What: A quintessentially British restaurant using the iconic roast dinner as a key feature on the menu which is comprised of locally sourced produce.
New? Roast was opened in 2005 by restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab OBE, founder of the legendary Cinnamon Club.
Where? The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London Bridge, SE1 1TL www.roast-restaurant.com
On the Menu: Roast prides itself on using the finest seasonal produce from British farmers and producers with many of the ingredients used by Head Chef Stuart Cauldwell coming from Borough Market itself – just below the restaurant. The menus have very recently been changed with new dishes like roast duck breast, white polenta with quince and juniper and braised ox cheeks, creamed onion sauce and Isle of Wight garlic.
First Impressions: When you know what you’re looking for, the entrance is easy to find – with a simple tilt of the head you can see the first floor restaurant jutting out above Borough Market. The staircase and reception is decorated with photographs and plastic replicas of cuts of meat giving you an insight on what to expect on the menu later.
The Look: With the wintry months seeing daylight disappear at early evening we missed the views of The Shard and St Paul’s which can normally be seen from the main dining area – windows make up three of the four walls. The restaurant itself features high ceilings, crisp white table clothes and clean white walls making the space light (during the day!) and airy.
What We Ate: Don’t miss the baked charcoal cheddar soufflé with oyster mushrooms and chives; dark grey and dramatic thanks to the charcoal, the soufflé itself was wonderfully light in texture and melted in the mouth. The egg in the haggis and Lorne sausage Scotch egg was perfectly runny with complementing piccalilli, if a little shy on the haggis flavour. The pork belly was tender and succulent served with creamy mashed potato, although the crackling was more for decoration as it was slightly too crunchy to eat. The spiced quince and Bramley apple pie with camomile tea ice cream had a nice kick to it and although it accidentally came served with lemon sorbet, it turned out to be a more preferable pairing – light and refreshing.
What We Drank: Roast serves a selection of beers, ales and rare whiskies, including Japanese whiskies plus they also serve own-label wines. The cocktails are reasonably priced and I went with the Cranachan which is a mix of Roast Balblair 22 yo, Drambuie, fresh raspberries, honey and lemon juice.
Go With: Being so close to London Bridge makes Roast an ideal spot for a business lunch or post-work dinner although it doubles up well for an ideal date venue.
Final Word: Although Roast has built its foundation on the classic British dish they have created a menu to incorporate all the best aspect of English dining in spectacular fashion. Their most recent offering is the innovative Roast burger; tender Welsh Black roast beef topped with carrot piccalilli, horseradish sour cream and melted ale and mustard cheddar between a focaccia and potato bun.