The best Sunday roasts are of course the ones your mother cooked for you as a child. Given that many Londoners don’t have their mother nearby, it is somewhat of a tradition to spend Sunday afternoon at the pub having a roast there instead. Of course it is never going to be in the same league as a mother’s cooking, lacking that essential element of tender love and care, but there are some decent pub Sunday roasts out there.
Roast pork at The Spaniard
If the weather is fine, it is hard to top a Sunday roast at The Spaniard in Hampstead for the setting alone. Just before the seasons turned, MTV boyfriend rode our bikes to Hampstead to meet up with our friends Sully and Jo for lunch. We felt we had earned a big feed given that Notting Hill to Hampstead is pretty much uphill all the way.
The Spaniard sits across the road from the heath and a toll house with the road narrowing to the extent it is really only suitable for horses and carriages (or bikes!). The pub itself dates from 1585 and allegedly Dick Turpin used to frequent it. The leaning walls, dark timber panelling and low ceilings certainly give it a cosy and romantic feel and it would be a great winter pub to tuck away inside in after a walk on the heath. However if the weather is nice enough sitting outside in the huge beer garden is certainly the way to go. On our visit it was packed with families and big groups tucking into one of the three Sunday roasts on offer.
More shots of the roast pork
There are other options on the menu of course, but given The Guardian rated The Spaniard as having one of the top ten Sunday roasts in the UK, you would sort of be crazy to try anything else. Service involved ordering ourselves at the bar and then waitingly hungrily for what seemed like an aeon for the roasts to be brought out.
Roast lamb (14.50) was certainly generous in servings, and I was a fan of the large, saucer like Yorkshire pudding that crowned it. The addition of slow cooked leeks added something a little different but the meat had been a little overcooked and the potatoes perhaps slightly undercooked. I do love a nice crusty, crisp roast potato and these ones were on the soggy side. The roast pork (14.50) was probably the better choice, arriving on a huge wooden board complete with crackling on top. The crackling could have been crunchier (after all the ultimate is for it to make a crackling noise when you eat it) but one area The Spaniard did perform was in the gravy. Thick, rich and a ready cover for any shortcomings in the meat. I am pretty sure dousing everything in gravy was my Mother’s secret to her Sunday roast as well.
Details: The Spaniard, Spaniards Road, Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JJ (Ph 020 8731 8406) Tube: Hampstead Heath
If you liked reading this you might be interested in some other Sunday roast reviews of The Panetechnicion and close to The Spaniard, The Hollybush.