Stoney St, London, SE1 1TL www.roast-restaurant.com
In a listed building, nestled above the food-loving hordes of Borough Market sits Roast, an all-day restaurant serving deliciously British food from an iconic London location.
I’ve often gazed up at Roast when wandering through Borough Market, filled with a sense of intrigue at this refined alternative to the street food stalls below.
The warm glow coming through the arched windows makes it even more inviting on a chilly autumn evening, like the one on which I made my most recent visit.
And the location is part of what makes dining at Roast a truly special experience. The view of the market below makes for excellent people watching whilst enjoying a pre-dinner drink at the bar.
The bright and spacious dining area has captivating views whichever way you look. The open kitchen lets you catch a glimpse of the chefs hard at work prepping and roasting, and the floor to ceiling windows offer breath-taking views of St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard.
Roast’s easy atmosphere and generally relaxed and casually dressed clientele are a contrast to the more formal table setting and service, making it an accessible and unpretentious choice for Sunday roast with a crowd with a bit of a fine dining feel .
The Sunday menu has a choice of a three-course set menu or a selection of à la carte options – all designed to showcase the best of British produce, much of which is sourced from the market.
To start, we go for the smoked salmon with crab, and the pumpkin and goat’s cheese risotto. The generous portion of salmon feels fresh and light, with a scattering of beautiful white crabmeat and sticks of slightly sweet apple.
Risotto is quite a run of the mill veggie option, and usually doesn’t excite me terribly. This creamy pumpkin risotto has perfect bite and a subtle flavour that is enhanced by chunks of rich goat’s cheese that melt through the dish as you dig in.
When it comes to the main event, the Sunday set menu offers a choice of four meats; chicken, lamb, pork belly, or beef sirloin, as well as a fish and veggie option.
A vegetarian option at a Sunday roast can be tricky, and although the lemon ricotta, spinach and pea tortellini sounded tempting, it seemed an odd dish to pair with the traditional roast dinner trimmings. Wanting to sample both a meaty main and an alternative, we choose the slow roasted lamb shoulder and the fillet of hake.
The beautifully tender lamb is a real triumph. The slow cooked meat falls apart and melts in the mouth and is served with a rich and meaty jus plus an impressively large Yorkshire to mop up the extra sauce.
The hake is paired with a rich, tartare-style sauce, spinach and artichoke crisps. This elegant looking dish is flavourful and surprisingly filling, with the crisps providing a satisfying crunch for a contrast to the flaky fish.
A Sunday roast is nothing without the classic sides, and this is where I feel Roast let itself down. Although the potatoes are perfectly crisp and golden, with a satisfying fluffy centre, the cubes of root veg don't bring much to the table, and the bowl of what seems like plain cabbage was fairly uninspiring.
The only way to end a proper Sunday roast is with a proper British pud – so we choose the crumble and the sticky toffee pudding. We were pretty stuffed after our first two courses, preceded by a few unnecessary but irresistible slices of the fresh market bread and salty butter, but manage to put away these desserts with little difficulty.
The crumble is just as you’d want it, with sweet, stewed fruit topped with a crunchy topping that has just the right amount of chew. The sticky date pudding is, however, the star of the show.
The soft and slightly springy sponge is rich with naturally sweet dates, drenched in a toffee sauce, and served with clotted cream for a final dose of decadence.
For a quintessentially British roast dinner, served in style, look no further than Roast.