A haven to award-winning stalls and street-food vendors, Borough Market is renowned for its impressive selection of gourmet cuisine. Nestled in the heart of London’s most famous food market lies Roast Restaurant, an all-day eating destination which celebrates the finest of British produce. Proud of its British roots, Roast has launched a Summer Staycation series for six weeks, serving up well-known international dishes using only British ingredients, many of which are sourced from the market traders.
Each week is dedicated to a different delicacy, with the likes of America’s southern fried chicken and France’s moules frites gracing the menu. Roast has hit the jackpot with this menu, arriving just in time for Britain’s glorious heatwave. Not only is Britain equalling its European neighbours on the weather front but also in its cuisine, proving that British ingredients can indeed mimic those well-loved holiday meals.
Roast Restaurant is housed in Borough Market’s impressive former Floral Hall, set over two floors in an airy mezzanine overlooking the hustle and bustle of the market below. Diners can soak up the buzz of the market in the comfort of a classic and less chaotic setting. Natural light floods in through the arched windows on either side of the restaurant as wine glasses glisten on every table. For the best spot in the house, ask for a window-facing table for views of the iconic dome of St Paul’s Cathedral or a peek of the market itself.
While the restaurant certainly lives up to its name with its enticing Sunday roasts, chef Stuart Cauldwell offers equally impressive fish dishes fitting for the summer season. Our meal began with an unforgettable starter of large juicy scallops with seasonal gooseberries and a sprinkling of pine nuts. Seared to perfection, the delicate scallops were at their best when combined with a mouthful of the crunchy toasted pine nuts. Roast’s starters resemble edible artworks, with intricately designed dishes arriving on colourful stoneware ceramic plates, bringing character to the formal white cloth tableware.
The wine list is equally innovative, with a Kung Fu Girl Riesling providing hints of peach and kick-ass packaging to match. Marian Nemec, Roast’s expert wine connoisseur, was on hand to select a wine pairing with each course, detailing the stories behind each selection. Nemec is currently revolutionising the wine menu, importing wines from all around the world – the restaurant will soon be the first European restaurant to import a certain Australian wine – while also championing best-selling British whites and sparkling wines.
Having already given guests a taste of Italy in the preceding week with Dorset clams and crab linguine, we were ready to be transported to the Spanish shores with Roast’s British take on the classic seafood paella. The one-pan paella serves two, with generous helpings of seafood sourced from the coasts of Cornwall, tender chicken from Lancashire and a fiery kick courtesy of the smoky Suffolk chorizo. Pair this with a glass of the refreshing English Nannette’s Rose or a fruity Sicilian Nero d’Avola red wine.
While you might be in need of a siesta after devouring the paella, make sure to leave room for dessert as Roast masters classic British puddings, with decadent flavours and dessert wines to match. The proof really is in the pudding. The hearty sticky date pudding with toffee sauce was perfectly moist yet jazzed up with a topping of almond brittle and a dollop of silky clotted cream. The Hungarian Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2010 wine complimented the rich dessert with its subtle citrus fruity tones. Eager to continue down the classic puddings route, we also ordered the Bramley apple and strawberry crumble. The all-time favourite had just the right amount of crisp to it and was accompanied by delicious English vanilla custard and a glass of the Château Briatte 2012 sourced from Sauternes.
With four weeks to go, there’s still time to embrace Roast’s delicious take on international delicacies. If you’re in the midst of a staycation, soak up the summer with a trip to the elegant Roast Restaurant in the heart of Borough Market for holiday dishes made with quintessentially British produce.