A Sunday roast, one of the few traditional meals that most of us Brits have enjoyed at home as well as our local pub. My family tradition on Sundays was to walk across a field and then eat my body weight in goose fat potatoes and slow cooked meats assuming that I had ‘burnt it off’ in the 20min field ramble.
Now living in central London the competition for a good Sunday roast has stepped its game up; with award winning meats, excellent seasonal vegetables, great wine lists and specialty coffee to finish. This being said I haven’t been out for a roast in a long time, so with a bit of research and Grace Dents seal of approval I book into The Marksman E2.
I arrive with my mother to the smart refurbished pub, something we are only too used to in London. Yet it feels like a juxtaposition to the Sunday roast of my childhood, the smoke filled dark rooms with old men smoking pipes to now the hipster waiters and lovely weekly changing menu. Our table isn’t quite ready so while we wait at the bar they kindly let us try a selection of their reds before we settle on a bottle of Claret to go with our meal.
We are seated in the upstairs room with a warm relaxed Sunday crowd. The menu has a good selection of fish, vegetables and meat. Yet we are carnivores and go straight to the classic meat mains..
Above is the rare beef rump with a Yorkshire pudding and the Tamworth pork belly with apple puree. Both served with sweet potato puree, a piece of celeriac, spring greens, a jug of gravy and some sage roasties.
The meat for me was the highlight, both pieces perfectly cooked and the seasonal sides balancing just nicely. The small piece of roast celeriac in particular was delicious, and the greens were the perfect change to any boring boiled veg. The roast potatoes and gravy, two of my favourite components of a roast, were nothing special, not much flavour from the gravy and no contrasting crispy exterior/fluffy interior potatoes. The overall portion size made the whole meal feel so refined that it would have made a good dinner, but Sunday lunch in my eyes should be big enough to skip dinner. Anyway, there is plenty of room for dessert, and I am dying to try their much talked about brown butter honey tart. My mother chose one of her childhood favourites, plum trifle.
They arrive and and just as the mains did they look beautiful. I dip into my tart not wanting to ruin its precision and wafer thin base. I am glad I did, its smooth umptious brown butter custard-like flavour, with a dash of childhood memories, yet the present day version is so much better. The trifle to, taking all the best bits of childhood trifles and filling it with flavour, light sponge and a gentle sherry aftertaste.
The meal was brilliant in all its East London refurbished, refined, quality ingredients glory. That being said, maybe, just maybe I miss the oversized portions and crudely cut meat piled high on my plate for ‘my’ traditional Sunday roast.