Words: Will Skidelsky & Victoria Purcell
1 Joanna’s, Crystal Palace
This family-run restaurant has been a fixture of Crystal Palace life since opening in 1978. Originally an American diner, it is now a modern brasserie whose goal is to serve customers simple but delicious food in elegant yet unstuffy surroundings. On Sundays, the regular a la carte menu, which already features roast pork belly and lamb rump, is boosted by an additional traditional roast offering: roast 28 day-aged rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roasties, seasonal vegetables (sourced from Turnips in Borough Market), beef gravy and horseradish (£17.50). Owner William Ellner is particularly proud of the gravy: ‘we make it from veal bones, which give an incredibly rich flavor’. He also speaks lovingly of the kitchen’s slow-roasting oven, which ‘breaks down fibres’ and ensures ‘perfectly tender meat’.
56 Westow Hill, Crystal Palace SE19 1RX; 020 8670 4052; joannas.uk.com
2 The Palmerston, East Dulwich
The Palmerston in East Dulwich, which has just overhauled its kitchen to keep its bold, modern European dishes at their best, serves up a fabulous Sunday roast. Start with some deep-fried veal sweetbreads with sauce gribiche to share with friends, and then get stuck into the faultless roast rump of 35 day aged Galloway beef, served pink, with a Yorkshire pudding the side of your head. Even the veg are delicious – garlicky green beans, carrots with crunch, parsnips and spuds that are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
91 Lordship Lane East Dulwich SE22 8EP; thepalmerston.co.uk
3 The Crooked Well, Camberwell
The Michelin Guide-recommended Crooked Well never fails to provide. It is housed in a single high-ceilinged room replete with chandeliers and velvet banquettes, local celebs Florence Welsh and Erin O’Connor are regulars, and Sunday lunch is a particular highlight. The meat is from William Rose in East Dulwich and many dishes are shared – roast chicken with all the trimmings, including pigs in blankets (£31), and a spectacular rack of lamb for two (£38). There are also single-portion pork and beef roasts (both £15.50). ‘Roasts have always been very important to my family and we wanted to make them a focus,’ co-founder Hector Skinner says. ‘We want coming here for Sunday lunch to be as close to home as possible.’
16 Grove Lane, Camberwell SE5 8SY; 020 7252 7798; thecrookedwell.com
4 The Guildford Arms, Greenwich
The Guildford Arms’ chef-patron Guy Awford is all about the honesty, seasonality and quality of the food he serves, which is sourced fresh from local suppliers. Everything they serve is made on the premises, and since the style of cooking is imaginative modern British, it’s a great spot to head for a roast. Choose from dishes such as slow roast shoulder of Yorkshire lamb with roast vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes and rosemary jus (£16.50) and honey and mustard roast ham with roast spuds, roast veg, Yorkshire pudding and cider jus (£15).
55 Guildford Grove, Greenwich SE10 8JY; 020 8691 6293; theguildfordarms.co.uk
5 Pedler, Peckham
Pedler is all about seasonal food and daily changing menus – whatever’s freshest, whatever’s the best, that’s what you’ll be eating. Chef G loves to mix things up, so you’re never going to get anything too ‘standard issue’. Traditionalists, be wary. But those who love original flavours, embrace the likes of a Flock & Herd pheasant for two to share with bread sauce and berry gravy (£30) and 41-day aged beef rump with horseradish (£18), both served with red cabbage, celeriac, sprouts, kale, roasties and yorkies.
58 Peckham Rye SE15 4JR; 020 3030 5015; pedlerpeckhamrye.com
6 The Camberwell Arms, Camberwell
The Camberwell Arms is a great dining-style pub with some very fancy roastie offerings. Head over with a bunch of foodie friends for upscale sharing offerings like slow-roast Salt Marsh lamb shoulder and dauphinoise potatoes for five (£75), or perhaps the Welsh Black forerib, potatoes, watercress and béarnaise sauce for two to three (£75). There’s also a lovely, long list of old and new-world wines to help it all along with. Don’t dawdle though, lunch is only served from noon to 4pm.
65 Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell SE5 8TR; 020 7358 4364; thecamberwellarms.co.uk
7 The Commercial, Herne Hill
Let the good times roll in Herne Hill, with the long-awaited reopening of The Half Moon pub AND a shiny new refurb for The Commercial. The Half oon porbbaly has the upper edge in terms of its family offering, but if you don’t have little ones in tow, head for The Commercial, another long-reestablished local favourite. The refurbishment blends the relaxed vibe of nearby Dulwich Village with the party feel of Brixton with a modern British menu, laid-back interiors, a good beer and wine selection and even a dedicated Bulldog Gin menu. And the roasts are certainly a hit. Great roasties, towering Yorkshire puds and creamed leeks to die for. The half chicken – which even comes with a little pig in blanket – and Cherry Orchard pork loin with super crispy crackling, made us incredibly happy (or was that the bottle of Pinot Grigio Blush?), and the Black Forest Eton Mess is worth a Monday morning HIIT class.
