Sunday roast is always in fashion – and one of the finest options has to be the Refuge, whose new-fangled pièce de résistance is a sharing board roast for two (£39). Usually, there’s only one problem with Sunday roast: choosing your meat. However this platter of baby Chantenay carrots, Vimto-spiked red cabbage, buttered savoy, crisp potatoes and giant Yorkshires comes with three options to share. Feast on suckling pig, slivers of rare Dexter beef (a variety which has played a role in sister restaurant Volta’s rise to fame in Didsbury) and half a spatchcocked chicken with gravy and a generous portion of cauliflower cheese. If you don’t like sharing, there is the option of going solo for £17 (£15 for veggies). Desserts include sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream or crumble of the day. Ours was local rhubarb and there were are delicate spices in the topping, which lent it a kind of shortbread/crack quality. Extra custard comes on the side. In fact the Refuge is remarkably generous on the sauce front. Kids could easily share the sharing board, although there’s a value kids menu to try too with fish croquettes, baby chips, cheeseburger, a giant ice cream sandwich (like, big enough for the whole family), baby churros with a big pot of custardy chocolate sauce (2 courses for £5.95)  – plus a Sunday cocktail menu. The Bloody Mary is icy and spicy and there’s one called the ‘corpse reviver’ too. So: food is great and service is attentive, yet the real star is still the venue. Somehow the Alfred Waterhouse-designed grandeur of this incredibly tile-lined room makes eating here feel like a private occasion between you and your party. A wonderful feeling of space and timelessness comes from the tiling and sky-high ceilings. Surprisingly, it’s also great for kids. There’s so much room, you don’t feel like you’re bothering anyone, and we discovered a games room too, just off the Winter Garden with table football and pool.

Every Sunday, The Refuge by Volta, The Principal Hotel, Oxford Street, Manchester M60 7HA. Tel: 0161 233 5151, noon-5pm only,

Sun 26 Feb - Sun 25 Jun
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Sun 4 Jun 2017