Opening the blue corner door of Beef & Brew, the first thing we spot is the fluffy, bear-like dog, spread-eagled on the floor beside its owner, who's tucking into a roast dinner with friends. Despite its chic east London interior vibe, it feels like stepping into a relaxed Haggerston local. Ushered into a duck egg-coloured booth, the paper menus position the restaurant as the place to venture for meat eaters, and although the Hangar steaks do their best to tempt us, we're here to try the Sunday roast.
Our waiter enthusiastically talks us through the roast options — he's been working his way around the entire menu himself for the three months that this branch has been open, from the traditional rump beef to the free range chicken with lemon, thyme and confit garlic. We're intrigued by the wing-rib sharing platter with all the trimmings and a side of parmesan parsnips. What can we say... Sundays are meant for indulgence.
The first plates to arrive each carry a truly giant Yorkshire pudding, charred hispi, sweetly roasted carrots with star anise, and a darkly sweet viscous gravy sauce. They're quickly followed by our plate of parsnips and the medium cooked pre-cut wing rib.
Left to our own devices, we divvy up the meat and set into our meal with a fervour which anyone roast fan will understand. The easy-to-carve wing-rib is succulent, with a lightly chargrilled taste. The hispi cabbage wedge takes up a large part of the plate, but charred and drizzled in the sweet dark gravy, it's a fantastic and filling accompaniment. The carrots and parsnips do what carrots and parsnips usually do for a roast, but the taste of star anise and parmesan is sadly lost to us, and while incredibly impressive and puffy, the Yorkshire pudding proves a little too greasy on the bottom for us to finish. The gravy sauce is the real winner — we highly recommend asking for an additional jug of the stuff. “Swimming” is the way a true Londoner prefers a roast, especially with a gravy this good.
Not one to ever miss out on the chance to try a dessert, we go the full whack and try both the sundae options. Our standout favourite is the brownie and miso ice cream sundae with a scoop of raspberry sorbet, chocolate and fudge sauces, whipped cream and raspberries. If they sold the brownies —with their rich flavour and chewy texture — on their own, we'd probably buy ten. The raspberry sorbet is tart and sharply cuts through the rest of the sweet dish, and the miso ice cream a surprisingly delicious addition. Special shout out to the chocolate sorbet in the pistachio sundae, which is unbelievably chocolatey for a sorbet.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is the perfect backdrop for a drawn out meal on a chilled Sunday. Most of the punters who were there when we arrived are still there when we leave, happy to sip on a brew from the well stocked bar and in no rush to move.
If you find yourself out east with a hunger in your belly or a thirst in your throat, then you wouldn’t go far wrong to look up Beef & Brew. Or if west is more your style, hunt down the Kentish Town branch.
Beef & Brew Haggerston, 33 Downham Road, N1 5AA.
For more Sunday roast inspiration, take a look at our guide to the best roast dinners in London.