Having a long list of restaurants I would love to visit is one thing, getting to go to them and live the dream is another! Roast, with its magnificent setting at Borough Market, was previously in the former category until last weekend when I finally got a chance to visit.
First of all, before I discuss the fantastic food on offer at Roast, it is worth pointing out that I am a big fan of the cookbook by the head chef, Marcus Verberne, and have previously had a go at making his amazing pork belly dish. As well as being fantastically tasty, it is a dish that I would say is achievable for cooks of all abilities.
As for Roast itself, the restaurant is set in a wonderful area, so go out and explore it before or after your meal! The markets, local pubs, and landmarks are all of interest. Going up the Shard, looking at the amazing produce on offer at Borough Market, and visiting the only pub run by the National Trust are things that are not worth missing out on in the rush for food!
Having had a wander around the market and taken in the atmosphere, we made our way upstairs to Roast, where you again have wonderful views of bubbling paella pans being cooked and other happenings going on in the market, all of which provides a wonderful backdrop to the serene calm inside the restaurant.
We were warmly greeted and the staff checked very thoroughly that they weren’t going to kill me off after I had made a note on the booking that peanuts and I just don’t agree! Once we were sat down, it was clear that families, foodies, and businessmen could all co-habit the dining area without a weird atmosphere developing and the room felt very spacious and modern.
I was pleasantly surprised when the waiter was able to deal with my rather awkward request for a non-alcoholic beer (more on that in a later post), by not only saying that they had one but being able to describe it to me as well. I will confess I had slight beer envy of the gentleman sat near me who was sipping on a special Roast pilsner. It looked divine! Nevertheless my non-alcoholic beer was lovely. Richard (my father in law), who joined me on this trip, ordered a carafe of wine from a nice selection and we sat back to study the menu.
Having come on a day when the set menu was on offer, we had a slightly more restricted list of options to choose from but the choice was still utterly fantastic.
We both picked the Scotch Burford Brown egg with Macsween’s haggis and caper mayonnaise but diverged on the main courses, with Richard opting for the Roast sirloin of Galloway beef with Yorkshire pudding and creamed horseradish and, for me, the Twice-cooked shoulder of Yourkshire lamb with bubble ’n’ squeak and mum’s mint relish.
As we had a chat and waited for the food to start arriving, we were plied with some divine bread that set the tone for the rest of the meal.
When the scotch eggs arrived they looked scrumptious but there didn’t seem to be anything from a visual point of view to suggest they would be quite as special as they tasted.
I am a big fan of a scotch egg and these were simply the best I have ever tasted. For those of you fearing the haggis element please don’t; the flavour just made it all even nicer! I also was rather won over by the fantastic piccalilli that really made the dish complete. All in all, this was one of the best starters I have eaten in a long time.
Moving on from the starter, our main courses soon arrived. They were presented as a traditional roast dinner should be. There was no fancy lack of gravy or a scarcity of roasties but the dish still managed to maintain its class.
The lamb I enjoyed was beautifully cooked and I could honestly have eaten it with a spoon. The beef Richard enjoyed was cooked just as it should have been and the sides for both were delicious. I can’t knock the quality of the food and I was truly impressed by everything on the table.
I would say that the one standout for me was the bubble and squeak, which was truly divine.
After a short break (and trust me, I needed one!) we chose our desserts. I opted for Bramley apple crumble with custard, with Richard going for the Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and Cornish clotted cream. If I start by saying that nothing was left on either plate despite the fact we were both full before we started eating, it should give you an indication that the puddings really hit the spot! My custard was warm and thick, with the crumble beautifully cooked. The sticky pudding delivered on flavour and wasn’t so rich that you struggled with it. All in all they were fantastic puds!
It can often be said that you feel let down by something you have really high hopes about but Roast simply delivered. While it’s not exactly on my doorstep, I would love to go back and try breakfast or another main because I feel that the menu choices and food quality are such that this could be somewhere you just have to keep visiting time and time again!
Alas, for now I shall be content in the knowledge that Roast truly deserves its place in the “best of British” category.
Categories: Restaurant reviews