunch can’t have enough of apart from free flowing gravy… its big crispy potatoes.
The meat was perfectly pink and although a tiny bit crunchier than I’d like, the cauliflower sauce was perhaps the creamiest I’ve had to date. The happily large Yorkshire pud was somehow beautifully crisp yet soft and flavoursome inside.
And the potatoes. Oh my the potatoes. My first initial doubts at the pale outer coatings were soon pushed aside as I took a bite. It was like the inside had been scooped out, mixed with butter and then piped back in again. Is that your secret South Place? TELL ME THE SECRET. I mean (take a deep breath)… they were probably the best roast potatoes I’ve had in London. Maybe even better than mine. Allyn are they better than mine? Don’t lie to me.
So yeah. I liked the roast. I’m now going home to experiment with piping bags and a few hundred kilos of potatoes.
A lot of rich creamy deliciousness down, I was struggling. I’d been rather excited at the prospect of apple crumble but my stomach was letting me down. Damn it I’d have to share a pudding with Allyn. And a light one at that.
We ordered the blood orange Pavlova and it was a damn good choice. A little crispy shell simply served on a plate opened up to marshmallow meringue and sweet orange slices, which satisfied my sweet tooth without making my food baby give me afternoon sickness.
The menu offers a set choice of 2 courses for £25 or 3 for £30 but most dishes add up to those costs anyway, making it an excellent choice for any occasion. You’ll struggle to find a menu of this good value in the city, particularly one serving such perfected potatoes.
Our meal at the South Place Chop House was complimentary however despite the extra roast potatoes, all views are my own.