There are some advantages to the change in season.
We’ve waved bye-bye to the terrible midges, we no longer need to worry about how we look in shorts, the log store is stacked and ready for frosty evenings and best of all, the wonder of the roast lunch is back.
There’s nothing quite like a Sunday roast, and judging by the plaudits it’s already received, there’s no roast quite like a Hawksmoor roast.
If you haven’t already visited then you’re likely to be impressed as you enter Hawksmoor through the lobby of the Edinburgh Grand Hotel. Grand by name is certainly grand by nature and I could feel a frisson of excitement emanating from my daughter as we approached the restaurant that is housed in the former global HQ of the Royal Bank of Scotland, before she announced that this was ‘very fancy’.
Edinburgh’s Hawksmoor serves up two different traditional roasts on Sundays. You can plump for the slow roast rump at £20 a head or if you’re feeling hungry (and flush) the slow roasted prime rib feeds two or three people and costs £80. Both come with the same trimmings but lured by the prospect of more meat and ravenous as we were, Mr B and I decided to forego starters and puds in favour of the prime rib.
The beef is cooked on the Josper grill and finished in the oven and our great hunk of prime rib was served in a sizzling skillet. The meat was cooked to our liking and arrived perfectly pink. Veggies consisted of a large tray of buttery carrots, cabbage, roasted shallots and garlic and decadently crisp beef dripping roast potatoes.
Roast beef lovers across the country may think that I’ve lost my mind and missed out the most important part, but rather I saved the best for last. Two enormous, puffed up Yorkshire puddings warranted their own plate and took up most of mine when I transferred my half of the spoils. The rich bone marrow and onion gravy was a joy and it was all I could do not to drink the tiny amount left in my little gravy jug.
There was nothing delicate or refined about this fine feast, it was all about hearty, comfort food with lashings of flavour and all the better for it. The children were delighted to be allowed to pick from the main menu or starters and sides and were quiet for at least 15 minutes while they devoured their langoustine scampi (£12.00) and macaroni cheese (£5.50), created using a special blend of five cheeses (thanks to our lovely waiter who indulged our family’s cheese obsession for probably longer than he should have to chat about it).
My daughter is something of a mac n’ cheese connoisseur and rarely orders it when we’re out as it never compares to Granny’s super-cheesy version. But, she made an exception here and was thoroughly impressed, lauding the intense cheesiness and lack of the dreaded mild, rubbery Cheddar. Both children were struck dumb by the wonder of the dripping fries (£4.50) and it was all I could do not to pinch more than one, despite the scale of my own lunch!
We did stick to our word and forego pudding, but the wee ones don’t do lunch without dessert so one clotted cream ice-cream (£3.50), which I was not allowed to taste despite appeals that one spoonful in order to review it was not an unreasonable request and one sticky toffee sundae (£6.50) followed. Thankfully the sundae proved too much and I was able to step in and assist with polishing off this rich and datey dessert.
I must mention the staff at Hawksmoor who made us feel extremely welcome throughout the meal, despite my son’s insistence on taking off his socks and shoes at the table. The fact that he felt happy and relaxed enough to make himself at home is testament to them.
As my daughter said, Hawksmoor certainly does look fancy, but the atmosphere is far from formal and it’s a great setting to enjoy some family time and a fabulous traditional Sunday roast.
Hawksmoor Edinburgh, 23 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AA
Tel: 0131 526 4790