Nick Buglione takes the family to Knife
When the law finally catches up with me for crimes (against gastro journalism) and it’s my last day in San Quentin, a classic Sunday lunch will be my death row meal. There is something beautifully fulfilling (and filling) about a kingly meaty banquet, and in an age of fractured, juggled lives, smartphones and Snapchat, spending decent time with Mrs B and the three junior Bs.
Knife, as previously stated, is one of my favourite locals so, belatedly, time to check out their Sunday service. It’s busy (and usually is so booking is more or less essential) and bustling, especially if you get the table by the kitchen (where you also get a window onto the backstage operation).
Knife, if you have been taking any notice does “serious steaks and Sunday roasts” and not a lot more – it’s a simple, mainly beefy, concept done well. Simples. They have just scooped a “Best Steaks” gong at Harden’s London Restaurant Awards so don’t just take my word for it.
Their Sunday offering is reassuringly traditional – beef, lamb, pork and chicken, with a mushroom wellington for those who have wandered into the wrong place.
Somewhere like this lives or dies on the quality of the meat and how they cook it, so its rare roast belted Galloway beef rump, Herdwick lamb, slow-cooked Saddleback pork belly and Cumbrian chicken that has had a good runaround. All sourced from Lake District Farmers.
Accompanied, for all, with Rosemary and Thyme roasted spuds, a kaleidoscope of heritage carrots, honeyed parsnips, Stinking Bishop cauliflower cheese, buttered kale and Yorkshire puddings.
Preceded by artisan breads with bone marrow butter and a preview platter of Yorkshires and gravy. Reminding this descendent from “God’s own country” that traditionally Yorkshire Pudding goes before the main course (and replaces dessert). It was a way of filling up on cheaper ingredients when meat was a strain on budgets. I’m only “technically” a Yorkshireman but it’s in the blood all right. My Auntie Joan, up in Leeds, would approve of these billowing renditions, and she takes some pleasing.
Call me old-fashioned, but a Sunday lunch should make you want/need to have a recuperative lie down (with the Sunday papers) and Knife is only a couple of minutes away from my sofa. So good. Kids go more or less half price and still get a whopping portion, just with slightly less meat.
I had the beef, Mrs B the lamb, chicken for the kids, although they were casting the occasionally envious eye at our neighbours’ pork belly. The chicken reminds you that a good bird has a depth of flavour gone missing from your average supermarket factory version, the beef is pretty much perfect, served medium rare to rare, and the lamb (leg and shoulder) much the same. The variety of carrots (a rainbow coalition of yellow, orange and purple carrotology) brought their own individual flavours, roasties were good, gravy all deep, dark and sticky, yorkies crisp on the outside, warm, fluffy and snuggly inside, kale indulgently buttered – and I don’t do parsnips. Or dessert.
So Knife on a Sunday replicates their successful weekly menu. There are minimal bells and whistles, no over-indulgent on-trend cheffy swirls, twirls, foraged this and reinvented that.
This is a Sunday lunch grandma would recognise, and approve of. The art is in the expert cooking, and understanding of quality meats.
You can get cheaper Sunday roasts – grown-ups weigh in at £14-18, kids £7.50 a pop, but I suspect you’d have to go some to find better. And no washing up (even in San Quentin).
160 Clapham Park Road, SW4 7DE | 020 7627 6505 | kniferestaurant.co.uk | @KnifeLondon