212 Railton Road , Herne Hill SE24 0JT; thecommercialhotelhernehill.co.uk
8 Hare & Billet, Blackheath
The Hare & Billet, which was refurbished and reopened earlier this year, always seems to me like Blackheath’s most grown up pub. It’s quiet and sophisticated, with a separate dining area and a great range of beers, many from small local breweries. The fresh, seasonal, rustic-style British cuisine features lots of lovely pies and slow cooking delights, and their roasts are good and traditional. Try Hampshire pork loin with chargrilled apple (£14) or slow-cooked topside of Dexter beef (£14.50), served with dripping roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal veg. There are also kiddies roasts for £6.50.
1A Hare & Billet Road, Blackheath SE3 0QJ; 020 8852 2352; hareandbillet.com
9 The Crown Tavern, Lee
The Crown Tavern in Lee is the latest pub to get the Young’s contemporary makeover, and it looks great. The spacious bar area hosts various styles of seating from ‘quick drink’ to ‘Sunday slouch’, there’s a bright, airy dining room to the rear and a colourful, family friendly beer garden out front. Their Sunday roasts look fantastic too – choose from 21-day aged British sirloin, rare-breed pork loin with crackling, lemon-and-thyme-roasted chicken with stuffing or slow-roasted roasted butternut squash – all served with a double egg Yorkie, goose fat roasties, seasonal greens and ale gravy.
117 Burnt Ash Hill, Lee SE12 0AJ; 020 8857 6607; thecrownlee.co.uk
10 The Sylvan Post, Forest Hill
This relaxed boozer is housed in a former post office and retains many original features, from the letter boxes out front to its bar fashioned from a 1960s Royal Mail desk. Known above all for its excellent craft beers, its Sunday lunch – with roasts all at a reasonable £13 – has also become a cherished feature of Forest Hill life. ‘We really try to get the little touches right that make the difference,’ explains sous chef Jon Phillips. Pork is outdoor reared, while the beef is dry aged and the chicken is brined for two days in salt and ale.
24-28 Dartmouth Park Road, Forest Hill SE23 3XU; 020 8291 5712; sylvanpost.com
11 The Orchard, Brockley
The Orchard’s loyal, predominantly local clientele love its substantial Sunday roasts (the wickedly spicy bloody Marys are another key attraction). The Sunday menu, which changes regularly, currently features roast 21 day-aged Hereford beef sirloin, horseradish cream (£15.95) and slow roast salt marsh lamb shoulder (£16.40), both served with roast potatoes, sautéed greens and a towering Yorkshire pud – ‘the biggest in south east London’. The meat is sourced from W Bunting, a much-loved family butcher just off the Old Kent Road, and everything is prepared on the premises with evident care.
5 Harefield Road, Brockley SE4 1LW; 020 8692 4756; thebrockleyorchard.com
12 The Princess of Wales, Blackheath
Always bustling, the Princess of Wales has an area for every occasion – tables under the TV for Sunday sports viewing, booths for crowding into with friends, high stools, low sofas, high-backed chairs and even conservatory-style dining. There are usually only a couple of roasts on offer – 21-day-aged West Country beef (£13.75), half a roasted Shropshire chicken with parsley and thyme butter (£12.50), plus a nut roast – but they’re done well with fresh, seasonal ingredients and served with roast potatoes, seasonal veg (the honey-glazed carrots are particularly good), a huge homemade yorkie and plenty of gravy.
1a Montpelier Row, Blackheath SE3 0RL; 020 8852 5784; princessofwalespub.co.uk
13 The Woolwich Equitable, Woolwich
This building is magnificent. Originally the headquarters of the Woolwich Equitable Building Society, dating back to 1935, it was beautifully refurbished last year to show off the double-height ceilings, grand marble columns and spectacular Art Deco glass ceiling. The Sunday roast menu features a selection of carefully sourced meats like the Norfolk Black Angus top-side of beef and the Devon Black Face lamb leg, all served on pretty, chintzy plates handsomely stacked with roast potatoes, Chantenay carrots, honey roasted parsnips, buttered Savoy cabbage, Yorkshire puddings and red wine gravy.
Equitable House, General Gordon Square, Woolwich SE18 6AB; 020 8317 7190; woolwichpub.com
14 The Prince Regent, Herne Hill
An excellent stop off after a stroll in Brockwell Park, The Prince Regent serves up a good roast chicken with that saviour of all Sundays – cauliflower cheese – as well as roast potatoes and mange tout, for the bargain price of £11. But not one to be accused of keeping things too simple, you can also get a roast duck breast with celeriac rosti, pak choi and raspberry jus (£13). It’s also one of the few places left in the universe where you can have a prawn cocktail starter (£7.50).
69 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill SE24 0NJ; 020 7274 1567; theprinceregent.co.uk
15 Railway Telegraph, Forest Hill
The Railway Telegraph, established in 1853, reopened in late 2014 after an extensive refurb and has already become a Forest Hill institution. The interior and dining room are gorgeous, everything is made from scratch in-house and the likes of slow-cooked crispy confit of Hertfordshire pork belly and roast topside of grass-fed Scottish beef are created from meat marinated for 48 hours in seasoning and herbs from the pub’s own garden (2 courses, £16.50; 3 courses, £19.95).
112 Stanstead Road, Forest Hill SE23 1BS; 020 8699 6644; railwaytelegraph.co.uk