Rotunda has its own farm, a 288-acre patch in Northumberland. The beef and lamb served is grass-fed on naturally fertilised land; the animals aren’t pumped with any growth hormones or steroids, and they grow at their own pace. There isn’t much left over since the kitchen accommodates each cut of meat on its seasonal menu. That’s precisely everything you want to know when you step into Rotunda and point at the meat-ageing cabinet beside the reception desk, declaring you fancy that bit. You’ll be in luck as the modern British menu is mostly based around meat with stand-out plates including the Butcher’s Grill (‘rump steak, spiced Texel lamb and tomato sausage ring, lamb leg steak, and fried duck egg’) and the Surf & Turf (‘Corneyside Farm picanha, king prawns, black garlic butter’).
The curved restaurant looks out onto the Regent’s Canal and on sunny days they’ll welcome you for cocktails on the terrace that this year has a charmingly Italian ‘Terraza Spritz’ theme with tiny plastic orange trees that make you hanker after an Aperol aperitif. Inside is a warm mix of tan and sea green interiors, a relaxed open kitchen and a 12-seater chef’s counter.
What did we eat?
Sunday Beef Club is a Sunday lunch amped up to feast-like proportions. The four-course dinner begins with the Chef’s canapés with a Bloody Mary or glass of champagne. Next comes the seafood platter of salmon, crab and prawns. Then onto the roast sirloin of beef with unlimited duck-fat roast potatoes, seasonal veg, Yorkshire puddings and gravy, served with half a bottle of wine each. I’m not done. You’ll end things with a choice of dessert and an espresso martini, Irish coffee or port. And breathe! All yours for £65pp with drinks pairings or £45pp without. It’s a mammoth session, and despite the beef being the highlight (as it should have been), everything was terrific. Lashings of sticky beef gravy were very moorish. We over-ordered on the duck-fat roasties because they were so damn good. I was sure to take those home afterwards. A tiramisu cheesecake smushed together my two favourite desserts into one — I wonder if they knew I was coming? We rounded it off with a digestif on the terrace and a stroll, albeit a slow one, down the canal.
Should you book for family lunch?
Rotunda is a large and open venue with plenty of space for families (and dogs are welcome too!). Pop down any afternoon during the week or book brunch or Sunday lunch at the weekend. The kids’ menu offers a mini Sunday roast with lamb or roast pork with all the trimmings offered to the adults. There are also grilled chicken, pastrami and charred broccoli options.
There are games and colouring activities to keep the children occupied. The restaurant occasionally holds events in its private dining room. The next one is a kids’ pizza making class (7 July 2019) where you can watch the children master their pizza skills, then after the session you be able to dine with the kids with a 15% discount on the food menu.
Should you book for date night?
Tucked away from the busy York Way and a short walk from King’s Cross, Rotunda is a great find for date night, particularly in warmer months. Sip on a couple of cocktails, while sitting beside the waterfront. They’ll serve you any classic cocktail you request but who could resist a ‘Sicilian Sunset’ or ‘Rhubarb and Raspberry Refresher’ from the Summer Cocktails menu?
With its high-quality gate-to-plate menu and a charming waterfront terrace, Rotunda offers just enough indulgence for a week-night date venue or leisurely Sunday lunch.
To book, visit RotundaBarAndRestaurant.co.uk