Nothing tops off a weekend quite like a belt-straining Sunday roast. And while we’ve got a lot of time for the classics, sometimes it’s good to mix things up. From Kashmiri spiced lamb legs to roasties spiked with lemongrass and vegan-friendly whole roast romanesco, London is host to some more leftfield Sunday lunches. Let's tuck in.
The vegan roast
Vegans get a raw deal when it comes to Sunday roasts, what with Yorkshire puddings, gravy — even potatoes — off the table in many cases. Never fear, as US-import By Chloe has your back for when Sunday comfort food calls. You can enjoy their rainbow-coloured Royal Roast, comprising a sea salt roasted celeriac as the main event, alongside well-trimmed glazed carrots, green beans, thyme roasties and an impressive Yorkshire pudding. All doused in a rosemary gravy made suitably rich with caramelised onions, nutritional yeast, soy and garlic. By Chloe’s entire — substantial — menu is plant-based and free from preservatives and artificial flavours so it’s frankly witchery alone that makes some of their dishes taste as good as they do. Their Royal Roast is available daily, but you’d do just as well to order their fish and chips (it’s tofu but decent), mac and ‘cheese’ and avocado pesto pasta which all impressed us omnivores. A shame you can’t enjoy it all with a traditional pint or two, but their range of softs hit the spot if you’re having a well-behaved one.
By Chloe, Covent Garden, Tower Bridge, Oxford Circus and The O2
The Sicilian-style feast roast
It feels like an eternal summer at Sicilian hotspot Norma thanks to Culinary Director Ben Tish’s shining menu of sun-drenched small plates. We were blown away by the smoked roe and the deeply sheepy lamb crudo – in deliciously Moorish surrounds. And now, they've launched three Sicilian-inspired courses of seasonal fayre ideal for sharing. Expect caciocavallo (a Southern Italian sheep’s cheese similar to provolone) and mozzarella arancini with ‘angry’ sauce followed by a whole roast chicken with fragrant lemon thyme, Italian vegetables and a cauliflower and parmesan gratin — plus roasties for good measure. Leave room for Norma’s signature tiramisu which is gloriously boozy.
Norma, 8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LS
The roast that'll spice up your Sunday
Throughout the week, Kricket serves a dazzling array of imaginatively spiced small plates — including the famed Keralan fried chicken and deliciously tart bhel puri. But come Sunday it’s all about their take on the roast. The Brixton branch (only), having outgrown its original shipping container beginnings, now offers an Indian inspired twist on the classic Sunday lunch. Dishes differ weekly, but there will always be a great selection of seasonal meat or vegetarian dishes curated by Head Chef Will Bowlby. Think sumptuous Kashmiri lamb leg with Raan (a special spiced lamb masala) gravy, a dish of kasundi broccoli heady with Indian mustard and served with a rich moilee sauce, plus jeera and curry leaf potatoes, jaggery glazed parsnips and more. Veggie small plates are also still on the menu, with dishes like burnt garlic tarka daal on hand in the unlikely event you’re still peckish. Wash it all down with their delectable home made masala chai and you should still come away with change from £30.
Kricket, 41-43 Atlantic Road, Brixton, SW9 8JL
The most bountiful buffet of a roast you’ve ever seen
Soho House’s City monstrosity, The Ned, is not known for being understated, so why should its Sunday situation be any different? Clue: it’s really not. Each week, The Nickel Bar, Millie’s Lounge and Lutyen’s Grill are taken over by hungry punters looking to plunder their £55 worth of the biggest Sunday lunch buffet in town over their assigned two hours to a soundtrack of live music. The entire central station is laden with dish after dish of roast meat joints sliced on demand (check out the insane crackling on the pork), a never-ending salmon en croute, stunning shellfish — yep, all you can eat oysters and lobster are all included in the deal — and every trimming known to man, all ready to be sluiced down with a veritable vat of gravy. Then, there’s the cheeseboard and groaning dessert station to contemplate: frankly, it’s indecent. It’s not cheap, but the value it represents is impressive, even with drinks being an additional expense (though a welcome glass of prosecco is included). Booking is essential and there’s currently a six week wait.
The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
The seriously smokin' roast
The promise of bottomless gravy is enough of a draw to get us to trek into town on a Sunday, but make it smoked and we’ll be there in a heartbeat. Temper Soho’s subterranean fire pit makes for a searingly good Sunday roast with smoked meats like beef, porchetta or goat sold by the gram as the sharing centrepiece then served some stonking sides, family style. We’ve already covered that smoked gravy, but don’t underestimate the brilliance of their potatoes roasted in sizzling beef fat then smothered in oozing ogleshield either. There’s also a giant Yorkshire, and some seasonal veg to top it all off; we’d plump for the grilled hispi with beef fat and bearnaise for the ultimate meaty experience. Vegetarians will have to pick carefully but are catered for with dishes like wood roasted cauliflower. Tacos remain on-menu to whet the appetite before the main event and cocktails are as brilliant as ever.
