There are some things that define us as a nation; two of these being food and how we eat food.
Around the world, the Brits are known for our fish and chips, the full English breakfast and of course Sunday lunch.
While the former two dishes are these days more often reserved for special treat occasions, the Sunday lunch – and specifically the Sunday roast – is a cultural tradition that lives on for many families every weekend.It is a great focal point for gathering family and friends in one place to celebrate the end of the week – the last big blow out before ‘back to normality’ Monday!
These days Sunday lunchtime is an extended afternoon window where the meal can be the beginning or end of a country walk or coastal meander and precede an afternoon of games, movies or the good old fashioned post-roast snooze (often aided by a lunchtime pint or glass of wine).
The Carlton Hotel, in Ilfracombe, has built up a reputation for its North Devon Sunday lunch menu, which reflects this versatility. The Carlton Sunday lunch menu naturally includes the traditional roast with all the trimmings – West Country beef, Exmoor pork, chicken or lamb- but also reflects a variety and range of tastes and dietary preferences that the Brits have developed in recent years.
Sunday Lunch with Provenance
The use of locally sourced ingredients illustrates changing attitudes towards food. Increasingly, people want to know where the provenance of their food and know where it has come from.
Carlton Hotel chef / patron, Eliot Seabourn-Wren, agrees. “One thing we realised very quickly when we took over the Carlton is how many people were asking about the origin of the food on their plates.
The fresher it is, the tastier it is, and there is something naturally more enjoyable about dishes that use meat or fish that is locally sourced. Great quality ingredients don’t need to be messed around with either, ensuring that the cooking process lets the food shine. Our Sunday menu, just like our main menus, has meat from the West Country. And added to this we feature really local fish and seafood from around the North Devon coast- such as our (oven baked) Lundy Cod and locally landed haddock.”
The Importance of Catering for All
Much has been made in recent months of a shift in national eating habits, with more people than ever embracing the concepts of vegetarianism and veganism. In the old days that would have meant a Sunday roast… with no meat (or a dry slice of a nut roast), but the Carlton’s Sunday lunch menu illustrates how far we have come.
A decent Sunday lunch menu now considers the ‘V/Vg’ customer as far more than an afterthought – the Carlton’s popular spicy North African vegetable Tagine (or Tajine option) being a case in point. The Carlton has always been responsive to customers’ food needs too – particularly when it comes to allergens and intolerances . The food on its range of menus is freshly prepared, from scratch, meaning the kitchen can easily adapt dishes as required. And the whole Carlton team embrace allergen and intolerance awareness to ensure your dietary interests are followed through to your plate; with gluten free options within all courses, as one example.
The British Sunday Lunch: A Brief History
Traditionally, the Bristish Sunday lunch has been the roast, which purportedly became a cultural signpost for the Brits during the reign of Henry Vll (1495 – 1509). The royal bodyguards’ penchant for eating roast beef heralded the nickname Beefeaters, which is still used today, and the French were soon calling the British Rosbifs.
As a meal to celebrate Sunday (which for many years was the only day off for many). If you were rich you roasted your own animal, and if poor you often relied on dropping off a cut of meat to the village baker to roast in his empty pans while you stopped by church. It was the most important meal of the week for the family – the meat representing a protein filled treat which was complemented by whatever vegetables were in season (potatoes of course being ubiquitous as a good storage crop).
While tastes have definitely changed in recent years, the reasons behind the Sunday roast (and its broader Sunday lunch incarnation) remain unchanged in British culture. This a meal to be shared, to be celebrated, and fortunately in 2019 that privilege comes with the advantage of having someone else to do the washing up!
The Carlton Club Brasserie is open to non-residents. To book a table for Sunday lunch, call 01271 862446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serve, eat, enjoy.