By Jonathan Hatchman, Food editor @TLE_Food
Despite the constant changes within British food culture, one ideal that has always stuck out as the pinnacle of the “great British dinner” is our beloved traditional Sunday Roast. Nowadays, the clockwork routine of gathering the family at the dining table at a set time to embark upon a grand feast of roasted meat accompanied by a plethora of trimmings doesn’t run quite as deep. However, as a nation, whenever these opportunities do arise, we can never resist the urge to hide our adoration for the perfect end of week banquet.
Moving on from traditional values, just a little, are restaurants and pubs across the country that have become hugely renowned for their decadent roast dinners, with almost every pub in the country offering a menu that’s at least half appropriate for the occasion. One London drinking establishment that caught our eye recently is Greenwich’s Cutty Sark Tavern – situated aside the riverbank between the rigmarole of Greenwich’s bustling markets and the O2 Arena in North Greenwich. So having heard nothing but rave reviews about the Sunday roasts on offer, we decided to head along to find out what all of the fuss is about.
Spread over three floors the pub’s dining room is located on the first floor, joined by a huge window that boasts stunning views of The O2 and of Canary Wharf. After being greeted by the pub’s friendly staff and the early afternoon view of the city we were seated in the remarkably busy dining area, beginning our gluttonous feast with a pair of unexpectedly vast starters. The first was a colossal slab of terrine, comprised of Venison, rabbit, and partridge, wrapped fancily within some deliciously salty smoked bacon and smothered with the restaurant’s homemade piccalilli. Perhaps slightly vinegary , perhaps ever so slightly over powering, yet did manage to provide a refreshing sharpness with the delicious terrine. This was accompanied by a Whiskey Oak Smoked Salmon dish with a scattering of sweet orange segments and a fresh watercress salad.
Both starters were impressive, yet surprisingly filling, especially considering the fact that the main attraction was still on its way. However, the sight of a well-browned joint of beef is a welcoming one, no matter how uncomfortably full you may find yourself. Both mains were served atop a proverbial mountain of trimmings, including crisp potatoes roasted in goose fat, cauliflower cheese, carrots, a pile of shredded red cabbage (which was especially delectable) and a generous serving of gravy. A delicious well-risen Yorkshire pudding, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, accompanied the beef as well as a dollop of Horseradish. The belly of pork main arrived alongside a reasonable scoop of home-made apple sauce as well as some crackling – everybody’s favourite pork side.
The Treacle cured beef strip loin was cooked to perfection. Boasting a brown, sticky exterior and a blushing middle, served rather rare, yet rested properly to avoid allowing the plate to become a pool of blood and cooking juices. However, the pork belly was ever so slightly overcooked, becoming a little dry in the process. Still enjoyable, nonetheless, yet a little disappointing compared to the practically perfect beef.
The meal was washed down with some refreshing raspberry sorbet, perhaps the ultimate palate cleanser following a huge main and a starter. The star of the day was, most certainly, the menu’s highly recommendable beef dish, enlightening us upon the buzz that this pub’s food has created in recent months. But my recommendation would be to skip breakfast and throw on something comfortable if you’re looking to take on a Sunday lunch at The Cutty Sark.