Temper, 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF
The Calabrian-inspired roast by the river
Colourful Calabrian chef Francesco Mazzei (Sartoria, Radici) works his Italian magic south of the river now with a tempting Mediterranean style roast at Fiume within the new(ish) Battersea Power Station foodie development. The riverside restaurant serves a relaxed Sunday roast each week where Italian and British cuisine comes together to create dishes like his whole roast guinea fowl with a kick courtesy of a heft dose of Calabrain ‘nduja, or leg of lamb studded with salty Italian anchovies. There’s always a decent meatless roast option too. A roster of regularly-changing accompaniments could include wilted pink radicchio, oven roasted swede, cavolo nero and some deliciously crunchy roast potatoes to tuck into while you soak up the Thames-side scenery. Puds span a selection of classic Italian dolci; we’d nudge you towards the Fiume signature bombolone aka chocolate pistachio doughnut. The roast will set you back around £22.50 each (veggies £18.50) and there’s the option to go bottomless with prosecco for £20
Fiume, Sopwith Way, Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, SW8 5BN
The Michelin-starred proper pub lunch roast
There are pub lunches and there are pub lunches. A Sunday at The Harwood Arms is in the latter camp and is the only pub in London to have been awarded a Michelin star to prove it. You’ll need to be patient for a table — there's often a month-long wait for Sunday lunch — but once in you’ll be spoilt for choice with vast joints of incredible, well-sourced meat which could be a roast sirloin of 45-day Shorthorn beef, or a beautiful Tamworth pork rump depending what’s on that day. Game is a big focus, so starters are peppered with beauties such as venison scotch egg or venison faggots with chestnut and marjoram while there is almost always a gamey main: right now there’s a confit leg of guinea fowl served with kale, salsify and nutmeg that’s calling to us. Three courses will set you back £49.95 so buckle up and order a marmalade ice cream sandwich to finish. Game fans who can’t wait a month or face the journey to West Brompton could take a look at the Jugged Hare in the City or the Royal Oak in Borough.
Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, SW6 1QP
The roast with a Peruvian twist
Over in Shoreditch, the traditional Sunday lunch has been given a South American makeover at Pachamama East. Well known for their riotously colourful plates of Peruvian food spanning the Asian flavours, ingredients and techniques so entrenched in the cuisine of Peru, their new Peruvian-inspired roast promises to be a party on the palate. For £20 a head, choose from a selection of five roasts: lamb leg, beef rump, spring chicken, market fish or a vegan-friendly whole roasted romanesco. The twist? Each option is marinated for 10 hours in a fragrant Peruvian paste of dried panca peppers, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, rocoto, achiote seeds and honey. Expect fireworks. Whichever you opt for, trimmings include grilled broccoli, roast carrots and smoked roast potatoes (hello!) all asking to be swimming in an umami-rich soy-based gravy. Finish it off with a dollop of aji verde (a spicy Peruvian green sauce a bit like chimichurri) and banish all thoughts of Monday. Only available at the Shoreditch site from 11am-4pm on weekends.
Pachamama, 73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HR
The Eastern take on a traditional roast
North Londoners will no doubt be familiar with the charms of The Prince in Wood Green, but for those thinking of a weekend foray around Ally Pally, Muswell Hill or the vicinity we highly recommend you take a small detour to N22 where an ingenious Eastern twist on the classic Sunday roast awaits. The Prince is known for hosting long-term residencies so do check before you visit, but currently the kitchen is offering up three drool-worthy roasts to choose from. There’s a suitably sticky braised pork belly and pear gravy, a sumptuous roast chicken with onion gravy, and a kinoko (mushroom) nut roast with a heady marmite and porcini gravy. All are served with mandarin carrots, greens and lemongrass roasted potatoes. Their daily menu of Japanese street food inspired small plates and buns remains, so there’s lots of opportunity for exciting starters, snacks and sides too: the Japanese tostadad of gochujan tuna, avo, wasabi mayo, lime and dill on crispy gyoza skin gets our vote. Beers are great too, with many brewed on site.
The Prince, 1 Finsbury Road, Wood Green, N22 8PA
The roast disguised as a burger
Venison fanatics Mac and Wild do have a stonking roast venison featuring roast topside and all the trimmings (even a Yorkshire). But what we’re really here for is the triple roast burger which has recently launched to merge their famed Veni-Moo burger with the aforementioned Scottish Sunday lunch. Only the extra hungry need apply for this beast burger triple loaded with three roast meats – venison topside, aged beef pattie and pulled pork belly – which are then layered with all the best bits of Sunday lunch. So, braised red cabbage nestles next to crispy rosemary roasties and cheesy sprouts while the all-important ‘moist-maker’ element comes in the form of bread sauce and a rich red wine gravy impossibly packed into a giant tattie bun. Oof. It’s yours for £14.50 if you think you can do it justice; go bottomless with prosecco or their patriotic Buckie Royales for £23pp.
Mac and Wild, 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS