Classic English Dining at Roast – Borough Market.
You might never realise there’s a restaurant upstairs at Borough Market. Even if you look up, from inside the Market, there’s little to see and from outside even less. But, it’s definitely worth searching out – especially now, with a recent refurbishment. There’s a comfy bar area when you can enjoy stunning cocktails like this one (The Big Ben with lime leaf infused Greenall’s gin, Pernod absinthe, kiwi purée, lemon juice & apple juice) together with a range of bar snacks.
The restaurant area itself is light and airy even on a hot day – and has great views down over the market. The perfect spot to people-watch during the day or to enjoy the surreal view of an empty market in the evening. White table linen, good quality silver and glassware and well-spaced tables help to create a refined ambience that is a million miles from the hectic market. Where the restaurant does benefit though, is from the wealth of excellent suppliers on their doorstep. Serving classic English food with a contemporary twist, it’s the perfect place to come once you’ve finished shopping at the market.
In some vain effort to pick healthy options from the menu, I chose a platter of six Jersey Rock oysters with Scrubby Oak apple vinegar and shallots.
Beautifully presented, the oysters were large and plump. The mignonette was perhaps a little heavy on the vinegar. I’m used to something with a bit less liquid. But, that’s definitely a first-world problem as you can simply drain off a little of the extra vinegar before dressing your oysters.
Beetroot carpaccio with blood orange, spiced cashew nut crumb, pomegranate molasses dressing beetroot and apple puree and dill was a stunning plate, though I’m not sure blood orange was used. Heritage beets sliced paper-thin were topped with a piquant dressing and then with a lovely nut crumb. Definitely one to remember for next time.
Our starters were served with a glass each of Ibbotson Family Sauvignon Blanc, a classic Marlborough white with a lovely minerally finish that paired beautifully with the oysters.
Keeping with the ‘healthy’ orders, I picked roasted Cornish cod fillet with avocado and lime puree, coriander, black olive and cherry tomatoes for my main course.
Paired perfectly with a glass of Lismore Chardonnay 2016, a complex and rich wine from the Southern Cape of South Africa. The buttery wine complemented the fresh, light fish perfectly and paired well with the kaleidoscope of flavours on the plate. I was impressed at the depth of flavour in the tomatoes and by the vibrant avocado and lime puree.
My companion ordered the fillet steak with skinny fries and peppercorn sauce cooked medium-well. I have to confess to craving the fries which looked perfect to me. But I did keep my hands off.
Sides of creamed spinach, buttered tenderstem broccoli and mashed potato were beautifully executed, with the mash proving enough of a temptation to lead me astray briefly from my healthy dining plan. But it was the creamed spinach which we polished off completely!
By the time the dessert menu arrived, I’d abandoned any pretence at eating healthy food. Instead, I opted for the sticky date pudding
with toffee sauce, almond brittle and clotted cream which was served for me with a delicious mouthful of Vin Santo 4 y barrel-aged, Argyros, Santorini, Greece, 2010. I particularly enjoy hot desserts topped with cream rather than ice-cream and this was a great example of perfection for me. The dates added a lovely sweetness to what might otherwise have been a perfectly pleasant sticky toffee pudding and the almond brittle that all-important bit of texture.
My companion’s baked crème fraîche cheesecake with Pimm’s jelly, lime and cucumber gel and a butter biscuit came with a topping of strawberries which had not been mentioned on the menu. For that reason, I excused myself making the less healthy choice of the sticky date pudding. A glass of Riesling Spätlese, Johannisberg, Rheingau, Germany, 2016 was her pairing.
The Floral Hall,
London SE1 1TL
There are a wealth of other restaurants in and around Borough Market, though none that we know serving classic English food cooked so well. We also like Casa do Frango, a Portuguese chicken restaurant just around the corner from the market and Rabot 1745, the restaurant from Hotel Chocolat with a cacao themed menu.