Sometimes it feels like searching for a top-quality Sunday roast dinner in Hampshire is a bit like searching for the Holy Grail. There are so many variables, that it's seemingly impossible to please everyone, all of the time. 

So many things could go wrong, ambience, price, staff friendliness, and that's before we've even touched on the actual ingredients.

However, after a recent trip to Figurati in Southampton, we might have found Hampshire's perfect roast. To be honest, we are a bit loathe to publicise it, in case crowds descend on our newly-found gem and that in some way changes the balance. 

Figurati is at Southampton's Ocean Village, a marina packed with expensive yachts, and opposite the city's only five-star hotel. It opened in July 2022, set up by Chris Schutrups,  who runs the Hunters Inn in Romsey and the Dolphin Inn in Hursley, his friend Richard Gilbert and their wives Nicola and Sophie. It's already picked up accolades - winning an award at the British Restaurant Awards - and has made a name as one of the highest-rated restaurants in Southampton on TripAdvisor. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Ocean Village viewOcean Village view (Image: Newsquest)

Ocean Village is a lovely place to sit and enjoy a drink in the summer, one of the few places in Southampton where you can actually sit next to the water and enjoy a bit of tranquillity away from the ferries and cargo ships. But we are visiting in December, it's a cold winter day, and the wind is whipping past the many expensive yacht masts. We park and hurry into the warmth of Figurati, which glows through its large windows. 

We are welcomed to the bar while our table is prepared, and there's live music, a singer belting out easy-listening numbers, which is slightly too loud for the small (ish) space but it does go nicely with the cold lager. 

The restaurant is modern and tastefully decorated, there are lots of plants, lamps and artwork, in a nice pastel easy-on-the-eye green hue, someone has taste, and everything is spotless, including the loos. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Figurati Southampton

The staff are attentive, and our young diners (my kids aged four and six) are catered for well with a kids menu featuring all the favourites you'd expect from an Italian restaurant in smaller portions, one opts for a bolognese and the other goes for the plainest chicken and pasta combo on offer. Both are satisfied and eat all their food without any drama, leaving the adults free to get on with the important business of eating roast dinners.  

I chose the Hampshire Leg of Lamb (£21) and my other half picked the Slow Roasted Sirloin of Beef £21.50) which both come with garlic and rosemary potatoes, anise glazed carrots, honey roasted parsnips, carrot and swede puree, grilled tenderstem broccoli, cauliflower cheese, gravy and Yorkshire pudding. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Figurati Southampton

Everything on the plate is exceptional. The roast potatoes have the perfect crisp, the parsnips have the perfect sweetness and the meat is gorgeously tender. You'd be happy to just drink the gravy alone, and the Yorkshire pudding perfection is something that normally only happens once in a blue moon - or 'ogni morte di papa' as the Italians would say - but I am assured that at Figurati it's a normal Sunday thing. 

For pudding, the kids go for ice cream, however, I tested out the Tiramisu and I can say it's a close-run thing with the secret-recipe tiramisu served at an Italian restaurant I worked at as a teenager, which the restaurant owner's elderly mother would make using an old family recipe. Figurati's Tiramisu is gorgeous, light enough to make you want to eat more, but satisfyingly sweet with a classic coffee flavour. Served with a bitter chocolate sorbet, it's a delight. 

Hampshire Chronicle: Figurati Southampton

It's been a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Sunday, and as we are settling up and getting ready to leave, I overhear the people at the two tables near us talking. They don't know each other, but are clearly regulars, Figurati their only connection. "See you next week," one says as they also leave. I think to myself, "they know", this really is the best-kept secret in Hampshire. And now you know too. Figurati might have just nailed it, there's no need to keep searching, the perfect roast does exist and it's in Southampton.