Bring back traditional family meal times

THINK back to your childhood and a typical Sunday in your family home. What do you remember about it? Visiting your grandparents, taking day trips with the family, or even gathering around the telly to watch Bullseye?

But most of you, no doubt, will associate Sundays with a time when the whole family would gather around the dinner table to enjoy a roast dinner. I know that Sunday lunchtimes evoke very happy memories for me.

However, times change. Sunday lunch just isn’t the institution that it once was. And while I’m all for change, sometimes it isn’t always a good thing. That’s why we at The Chester Hotel are advocating the return of the traditional roast.

These days everyone is busy and trying to balance work with family time – myself included. At the end of the working week, people want to enjoy their weekends at home and the last thing many of them will want to do is to spend two or three hours preparing a Sunday lunch and then sit eating it.

I noticed that it was difficult to get my family to sit down around the table at home for any length of time, especially on a Sunday. My son would want to be off playing football and my daughter would want to go out with her friends.

Yet when we went out for a family meal, we were all happy to sit down for a couple of hours – much longer than we would sit at a table in the house. I feel it’s really important to get back to that tradition of having a family time, and that’s where the focus on Sunday lunch comes from.

Every Sunday we serve a special lunch menu in IX Restaurant – one that has the traditional roast at its heart.

I’ve always worked with Scottish produce and it is at the heart of my menus, including the Sunday lunch. I’ll spend a great deal of time with local butchers to get just the right cut of beef for roasting: we use sirloin because there is a good amount of fat in it and that gives the best possible flavour.

We have a range of dishes on the Sunday lunch menu, but the roast beef, which comes with all the trimmings and Yorkshire pudding, is by far and away the favourite with customers. I’d say roast beef makes up about 75% of the dishes that leave the kitchen on a Sunday.

The most important ingredients in a traditional Sunday roast are the beef and the sauce. People take great care cooking the beef, but not so much on the sauce when they are equally as important.

A Sunday roast is truly something to be enjoyed and should be something that you take your time over. During the week the restaurant is very busy with diners, but many of them want to be in and out.

Sundays have a completely different vibe – guests want to come in and linger and are often at their table for over two hours, just enjoying each other’s company. That’s what a traditional Sunday lunch should be about.

Want to book a table for Sunday lunch? Click here to make a reservation.