WHEN it comes to gathering around the table to enjoy a meal with family and friends, nothing quite beats a Sunday roast.

And if you're in any doubt that the weekend tradition's popularity has waned in recent years, take a trip to the Hanover Street Social in Liverpool.

Our family of four headed to the city centre brasserie for Sunday lunch and a well-earned rest from a last minute pre-holiday shopping trip.

Away from the big name chain restaurants but still close to the Liverpool One shopping area, The Hanover was virtually full of diners of all ages during our visit - and the roasts were flying out of the modern open kitchen.

As tends to be the norm in most restaurants these days there's a condensed menu for Sunday dining, but at the Hanover there are adequate options to choose from. And at two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £19.95 it's pretty good value.

As is the children's menu, with a choice of main and dessert for £4.50.

My 10-year-old son opted for the mini steak, served with vegetables (peas) and fries.

We asked for it be served medium rare (he's as particular about his steak as his mum) but word came back from the kitchen that due to its size it could only be cooked medium. However it arrived nicely cooked, still slightly pink inside and tender.

The fries were actually homemade chips which my son declared the best he'd ever had - high praise indeed.

My youngest son, who would unashamedly eat fish fingers every day if allowed, chose the homemade version which again was served with chips and peas. Two large goujons of flaky white fish coated in a crisp batter were placed before him - a definite improvement on his usual frozen breaded variety (albeit a saviour for working mums everywhere).

Opting for a more traditional lunch choice I selected the roast beef which was served with a large, fluffy Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and three types of vegetables - the beef a bit over for my liking but with two thick slices it was a substantial portion.

My husband meanwhile devoured his chicken, leek and mushroom pot-pie, chips and mushy peas, the chicken generous and flavourful.

Having tucked into flatbreads and calamari for starters we were somewhat full but the rhubarb and apple crumble was impossible to resist, the sharpness of the rhubarb offset by the sweet crispy crumble topping and creamy custard ice cream.

Food aside though, it was the ambience and service that impressed the most.

Just the right level of attentiveness without being overbearing, and a warm and relaxed atmosphere that was a welcome break from the busy outdoors. Social by name and as it transpired, social by nature.