About Time You Tried: Bottomless Sunday Roast at OXBO BanksideBy Alicia Grimshaw
Sunday was a big deal for me when I was a child. Not only was it the day I watched Scrapheap Challenge growing up, it was the day my mum would religiously put a roast on the table. In the baking heat of the summer, and on the cold dark evenings in winter, my mum would be furiously basting the meat, preparing the roasties and steaming the veg to ensure her roast was top quality. It’s fair to say my mum set the bar pretty high, so much so that we never dined out for our Sunday roast – that was blasphemy in Di G’s books.
One Sunday, however, I decided it was time to seek out a roast that even my mum would be proud of. And I think, friends, I may have found it.
What: OXBO Bankside is a restaurant housed in the recently opened Hilton Bankside hotel. Before you turn your nose up, dining in hotels is nothing new, and to be honest, it’s firmly on the up. You have the likes of Sea Containers at The Mondrian and The Grill in The Dorchester all serving up delicious brunches, lunches and breakfasts.
OXBO Bankside has nailed that cool, quirky vibe without the air of East London pretentiousness. Yet, it’s still a place that would impress your family or other half. Low lighting and industrial decor has been seamlessly blended with crisp white linen napkins and proper bone china plates. The restaurant is vast, there’s an open plan kitchen at the back, two central tables brimming with starters and desserts, and a live musician in the corner banging out Billy Joel and other hits.
The Food: This is by no means your standard Sunday lunch. At OXBO Bankside there’s unlimited starters and desserts. This is not a drill, may I add. Let’s kick off with the starters, there’s no soup in sight, no melon and no pate and yet – you don’t miss it. In their place there’s sashimi of tuna, salmon and swordfish, a fantastic selection of cured meats including Iberico chorizo, Oxsprings English proscuito, and peppered beef pastrami. The winning starter has to go to the individual aromatic chicken mayonnaise pots with coconut and mango – it’s a super twist on the classic coronation chicken: light, fruity and so tasty I had two, well it’s bottomless after all. If fish is your bag, throw a few of the tiger prawns with lime chilli aji on your plate, they’re super fresh and the lime chilli offers a sweet citrus taste to the prawns.
You have to order the main course from the menu. Choose from either roasted sirloin of Gloucestershire beef served with Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables, breast of corn fed chicken served with tarragon cream, New Haven And South Coast fish casserole or the tofu stir fry for the veggie hunnies.
The beef is cooked beautifully – pink in the middle, tender, it literally melts in the mouth. The roasties are huge and have been dowsed in duck fat, the crispy outside complimented so well with the fluffy interior. Served alongside the beef is a bowl of seasonal veggies, cooked al dente the turnips, carrots and broccoli aren’t a mushy mess and instead pack a flavoursome punch. The real test is the Yorkshire pudding and seeing if it can withstand the onslaught of gravy. I can confirm it does, break the pudding wall and seeing gravy cover your plate is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The gravy is what can make or break a roast – too watery and it’s like eating a bland school dinner, and too thick it’s like pouring tar on your beef. The gravy at OBXO Bankside is superb, it’s rich and contains all the fantastic meat juices. The only problem was, I wanted more of it. Jugs of it.
Two courses in and still one bottomless course to go: it’s time to loosen the belt a couple of notches. You can’t go without trying the carrot cake. Seriously. First up, go for the cookies. The chocolate cookie has a gooey centre, and can easily be eaten before you’ve even made it back to you table. You should also try the two tiered chocolate mousse – a layer of white chocolate on the bottom topped with dark chocolate and finished with a shard of chocolate. It’s chocolatey and utterly dreamy. Highlights from the dessert menu also include; the almond bakewell tart, chocolate profiteroles and strawberry creme brûlée. The chocolate cheesecake will have you throwing out the ‘new year, new me’ malarkey in an instant. There’s also a wide variety of cheese on offer accompanied by crackers, chutneys and other companions.
If you’re after a roast that delivers on exceptional quality and taste, then look no further than OXBO Bankside. It’s indulgent, over the top, but part of me couldn’t help but love it. Sure, you’ve got your Toby Carverys, but the OXBO Bankside put those establishments to shame. Although this might not be the cheapest roast around, if you’re looking for something different, or extra special – it’s worth the extra pounds.
Photo Credit: Jack Hardy