Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published October 12th 2010
If there's a single best place to locate a best of British restaurant in London at the moment it's gotta be that spot on top of Borough Markets currently occupied by Roast. The convenience of being right on top of the market has gotta shave a lot off the travel time of your meal, and looking out the restaurant's huge windows you can see right down into the market for further proof that you're eating as seasonally as possible.
Elsewhere he'd be called the Head Chef, but the top guy in the Roast kitchen, Lawrence Keogh, prefers to be called Cook, it's more traditional British that way. And this is a man who likes to take British food back to its roots. Some of that means literally digging about amongst the roots, foraging for all the old fashioned ingredients that people no longer use in the kitchen and you can't even find in Borough Market. Expect to read words on the menu that you've not seen before, but they're not referring to a fancy French cooking trick, they're much more likely to be a bitter British berry found in the woods of Norfolk, or a herb that thrives in the pastures of the Cornish coast. And Lawrence will be the person who's introduced those words to you and those flavours to your tongue. As well as being largely responsible for sourcing which farms and growers you're eating from.
You do pay for this level of detail at Roast: a roast free range Goosnargh chicken will cost you £18.50, a roast breast of guinea fowl is £19.50, as is the slow roasted pork belly, and a roast grouse is £30.00. And not everything comes with your two veg on the side.
There is a bargain option though, called Roast To Go, it's the take away version of Roast, which serves not take away Roast meals but the Roast version of a take away meal: Bacon, sausage and/ or egg butties, home made scotch eggs, pigs in blankets, pork and cracking rolls, roast beef rolls with rocket and horseradish and fish finger sandwiches with tartare sauce. Roast To Go is open from Monday to Wednesday from 7am to 3pm and Thursday to Saturday from 7am to 6pm.
Roast seems to be taking full advantage of their top spot by being open for breakfast lunch and dinner. Monday to Saturday anyway, they're only open for a long and leisurely lunch on Sunday, accompanied by jazz if you're lucky. They also have a bar fully stocked with best of British bar snacks and cocktails concocted with just as much attention to detail as the food has been. Which makes it the perfect place to take refuge from the throngs in the market. And it might give you some ideas for your own Borough Market shopping list.