London is a city with such a great variety of food and wine on offer. One meal in particular which is very popular is the Sunday roast.
Lots of pubs and restaurants across the United Kingdom do great versions of this traditional British dish, with most of them claiming to make the best in town. Below we give you our five preferred places across central London, together with our five favourite wines that will complement your Sunday roast perfectly.
Before we start, here is a bit of background information on why it is so popular. The Sunday Roast was a very popular lunch meal during the reign of King Henry VII in 1485, and the royal bodyguards have since that time been known as ‘beefeaters’ because of their passion for eating roast beef.
The traditional way to cook the meat was roasting it in front of the fire. Meat was very expensive in times gone by, so it was therefore considered a luxurious meal that you would only have once a week; on Sundays. The Yorkshire pudding was paired with meat from the very beginning of the tradition. Although, this popular side dish never used to be traditionally served with the meat like it is these days. Instead it was enjoyed as a starter, served with a very generous amount of gravy. The idea behind this was that if people were partly full before savouring the main meal, they would eat less of the pricey meat. Cheeky!
Today, everybody has access to meat at a reasonable price so the tradition for a Sunday Roast is alive and kicking, although the meat of course is no longer roasted in an open fire. Instead we bake it in modern ovens, with some places even preparing the roast during the week based on the popularity of the dish. There is a strong social factor when it comes to sharing with family and friends, with the Sunday Roast an ever popular reason to get together and enjoy a delicious lunch.
A traditional Sunday Roast should feature:
- Roast meat — beef, lamb, chicken or pork
- Yorkshire pudding
- Roast potatoes
- Roast parsnips
- Cabbage, spring greens
1. North London: Smokehouse — Islington [www.smokehouseislington.co.uk]
Food — Their signature style is the fact that they use an open fire. If you like a smoky touch to your food, this is your place. Their menu comprises traditional options and some more avant-garde dishes. Its popular so book a table.
Wine Recommendation — A nice Rioja Crianza will complement the smoky flavours really well.
2. Central London: Blacklock — Soho [www.theblacklock.com]
Food — Some people say that this place is probably the best one in the city. The chops are exceptional, the Yorkshire pudding’s are huge and they serve bone-marrow gravy. Check it out!
Wine — If things are getting serious, an elegant Bordeaux will always be the one to go for.
3. South London: The Camberwell Arms — Camberwell [www.thecamberwellarms.co.uk]
Food — This is a very friendly and relaxed pub that focuses on fresh local ingredients, seasonality and of course the meat! The chicken and the slow-cooked lamb are both amazing.
Wine — An Argentinean Malbec is always a great option with roast chicken or lamb.
4. East London: The Marksman — Hackney [www.marksmanpublichouse.com]
Food — In the heart of Hackney, this is a real pub. Really nice meat, delicious Yorkshire pudding’s and a very tasty gravy will make you happy every time.
Wine — An adventurous Douro [Portuguese] red with deep dark fruits and a toasty finish is a perfect match.
5. West London: The Hardwood Arms — Fulham [www.harwoodarms.com]
Food — This is the F1 of pubs. This place has a Michelin star but still maintains its humble vibe and style. Game is a centre piece on the menu, however this changes constantly.
Wine — An Italian Barbera will sit comfortably in this cool pub with its great acidity and aromas.
Now get your friends together and go have a Savage Sunday!
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