This post is an ode to my favourite traditional British meal – Sunday roasts. But it also provides background information on Yorkshire puddings, a fundamental ingredient of the Sunday lunch. I’ll be sharing my favourite pubs for Sunday roasts but also the best recipes for making your own scrumptious roast lunch. But also lots of photos of me devouring Sunday roasts – just warning you. Enjoy!
What is a British Sunday roast?
I’ve been planning on writing a post about Sunday roasts for a long time and now finally found the appropriate excuse as today is National Yorkshire Pudding Day, which is celebrated on the first Sunday of February.
Everybody who knows me just a tiny bit or follows me on Instagram, knows I am a foodie and that I LOVE Sunday roasts. I am a sucker for this typical British Sunday lunch and think it is one of the most brilliant food inventions the UK has ever brought about!
Typically served in pubs, a Sunday roast consists of roast potatoes and vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and a generous serving of meat, fish or veggie option.
The fact that it allows you to drink beer at noon already makes it even more fantastic, ha ha!
Related article: Unique things to do in London on a Sunday only
What are Yorkshire puddings?
Yorkshire Puddings are one of the key elements of Sunday roasts. Jonny Lee Miller shows you his homemade concoctions here in an episode of TV series Elementary in which he plays the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.
Yorkshire puddings have a long history in British cuisine. All sources I found in my research for this post state Hannah Glasse’s book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple (1747) as the first written source of a batter-based pudding with the prefix ‘Yorkshire’.
The first time I saw a Yorkshire pudding I was very confused. First of all, I expected it to be some type of sweet dessert. But in the UK the word ‘pudding’ initially referred to meat-based food (think of for instance black pudding).
It wasn’t till late 18th century that it was used to denote the batter-based puddings. Secondly, I was confused why the big batter cup was left empty and wasn’t stuffed like for example a ragout cup.
Originally, the puddings were placed underneath the meat that was roasting on a spit in order for the meat juices to drip into the batter cups. The meat drippings would thus flavour and colour the puddings. It also meant that all nutrients from the meat would be utilised, turning the puddings into a hearty source of energy.
Times were tough and no element of food went to waste, not even meat drippings. As the only ingredients for the batter are milk, eggs and plain flour, it was cheap, nutritious and therefore perfect for the working class.
Initially it was served as a starter followed by the meat and vegetable main course. Nowadays, Yorkshire puddings are part of the main (huge) meal served for lunch on Sundays or Christmas.
Where to have your Sunday roast in London?
Enough history! Now let’s move on to a more interesting subject: where to have your Sunday roast?
As said, this meal is served in many British pubs on Sundays. However, pubs are specialised in serving beer and not always in serving good quality food. I’ve learned this the hard way unfortunately after having tried many roasts in many different pubs.
That’s how dedicated I am in my research. (Or at least, that’s my excuse…)
For me a Sunday roast should consist of crisp and thoroughly cooked roast potatoes. Trust me, it often happens that roast potatoes are reheated in the microwave which results in too chewy potatoes.
Furthermore, it should be served with fresh and crisp vegetables – often this is cabbage with roasted, caramelised parsnips and carrots – good quality meat (or fish or veggie option), light and crisp Yorkshire puddings and a savoury gravy. (Note to some pub cooks: this doesn’t mean gravy from a package served with lumps…)
So, without further ado, here are my recommendations to have a delicious Sunday roast! Starting with my personal top 3 London pubs for Sunday lunch, followed by a few suggestions in Liverpool and Sheffield.
1. The Dove Pub, London
By far my absolute favourite London pub and best place to have Sunday roasts. I mean, just look at my happy face here! The food served here is fresh and perfectly cooked.
And as a fervent Belgian beer lover, this pub is Valhalla to me as The Dove has an extensive beer menu. I always have a blonde Brugse Zot from the tap with my roast at The Dove.
The Dove pub
24-28 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ
2. The Devonshire Arms, London
Despite being located in the posh London neighbourhood of Kensington, The Devonshire Arms serves an affordable Sunday lunch. The quality is truly superb and the modern looking pub is very inviting. It’s a popular place though so do make a reservation!
By the way, I was again impressed with their Belgian beer collection here. Especially the St. Stefanus is a great, yet quite strong, option!
The Devonshire Arms
37 Marloes Road, Kensington, London W8 6LA
3. White Swan, London
Located in Westminster near Tate Britain, I expected the White Swan pub to be a real tourist trap. However, walking towards Pimlico Tube station after a visit to Tate Britain in the pouring rain and feeling hungry, Hubby and I decided to give it a go.
Since it ended up in my list of places to eat Sunday roast in London, you might have guessed it was great! It was quite busy inside, but it didn’t feel touristy at all.
The food was of really great quality and the portion was good too. And despite its prime London location, the prices weren’t too bad either.
14 Vauxhall Bridge Road, Westminster, London SW1V 2SA
A few Sunday roast suggestions outside of London
The Monro, Liverpool
A restaurant rather than a pub which serves high-quality Sunday roasts. Mind you, the roast is served without Yorkshire puddings!
92 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AG
The Old House, Sheffield
We walked in here by chance one Sunday afternoon during a Sheffield city break and were lucky to snatch the last available table. The atmospheric bar serves great beers, but also delicious Sunday roasts!
The Old House, Sheffield
113-117 Devonshire Street, Sheffield S3 7SB
The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield
Quite heavy lunch as the roasts are not only served with roast potatoes, but also a large heap of mashed potatoes. Still, I can’t get this Sheffield pub out of my mind. Not for their roasts, but their impressive walk-in fridge absolutely filled with quality Belgian, Dutch and German beers! So, this pub still gets a two thumbs up from me!
The Devonshire Cat
49 Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HG
Recipes for Sunday roast
Feeling hungry now? Then check out these absolute winner recipes to make your own mouthwatering roast lunch/dinner!
How to make Yorkshire puddings
There are many recipes for Yorkshire puddings and while one chef swears by using for example duck fat, this ingredient would be absolute blasphemy according to another chef.
This Yorkshire Pudding recipe is very simple to follow. My tip: make the batter beforehand and leave it to rest overnight. But most importantly: pre-heat your Yorkshire pudding tray (or simple a muffin tray as I use) with a bit of oil in each hole and make sure this oil is sizzling hot before pouring the batter in.
Best recipe for roast potatoes
This Jamie Oliver recipe for roast potatoes is truly amazing, seriously! It take a couple of hours to make, but trust me: it’s definitely worth the time and effort! Thank you, Jamie Oliver!
You can have various vegetable variations with your roast, but for me they should always include roasted parsnips and carrots.
- Peel the parsnips and wash the carrots.
- Cut them all up in even chunks and parboil them for about 4-5 mins.
- Drain the vegetables, spread them out evenly on a baking tray, add a splash of olive oil, crushed (unpeeled) cloves of garlic, chopped onions, sea salt, pepper and some sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary.
- Then pop the tray in the oven next to your tray with roast potatoes for about 20-25 minutes.
- Make sure your vegetables are spread out evenly and not stacked on top of each other as that would simply cook them and not roast.
Recipe for roast beef
Looking at the photos in this post, you might have guessed that the roast beef is my favourite. Hubby doesn’t eat meat so he usually orders the vegetarian option or fish & chips instead.
If you do eat meat, then I highly recommend this roast beef recipe, courtesy of Jamie Oliver. It’s absolutely yummy!
Happy National Yorkshire Pudding Day everybody!
I’m off to the pub now…