Seven restaurants for the 7th day: Hampstead is home to plenty of places that make the day of rest taste a whole lot better
1 THE FLASK
A proper pub that, unsurprisingly, has become something of an institution in and around Hampstead. There’s nothing quite like supping on a pint of Young’s PA at the bar, but for the purposes of this feature you will need to head to the light-filled conservatory to tuck into their Sunday lunch menu. We couldn’t be more impressed with the range of dishes. The steamed mussels, coconut, lemongrass and chilli broth will certainly banish the cold outside to get things started, and their roasts cover everything from 21 day aged sirloin of beef through to The Chef’s Roast: trio of beef, pork and chicken. They have proper pub mains too, in case you don’t fancy that traditional roast.
14 Flask Walk NW3 1HE; 020 7435 4580; theflaskhampstead.co.uk
2 THE SPANIARDS INN
There are so many reasons why we can’t get enough of The Spaniards Inn. The wonderful stories linked to its history, the dog-friendly bar, the way the wood creaks as you head upstairs to the dining room… We love it all. Sunday is, arguably, the best day to visit as their roast menu is quite an offering. From an eclectic starter menu – try the crumbed pigs cheek or the seared scallops – their roasts are the stuff(ing) of dreams. For the indecisive amongst you, go for the mixed roast containing slices of sirloin of beef and pork loin with crackling, and love birds can enjoy the Spatchcock lemon chicken with gingerbread stuffing for two. Trust us, you’ll be going back.
Spaniards Road NW3 7JJ; 020 8731 8406; thespaniardshampstead.co.uk
3 THE HORSESHOE
We initially came across The Horseshoe due to the fact it was the birthplace of the Camden Town Brewery, which started life in the pub basement. Now The Horseshoe is a part of the ever-expanding Camden Town Brewery empire, where unsurprisingly you can sit back and enjoy quite a selection of drinks. But their food, too, warrants a mention. The Sunday menu certainly heads down an original route with starters that include pork terrine, and courgettes and pecorino on toast, and we loved the option to share with the mains, either the mustard rabbit for two, or the wild seabass with braised spinach and borlotti beans that would satisfy three easily. As you digest, get stuck back into the drinks menu.
28 Heath Street NW3 6TE; 020 7431 7206; thehorseshoehampstead.com
It’s winter so clearly the wrong time to talk about a BBQ. Well, the wrong time if you were not at Gaucho Hampstead’s sheltered terrace where you can enjoy a traditional asado, Argentina’s national BBQ. Saying that, we love the cow print interior, intimately lit and very relaxing. On Sundays they offer the Gaucho Roast, which is two courses for £23 or three courses for £26 (no argument, we say), and we can’t look further than their roasted sirloin of beef, served with Yorkshire puddings cooked in beef dripping, roasted potatoes, roasted parsnips, Vichy carrots, sautéed French beans, broccoli and gravy. With all this, you are going to need have a Gaucho Bloody Mary just to get yourself prepared for the feast.
64 Heath Street NW3 1DN; 020 7431 8222; gauchorestaurants.co.uk
We have been harping on about traditional Sunday roasts for much of this, but we do recognise people love going out for a weekend lunch and not necessarily want to get stuck into a hunk of meat. Step forward Carluccio’s, who do their utmost to offer fabulous alternatives. These range from chicken saltimbocca (flattened chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham) to homemade ravioli, but for us it has to be the wonderfully sounding Grandioso: a sharing platter of Milano and Ventricina salami, Parma ham, pancetta wrapped prawns, buffalo mozzarella, marinated artichokes, roasted peppers with pesto, chargrilled aubergine, courgette, olives, balsamic onions… We have to stop there!
32 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1NH; 020 7794 2184; carluccios.com
Like Carluccio’s, Giraffe seems to be ubiquitous on high streets all around London, but make this list due to their value for families. This goes for the colourful, bright interior, to how kids are very much welcome whatever the day. We like their kids’ meal deal, where the little ones can enjoy a main and selected drink for a measly £5.65, and there’s plenty for the adults to enjoy to ensure Sunday is a proper family event. The fact the Hampstead restaurant was the very first Giraffe – it’s almost reached its 18th year – and is now a training restaurant adds to the allure.
46 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1NH; 020 7435 0343; giraffe.net
7 WHITE HORSE
Now for something completely different… Located on the corner of Fleet Road in South End Green, the White Horse has regenerated from a traditional boozer into a rather fancy bar and lounge. So far, so what, you may say, but Lebanese-born Sacha Kardar, the new owner and previous proprietor of the Sofitel Hotel in Beirut, is determined to inject an exotic feel to an already vibrant area by bringing her culinary heritage and love for stylish dining and drinking here. So Sunday lunch here may feature hot and cold mezzes, grilled seafood and meats, assorted salads and a fabulous range of sweet tooth desserts. Welcome to the neighbourhood.
154 Fleet Road NW3 2QX; 020 7485 2112