Every Sunday thousands of British friends and families sit down together to eat a veritable feast of roasted meat served with accompaniments. Typical meats for roasting are joints of beef, pork, lamb or a whole chicken. The Sunday roast is accompanied by roast potato or mashed potato, Yorkshire pudding or stuffing, vegetables and gravy.
There are (at least) two opinions on the origins of the Sunday roast. One holds that, during the industrial revolution, Yorkshire families left a cut of meat in the oven before going to church on a Sunday morning, which was then ready to eat by the time they arrived home at lunchtime. The second opinion holds that the Sunday roast dates back to medieval times, when the village serfs served the squire for six days a week. Then on the Sunday, after the morning church service, serfs would assemble in a field and practice their battle techniques and were rewarded with a feast of oxen roasted on a spit.
Whatever the origins, the Sunday roast lunch is a fine British institution. Steve and I don’t observe it every single week, but we had our dear friends to stay this past weekend and decided to go out to The Huntsman Inn in Ide.
It was a perfect English summer day, sunny and warm. The trees and hedgerows were in full leaf. We picked up a hitchhiker for part of the journey.
The hedges were filled with foxgloves and roses.
Bees hurled themselves into their pollen-filled centres.
On any expedition, the journey is as important as the arrival. We took the back lanes into Ide and the lane segued into a small river. We decided to blaze ahead!
We arrived in the village of Ide, pronounced /ˈiːd/, rhymes with ‘feed’.
As soon as we parked and entered the garden behind the pub, some of us immediately collapsed on a shabby chic upholstered bench to bask in the sunshine.
The Sunday roast menu offers local beef or pork belly and 8 hour-cooked lamb from Cornwall with all the trimmings. There was ‘Today’s Special’ of pan fried line caught wild sea bass which tempted at least one of us, but in the end, we all opted for four-legged flesh. The price was right at £12.
We had a pre-lunch drink in the garden,
before going inside to claim our table.
There was an excellent wine list from which we chose a very nice bottle of red.
The food was exquisite. I don’t think that any words could speak more eloquently than this:
We had a few questions about the food , eg, What kind of fat is used in the Yorkshire pud? Vegetable oil. What breed of lamb? Not sure, but it’s from Cornwall. Are the potatoes deep-fried too? No, just the parsnip.
Our charming host and maitre d’ Andy patiently ferried our queries and the answers to and from the kitchen. He also gave us sample menus for lunch, weekday evening meals and the very special Friday & Saturday night meals to take with us. Sample menus because, of course, the menu changes weekly depending on what’s in season.
After lunch, we went for a stroll along the river.
A sterling pub lunch in a great location with a warm welcome. We will definitely be back for an evening meal, not to mention many Sunday lunches. BTW, The Huntsman Inn didn’t win the award for Devon Life Best Dining Pub of the Year in 2012 for nuthin’.