The Westgate Inn for National Yorkshire Pudding Day
Which was on Sunday by the way in case you were wondering...
Yorkshire puddings have to be one of those things that fascinate people who have heard much about English cuisine, but who typically haven't sampled much of it. When I wasn't answering questions about mincemeat in Munich, and attempting to correct the locals on their dire outdated view of English food (I know!!), more often than not I was answering questions about Yorkshire Puddings. "Do you eat them with jam?" for example (it was easier to say no, although I know people that do!), "can you eat them for breakfast?" (see answer above) and "what do they taste of?" whereupon they always looked a bit crestfallen when I told them "a little like pancakes I guess".
I often cooked them alongside a traditional English roast for friends from all over the globe (who would probably have been a little disappointed if I hadn't had made them). Once I even included them in an English Food themed Dinner party we had when we were leaving Denmark, my Mum smuggled over hundreds of the little uncooked frozen versions in a cool bag! They went down a storm stuffed with roast beef and horseradish and washed down with gallons of Pimms (I DID warn them about how strong this can be, but nobody listened to me!)...
Anyway, now we are back in the UK, it's actually really lovely to go out for a decent Sunday Roast from time to time, so when The WestGate invited me to sample their new Sunday Menu at the weekend, I wasn't about to say no.
Joining the lovely Nicola from Inside Out Hants and her family (mine already had a theatre date!), I also received an insight into how child-friendly the WestGate is when a small member of our party decided they didn't want Sunday roast, they specifically wanted fish and chips instead. And, although it wasn't on the menu, their wish was granted. Talking of child-friendly, I do love it when a place doesn't automatically produce a "child-menu" consisting of fish fingers, chicken nuggets and sausages. Here everything that is available on the adult menu is available for younger guests in half portions.
Of course, given the day, I had to opt for the Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding, which consisted of a 40 day Himalayan Salt Aged Beef Sirloin which came with caramelised carrots, roast potatoes, greens, cauliflower cheese, gravy and of course the piece de resistance - a glorious Yorkshire Pudding. This particular example was so large, I am sure one of us could have worn it as a hat. How I wish my attempts at making them always turned out like this:
We try not to eat a lot of red meat nowadays for environmental reasons mostly, so when I do eat it, it has to be good, because the chances are I am not going to be eating it again for a while. It was so good I had to interrupt Mr Winchester Eats (who was engrossed in Raymond Brigg's Bear at Winchester Theatre) to tell him exactly what he was missing out on. The sides were all excellent and generously portioned although I could have done with a bit more cauliflower cheese if I am honest (no portion is too big). Not the cheapest pub roast at £16.50, but I have to say worth every penny in my honest opinion.
Somehow we managed to find room for pudding, and I opted for a lovely homemade banoffee pie, whilst the rest of my table chose the raspberry and apple crumble with custard. All a decent size and full of flavour I was reliably informed.
We were serenaded throughout by the lovely Issy Somers music, which made for far more relaxing listening than the arguing over who's having what that is typically the soundtrack to most roast dinners in our house.
Finally, I have to say how lovely the staff are. Before I had even introduced myself I was made to feel welcome (whilst they coped admirably with a clear-up operation after a large breakfast for 60 people!!). As the daughter of an Ex Publican, I know that making people feel welcome is as important as the food or drinks you serve, so I always watch to see how the staff interact with customers before I decide whether to go back or not. The Westgate's Manager and his staff were just so nice to each and every customer. I felt so at home, for a little while I actually contemplated not joining my own family as arranged once the show finished, and investing in another large glass of red wine and making an afternoon of it. We will definitely be back, probably en masse next time...
The Westgate Inn
2 Romsey Road,