The Best Places In The World To Eat Lamb This Easter
Moran family lamb shoulder. Photograph courtesy of Chiswick
Five international restaurants to enjoy very different takes on the traditional Easter Sunday roast spring lamb.
Whether it’s a wild four days out-of-office, extended time with the in-laws or a more religious affair, the one thing uniting most factions at Easter is the central role of seasonal food. Beyond peripheral elements such as hot cross buns or half-eaten chocolate eggs, it’s roasted lamb that often forms Easter dinner’s centrepiece, with all its symbolic significance served best alongside crispy potatoes and a robust red wine.
Roast lamb is also a dish that chefs from all corners of the globe take very seriously, with regional and cultural variations putting a culinary spin on the seasonal classic. Ahead of Easter weekend, we’ve picked out some of the world’s standout spots for memorable lamb dishes.
Loi Estiatorio, New York
Photograph courtesy of Loi Estiatorio
For all Italy’s grand Easter traditions, it’s in Greece where lamb really takes top billing at Easter, with Good Friday often the start of weekend-long family event with spit-roasted lamb at its heart. At one of New York’s leading Greek establishments, head chef Ms Maria Loi brings a touch of that tradition to midtown Manhattan, with her arni sti souvla – citrus and rosemary roasted lamb with lemon potatoes – appearing on a special prix fixe Easter menu alongside her trademark eggplant dips and pomegranate-studded salads. And given Ms Loi’s role as an official ambassador of Greek gastronomy, you can be assured that authenticity is a key ingredient.
132 West 58th Street, Midtownloiestiatorio.com
Café Murano, London
Ms Angela Hartnett’s Covent Garden institution excels when it comes to Italian cuisine, with the Michelin-starred chef paying homage to the country’s star dishes with an unfussy but elegant approach. This weekend, Café Murano launches a special Easter menu with roast lamb the hero dish. According to head chef Ms Sam Williams, lamb plays a central role in a typical Italian Easter. “It is a traditional dish that symbolises rebirth and the beginning of spring,” she says. “In Italy, it is traditional to eat the leg of lamb on Resurrection Sunday and fish on Good Friday.” With aromatic herbs playing a key part, the lamb is roasted with garlic, rosemary, thyme and high-grade olive oil, and served with Jersey Royal potatoes, salsa rossa and charred fennel. And if that’s not enough for you, follow up with the pastiera napoletana – a traditional Easter tart made with ricotta and zesty orange blossom.
36 Tavistock Street, Covent Gardencafemurano.co.uk
Photograph courtesy of Sébillon
Another restaurant excelling specifically in lamb is Sébillon – a luxurious spot in Neuilly-sur-Seine to the northwest of central Paris. The self-titled “temple of leg of lamb” takes its trade very seriously, and with a history that stretches back to 1914, it’s clearly been doing a sterling job, thanks in no small part to the star attraction: the milk-fed Allaiton de l’Aveyron. The tender shoulder cut at the heart of Sébillon’s sophisticated menu is carved at the table – adding a touch of theatre to proceedings – and comes accompanied by creamy haricot beans, adding a Gallic twist to an Easter favourite.
20 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly-sur-Seinesebillon.com
Mr Matt Moran earned celebrity status within the Australian restaurant scene with a string of successful ventures over the past twentysomething years. But it’s at the leafy grounds of his laidback space in Sydney’s Woollahra where his star shines brightest, with ingredients from the adjacent garden giving character to Mr Moran’s artful take on home cooking. It’s become a destination for Sydneysiders in no small part due to his Moran family lamb shoulder sharing platter, which is tailor-made for an Easter feast. The joint is slow-roasted over a seven-hour period until the meat falls off the bone and comes served served fragrant chermoula, baby aubergine and mint. Plus, with its high-grade lamb sourced from Moran’s farm near Bathurst in the Central Tablelands, it’s doesn’t get much fresher than this.
65 Ocean Street, Woollahrachiswickrestaurant.com.au
Es Verger, Mallorca
Photograph by Holger Leue/Alamy
It might entail a journey resembling a pilgrimage to reach this celebrated mountaintop tavern, but it’s more than worth it. Located deep in the mountains to the north of the Mallorcan capital of Palma, you’ll need strong resolve to navigate the hairpin bends that lead up the slopes to Es Verger. But the superlatives lavished on its paletilla de cordero (lamb shoulder), earning the restaurant the imaginative moniker of “the lamb restaurant” among British patrons, make it worth the effort. Don’t expect high luxury – think instead concrete floors, plastic tablecloths and brusque service – but a generations-old method, which sees the lamb slow-cooked on a wood fire and served with roast potatoes, salad and earthy house wine, are sure to restore your spirits for the ride back home.
Camino del Castillo de Alaró+34 971 18 21 26