Sunday roast with sophistication
My mum always said: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do, that way your life will be easier wherever you go”. Today we do as Brightonians do and we are out on a Sunday for a roast instead of our usual aperitivo. This time we are at Semolina on Baker street.
Separate menu for Sundays
We are greeted by owner Linda who shows us to our table just by the window, a great choice as natural light helps to make beautiful food pictures. As we sit and look at the menus I’m glad to see they have a separate menu for Sunday which is a simplified version of their regular a la carte menu, plus roasts and an few extra dishes for those who wish to have something different.
Linda suggests we have a look at the cocktails, she seems keen on us having a cocktail so my wife chooses an Elderberry Fizz which is a long Port based drink, while I stick to my obsession for classics and order a Negroni. It’s made with Brighton Gin I’m told. Both are beautifully mixed, shaken, poured and presented. Pleased we went for these, I’m starting to get in the loop of what’s what at the restaurant.
As we discuss what to eat, I have my usual peek around the restaurant and see a family having a good time, whilst the rest of the tables are couples enjoying a meal together. The atmosphere is very relaxed.
We order after the kitchen has sent out a flurry of plates. My wife is starting with a chicken, fig and walnut terrine with stewed plums, I’m having the monkfish tempura and cauliflower with capers and sultanas.
Our starters take the usual time to come out. Rafael, our waiter warns us that the plates are hot as he lays them down to us. The chicken fig and walnut tart is fantastic, it’s served slightly warm which is great as this enhances the flavours and textures. My wife comments that it’s beautiful but the plums maybe are overpowering in sweetness and flavour. I agree but still it’s delicious.
My monkfish tempura is incredible!
This dish works so well that I could have the same as a main course. The fish batter is crispy and cooked to perfection. Sultanas and capers make this dish a touch more fun.
Busy but not squeezed in
As we wait for our main courses, a table of five sits next to us. I worry it may get too busy and crowded in such a reduced space, as at times when eating out you can feel like tables are forced and squeezed next to each other but that’s not the case here.
Semolina manages to get the seating spot on so everyone has a fair amount of intimacy whilst sharing a relatively small space.
Perfectly cooked Guinea fowl
I order a glass of Gewurztraminer to go with my Guinea fowl roast. I felt it was a great choice as I see mostly white veg as garnishes on my roast: cauliflower, potato, sweet potato, carrot, fennel, tenderstem. Another thing I like about Semolina is that they put the gravy on the side, in a little jug for me to pour as much as I need. It’s a personal thing as I don’t like food swimming in gravy. The fowl is beautifully cooked, just a touch under but without being pink. ‘The chef knows his stuff’ I say to my wife as I invite her to try my roast.
My wife went for a grilled Brill with crab gnocchi and tenderstem. The fish is a generous fillet on top of the crab and gnocchi. All cooked to perfection. We wondered if we needed any sides but not this time as main course portions are huge! I nearly forgot to say, the Yorkshire pudding is very good as well. They’ve reinstated my faith in Sunday roasts.
Curious about the wine
Earlier I spotted the chocolate fondant on the menu and that’s what we order for dessert – just one to share as we are full. We don’t mind the 10 minute wait and it gives me a chance to order a glass of house red. It’s a very pleasant surprise to have a South African Cinsault, I’ll remember that wine for a long time. I’m curious about their wine selection now.
Ready for a siesta
Dessert comes out and it is just superb! The perfect way to end a Sunday roast experience. After this we are ready for a traditional Spanish siesta. Some things never change no matter where you are.