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It’s one of the most eaten-out meals in London, yet we often complain that you can’t get it better than at home. Here's our pick of 20 of the very best Sunday roasts in the capital; they may even beat your mum's, but we wouldn't tell her that.
Let us know any additions to the list in the comments below, we realise there are hundreds of places across London serving Sunday roasts and this is just the tip of the roast parsnip.
We rate all of the below as ‘must-try’ meals if you’re a roast fan, and have presented them in no particular order other than alphabetical.
The Albion, Islington
Gutsy mains and a wide choice of meats from carefully selected farms are among the best features of the Sunday roasts here, and there’s also a decent offering of veggie/fish options for the less carnivorous. A wide selection of ales and a roaring open fire complete the package.
10 Thornhill Road, N1 1HW
Anchor & Hope, Waterloo
A gastropub that arrived on the scene long before they were everywhere and operated a no reservations policy way before that was cool. A particular perk of the roasts is getting the whole joint of meat brought to the table for carving, as well as a fondness for simple, seasonal ingredients cooked well. In spite of such foodie credentials, the pub atmosphere remains, and you can easily grab a pint at the bar.
36 The Cut, SE1 8LP
Bacchus Sundays, Hoxton
Hoxton Street’s Bacchus was originally on this list, but earlier this year the venue shut up shop. We’re very glad to announce that the roasts are now back with a new line of weekly Sunday pop-ups at Hoxton Street Studios down the road, set to run until further notice. If you’ve had a bloody good roast at Bacchus before, rest assured that the chefs, ingredients, recipes and staff are all pretty much the same. If you haven’t, expect classy and carefully constructed roasts, generous portions, a cool crowd and lashings of Bloody Marys.
12-18 Hoxton Street, N1 6NG
The Bull & Last, Highgate
You could be forgiven for thinking this rustic-looking pub in leafy Highgate was more in the country than it was. Its menu combines cheffy-sounding starters (smoked pork cheek) with truly hearty mains of well-cooked, well-sourced meat in hefty portions. An impressive array of beers, wines and just about every spirit show an equal dedication to drinks.
168 Highgate Road, NW5 1QS
The Canton Arms, Stockwell
Relative of the Anchor & Hope, this gastro boozer is best known for its toasties, namely a foie gras one. But don’t overlook the Sunday roasts. Long and slow are the buzzwords for the cooking here, so expect meat to fall off the bone and melt in the mouth. Sides such as potato gratin hurtle towards the indulgent, with most vegetables receiving a dose of butter. There are special sharing dishes and a fair bit of game to be had, too.
177 South Lambeth Road, SW8 1XP
The Crooked Well, Camberwell
The Sunday menu here features a nice line in sharing meats for two, be it rib of beef, rack of lamb or a whole chicken. Single options are also plentiful, and though the meat is excellent we found perfectly cooked veggies and suitably splendid roasties to be among the points that make this gastropub stand out from the crowd.
16 Grove Lane, SE5 8SY
The Dean Swift, Bermondsey
Chicken, beef, lamb and pork are available every week at this local craft beer haunt, but they’re more special than they might sound. On our roast beef there was no such thing as going easy on the fat. Rather, the meat was cooked slowly until it melted to become part of the dish, a behemoth of flavour in a pool of gravy. Starters and sides tow a happy line between foodie fanciness and gastropub gutsiness.
10 Gainsford Street, SE1 2NE
The Duke of Wellington, Marylebone
On most Sundays, the option here is either beef or lamb, but don’t let the lack of choice deter you. We’ve found the quality of the meat cooking to be among the best we’ve tried, and the roast potatoes are perfectly crisp on the outside, fluffy within. The Sunday special of three courses for £14.95 is another plus. The pub is also brilliant in its bustle, though can lean a little towards the yummy mummy crowd, we’ve found.
94 Crawford Street, W1H 2HQ
The Gun, Docklands
It’s the mix of top-notch cooking and a great atmosphere that make The Gun a winner. Hearty portions, creative sides, waterside views and a bustling bar area that backs onto the dining space combine to unique effect — perhaps why Londonist readers voted it the best pub on the Isle of Dogs. It’s hard to get to, but if you book in advance, they’ll offer a free pick-up from Canary Wharf station. Bonus.
27 Coldharbour, E14 9NS
The Harwood Arms, Fulham
It’s the poshest pub on this list, and it’s gained a Michelin star to prove it, but it hasn’t lost its charm. The kitchen here has a real fondness for game, so expect to see a fair bit of deer and the like popping up; the ultimate, though, might be a roast rump of beef with bone marrow. The menu’s always changing, so check ahead. Expect to pay perhaps a little over £20 for your (hefty) main, but you won’t feel cheated.
