We tried Mamasan’s new South East Asian-inspired Sunday roast - here’s the verdict

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Does Asian-spiced pork belly really go with Yorkshire pudding and gravy?

My kids once asked: ‘If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?’ It was supposed to be a real poser that would take some serious deliberation. It wasn’t. ‘Sunday roast’, I answered without a pause.

Honed to perfection in the hundreds of years since it was first served up during the rule of King Henry VII around 1485, it can’t really be bettered. Okay, so we’ve added Yorkshire pudding and there’s more choice of meat and vegetables but go into any pub, home or restaurant at Sunday lunchtime and the basic foundations of every roast served up will be the same.

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So, when Liverpool restaurant Mamasan announced they were launching an all-new South East Asian-inspired take on the classic British dish, at least one of my eyebrows was raised. Was this fusion heresy or genius? The investigation commenced with a trip to the bar and brasserie on College Lane.

On the menu:

  • Chicken and leek terrine | pickled mushroom | ginger | shoots
  • Asparagus | dashi | hens egg | wild garlic
  • Butternut squash red curry soup | squash fondant | seeds | chive oil
  • Lemongrass and thyme roast chicken
  • Asian spiced pork belly
  • 28 day aged whole roasted sirloin
  • Salt & pepper cauliflower steak
  • All served with roast potatoes | carrot & swede | broccoli florets | Yorkshire pudding | baby onion gravy
  • Sticky toffee pudding | caramelised dates | vanilla ice cream
  • Blood orange & ginger cheesecake | gin & tonic sorbet

Taste test: The chicken and leek terrine was off the menu on the day myself and my dining partner visited and was temporarily replaced with duck donuts. This was a bao bun stuffed with shredded duck, drizzled with a hoisin-style sauce and served with pickled cucumber. It’s a Mamasan speciality and delicious.

The duck donut a Mamasan.The duck donut a Mamasan.
The duck donut a Mamasan. | Dominic Raynor

Although the late substitute on the menu was not a typical Sunday roast-esque starter, it certainly whet the appetite for the main course: Asian spiced pork belly.

When the food arrived I was delighted to see the hardworking chef hadn’t drizzled a pitiful amount of gravy on the roast dinner - a personal bugbear. I was even happier upon tasting it, with a lovely punch of flavour added by the whole baby onions that peppered the sauce.

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There was a big tick for the roast potatoes, more than ample Yorkshire pudding, creamy carrot & swede and al dente broccoli florets too. The roast pork was one of the tastiest and most succulent I’ve had, but having adjusted my mindset to expect an Asian spice twist I was quite surprised how subtle the flavouring was.

Asian spiced pork belly Sunday roast at MamasanAsian spiced pork belly Sunday roast at Mamasan
Asian spiced pork belly Sunday roast at Mamasan | Dominic Raynor

This may have been done to allay the fears of sceptics just like me, but having made the choice to go for it I was expecting a bigger hit. My dining partner opted for the salt & pepper cauliflower steak for the main course and that did have the expected punch. It was a big hit with both of us.

That said, it was still an amazing piece of pork and I would definitely order it again.

Onto the dessert: smooth cheesecake, with the all important biscuit base (don’t give me any cake-like soft bases thanks - that’s up there with drizzles of gravy) and a tasty blood orange jelly on top with a hint of  ginger. What’s not to like?

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The verdict: The South East Asian flavour was saved for just the meat, or cauliflower steak, on the main course. For me, it really worked, especially as the accompanying gravy, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding were all of a really high standard. The little bursts of flavour from the onions really added something extra too.

Cost: At £30 per person for three courses - £25 for two courses - in an airy and well designed venue, with helpful staff and well presented tasty food it was a very enjoyable Sunday roast. One I’d happily eat again.

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