|Sunday Family Lunch at The Bollo|
Thoughts of a break from tending Sunday roast attracted Anne Flaherty
Who doesn’t want a break from cooking Sunday lunch every now and then? All that effort trying to coordinate all the separate elements of the meal, hovering over the joint and the vegetables and worrying about lumpy gravy- it’s like cooking a mini Christmas lunch every weekend. And yet, we MUST have our Sunday roast, a curry or a ‘spag bol’ on a Sunday just isn’t acceptable in our house.
Hearing good things about the Bollo’s Sunday Roast we decided to save ourselves the cooking and the washing-up for at least one week and visit the popular gastro-pub.
The place was buzzing, with lots of groups and family parties at the long wooden tables, along with a few couples at smaller tables calmly sipping wine and reading the Sunday newspapers.
We were shown to a table at the back of the room, which was beside a large bookcase. Here we found a wide variety of reading material, from local history, to poetry, to children’s books. This proved better than any crayons and colouring books for amusing my eight-year old. Light flooded in from the skylight and we settled in ready for a good look at the menu.
I was very pleased when a waiter appeared with menus in which he had ticked off the dishes which were gluten-free, as one member of the party is coeliac. This had been mentioned when the booking was made, but full marks for him checking in advance with the chef. It made ordering so much easier as there was no shuffling backwards and forwards to the kitchen to check every little request.
I settled for the scallops on pureed peas, ( £7.95) a very tricky dish to cook correctly. Overcooked scallops are rubbery, and I dislike undercooked fish. This starter was very good, the scallops had been perfectly cooked and were sweet and juicy. I would have preferred them to puree the peas a little more to get rid of the grittiness but that is a matter of taste. My husband chose the Advocado and Crayfish cocktail( £6.50) . The seafood was fresh and the sauce had a hint of sharpness which gave a pleasant tanginess to the dish.
The menu included a dozen starters, ranging from soup, (£3.50) to homemade Scotch egg, (£4.25), moules marinere (£4.95), and Caesar salad. There were also crab cakes, calamari, a goats cheese salad starter, and duck liver pate.
The Bollo also offers a range of sharing plates , from a Greek-style selection of tzatsiki, hummus, and taramasalata, to a charcuterie platter, or a cheese and grapes plate (£7.50). All would be ideal for a light lunch or even a starter for very hungry or greedy people.
The children’s menu is listed at £5.00 and offers a main course of either Kids Fish ‘n Chips , a Pasta dish , or a Roast Chicken with chips.
After the starters we looked forward to the main course- beef in the form of Scotch Rib Eye (£14.95), for him, West Devon lamb shoulder for me ( £13.95). The other choices were roast chicken, pork loin or a whole shoulder of lamb to serve five people for £59.00.
Things went a little awry from here on, as the main course was a little slow in arriving. After a 20-minute wait I suspected it might be overcooked when it was delivered to the table, and my suspicions proved correct. The lamb was tender (though crispy on the bottom), but my husband felt overcooking his beef had robbed it of flavour. The roast potatoes did a little bounce when the knife hit them, as they had also spent too much time in the oven, though the rest of the vegetables ( honeyed carrots and cabbage) were perfect.
We were pretty hungry at this stage so it wasn’t too difficult a task to polish off the main courses. Perhaps we were just a bit unlucky and the kitchen became overwhelmed by orders all coming at the same time.
For anyone not opting to have the Sunday roast the regular menu offers a varied selection, with vegetarians catered for with two dishes, a sweet potato, spinach and goats cheese strudel . (£12.50), or a halloumi and roasted peppers dish. There were three fish options: fish and chips, prawn linguine and seabass. A classic home-made burger with chips, was also on the menu. Their meat is from Mackens in Chiswick, and the fish from Billingsgate Fish Market.
Puddings were the usual gastropub fare, with a choice of a crumble, a sticky toffee pudding, a chocolate fondant, lemon cheesecake or Banoffi pie, all priced around £ 5.00. I opted for the three scoops of Icecream ( flavours included a choice of coconut, vanilla, chocolate, or sorbet flavours of kiwi, strawberry or lemon) priced at £4.50. I shared an ice-cream with my daughter, while husband had the chocolate fondant. It looked delicious and my little one soon tired of the icecream and her spoon immediately went in the direction of her dad’s chocolate dessert.
With a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling water, and a couple of soft drinks, a tea and a Cafe Latte, the bill (with service charge) came to just over £85.00. Had our teenage son come with us, and chosen three courses, it would have been over £100. You could squeeze in a lot of home cooking for that amount. But, bliss, there was no washing up to be done!
*The Bollo has a Monday Night Madness offer where all main courses have 50% off from 6 p.m. and they also have a popular Quiz night on a Wednesday.
May 4, 2012