One classic British tradition is Sunday roast. Sunday roast, obviously eaten on Sunday, is when the person in charge of cooking in the household – typically the mother – pulls out all the stops and makes a feast. It’s not just a “let’s just throw whatever together” meal like a casserole, though. Sunday Roast is a meal that is expected to have a bit of caliber and skill involved that can be replicated any other day but has an extra-special sentiment because it’s at the end of the week.
There are some elements to Sunday roast that many consider essential. The centerpiece is the roast, usually beef but may also be a big slab of pork or a whole chicken. Along with the meat, there should be roasted or boiled vegetables. Carrots and potatoes are the most common, but parsnips and other root vegetables are not uncommon; usually, it’s whatever is in season. The third common element is Yorkshire pudding. Before, I thought that Yorkshire pudding was a dessert, but it’s actually light, airy, and reminds me more of a popover than a pudding.
Because Sunday roast is considered a tradition, there are certain pairings of meats and sides which have become staples. If beef is served, Yorkshire pudding is usually the side. With pork, it’s some sort of stuffing and crackling, and cranberry sauce and/or sausages are common with chicken. This isn’t exactly set in stone, though.
So talking about Sunday roast may make your mouth water, and you’re probably expecting me to write a post about an amazing Sunday roast that I had. Well, to your disappointment, and mine as well, I wasn’t able to have Sunday roast. My friend and I went to a nearby pub called the Marquis Cornwallis with the full intention of having a hearty Sunday roast. When we got there, though, all the meats for their Sunday roast menu were all gone. We had arrived too late. So instead, we ordered from their regular dinner menu.
We shared the ox cheek and red wine pie with buttered kale and mash (£11.50) along with a side order of grilled mac and cheese (£3.00). The pie came out in all its buttery puff pastry glory, and before digging in we could already smell the red wine used. There was a good amount of ox cheek and onions within the pie, and the meat was very tender. I liked how the red wine flavor wasn’t too overpowering, and the sauce was just thick enough. Luckily, we didn’t feel as if we were eating more sauce than meat.
The buttered kale and mash made our alternative dinner a little bit closer to a Sunday roast – although still not quite there. The kale was devoured quickly. It’s great when something simple can be executed well. The mash was pretty straightforward, a mound of pulverized potatoes that really fills you up.
The grilled mac and cheese was nice, but I didn’t really understand where the “grilled” came in. The dish was put under the broiler, so there was a slight crust on top. However, other than that the mac and cheese didn’t have anything special. It tasted good, but I found that it dried out quite a bit after a while. Since we ate most of the mac and cheese last, this meant that the cheesy flavor was lost in the dried-out noodles.
Marquis Cornwallis delivers great pub food at a fairly reasonable price. Even though my friend and I shared one dish, it was pretty filling. I would actually skip on the sides, as I think that they are a bit pricey at £3.00 each. A lively atmosphere combined with hearty food can’t go wrong, and the ox cheek pie only made me want to actually go for a real Sunday roast.
31 Marchmont Street
Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1AP