Walham Grove, SW6 1QP
Hawksmoor, various locations
Yes, we know that Hawksmoor is all about the steak. But it seems it has no problem turning its hand to a roast either. Unsurprisingly, beef is the meat of choice; it’s Longhorn from Ginger Pig, to be exact, and when paired with a glug of onion and bone marrow gravy, some roasties and a bit of veg, there’s little that could be improved upon. Find it at the Covent Garden, Air Street and Spitalfields branches.
The Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington
It’s hard to decide what we like most about this excellent pub that does ales, ciders, pub grub and Sunday roasts almost equally well. The roasts in question are notable particularly for the generous quantity of meat (it’s good quality, too), some especially sizeable Yorkshires and a healthy portion of varied seasonal veg to boot. We hear the vegetarian nut roast is pretty special, too.
204 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7HU
The Jugged Hare, City
This City gastropub doesn’t mess about. Sunday options ‘on the spit’ vary by the week, but tend to include whole haunches of venison and Longhorn beef ribs. It’s caveman cooking but with much more finesse. Large portions of meat to hunker down on are accompanied by creative (and only sometimes a bit too showy) sides and starters. As Sunday roasts go, this is one of the very slickest, though perhaps not the one with the most soul.
49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA
A true pub through and through, the food might have gone gastro at this Hackney Road watering hole, but the rest of the place hasn’t. Well-cooked, and full-flavoured meat is buoyed by crispy roasties, lovely soft Yorkshire puddings and some hearty gravy that tastes like it’s had some love given to it. A true local, but well worth travelling for.
254 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ
The Old Red Cow, Clerkenwell
If you’re in a group, you can carve whole chunks of meat at the table for yourself, at this meat flesh-haven close to Smithfield Market. But even if you’re not, you’ll enjoy the well-cooked focal points as well as the thoughtfully put-together side dishes. Somewhat unusually for such a standout Sunday roast pub, there’s a craft beer selection that’s among the best in London. More on that here.
71-72 Long Lane, EC1A 9EJ
The Pig & Butcher, Islington
The clue is in the title of this pub, not far off Upper Street: it takes meat very seriously indeed. Not only does it buy all its carcasses whole and butcher on-site (to ensure better quality), but it also prides itself on its gravy, taking three days to make it by gradually reducing down stock. We can confirm it’s full-on, richly flavoured stuff.
80 Liverpool Road, N1 0QD
You’d expect good things given the name. And you’d be right. Be warned that this is very much a restaurant rather than a pub or gastropub, but given the selection of Sunday roasts, it’s very deserving of its spot all the same. From careful sourcing to even more careful saucing via some truly great Yorkshires, the roast dinner is what this place specialises in. The atmosphere is a tad too formal for our liking, though its setting above Borough Market allows for some fun people-watching of a Sunday afternoon, as shoppers and traders go about their business.
The Floral Hall, Borough Market, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL
The Smokehouse, Islington
As the name suggests, this pub, which opened late last year has a loving for all things smokey and fire-inflicted. The kitchen knows its way around a piece of meat, so you’re in safe hands whether you opt for one of the more traditional options (roast rib of beef) or something a little more adventurous (mutton chops with nduja, anchovies & parsley). Read our full review of the pub here for more idea what to expect.
63-69 Canonbury Road, N1 2DG
The Three Stags, Kennington
This friendly local pub close to Lambeth North tube balances its dining and drinking credentials well. It also has a strong eco-ethos, which means not only is the meat you’re getting for your roast excellently sourced, but some of the veg is locally grown or foraged, too. Not an ingredient is taken for granted and it shows in the final result, while vegetarian options are also well above the norm.
67-69 Kennington Road, SE1 7PZ
The Truscott Arms, Maida Vale
The roasts at this large multi-level pub in leafy Maida Vale are downright epic. From the quality of meat (choose from rump of beef, rare-breed pork or smoked lamb shoulder) to the plump and chewy Yorkshires, crisp-coated but fluffy roasties and generous amount of rich gravy it ticks all the important boxes. All these components — plus seasonal veg — are served at the table to help yourself to; a homely touch that also means you can easily order a variety of meats to share. Throw in decent veggie options, excellent provisions for gluten-free diners and hefty offerings of both wines and beers and this place really is a winner.
55 Shirland Road, W9 2JD
So, how many have you tried?
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital's top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.