I’ve decided to kick off a series of posts on Sunday lunches available near my new location.
The lucky place that hosted me and H for lunch last weekend was Aviator hotel in Farnborough. It’s a very stylish place on the edge of Farnborough Airport, and we braved a whole inch of snow to go there.
As I’m planning on doing more than one Sunday lunch post, I’m going to introduce my own personal system for rating them. I won’t be giving marks out of 10 or anything like that, but I will be seeing if the lunch meets my particular preferences, which may not be everyone’s.
1. Do they have lamb?
Normally places seem to offer chicken, beef or pork. I should stress here that I’m talking about the Sunday roast part of the menu, and not any other unrelated dishes they might offer. My favourite Sunday roasts in order are: pork (provided there is crackling and apple sauce), lamb, gammon, beef and chicken. This only refers to roasts eaten out though. I have difference preferences for ones I cook myself – annoying, I know.
Anyway, I don’t believe Aviator offered lamb, so the merest smudge of a black mark is awarded.
2. Does the pork come with crackling and apple sauce?
As you can see from the above picture, Aviator had not mere pork, but slow-roast pork belly, more than making up for any lack of lamb. The crackling was mostly crunchy apart from the bit under the blob of apple sauce. That was all the apple sauce that came with the plate – not much alas. No doubt I could have asked for more, but I’m rating things on how they arrive at the table.
3. Do they give you Yorkshire pudding even if you don’t have beef? If yes, is it home-made?
Aviator came up trumps with a delicious, seemingly home-made pudding.I don’t mind the taste of the pre-prepped ones, but it’s the principle of the thing!
4. What veg does it come with? Are they frozen?
As you can see, there were some lovely little carrots and fine beans. There were also roast potatoes, but more on them separately. The veg seemed non-frozen to me.
5. What are the roast potatoes like?
You can’t actually see them in the above photo, because they came on a separate dish. Finally, somewhere that caters to my dislike of soggy potatoes! They were super-crispy and there were 4 each, which seemed a very reasonable portion.
6. Is the meat sliced really thinly, and/or does it seem not to have been carved from a joint?
As I had a slab of pork belly, this did not really apply. H had beef which I thought was a bit thinly sliced but he said it was very nice.
7. Let’s talk about gravy. Thoughts?
The gravy tasted good, but I would have liked a bit more, preferably in a separate little jug to avoid making things too soggy. Again, I’m sure they would have given me some if I had asked.
8. What about puddings?
I tend to avoid starters in the hope I can manage a dessert. H helped me out with a vanilla parfait with raspberries, which was very creamy (I think the parfait was mostly cream) and came with a thin layer of shortbread and dainty chocolate hazelnut base, plus some fresh raspberries and a quenelle of raspberry sorbet. Yum.
9. Any comments on drinks?
I stuck with a jug of tap water and no-one gave me any sarky looks. H had a glass of 2008 Malbec which was expensive but he thought it was a lovely accompaniment to his meal.
It was refined but not suffocatingly posh. I think one might feel a bit uncomfortable with a screaming baby, but jeans didn’t seem to cause any alarm, and me and H were both comfortable.
£18 each for 2 courses or £21 for 3. I know that isn’t cheap, but I thought it was worth it, as it was one of the best Sunday lunches I’d ever eaten out.
12. Any freebies?
Granary or white rolls and butter.
13. Worth returning?
Definitely. In fact looking at that photo I wish I was going there today. However I shall try search out some more gems instead, and maybe try Aviator again soon for a mid-week dinner, to see how the menu fares then.