A smartly-dressed waiter was slicing succulent slices of pink beef before us while another server delivered the most enormous Yorkshire pudding.
It suddenly dawned on me after more than a decade in London, I’d finally discovered the ultimate Sunday lunch spot.
A friend from the U.S. was visiting and I was tasked with finding him the best example of the traditional meal. After asking various friends in the know, I was directed to Richard Corrigan’s eponymous joint in Mayfair.
The tucked-away restaurant has been open for more than seven years but somehow I’d missed it. Now I was making up for lost time.
Corrigan’s oozes old-school sophistication; think dark-wood panelling, leather cladding and lampshades adorned with exotic bird feathers. You could imagine James Bond casually sitting at the bar, polishing off a martini.
The soft, yolky lighting is also flattering, it certainly helped hide my vile hangover.
When it comes to the table settings, the attention to detail is on point, from the daintily hand-painted charger plates to the thick carded menus.
Back to lunch, we were positively salivating at the carvery action playing out before us.
We’d just had two oysters to start – which were plump, juicy, and divinely fresh – and now we were eager for our mains.
While my friend Nick had selected the dry aged roast beef, I continued on the seafood theme and went for the Cornish fish grill.
A heavy metal flat-bottomed pan of skate, cod and Pollock was put under my nose, with sprigs of root vegetables poking through a pea puree.
Corrigan’s might be smart but it’s not stuffy in the slightest. We felt completely at ease as we tackled our lunch from the comfort of a corner booth.
A group of friends sat to our right, while the place was also abuzz – despite it being a late 3pm sitting – with a smattering of other sophisticated diners.
On the drinks front, Corrigan’s has a quaffable wine list, but getting into the ‘Bond swing of things’ we washed everything down with a heady blend of cocktails.
To wake us up, we went for a Time To Rise, which consists of Longshore vodka, Poire William, Dolin Blanc, Manzanilla Sherry Fennel, Lemon and Aphrodite Bitters.
We followed it with a Red Right Hand, which hit all the right spots with a sippable swirl of Jameson Black Barrel, Campari, Kamm and Sons Ginseng, Maraschina and Plum.
Returning to the mains, our large dishes of warming ingredients were scrumptious. The cauliflower cheese was pleasantly nostalgic while the vegetables were cooked to perfection, with a buttery firmness inviting yet another plunge of the spoon.
Before you venture to sweet course territory, the Irish soda bread is a must try. The fresh-baked slices are punctuated with oats and deliciously creamy and wholesome to taste.
We were feeling fairly full but we’d seen some deserts waft by and couldn’t leave without trying one of the sweet creations.
It was a tough choice but after asking our very obliging hostess for her recommendation, we took a Tonka Bean parfait.
Doing things in style, we paired our dessert with a syrupy glass of Sauternes, which proved to be the perfect accompaniment.
The Tonka Bean parfait was dreamy. A light, sweet, smoothness washed over the tongue with a confetti of crunchy biscuit bits jazzing it up.
The icing on the cake occurred when a chef came into the dining area and offered around a tray of fresh-baked Madeleines.
We were stuffed and couldn’t manage another morsel but the Madeleines were kindly put in little boxes for us to take home.
The next morning the soft sponge was a lovely reminder of the new London spot I’d discovered.
Corrigan’s you’re now firmly in the book.
To book the £29 lunch at Corrigan’s or a dinner, please visit www.corrigansmayfair.co.uk or call 020 7499 9943.