The Aviary takes Sunday Roast to a new level. Up to the tenth floor, to be precise.
When you think of Sunday Roast do you think of country pubs? A roaring fire, ‘crack your head open’ low beams, and sugar-rushed kids running around madly while their parents hide behind a copy of The Observer. It’s always The Observer, for some reason.
Aviary’s Sunday Roast comes with a bottomless drink offering, including English Wine and Sparkling, as well as a selection of cocktails including a Grey Goose Bloody Mary, Grey Goose Peach & Rosemary Vodka & Tonic and an English Buck’s Fizz with Chapel Down.
So we flew up there last Sunday, but with the temperatures close to freezing, we didn’t venture out from the large airy space. The view from the floor to ceiling windows is still impressive, and they’re frosted at the bottom so as not to upset anyone who suffers from vertigo, i.e. me.
A mix of people were in, some were obviously hotel guests, but others had, like us, ventured in from local postcodes.
From that bottomless brunch drink selection I downed a Bloody Mary, packed with flavour and just the right amount of Tabasco, while P had the Chapel Down fizz. A plate of pimento stuffed olives wrapped in anchovies was a good accompanying nibble, let down a bit by being fridge cold which dulled the flavours somewhat.
Six starter options, if you don’t count the oysters, but the starter that I really fancied, the Dorset crab doughnut with dashi jam, was off. Pressed Barbary duck terrine, smoked duck breast, cranberry relish and sourdough crisps was still on though, and turned out to be a decent dish, although the terrine was a little under seasoned.The duck breast had the most flavour, the cranberry relish adding welcome sharpness.
Beetroot cured salmon was our other starter, the thick cut salmon rendered red by the ‘root and with a pleasant earthy taste set off by three kinds of mustard on the plate, one of which had me coughing furiously after I added too much. Pickled cucumber and some actual beetroot all added extra colour and texture.
The roast cometh. Now I have two basic main measures of a roast; I don’t want it so inundated in gravy that the potatoes stick up like icebergs, and I don’t want a Yorkshire pudding so big I could wear it as a hat.
No problems with either here, the gravy is minimal and more is available on request. The Yorkshire is what I call a ‘wet’ one, not everyone’s preference but that’s how my mother made them and I prefer them that way. Goose fat roasted potatoes are crunchy, the carrots colourful and I really do like the hunk of grilled cabbage.
Superb Somerset Saxon free range chicken comes as a large breast with its skin and bone in, just as it should be, and has a spare leg as a nice extra addition. Both are extremely well cooked. Very moist meat, packed with flavour. This chicken had lived the good life and it showed. The stuffing is a compressed disc, I prefer it rough and roasted, and the bread sauce is a bit too thin and with rather too much tarragon? Small caveats, it’s a very good roast.
P has all the same veg as me, but her meat is Lyons Hill farm rare breed beef rib-eye, with bone marrow on the side and horseradish cream. It is excellent beef, I think it’s the best I’ve tasted for a very long while and she agrees. The fat is fantastic and so is the marrow. A total success and an advert for Aviary’s excellent sourcing.
We share a simple and typically Sunday dessert of apple and damson crumble with an oat crumb and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Crumble has to be Britain’s dessert gift to the world, so delicious when done right and it certainly is done right here. I regret sharing it and almost order another one, but show restraint.
Aviary’s Sunday Roast is well worth heading into town for. A great view and very respectable roast. Who needs a pub?
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Aviary, Royal London House, 10th Floor Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, London EC2A 1DX