So it’s all alpaca walks, gin tastings and afternoon teas with Ma Lee. But what about Pa Lee? Does he ever get in on the action? You bet he does! Thanks to a Travelzoo voucher we recently enjoyed an excellent daddy/daughter Sunday lunch at Hotel du Vin Birmingham.
I meet Pa Lee at Snow Hill Station. 65 years old and this is the first time he’s ever caught a train on his own. He’s a big boy now. We have time for a quick drink at station neighbour The Old Contemptibles before heading over to Hotel Du Vin on Church Street for our 1pm reservation. After a lovely afternoon tea there with Ma Lee last year I’m expecting good things.
Our waiter whisks away our voucher shortly after we’re seated. This means we don’t have to sit with it displayed on our table, a scarlet letter branding us as cheapskates. Because even at £40 voucher price, this isn’t a cheap option for a Sunday lunch. It’s more than your average Toby carvery. But this being Hotel Du Vin, you’re treated extra special. Voucher or not.
Going all out, we decide to share a bottle of house red wine. Being French, we know even the house wine is gonna be good stuff. Our four courses begin with carrot soup – never my favourite but surprisingly flavoursome – accompanied by rustic bread.
From the soup, it’s over to the Market Table for a sumptuous selection of salads, cured meats and smoked salmon. I cautiously fill my plate, mindful of the two courses still to come. We’re invited to return to the buffet again once we’ve cleared our plates. As much as I could stuff myself with chicken liver parfait until the cows (or chickens) come home, I decline in favour of the next course of this conveyor belt of Sunday food goodness.
The roast is of course always the piece de resistance, and no amount of chicken liver parfait can make up for a dodgy roast. Luckily, Hotel Du Vin delivers an excellent roast. With either a pink or well done option available, we both err on the well cooked side, yet the thin slices of beef remain tender and moist . The Yorkshire puddings are unnecessarily large, and bring to mind John Hurt’s Elephant Man in shape – neither of us manage to conquer a whole Yorkie. The potatoes, broccoli, parsnips and carrots are served as a sharing portion; the veggies are pleasantly firm and full of flavour.
There are also other options available included in the Sunday lunch menu, including fish and vegetarian options. But why would you not pick the roast on a Sunday?
We save space for dessert by not eating the giant Yorkie. Pa Lee opts for the peach Melba sundae, served in a tall glass with fresh peaches, raspberries and meringue. I choose the tropical fruit pavlova, a rum cream-filled meringue topped with mango and kiwi fruit. We polish off our desserts, and surprisingly don’t feel over-full which suggests optimum portion control has been sensibly applied. Another visit to the Market Table may well have pushed us over the edge.
Wine and water come to £32, which is definitely a little over Toby Carvery prices. The four course meal would normally cost £26.95 per person, but a little bit of discount scouting means we got this for £40 for two. For treating someone special in your life – who is always on call for DIY/decorating/taxi duties – it’s totally worth it.
The Sunday Lunch experience at Hotel Du Vin completely matches the one offered at last year’s afternoon tea. Each member of staff we encounter is friendly, warm and efficient, and they deal with the initial reservation confusion politely (nope, there’s definitely only 2 of us, not 4 as per your booking list). It’s a thumbs up from A Brummie Home and Abroad and Pa Lee.