It still surprises me that it’s taken until now to eat at Roast. I’ve heard endless accounts of how brilliant it is and that their Sunday roasts are renowned (which would obviously make sense given their name!). I’ve also heard how they pride themselves on the produce they use, most of which is sourced from the stall holders at Borough Market below. Their classic British approach champions the quality, seasonal produce sourced as locally as possible.
I’ve probably passed the restaurant a hundred times or more while buying groceries, meats, flowers from Borough Market or while I’ve been wandering around with a heaped plate of melted raclette over crushed new potatoes with a side of cornichons, but I’ve never actually made it up to the perfectly positioned and beautifully bright Roast the restaurant. Although I’ve tried to book before, but to no avail as it’s been fully booked. It is worth noting that this place has an incredible stream of diners so booking (well in advance) is crucial.
When we finally got organised with a booking we venture there one bright, blue-skied Saturday, early evening. By this time the market is now a calmer version of its earlier self but continues to buzz as we pass through and head up to the restaurant. The space is what is immediately striking: glass every which way you look with incredible streams of sunlight pouring into the sizeable white wash restaurant, the portico of Borough Market floral hall. We are seated on the far side looking out towards St Paul’s, which neatly peeks over the railway line that passes through Borough. There’s a real sense of London here. The juxtaposition of old architecture meeting new, the rumbling of the trains passing by. Being able to sit at the centre of it all and take it all in makes us grateful that we finally booked.
Refreshingly, despite its dedication to meat Roast offers a full vegetarian tasting menu which is interesting, balanced and enough to keep the vegetarian Husband satiated. Chilled pea and courgette soup to start, a meat free scotch egg, incredible freshly made ravioli, the hugest of crumbles with the richest vanilla laden crème anglaise precedes cheese and truffles.
For me the menu begins with Carlingford oysters which arrive in the most dramatic of settings; a large silver octopus (one that my younger self would have been keen to take home). Next up are scallops with spiced apple tea raisins, cauliflower and cashew nuts. These are completely delicious, sweet and luxurious. Bangers Galore chorizo scotch egg with piccalilli comes next providing bolder and tarter flavours with pork belly, creamy buttery mash, an extra portion of crackling and a smear of Bramley apple sauce following. Quality meat and seasonal produce speak for themselves here. I manage to devour the lot! The show stopper for any lover of traditional British cuisine, or anyone with a sweet tooth and brought up with a Nan concocting the best home comforts, will appreciate the enormous portion of Bramley apple and Yorkshire rhubarb crumble served up with almonds and vanilla custard. This is easily a double portion, and comforting in every sense. We attempt to finish and don’t do too badly at all. We are beyond full, however. Our Saturday night soon feeling more like a Sunday afternoon, I consider how long it is before I can snooze it off.
This spot couldn’t be better positioned: you can’t help but soak up the area’s atmosphere, or just become a voyeur in its activities and goings-on as the market simmers down for the evening.
A destination among tourists no doubt, but without compromise of quality. This is important to remember. As we’re leaving we see numerous incredible beef wellingtons lined up on the pass ready to take centre stage at our fellow diners’ tables. This is undoubtedly a place that’s renowned for its wonderful quality ingredients all served with precision and know-how.
If you’ve not been, and a roast is your favourite meal of the week, then this place is absolutely worth a visit. For the tasting menu it’s £75 for seven courses or £95 with wine pairing. Alternatively head down for a Sunday lunch where three courses are served for £37.50. That dessert is worth it alone!