Lee DeSanges’ boast that he’s cooking the best Sunday roast in Birmingham is quite clearly ludicrous, for that’s an honour that I hold.
And I’m not going to say even that he’s the best out of the rest of a largely impressive bunch – though I’d concede (in Brian Clough’s immortal phrase) that he’s in the top one.
For the lunch I ate at his recently-opened Custard Factory restaurant Baked in Brick was fabulous.
But before I wax lyrical about what I ate, a bit of background.
Lee earned his reputation as a street food vendor and last year was named the best in Europe.
His restaurant specialises in pizza, but each Sunday he serves up a roast, a different joint week.
My visit coincided with beef rump cap, sourced, butchered and dry-aged by that venerable purveyor of flesh Aubrey Allen.
This was spectacular meat – boldly flavoured, gorgeously fatty, tender as my heart whenever I see a cute cuddly kitten.
It came in a generous serving, too.
There were good crunchy roast spuds, braised red cabbage with a tang, roasted heritage carrots and parsnips.
One little moan – the butternut squash puree, though pleasantly flavoured, had separated slightly.
Gravy had a good consistency and taste.
The food was served attractively, with a pot of mustard on the side.
This was satisfying, deeply savoury fare that showcased one of the best chunks of protein I’ve eaten in a very long time.
Earlier, a simple starter of salmon mousse served with homemade toasted sourdough was enlivened by crisp deep-fried capers and lime.
There was a retro feel to this dish.
As there was to the dessert that I somehow forced down my greedy gullet – spotted dick with custard.
This was another crowd-pleaser – a sponge pudding studded with dried fruit and not aggressively sweet with a surprisingly light custard.
As with the roasts, Baked in Brick is serving a different pudding each Sunday – each featuring custard in some kind of ironic post-modern homage this area being the birthplace of Digbeth’s greatest contribution to civilisation: Bird’s Custard.
Simplicity, care and skill shone through from first course to last and I’ll be keeping a keen eye open to check what roasts Lee and his team are serving each week.
One final word.
Service from the front-of-house team was exemplary – friendly and informal, but efficient and timely.
Need to know
Expect to pay around £30 a head for a three-course Sunday lunch with drinks.
The usual menu is also available on Sundays.
Baked in brick is closed on Mondays, open daytimes Tuesday and Wednesdays and daytimes and nights the rest of the week.
The drinks menu includes craft beers, cocktails and wines.
Baked in Brick
Gibb Street, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AA. 0121 740 1256.