Andy Mossack reviews The Ned Sunday Feast and finds the traditional Sunday lunch may never be the same again.
The Ned sits proudly on the former site of the old Midland Bank building at 23 Poultry in the City of London. A once venerable financial institution has been reborn as another venerable institution, this time for well-heeled hospitality patrons.
As well as 250 sublime guestrooms and a rooftop private members club, The Ned’s reputation for fine food and drink is no secret, and The Ned Sunday Feast has become the stuff of legend. That said, you can imagine my surprise when I arrived for my midday reservation and was asked “Which Ned Sunday Feast are you booked into sir? Millie’s Lounge or Cecconi’s?
“There are two Sunday Feasts?”
“There are indeed.”
A closer peek at my confirmation revealed Millie’s as my destination, but two Feasts? The ultimate in eating decadence perhaps.
It turns out they bookended each other, split by an entrance walkway, in The Ned’s vast opulent turn-of-the-century former banking hall. A sort of atrium marketplace of multiple high-end restaurants and bars around a bandstand where a jazzy combo schmoozed us with soft standards.
Millie’s Lounge is a nostalgic throwback to City restaurants of yesteryear with plenty of pink velvety banquettes and dainty table lamps holding hands with each other around the pillars of the original hall.
The Ned Sunday Feast is just that. A central food island stacked with starters, mains and desserts which are at your complete disposal throughout a two-hour time slot. There’s also the additional benefit of a glass of Prosecco included (there is a wine alternative) or unlimited Champagne with a surcharge.
I’ve always struggled with the concept of eating as much as you like dining. There’s an art to ensuring the food remains fresh and appealing, particularly if I’m not one of the first in line. No such worries here, fortunately. The Ned Sunday Feast was a shining example of just how to perfectly manage this type of food delivery. It was like an oiled machine that had clearly had years of experience behind it.
Eagle eyes from the chef team ensured each mound of food remained symmetric. Any distasteful-looking dishes were instantly banished to the kitchen and replaced with shiny new ones. Roasted potatoes were perfectly golden, encrusted all over.
You get the picture.
I have to say the choice was overwhelming. Starters included a litany of salads; Niçoise, Caesar, Greek and mixed grain to name a few while a giant charcuterie board laden with cold cuts of salamis and hams resided below a shelf of devilled eggs, avocado toast, and baskets of fresh crusty bread. Fish and seafood lay in wait next door; rock oysters, half lobsters, crevettes, and smoked and poached salmon.
A chef stood to attention further along the line to plate my main to order. Roasted pork, beef, and chicken (cooked perfectly of course), then I was left on my own to forage around the roasted vegetable patch (including those aforementioned spuds) and batches of mixed greens. Giant Yorkshires were piled high like trophies while an adjacent ladle ensured their cavernous middles could be filled with gravy. A decadent tray of golden mac and cheese couldn’t be ignored either.
Around the opposite end of the food island, the desserts waited patiently like wallflowers at a dance hoping to be noticed. Far too many to list here, save for a couple of standouts for me, a hot and dreamy sticky toffee pudding with custard, and a glorious cheeseboard.
I suppose the advantage of a buffet lunch is you get the chance of intermittent exercise between courses, walking to the food island and back again. But if you really can’t summon the energy to do that, the outstanding service team would probably do that for you too. They were the stars of the show for me.
On hand with an uncanny sense to be ready to pounce on any suspected need, I may have had. A perfect example was when I arrived back from a visit to the desserts and realised, I had forgotten to take a spoon. Literally, as the thought hit me, a spoon materialised in front of me with a whispered “I think you’ll need this sir.”
Now that’s what I call service.
The Ned Sunday Feast at Millie’s fully justified its legendary status for me. Impeccable service and lavish food and drink. It is undeniably indulgent, but after all, that’s surely what a Sunday lunch is for I reckon.
All images (C) Andy Mossack and The Ned.
Tell me more about The Ned Sunday Feast
The Ned Sunday Feast, Millie’s Restaurant, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
T: + 44 (0)20 3828 2000 Enquiries@Thened.Com
£90 per person includes a glass of Prosecco on arrival or £145 per person for unlimited Champagne.