Roast in London Bridge: The Borough Market food institution
Soaring above the Borough Market, one of London’s food meccas, Roast is more than a restaurant, it’s an institution. Even literally, though, it’s more than a restaurant: there’s Roast to Go (for take-away) down by the stalls, and also a brand new bar with proper cocktails.
Off the top of my head, there are two reasons to come here. The first one is the location. Large windows make it bright and airy during the day, classy and vibrant after the sunset – views of the market and St Paul’s are a delight. The second reason is their meat, carefully sourced and perfectly cooked.
We are visiting on a Friday night, the atmosphere is one of celebration: family and friends dressed up to enjoy a meal together; there’s no dress code and anyway it’s not a place where they’d make you feel uncomfortable for going too casual, but it’s one of those for which – more often than not – guests like to gussy up. We stop at the bar first; it’s brand new and we try two cocktails. A New Dawn (champagne, vodka, cointreau, peppercorn syrup, guava purée and lemon juice) has a spiciness that makes it very intriguing, the smooth sharpness of the French liquer keeping it all together; the Twisted Paloma delivers on its promise to be fresh and sour – no trace of lazy cocktail sweetness. A couple close to us is having one (possibly the RA! London) with dry ice and a cute London-themed presentation – we are a little bit jealous.
After the drinks, we sit at our table right by the window, St Paul’s wonderfully blending with the sky’s pastel pink shades as the sun goes down. This is Roast so we go as classic as we can: six oysters and a scotch egg, to start with. I remember the latter pretty well from my last visit, and it’s still as good as it was in my memories. The oysters are savoury, fresh and with a fleshy texture. I always eat them undressed as they come to fully appreciate their taste and consistency. We are also recommended to try the smoked halibut, and we see why.
For mains we go all-in with the red meat: their signature Full & Proper Roast Beef and also a rib-eye. The steak, at £42, disappoints. Not because it’s not good but because it’s just a nice grilled steak. It’s also served on a red/brown plate and the juxtaposition between similar colours doesn’t really help. The roast beef, however, is wonderful. The meat is tender and its dry-aged flavours (from 48 days on the bone) are heaven for the palate.
Clearly, a Friday night dinner cannot finish without some nice pudding. We have the Bramley Apple and Blackcurrant Crumble and a scoop of homemade chocolate ice cream. The classic British dessert, served with a jug of vanilla custard, is delicious.
Roast is an institution. Its British classics and great produce – as well as a beautiful location that is traditional without being outdated – still make it a player in the ever-competitive London food scene. A little bite of their roast beef is sufficient to understand why this restaurant deserves to be visited.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
To book a table at Roast, Stoney Street Borough Market London SE1 1TL, call 020 3006 6111 or visit their website here.