Picture the scene – London Bridge on a brisk autumn evening, Borough Market all but deserted and abandoned after a day of busy trading, save for a shining beacon in the heart of it all – Roast, a tour de force for over a decade. Enter – a plucky young blogger eager to review the London Restaurant Festival menu. Gentle guitar strums and recognisable lines from Purple Rain & Dancing in the Dark set the tone for the evening of fine dining.
As a precursor to our culinary showcase we were presented with a glass of a prosecco & a Sunrise Collins – a cocktail composed of gin, lemon & mandarin juice, grenadine and a dash of soda which blew me away, the colours perfectly mirrored the sunset we were witnessing from our elevated vantage point of the restaurant. The drink was zesty and was a welcome reminder of the warm summer.
The first act featured a Welsh lamb faggot with toasted almonds & spiced carrot. The faggot, which took centre stage surrounded by the carrot, was powerful and meaty. The almonds, adorning the dish like flowers scattered on a curtain call gave the dish a subtle crunch.
The grilled octopus & squid with saffron & chorizo was soft and not chewy, and came with an unexpected but welcome kick of spice which we suspected came from the chorizo.
For the second act, top billing was shared by a Roast pork belly, with mashed potato & apple sauce, and a hot smoked Londoner sausage with pickled red cabbage. The sausage was flavoursome, rich and was dominant over the pickled cabbage which had a subtle tartness to it.
The pork belly was tender and melted in your mouth, the mash was creamy and the apple sauce complemented the 2.
Act III featured a plum and bramley apple crumble tart with almonds & English vanilla custard which featured a buttery shortcrust pastry described by my dining guest as “perfect.” My guest and I were divided on the sweetness of the dish, which I may have attributed to my tasting of the brownie beforehand.
In my opinion, the chocolate brownie, peanut mousse and chocolate ice cream stole the scene. It was delicious, rich, and somehow evoked both creamy and earthy. The sprinkling of honeycomb gave it a real showstopper quality. To summarise my evening at Roast, it was a stellar performance in both entertaining and satiating my guest and I. A dynamic and robust cast of meats, with a special mention to the cocktail at the beginning of the night, capped off by a star turn from the desserts.
The Floral Hall, Borough Market, Stoney Street, London, SE1 1TL