However international British cuisine has become, the iconic Sunday roast is still very much alive and kicking. So when outside temperatures dip, pile into a British pub for a traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings.
Actually, we don’t limit roast dinners to Sundays. Special family days like Christmas or Easter are also often celebrated with a roast. But during the autumn and winter months, a Sunday roast is a great finale to a cold winter walk.
Where can I get a Sunday roast?
In London, most gastropubs offer their own Sunday roast dinner menu. Roast, in Borough Market’s iconic Floral Hall, is famous for its daily roasts of beef, chicken or pork belly. Alternatively, try the Pig and Butcher in Islington. In West London, Paradise in Kensal Green serves a fantastic Sunday roast in a beautiful dining room. Or join the locals in north London with a bracing walk on Hampstead Heath followed by Sunday lunch at The Wells Tavern in Hampstead.
What’s included in a Sunday roast?
The main course usually centres around roast beef but you may also find lamb, pork or chicken on the menu. Increasingly, most pubs and restaurants will also offer a vegetarian and vegan option such as a nut roast.
The other essential component is Yorkshire pudding, made from a batter of eggs, flour and milk or water and baked until the puddings puff up.
Other accompaniments include an assortment of vegetables, such as cabbage or spring greens, cauliflower and a root vegetable such as roast parsnips or carrots. Roast potatoes and lashings of gravy are also a must. Finally, choose from a selection of sauces – horseradish, mint sauce, mustard or apple – depending on the meat.
What about dessert?
Traditionally, it has to be a proper pudding. An apple or blackberry crumble or fruit pie, often topped with custard or ice-cream, or bread and butter pudding, are big hitters for Sunday lunchtime desserts.
The traditional Sunday roast – history on a plate
In fact, the Sunday roast dates back to the 15th century. Apparently King Henry VII’s royal guard ate fresh roast beef every Sunday after church which is why the Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London are called ‘beefeaters’.
As for Yorkshire puddings, well the traditional way to cook them was under the meat to catch the drippings. Unlike today, they were served as an appetiser so that everyone got full up before they started on the more expensive meat course! Of course nothing went to waste, and stews and pies made use of leftovers throughout the week.