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The Holy Grail - Sunday roast at Shanti Lodge

The British can be a peculiar bunch. They can be as perplexing as they are particular. From a broadsheet newspaper over breakfast to afternoon tea and cake at three, they like things ‘just so’, and as creatures of habit, not a minute late.

Dining
By David Jacklin

Sunday 21 October 2018, 11:00AM


Another such institution in the canon of Anglotopia is the sacred Sunday roast. The never-ending quest to satisfy a mostly subjective list of ‘musts’ that make the whole greater than the sum of this meat and veg food-fest.

There’s an uncodified constitution to a Sunday roast that defines perfection. The omission of which, based purely on personal preference, makes the whole experience void at best, and a disaster at worst. It’s hard to put your finger on this elusive ‘Je ne sais quoi’ that makes the perfect plate… but you know when you’ve found it.

Shanti Lodge has been an island institution for over 18 years. Nestled quietly in a soi off Chao Fa West Rd near the route to the Big Buddha, it’s a peaceful and welcoming haven from the surrounding hustle. Famed for their Sunday platter in high season, I’m delighted to announce that service has resumed.

So my quest is to solve the age-old mystery. What makes a good roast great?

I’m certain the answer lies in the detail which makes the whole experience something to behold… and the Shanti team are most certainly perfectionists.

The main course offerings are prepared two days in advance, each crafted with selected herbs and condiments that infuse the meats and turn ‘taste’ into an experience.

Shanti roast is a three-course affair. Starting with a choice of soups of the day, before the magnificent main feature, and then a finale sweetener. Somehow they manage to serve this plentiful menu into a ‘just right’ sensation of having managed to eat the lot, without quite feeling the need to hibernate afterwards to recover.

Everything here is about home-made cooking, every detail of the dish freshly prepared and delivered to high restaurant standards. From having seen the efforts from the team over the preparation and serving days, it’s quite the commitment. And the results of their efforts only induce one major dilemma… Which one to choose come Sunday?

Grass-fed beef with horseradish. New Zealand lamb with mint sauce. Free range chicken with sage stuffing and gravy. Hormone-free pork with cracking and English mustard. Vegetarian nut roast with shiitake mushroom gravy.

Whichever you choose, the dish is served with an Oscar-winning array of supporting actors, including roast and mashed potato, caramelised carrots, roasted cinnamon pumpkin, cauliflower and broccoli with a cheese sauce and, of course, a well risen, crispy fresh Yorkshire pudding.

Nothing is standard fare here. This is ‘level up’ in terms of roast bonus points. All the sauces and condiments are home made. Even the gravy is a phenomenon. A deeply rich and wholesome bone marrow gravy for the meat eaters, and an earthy and flavour-enhancing shiitake mushroom gravy to support a hearty nut roast.

The dinner is completed with some fine dessert choices too, including Apple crumble with custard, Vanilla ice cream with a strawberry glaze, and a traditional South African delight, Mini milk tart.

All-in-all this is a fantastic spread made with surprising craft and care. Shanti Lodge has always had a strong community space which visitors have a habit of returning to. The garden restaurant is a calm, unpretentious setting where mixed crowds and families feel equally relaxed and at home. It’s a rare treat.

And maybe that is the key ingredient I’m searching for to define the ultimate Sunday dining experience with family and friends. That lifts a winning dish into a wonderment. The homely setting and evident love put into every meal...THAT is the ‘Holy Grail’.

On Sundays, Shanti Lodge is my home.


The three course Shanti Lodge roasts are served every Sunday from 12:30 to 20:00. The menu is priced for meats at B380, and the vegetarian option at B280. Call for reservations on +66 76 384 114

Shanti Lodge, 1/2 Soi Bangrae, Chao Fa West Rd
www.shantilodge.com

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