The Sunday roast, or “Sunday lunch,” is among Britain’s best and most celebrated food traditions; when it’s right, it can compete with the world’s most-loved national dishes. The centre piece is roasted meat: beef (with Yorkshire pudding and horseradish), lamb (and mint sauce), chicken (with redcurrant jelly or bread sauce), and pork (with apple sauce and crackling) are the most famous. It’s served with roasted potatoes, an assortment of roasted or blanched vegetables, and gravy made from the roasting juices. It is advisable not to stray from tradition and to adhere to the condiments as accompaniments listed above.Read More
The Best Sunday Roasts in London
The restaurants and pubs in London that serve the finest versions of Britain’s most iconic meal
There are countless, largely indistinguishable pubs masquerading as gastropubs when it comes to midday on a Sunday. Nowhere more so than in the Walthamstow area. But, at the Castle, nestled in a residential area to the south of Walthamstow’s bougie little “village,” the roast is worth going out for. Three protein options, usually beef, chicken, and pork, plus a vegetarian nut roast, come with well-seasoned veg, such as roasted carrots, spiced red cabbage, parsnips, greens, crisp roast potatoes, and a Yorkshire pudding. It is a generous serving of a consistent and accomplished roast, and critically, the gravy is of the highest, richest quality.
Red Lion and Sun
A fellow Highgate landmark to The Bull and Last, The Red Lion and Sun has a sizeable beef roast on Sundays — it’s classic, but quality, a hallmark across a menu that includes the likes of oysters, mussels, and crab on toast all deployed with the care and attention that they need to really shine.
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The Clarence Tavern
This Stoke Newington pub has one of the widest-roving, interesting Sunday menus in the city. While centrepieces take in the familiar likes of chicken and leek pie; beef; and slow-cooked lamb for sharing, there are more tidy, clever ideas like a chanterelle and Tunworth cheese “tartiflette,” or the pure enticement of the words “deep-fried anchovies and aioli.”
The Bull and Last
Reopening from a two year refurbishment into a global pandemic is probably not what Highgate institution The Bull and Last had in mind, but its Sunday roast held up through it all. Short horn cattle from North Essex, and a potato, spring green, mushroom and taleggio pithivier are the mainstays. Taylor Swift will just be relieved that her London boy can show her Highgate.
Minimalism is so often best. Minimalism reigns supreme at Max Rocha’s “cafe” (restaurant) Cecilia on the edge of the Regent’s canal, a clever fit out inside a new build, in Hackney. Breakfast and lunch there — in the traditions of St. John, the River Cafe, Spring, and Rochelle Canteen — are excellent events, though Cecilia’s showstopper could well be Sunday lunch. It’s the blackboard to which diners should turn, sporting perhaps poached turbot; a beef rib; or a mutton pie with swede and gravy to share.
Marksman Public House
All of these roasts are worth going out for, but the Marksman’s is one of those that leaves diners asking why so many pubs get it so, so wrong. It’s a clever menu, with a three courses for £40 baseline from which diners are free to improvise, perhaps adding a roast mallard instead of a chicken and girolle pie, or plumping for cheeses over the esteemed brown butter and honey tart (better, though, to get both.)
Blacklock’s Sunday roast is one of the most outright popular in the city: beef, potatoes, roasted vegetables, cauliflower cheese, and horseradish cream. If seeking something a little different, its “all-in” platter of chops is a worthy contender.
The Quality Chop House
One of the more hallowed Sunday lunches in the city, with a two or three-course option and some bonus snacks. The centrepieces are roast chicken and bread sauce; herb and butter roasted celeriac; and Middlewhite pork with apple sauce, served with roast potatoes, vegetables, and bashed roots. Olive oil ice cream is the dessert of choice.
Hawksmoor Air Street
Hawksmoor’s roasts normally change by location, but they share what makes this steak restaurant great: well-sourced, dry-aged beef, subjected to a fierce open fire before being finished to perfection by more conventional (oven) means. Roast potatoes, carrots, greens, and bone marrow gravy join a sizeable rump steak. Roasts coming out of the kitchen Friday — Sunday inclusive.
The Black Dog Beer House
With a cute, warm back garden, this Brentford pub that prides itself on a very serious selection of craft beer and tinned fish is also strong on Sunday roasts, with the likes of lamb with hummus and a thyme and pomegranate gravy; trad beef with horseradish and red wine; and a roast pork heady with fennel seed.
The Harwood Arms
This Fulham pub’s Sunday roast is one of the most renowned in the city, and chef Jake Leach has continued that acclaim after taking over from Sally Abé. The £65 menu offers three courses, with a fine, nifty sea bream tartare on the starters and the old steadies of lamb shoulder, Iberico pork loin, and Belted Galloway beef sirloin on the mains. Desserts are a highlight, with meticulous craft going into a mandarin trifle with gingerbread, or a delicate custard flan with a plum jam. Make sure to drop some extra £ on a venison scotch egg.
This Lambeth Road institution says things like “bring on the Salt Marsh lamb shoulders,” which is a pretty good example of the vibe here come Sunday, featuring provençal short rib with macaroni cheese for two; a vegetarian lasagna, and more.
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The Camberwell Arms
One of the best of the best has resumed roasting, with the likes of spit-roast chicken with cicoria, potatoes, and aioli; a bubbling beef and bone marrow pie; and quality smaller dishes like a borlotti bean minestra or some skate and mussel broth.