The weather was not promising as we set off towards the Watering Can on 5th November – another wet Bonfire Night in the making. We met through a sheet of rain. A little time later we arrived at Greenbank Park. We were early (that never happens). The clouds parted and blue sky and sunshine emerged above, unfolding like a firework display. We walked in the park. It is a restful, blissful space. The Watering Can, utterly beautiful, is surrounded by late flowering pelargoniums and pansies on raised platforms and colourful shrubs. It is a cross between a totally up-market potting shed and a spacious, light filled conservatory.
Feature by Jean Hill
We stepped inside. It is a quirky space, watering cans hang from the rafters. We admired the distressed wooden kitchen frontage with traditional floor tiles. Foliage mixed with wood and glass set the scene. We were seated in a really warm, comfortable space, cosy cushions to hand.
The Sunday roast menu is impressive. Two courses costs £26 (with one or two supplements). The staff were welcoming and cheerfully efficient and the atmosphere was beautifully relaxed. I chose the pan-fried scallops, charred sweetcorn purée, and nduja butter as a starter. Nduja is spreadable pork sausage from Calabria, Italy: it tasted delicious. The scallops were perfect (which is an art). Our editor opted for smoked salmon, whipped goat’s cheese, thyme, honey beetroot, lemon, dill and sourdough cracker. It is the attention to detail: a wonderful combination of smoky, sweet and sour that releases a burst of complementary flavours.
We both decided on the free range chicken roast dinner as our main. Again it is the attention to detail that delivered the wow factor. The stuffing, pork and caramelised leek was crispy, herby and sharp. The Maple syrup and thyme roasted carrots had a delicate sweetness and rich substance and this is the way I will cook carrots from now on. The chicken was tender, the gravy had zingy, rich flavour and the roasties were perfection. The broccoli and kale retained a slightly crispy freshness. The house red went perfectly with the roast and we enjoyed every moment.
It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The detailed preparation must take a great deal of time. Totally worth it because it was standout. Comes highly recommended.
From the archives: The Watering Can’s legendary Sunday Roasts are back on the menu.