If you want a spectacular Sunday lunch look no further than The Curious Kitchen at the Aztec Hotel; it’s a hidden gem that needs the word to get out that not only your local pub can feature in the Sunday lunch market. Offering three courses, including a glass of sparkling wine to add that special touch at a very reasonable £27.00, it’s a great place to take family or friends for a real treat.
The Curious Kitchen is quirky, set on two levels with a high wooden beamed ceiling and tiled walls with hanging utensils. It’s modern and airy with nicely spaced wooden tables; the restaurant was busy and buzzy when we took a corner table. Somewhere behind the scenes there was a reassuring ‘pop’ of a bottle of sparkling wine being opened and two perfectly chilled glasses were brought to our table whilst we perused the menu.
To start I chose classic Caesar salad, and my husband the chicken liver parfait, served with red onion marmalade and toasted brioche. For the main course it just had to be a roast – although there was a nice roasted butternut squash, mascarpone and thyme risotto with black truffle which I did cast an eye at. Every Sunday there is roasted ‘rare’ beef, together with a roast of the day, served with Yorkshire pudding duck fat potatoes, seasonal garden vegetables and pan jus (another word for robust gravy served plentifully in a jug!). We ordered one of each (chicken for me, beef for him) and settled back to enjoy ourselves.
Our starters were delightful, the Caesar salad a simple dish made special by the freshest of crisp lettuce and tangy dressing and the rich chicken liver parfait complemented by the buttery brioche toast. And my word, the roasts cut a fine figure when they were served, large slices of pink rare roast beef draped over the roast potatoes and topped by the largest Yorkshire pudding I’ve ever seen. The vegetables were excellent served separately, fat roast parsnips, carrots, and shredded cabbage, and most importantly a brimming gravy boat alive with the aromas of the roasting pan. At once it was deemed that this demanded a first-class glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape to do it justice, and then my lunch companion was really in heaven! The roast chicken was delicious too, we loved the towering Yorkshires and it was without doubt the best roast beef we’ve had for a long time.
We finished with desserts of chef’s tart, on that day lemon tart with pistachio ice-cream, and vanilla cheesecake with dark chocolate and cherry with créme Chantilly, followed by peppermint tea and double espresso. The service was excellent, and we couldn’t have enjoyed our lunch more.