Despite the fact that Yorkshire Puddings are food of the (Northern) gods, I rarely make the effort to either cook, or go out for, a Sunday lunch.
To be honest, this is partly due to laziness, as I am rarely one to get out my PJ's on a Sunday unless forced. There is also the fact that it's quite difficult to cook a manageable sized roast for two, especially if you aren't up for eating leftovers for a whole week.
Despite my Sunday reluctance, I was intrigued when we were invited for Sunday lunch at Refectory Kitchen, the in house restaurant at The Royal York Hotel*, as I had heard many good things about the new multi-million pound refurbishment.
Des and I had an overnight stay here in 2014 which included a meal and afternoon tea. The room was slightly shabby, but the food was superb (Des still maintains that the steak he had was one of the best of his life).
Since this stay, the hotel has expanded its food offering to include the good (but pricey) Chapter House Bar and the The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, the latter of which was to be our venue for Sunday Lunch.
Upon arriving at the hotel, it was clear that the internal investment was well worth the money. The interior has been absolutely transformed from a slightly decrepit 3* looking hotel to a beautiful and luxurious space.
After a couple of minutes of nosying about in the foyer, we made our way of to The Refectory, which also made an impression as a beautiful and light space.
We were promptly shown to our table by our extremely friendly waitress, awaiting our meal with high expectations!
I started off my meal with an Instagram worthy plate of Smoked salmon, avocado and granary toast. Whilst this could be accused of being a somewhat common dish, it must be remembered that such things are classics for a reason.
My avocado was perfectly ripe and the salmon was plentiful, full of flavour and not too fatty.
Des went for the pressed smoked ham hock, piccalilli and toasted mustard monkey bread. This visually impressive dish was apparently well seasoned and full of flavour, especially due to the addition of couple of pickled quails eggs.
For our mains, Des quickly decided on the classic sirloin roast of the day.
I ended up going for a rather left field choice - cod fishcake in parsley sauce. My reasoning being that I didn't feel quite hungry enough for a full roast experience.
I have to say in all honesty, I was somewhat disappointed with the portion size when my dish arrived. Everything seemed rather lost on the plate, even with the addition of wilted spinach and the parsley sauce.
A side of vegetables here would have been much appreciated, as it was I had to be content with stealing some of Des'.
The roast however, was by all accounts an exceedingly good affair. The meat in particular was a highlight, medium rare and full of flavour. I even managed to try some for myself, after a prolonged period of negotiation with an understandingly reluctant-to-share Des
The Yorkshire puddings and vegetables which came with the roast were pretty decent as well, though this opinion my be coloured by my gratitude for having them!
Des was slightly put off though by what he described as "orange flavored carrots with too much bite". I, on the other hand, quite enjoyed this slightly unusual variant!
With my pudding stomach at the ready, I decided to go for the dessert special of the day - a trio of chocolate mousse, raspberry madeleine and pistachio tart.
When the plate came out, I was taken aback with the how beautiful everything looked - a solid 10/10 for presentation.
In terms of taste, things were slightly less rosy. I felt that everything on the plate was nice, but lacking in flavour really. There was a hint of raspberry, a hint of pistachio, but not enough to be really satisfying.
Nonetheless, I scoffed it all down, taking the most pleasure from the chocolate mousse, which alone delivered the deep hit it visually promised.
Des on the other hand decided to go down a less problematic route, opting for a classic dish of English strawberries which came with lashings of clotted cream.
This again was the simple choice, but simple works for a reason. The strawberries were perfectly sweet and the cream more than generous in portion.
Despite my slightly disappointing main, I do feel the Sunday lunch here is particularly good value at 2 courses for £19.95 and 3 courses for £23.95.
On the basis of the meal we had, I can safely say that Des and I will go back under our own steam. However, I will be sticking to the classic dishes on the menu, as this is where I feel the Refectory really comes into its own.
Find out more about Sunday Lunch at the Refectory Kitchen and Terrace here
*Originally reviewed for York on a Fork as a complimentary meal. As always, my opinions are honest and my own.