Sunday lunch It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny
Much as I love cooking Sunday roasts for the family at home, the reality is often less appealing. It often means standing in the kitchen from just after breakfast and then spending the bulk of the afternoon elbow-deep in washing up scrubbing roasting tins, which is not really my idea of a relaxed Sunday.
And this is precisely why I eat out on Sundays as much as I cook at home. Nothing beats rolling up at 1pm for a pre-meal pint and then spending the next two hours enjoying a Sunday roast cooked by somebody else sweating away in the kitchen.
In last month's Observer Food Monthly Awards, Cowshed was name-checked as one of the best places in the South West for Sunday lunch.
Housed in what was once Hullaballoos, Adam Denton's popular Clifton restaurant looks and feels like a smart gastro pub disguised as a brasserie.
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There are flagstone floors, exposed stone walls, racehorse print cushions and butcher's block tables. It's as if a Cotswold gastro pub has been moved brick by brick to Whiteladies Road and it attracts a suitably well-heeled country casuals crowd with a penchant for Barbours, tweed jackets and Hunter wellies.
Described on the menu as "family farmhouse Sunday lunch", there are three roasted meat options for main course and one vegetarian dish (on this occasion it was red onion and Roquefort tart tatin with mixed leaves). Prices range from £10.50 for the meat-free choice to £15.50 for the lamb and beef we opted for.
The locally sourced meats were served on large wooden boards. There were two thick and tender slices of both the Texel lamb saddle and the 31-day dry-aged roast beef sirloin, with a pile of crispy roast potatoes and voluminous, puffy Yorkshire puddings.
In an array of stylishly chipped enamel dishes to the side, there was excellent cauliflower cheese, shredded Savoy cabbage with a crunch to it and a sweet and chunky carrot and swede mash. Pots of fiery horseradish for the beef and mossy, vinegary mint sauce for the lamb completed the package alongside jugs of proper gravy.
Desserts are priced individually and they were of the rib-sticking nursery variety that seemed only fitting for a cold November day. The light and airy sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream (£6.50) was faultless, as was the apple and plum crumble (£6.25), with its buttery, rubble-like topping and generous amount of cinnamony fruit.