Everybody who knows me just a tiny bit or follows me on social media, 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! The fact that it allows you to drink beer at noon already makes it even more fantastic 😉 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. 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.
In this post you’ll read some background information on Yorkshire puddings and Sunday roasts, see lots of photos (most of them of me before devouring roasts), my favourite pubs for Sunday roasts and last but not least: the best recipes for making your own scrumptious roast lunch. Enjoy!
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 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?
Enough history! Now let’s move on to a more interesting subject: where to have your Sunday roast? 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. 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), 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!
The Dove Pub 24-28 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ
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 Monro 92 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AG
A restaurant rather than a pub which serves high-quality Sunday roasts. Mind you, the roast is served without Yorkshire puddings!
The Star Pub 359 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 6LG
Nice local pub with a great atmosphere and nice staff. Not the best roasts, but still worth a cheer. The pub serves Sunday roasts till late evening, but I recommend to come here early afternoon to ensure you have a freshly cooked meal.
Trafalgar Tavern Park Row, London, SE10 9NW
To be honest, the roast I had here wasn’t exactly finger licking good, but it’s a nice photo 😉
Nice location in Greenwich near the beautiful Greenwich Park.
The Devonshire Cat 49 Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HG
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!
No photos (I must have also eaten those, piggy as I am), but these pubs are certainly worth checking out as well!
Both are really nice-looking pubs near Victoria Park with a beer garden!
The Hemingway 84 Victoria Road, London, E9 7JL
The Approach Tavern 47 Approach Rd, London, E2 9LY
Feeling hungry now? Then check out these absolute winner recipes to make your own mouthwatering roast lunch/dinner!
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 is a very simple recipe. My tip for this is: 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.
This is THE BEST recipe for roast potatoes, I kid you not! 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. My recipe: 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.
Another Jamie Oliver recipe and absolutely yummy!
Happy National Yorkshire Pudding Day everybody! I’m off to the pub now… ;-D