By Derek Robertson November 2018
As the scorching summer gives way to the first autumnal chills, days shortening and leaves turning to amber and gold, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as sitting down to a proper Sunday roast complete with all the trimmings. A British icon, it’s a tradition that dates back to the late 1700s when families would place meat and vegetables in the oven before heading to church, the meal to be consumed afterward the service. Typically involving lamb, pork, or beef, there are now all manner of innovative twists on this most classic of dishes, and it’s no surpise that London has been in the vanguard of bringing the roast into the 21st Century. Here then are the 7 best places to sample this very British culinary wonder.
Oblix West, The Shard
For luxurious decadence, it’s hard to beat Oblix West. 32 floors up and with sweeping panoramic views of the capital, the setting is more than matched by the food and the top class service. Sunday roasts here are modern with a twist – think chicken with charred leeks and truffle, pig with spiced apple and cider, or honey and clove marinated duck – and their attention to detail extends to a sumptuous range of sides. They have their own Josper oven and rotisserie, meaning succulent meat, cooked to perfection. If you’re looking to splash out on the best, this is place for you.
The Jugged Hare, The City
Tucked away in the City, in the shadow of the Barbican, lies this elegant, refined gastropub. Famed for it’s roasts and Sunday lunches, they do all manner of game birds, joints, and an “on the spit” option that changes weekly, all served with top notch gravy, duck fat roast potatoes, and some of the lightest, fluffiest Yorkshire puddings you’ll find anywhere. But the real stand out is the dish that gives this place its name – a wild hare, stewed in it’s own blood for hours, and served with creamy mash, cabbage, and bacon.
The Harwood Arms, Fulham
Championing the very best in British game and wild meat, the Harwood is the only Michelin-starred pub in London – and it shows. The food is absolutely outstanding and changes according to the season – venison, grouse, veal, and even whole roast fish are all likely to appear at some point. And while the three-course set menu isn’t cheap at £49.50, portions are huge and prepared with a skill and dedication that’s all too rare. Booking ahead is essential.
Florentine, South Bank
It’s not just roasts that are the stars at Florentine, an all day dining and bar tucked away in Waterloo, although their corn-fed chicken and 32-day-aged rib of beef are both outstanding, and come with all the trimmings. Grilled yellowfin tuna and rump of lamb are just some of the other sumptuous options, but if you’re hungry and with a group, try the Herculean Burger – 2.2kg of beef to be shared between 4 – or the 1kg Tomahawk steak, a massive hunk of grass-fed goodness that will test the largest of appetites.
Ceviche Old Street, The City
If you’re after Sunday lunch with a twist, head to Ceviche, Martin Morales’ restaurant and pisco bar, for a Peruvian spin on British classics. There’s a great Pollo a la Brasa (marinated roast chicken) alongside delights such as chilli and coriander pork shoulder, whole grilled octopus, and a wonderous Seco de Berenjena (braised aubergine). But for something truly unique go for the whole suckling pig in a Peruvian-Japanese marinade – complete with sides, its enough food for 10 or so people, and has to be ordered five days in advance. Buen provecho!
The Pig & Butcher, Islington
So seriously does this delightful pub takes its meat that they buy all their animals whole, direct from farms, and butcher the carcasses on site in their specially built basement (hence the name). They also pride themselves on their gravy, taking three days to make a gloriously rich, flavorsome broth that’s the perfect accompaniment to beef and lamb served rare (as it should be). The result of all this is some of the tenderest, juiciest roasts in the capital, with a menu that’s updated regularly according to the season.
There’s only one word to describe the beef roast at Oslo, and that is “epic”. A tower of food that is huge in every way, a gigantic Yorkshire pudding crowns a plate of perfectly cooked meat, lightly charred carrots and parsnips, kale, and your own personal jug of gravy on the side. It’s one of three options on their Sunday menu – the others being chicken and the best vegetarian nut roast in London – and together with the relaxed vibe and smooth jazz soundtrack, makes for a stress-free, unfussy hour or two.