They might not match up your mum’s, but they’re definitely the next best thing.
Hawksmoor, various locations – People come here for the steak. But on a Sunday afternoon, everyone’s only having one thing. Charred over charcoal flames, beef rump is finished slowly in the oven, then served up with all the usual accoutrements. Free gravy refills mean if you’re one of those people who likes to drown their beef (just to make sure), you’re in the right place.
Harwood Arms, Fulham – This award-winning gastropub, which is also Brett Graham’s lesser-known eating house (after The Ledbury), is a welcome blend of the hearty and traditional with the modern and flamboyant. There’s cauliflower cheese fried into little croquettes, and Yorkshire puddings with braised meat mixed into the batter, alongside roast fallow venison and wild boar.
Blacklock, Soho and City – Does Blacklock do the Sunday roast to end all Sunday roasts? Voters for last year’s Guardian OFM Awards certainly think so – the restaurant topped their list for the best roast in Britain. With a cast of 55 day-aged rump roasted over oak chips, duck fat potatoes, and bone marrow gravy, it’s little wonder why.
Pitt Cue, Devonshire Square – What if we told you one of London’s best Sunday roasts is to be found in one of London’s best restaurants? And at only £14 a pop? ‘Unleashed’ last year, the oak-smoked lamb shoulder for two – and with all the trimmings, of course – is a steal at £28. Just about the only trade-off being that it, and Pitt Cue’s other roasts, are only available through the autumn and winter from the 8th October.
Quality Chop House, Clerkenwell – Of the somewhat few straight-up British restaurants in London, the Quality Chop House is undoubtedly one of the essentials. On any given Sunday afternoon, look out for their Mangalitza shoulder or Galloway beef topside with all the trimmings. And a few twists here and there, such as cauliflower cheese pimped up with Comté.
The Bull & Last, Highgate – Easily one of the better food-led pubs in London, Highgate’s The Bull & Last does a knock out Sunday lunch. That’s whether it’s the permanent fixture (shorthorn sirloin with Yorkshires, roast spuds, and greens) or the seasonal option (in this case, lamb rump and belly with aubergine, fine beans, and mint). An excellent dish of gnocchi, grilled artichokes, courgette salad and sheep’s cheese means vegetarians are well catered for too.
The Gun, Docklands – What’s this? A waterside pub with good views, that’s within easy reach of central London, but way off the main drag? Sounds like a target for the ideal Sunday afternoon excursion. The Gun is a good pick if you like no-frills classics – the roast bellies of pork with apple sauce, the rumps of beef with creamed horseradish, or the chicken with pigs in blankets.
Anchor & Hope, Waterloo – Roast or no roast, the Anchor & Hope quietly goes about its business as one of the best places to eat south of the river. Expect the likes of Dexter sirloin with dripping potatoes, or grouse and seven-hour roast lamb neck when in season. All booked up? Some things run in the family – sister pub The Canton Arms is, some would say, just as good an option.
The Marksman, Hoxton – Formerly a watering hole favoured by the locals, The Marksman underwent a revamp in 2015. One thing on the menu stayed: the roasts. When going for the rather alluring Sunday lunch, this pub does not do things by the halves. So if you’re against the idea of waste, or don’t fancy taking half of it home with you, forgoing breakfast might be on the cards.
Roast, Borough Market – It may be competing with Hawksmoor for the best roast in Borough, but Roast has the right credentials to challenge anything in its path. Namely the fact that, unlike Hawksmoor, they do more than just beef – slow-roasted lamb shoulder studded with rosemary and garlic or pork belly with Bramley apple sauce certainly give the sort of variety you’re after when out with the family or in a large party.
For more inspiration, check out our list of top rated Sunday lunch spots. With restaurants offering everything from traditional roasts to seafood and dim sum, there’s something to suit everyone.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.