Despite having been to London a couple of times in the past year, I have never tried a Sunday roast before. Well, if I am to be entirely honest, I never even heard about Sunday roast. While I heard from the foodie circle that St Betty is doing a great Sunday roast this part of the world, it was with an open mind and a sense of adventure that I went to the restaurant in IFC one weekend.
The Sunday roast ($298 per person, minimum two person) arrived at my table with much fanfare; three staff holding various bits and pieces, elaborately setting up the table and placing dishes in the right configuration for my better half and I. I almost wanted to video the whole thing, but I refrained. I was at St Betty after all, I am not sure if such uncouth behaviour will be tolerated.
The roast beef, in short, was divine. Packed with natural flavour and moisture, the medium-rare beef was wonderfully charred on the outside and deliciously pink on the inside. I like my beef with adequate beefiness, with more than a lingering smokey taste, and these Josper-cooked meat had me grunting in relish. The accompanying horseradish cream was satisfyingly light, without overpowering the beef. In fact, I had it with almost everything else, and I can assure you that it worked.
We loved the root vegetable mash, best eaten in spoonfuls, as of the confit of Chinese cabbage and Japanese bacon. Now that was certainly a touch of Asian influence which, though seems odd at first glance, was surprisingly complementary to the main meal.
The roast potatoes were also a surprise… and not in a way I expected. It looked the part, but tasted dry and unflavourful. Almost like as if this was prepared by a different chef. Same goes for the Yorkshire. The cream and gravy we heaped onto it couldn’t mask its ordinariness.
The brunch menu was a delight to behold, with grin-inspiring dishes tempting my bottomless appetite of a foodie. But knowing that the Sunday roast would make the both of us more than just full, we had to choose only one, and so we went for a salad. Salad of rocket, toasted pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, shaved Stilton. I love pumpkin seeds, and the creamy butternut squash was satisfying, which was more than made up for the heavy dressing on the rockets. I would have loved them less soggy, maintaining their crispy green freshness.
The meal ended with a rhubarb and apple crumble. This came in a mini cast iron pot, one for each of us. By now it is worth noting that we were filled absolutely to the brim, and no amount of coaxing from me could convince the better half to finish the dessert. The upper crumble crust was vanilla-infused and buttery good almost to a fault, while the apple and rhubarb within was sweet. Probably way to sweet for one full person, but had the pot meant to be shared between two, it would have been perfect. Oh, and if you like you dessert to be heavy, stir in the cream. It was a mess of a crumble which had me yearning. But I had to stop or my hour on the treadmill the day before would have went to absolute waste.
Oh, also recomended is the drink Guava Collins – guava juice with kaffir lime leaf, coconut and lime. I never had a coconut milk drink this refreshing and light. Despite the heavy meal this went right down a treat.
A word about the restaurant. And about the way we were dressed that Sunday. Total. Mismatched. I didn’t think of checking what kind of a place St Betty is, and I turned up in t-shirts and berms. Good gracious, it was such a classy place. The view through the ceiling-to-floor was to die for, and with the sunny streaming through, complete fluffy clouds decorating the sky, one can hardly ask for a better day to have a great Sunday brunch.
Like I said, I went with an open mind, so the interior was kinda endearing to me. Stonewalls lined with potted plants, with comfortable patio furniture and multiple ceiling fans. The effect was somewhat European, somewhat London, certainly relaxed in a poshed way. If you have been to Europe and London (like I did), you could almost put your fingers to it… but just almost. There is an element of trying, yet maybe not too hard. The end effect was somewhat confusing… or if you are like me, endearing. At the very least it was certainly a different, welcomed dining experience for me.
The wait staff deserves stellar rating. Okay, so the uniform is a bit over the top to my untrained eyes, but everyone was attentive and informative. Empty dishes wereemptied promptly, cutleries changed without being asked, food stories were joyously shared. I knew this level of service is included in the price, but for someone who is accustomed to ruthless but efficient service in Hong Kong restaurants, can you blame a guy for being appreciative?
Verdict? The Sunday roast was an experience to remember by, and the brunch menu, tantalising. I would return with guests I want to impress.
This was an invited tasting session. Some photos courtesy of St Betty.