Sunday, 19 November 2017

Award-winning Sunday roast comes up tops

LUSCOMBES Restaurant in Middle Assendon is the fine dining arm of the Golden Ball pub, and head chef Steve Luscombe

LUSCOMBES Restaurant in Middle Assendon is the fine dining arm of the Golden Ball pub, and head chef Steve Luscombe has cooked under such culinary luminaries as Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc. He was even the chef of choice for the Team GB rowing squad at the 2004 Olympics.

The restaurant has recently been voted Best Sunday Lunch in the South of England Observer Food Awards. Suffice to say, I had high expectations as I entered through the rustic wooden doors.

The restaurant was quiet when we arrived at 12.30 just before the rush last Sunday, but it soon filled up and had a friendly buzz.

As we ordered our starters — Cornish squid with honey and mustard dressing and fresh coriander for me, chicken liver parfait with chutney and toast for my partner — we considered the pub’s décor. It retains a country pub charm but with warm lighting and classy, relaxing music.

The starters arrived promptly and were large enough to be mistaken for main courses. The squid was fried and salty, which complemented the sweet dressing well. My partner’s pafait was likewise excellent.

Having heard of the famous Sunday roasts, I had high expectations of the main course. I ordered roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding and parsnip purée. My partner chose roast chicken with chicken liver stuffing and both meals came with roast potatoes and a vegetable platter of spiced red cabbage, cheesy leeks, crushed swede, carrot and spinach.

The beef joint was cooked medium rare and then sliced on the plate, and the result was a very tender and juicy slice of meat. The Yorkshire pudding was cooked to perfection and the vegetables were an interesting change from the steamed variety that accompany many roasts.

We both found the parsnip purée and chicken stuffing a little on the rich side, but nevertheless it is easy to see why this roast is considered one of the best in the country.

On to dessert. If you’re eating traditional Sunday roast it’s almost a must (in my book) to have a traditional pud to go with it. My sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream was as it should be: soft and chewy with a generous serving of sauce. Meanwhile, my partner raved about her apple crumble and, in particular, the salted caramel ice cream.

The service was very good — prompt but without feeling rushed, and the staff left us enough time after our main courses to find room for dessert.

This is a top-notch roast, perfect for a relaxing meal on a lazy Sunday.

Restaurant: Luscombes, the Golden Ball, Lower Assendon

Sunday lunch prices: starters £7.25 — £11.50, Sunday roast mains £16.95

Contact: (01491) 574157, email golden_ball@btconnect.com, visit www.luscombes.co.uk

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