Bumpkin, London W11

The Sunday lunch is dead. Long live the Sunday lunch, says Terry Durack
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Indy Lifestyle Online

So, are the potatoes on yet? Have you started the gravy? Sprouts trimmed, carrots peeled? And what is it to be today - the leg of lamb or the rib of beef? Table set, bottle of red opened?

And they call Sunday the day of rest. No wonder 80 per cent of families claim they no longer sit down to eat Sunday lunch together. These days, we are too preoccupied, too diet-conscious, too hungover, or simply too busy to maintain British family tradition. But before we lose one of our most enjoyable weekly gatherings, consider the alternative. No, not having pizza in bed, you slacker, but getting up, getting dressed and going out for Sunday lunch.

Gastropubs and the high-street chains are gradually absorbing a few new traditions of their own by laying on the full family feast for us. So here I am at Bumpkin on this crisp, cold-but-sunny Sunday afternoon, where the all-day Sunday lunch menu, with a choice of five main courses and four puds, is £22.50 a head.

This Notting Hill newcomer is the latest venture for Matt Hermer's Ignite group, which owns paparazzi favourites Cocoon, Eclipse and Boujis. It may be a silly name, but Bumpkin undoubtedly has good intentions and an obliging mindset. Divided into a ground-floor brasserie, a first-floor restaurant, a second-floor private bar and third-floor "whisky rooms", it is supposedly aimed at "city folk who like a little country living". Which means laid-back, funky, non-urban gastropubbish surroundings, and home-away-from-home cooking, from former Electric Brasserie chef Oliver Prince.

For such a baby, Bumpkin feels months old already. The food pacing is smooth and the young, friendly staff have that fast-but-friendly thing going, dressed in white T-shirts printed with "country boy/girl", and the words "you're not from around here". The rooms are wooden-floored, with floral-wallpapered or chocolate-coated walls, and the dark, bare tables have linen overlays. Rustic wall lights are wrapped in Kentish hopsacking, and windows have been punched into walls so that rooms feel connected. And each floor has an open kitchen in the corner, so that you can watch somebody else do all the work, which is always nice.

Normally, the first-floor menu deals with roast pheasant and line-caught sea bass, but today it is all roasted: Scotch beef rib and Yorkshire pudding; leg of Herdwick lamb with rosemary and garlic; free-range chicken with lemon and thyme; Old-Spot pork with crackling and apple chutney; and a whole roasted Dover Sole ("one for the ladies", says my waiter). To begin, a wooden plank lands on every table, with a bowl of rough pork rillettes, apple chutney and rye bread. It's good, gutsy and generous, but had I known it was coming, I might not have ordered the roast pork with apple sauce to follow. Then again, I probably would have anyway.

The full-flavoured pork comes with good lengths of crackling that actually crackle, and a dark brown gravy. Dover sole is a large and magnificent fish, the pearly, sweet white flesh thick enough to profit from the roasting on the bone; the buttery, capery juices adding richness. It feels like a real Sunday treat - and it is, having previously been listed on the dinner menu as £21 in its own right.

Every table also gets a huge communal bowl of veggies - excellent roast potatoes, pert little sprouts, creamy cauliflower cheese and mashed swede. Puds come, too, although both a sticky date pudding and a chocolate and macadamia brownie feel overcooked and heavy.

The place feels so comfortable that people are behaving exactly as they would if they were at home. One couple pointedly ignore each other except to pass the vegetables. A child is overcome with tears, and sobs halfway through her main course. Three desperately hungover young men throw down beetroot-coloured Bloody Marys. Downstairs, the brasserie is mayhem, with an extended family of what seems like eight under-eights turning the room into a circus, complete with death-defying acts with cutlery and ear-splitting shrieks.

During the week, the no-bookings brasserie is a fun place to be at night, when the young and flash, and old and boho mix it up over ribollita-style borlotti bean soups, fresh, sweet Dorset crab bruschetta, old-fashioned "cow pies" filled with tender beef stew, and a bottle of, say, ripe, fleshy New Zealand Hunter's Pinot Noir (£35) from the something-for-everyone wine list.

Bumpkin has somehow managed to bring a much-needed sense of neighbourliness to Notting Hill. Nothing reaches huge heights, or depths; but just seems to get it right with easy-going, seasonally driven comfort food you actually feel like eating. I like that they have done their homework, trained their staff to bend over backwards, and ironed out a lot of the bumps before opening, and I can think of few things I would rather do on a Sunday afternoon than chill out here and eat roast pork, neeps and tatties. Unless, of course, it's to do exactly the same thing at home.

14/20

Scores 1-9 stay home and cook 10-11 needs help 12 OK 13 pleasant enough 14 good 15 very good 16 capable of greatness 17 special, can't wait to go back 18 highly honourable 19 unique and memorable 20 as good as it gets

Bumpkin 209 Westbourne Park Road, London W11, tel: 020 7243 9818 Brasserie lunch and dinner Tues-Sun; restaurant lunch Sun; dinner Tues-Sat. Restaurant dinner around £110 for two, including wine and service. Sunday lunch £22.50 per person

Second helpings: More restaurants for Sunday lunch

Anchor & Hope 36 The Cut, London SE1, tel: 020 7928 9898 The special four-course set Sunday lunch may not always include a roast, but it is always a feast. Unlike the rest of the week - and unlike at home - bookings are taken.

The Hinds Head Hotel High Street, Bray, Berkshire, tel: 01628 626 151 Sunday lunch at Heston Blumenthal's old-fashioned local is a snail porridge-free zone, with a special roast of the day running from Longhorn beef and Yorkshire pud to Cornish lamb leg with mint sauce.

Angel Inn Hetton, North Yorkshire, tel: 01756 730 263 One of the first pubs in Britain to embrace restaurant-quality food, the Angel is renowned for its Sunday lunch, and worshipped for its roasted rib eye of North Yorkshire beef with onion gravy.

Email Terry Durack about where you've eaten lately at t.durack@independent.co.uk

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