I’m a big fan of some of the Sunday lunch offerings in and around Birmingham city centre.
There’s some fairly reasonably priced options within a few of the nicer hotels in the city (step forward Malmaison) and I visited 1565 Restaurant at Park Regis Hotel hoping for something quite special.
The 4 star hotel – once the home of sadly now closed Rofuto – has a beautiful open plan restaurant and bar; now summer is here there’s also a rather lovely rooftop terrace to enjoy drinks on too. I’d visited the bar before for cocktails and had afternoon tea in the cosy booths, but this was my first experience of dining in the restaurant. It’s bright and spacious with comfy chairs and beautiful light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. It’s a lovely space to eat in, and much bigger than many dining rooms in rival hotels. Aesthetically I can’t really fault the place.
This visit was to sample the Sunday lunch offering. At £14.95 for 4 courses it sounds like a good deal, maybe a little too good…
After a walk through of where everything could be found we were seated by a friendly and personable waiter. He would be one of four people that would serve us during the meal, but more on this later. After ordering some wine (a lovely Rioja that came recommended) we collected our first course from the self service station. A vegetable soup that was pleasant but nothing exciting, we were asked twice how it was before finishing it. Onto the second course: a trip to the salad bar. The choice was a bit strange (who eats Mediterranean cous cous before a roast dinner?) and I saw several flies buzzing on and around some of the dishes. Red flag – I didn’t bother with this course. Note: at this point we’d met three staff members and only eaten soup.
Skipping the salad we hit the carvery. This would be the winner, I told myself. All roads lead to the glorious meat and gravy mountain. Truth is, it was ok. Not great, not awful, just meh. I opted for beef (moist but fatty) and turkey (dry and dry) and picked up a (soggy) Yorkshire pud the size of my fist. In the interests of showcasing the offering I grabbed stuffing (dry; akin to a hockey puck) pigs in blankets (good) as well as enough vegetables to keep four people regular for a week. The roast potatoes were pretty decent with a good outer crunch, the rest of the veg plain and fairly uninspiring. I could forgive a lot of the above had the gravy been a thick, rich liquid dream, but alas it was watery (you can’t even see it in photos) and borderline flavourless.
It was collectively underwhelming. We ate half of the portion you see below before boredom set in. At this point I couldn’t help wish the food had been half has eager to please as the staff working that day. I don’t think we went more than 10 minutes in the hour we were there without someone asking how the food was. There’s enthusiasm and there’s being a bit intrusive; I’m sad to say this fell into the latter. From what I could gather this (well meant) over-attentiveness was happening across the nearby tables too, so not a blogger ‘perk’.
We were talked into trying dessert, which included another shlep up to the self service area. The choice was a little old school (hello trifle) and whilst the bowls didn’t look that exciting to begin with the two we tried ended up being quite pleasant. The enormous portion of white chocolate trifle had a good creamy custard and freshly whipped cream. A chocolate orange mousse was nicely bitter, the sweetness coming from the citrus jam at the bottom. Are they going to win any prizes for originality? No. But they were generous and tasted better than I expected.
A lovely restaurant but not a Sunday lunch that would make me return. The speedy service was well intentioned but didn’t make for a relaxing meal; it’s almost a skill to be able to get a table through 4 courses in 58 minutes. There are better roast dinners happening in hotels and restaurants across the city, without a doubt, but I guess for many this will represent good value for the amount you can consume.
It’s worth pointing out there are upgrade options you can make if you’d rather have a hot starter or dessert, but these do come at an extra cost. The £14.95 lunch deal runs every Sunday and is available to both guests and non residents.
My lasting observation is that this is a 4* hotel delivering average at best food, which is disappointing because it could so easily be much better. If you want a really good beef roast though head to somewhere like The Red Lion in Jewellery Quarter.
1565 Restaurant, Park Regis Hotel, 160 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DT
Disclosure: This was a complementary meal for review purposes. I was asked to provide an honest account of my experience. All photos, opinions and words are mine.