The post saturday night, lazy sunday afternoon roast dinner. Picture a chattering pub with eclectic patrons, the rich smell of roast potatoes and gravy and the familiar sound of beer glasses clinking. A british tradition dating back, some say, to medieval times, the roast dinner is no mean feat and can vary hugely in quality, price and variety.
I have chosen to focus on roasts in Brighton from traditional pubs, however I am sure there are some very good restaurants in Brighton which also serve a delicious dinner. There are holes in my research – my inability to book tables often leads to a long walk through the Brighton streets, missing out on some real gems such as the Lion and Lobster, but I will endeavour to be less whimsical and get the scoop on those soon!
Firstly, probably the best roast I have ever eaten. Not even my Mother’s compares.
- The Sussex Yeoman (9/10)
7 Guildford Road (right up past the station)
Small, cosy and serving roasts all afternoon, you need to book in advance for this gem in the north of the city centre. Offering a variety of different meats including a very lovely stuffed lamb with feta cheese and sundried tomatoes cooked fresh and with generous helpings of a variety of vegetables, crispy roast potatoes and a yorkshire, the Yeoman was a welcome respite from lashing June rain at 4pm. The only downside (if you can call it a downside) is the price here – around £15 for the roast, but it was well worth the money for the quality and distinctive style.
- The Royal Sovereign (8/10)
66 Preston Street (off western road towards the seafront)
On first sight, Preston Street looks like a bit of a dive. Packed full of takeaway restaurants, low rate bars and off licences, one might not expect The Royal Sovereign to be anything of any note. With ample seating and outdoor areas, timed right on a Sunday you can get a table without booking but due to the popularity and price of this brilliant venue it is always advisable to ring in advance. For around £10 you can get an exceptional traditional roast with all the trimmings, similar to that at the yeomans but without the twists. The service can be slow – I waited around 50 minutes, but if you want a freshly cooked meal then it is worth the wait.
- The Hop Poles (5/10)
13 Middle Street (South laines near the sea)
For a roast on a budget, this is by far my favourite. Tucked away on Middle Street just off the seafront, this pub has a great atmosphere for both drinking and lunching on a Sunday and is bustling with life and beer. The food is prepared very quickly and we had our roasts within 15 minutes. Be aware – for fullest choice get there before 3pm as particular choices go very quickly, including the vegetarian nut roast. I had the lamb – beautifully cooked with a selection of vegetables. Prices were under £9. One of my favourite features of this pub though, being a smoker, was the fact that the outside area was heated and had a retractable roof if it rained. Simple things please smokers eh. Please also excuse the below photo – yes that is indeed horseradish sauce with my lamb. An unhealthy obsession with horseradish whatever meat it is has been a part of my life ever since I was young!
- Cafe Koba (8/10)
135 Western Road
On first look, you would be forgiven for thinking that this trendy Cocktail bar by night, cosmopolitan cafe by day would not be roast heaven. Certainly, they have their own gourmet take on a traditional roast, but as a runner up in the Guardian’s best Roasts I thought it was worth a try. Apart from an over exuberant waiter and slightly lacking atmosphere that you get in a Pub, it was perfection. An excellent helping of good quality beef, an interesting combination of vegetables including sugar snap peas and duck fat potatoes with beautiful presentation and good beer, all at a decent price of £12.50.
- The Earth and Stars (9/10)
46 Windsor Street (North Laines)
Comes highly recommended from pretty much every review I have ever read, I was expecting a lot from this traditional pub. When we first got there and ordered drinks it was packed as expected and the bar staff seemed fairly inexperienced. However, the setting with huge wooden tables was lovely and the food came very promptly. Whilst the cuts of meat on offer were not the best, the home-made style of roast with a delicious selection of vegetables was very well received by the large party of us. I definitely would not hesitate to go back here again. Do book though, as I said, it was extremely busy and we had to vacate our table within 2 hours.
So there’s a small taster of the best places I have found for roasts so far. As well as the Lion & Lobster, others on the list to try include The Foragers in Hove and the Tin Drum. Please leave a comment if you have any other suggestions for me.