Next to my ramen obsession, Sunday roasts hold a special place in my heart. This long-standing tradition remains a popular and beloved part of British cuisine. As summer arrives in the UK, there's nothing better than enjoying a fantastic roast in a pub’s garden. But before diving into the details of where to find the perfect combination of a great roast and a cosy outdoor space, let's talk about the essence of this staple dish.
A Sunday roast is a simple meal that is typically enjoyed in England and other parts of the UK on Sundays (dah). A roast is typically prepared and cooked slowly in the oven, allowing the meat to become tender and juicy, and the vegetables to become crisp and flavourful. The usual choices consist of roasted meat, typically beef, pork, chicken, lamb and the vegan roasts, which btw are getting better by the minute.
Accompanying the roast are roasted potatoes, often cooked in goose fat (unless you're following a vegan diet), a variety of vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and greens, the unmissable Yorkshire pudding, and, of course, a mouth-watering gravy. The latter will vary depending on your choice, which can go from apple, to horseradish or cranberry.
The roast is traditionally best enjoyed with a pint of ale or regular beer, and is often considered a highlight meal of the week, because family and friends gather together to enjoy a hearty meal in a cosy pub.
I truly enjoy what this ritual generates - more than the food itself - particularly in two contrasting seasons, winter and summer.
On those cold, grey and grim winter Sundays, when thinking about comfort food and a cosy atmosphere, one of the first that comes to my mind is having a roast in a pub. And in the summertime, enjoying a roast outdoors simply doesn’t get better. Either way, a Sunday roast is an English tradition that most of us Londoners enjoy on a monthly basis.
This is what prompted me to write this post, as finding the perfect pub with an inviting outdoor space and exceptional roast isn't an easy task. Below a few recommendations on where to find great roasts in North London which can be enjoyed outdoors in this fabulous summer weather.
The Lion and Unicorn - Kentish Town
Located on a side street off Kentish Town High Street, you can find this pub and theatre. It is one of my all-time favourite pubs in London for a roast, as I have enjoyed one of the best pork roasts in the city there. The Lion and Unicorn is definitely a must-try this season. Not only do they have friendly staff, but they also offer a fantastic fizz drinks menu for the summer period and boast a decent selection of beers. It's the perfect combination for enjoying a roast 'al fresco'.
Pictures: Mine, Lion & Unicorn Website and Instagram
The Colonel Fawcett - Camden
Similar to The Lion & Unicorn but with a less 'pretentious vibe', this pub offers tasty roasts, a great selection of craft beers and drinks, as well as two cosy outdoor spaces. It is conveniently located just a few steps away from the Camden Overground station, making it an excellent choice to combine a roast with a stroll up to Camden Market.
Pictures: The Colonel's Website and Instagram
The Albion - Highbury
This popular pub comes highly recommended by many North Londoners, and for good reason. It boasts one of the best gardens in the area, making it an ideal spot to enjoy the glorious summer weather. However, it's important to note that the food can be a bit pricey, and due to its popularity, service may occasionally be slow. To avoid disappointment, plan your visit to this pub in advance, it isn’t always easy to find a table on short notice.
Pictures: Albion's Website and Instagram
The Brownswood - Clissold Park
A gorgeous pub and inn, this establishment offers not only great food but also a spacious garden for a fantastic Sunday roast experience. Their vegetarian roast is particularly tasty, with options such as a Wellington filled with spinach, mushrooms, and goat's cheese, or a vegan nut roast. Whether you're a meat lover or vegetarian, this place is a safe bet for a Sunday roast.
Pictures: Bronswood's Instagram and mine
Moving away from the roasts, if you're looking to soak up the sun and enjoy sunny days at pubs, the following ones are not to be missed.
The Lord Stanley - Camden
For the past 13 years, this pub has been my cherished local boozer, serving as our base for my group of footy friends. This is a tucked away pub located north of Camden Town and offers a chilled vibe, gastro pub food and a selection of cask ales + the usual pints and great drinks. The garden is perfect to enjoy sunny days but the benches facing both roads also offer great options for enjoying the atmosphere.
This pub, along with its attached theatre (not sure if it’s running anymore), has overcome the threat of being sold to developers, thanks to a successful campaign led by our resilient local community. As a result, The Lord lives on, providing us with more memorable days to come. Notably, it's not uncommon to spot various artists and TV personalities frequenting this establishment. Fun fact, I discovered recently that Coldplay used this pub as their local gathering back in the early 2000s.
The Faltering Fullback - Finsbury Park
As they say, Finsbury Park's hidden gem, this Irish leafy pub offers ample spaces, a variety of outdoor seating, and a fantastic atmosphere. While the food served here is Thai, this pub is not primarily known for its cuisine. Instead, it offers a lively and eclectic atmosphere where you can enjoy watching live sports, listening to live music, participating in quizzes, and engaging in the usual banter that makes pub culture so enjoyable.
Clissold Park Tavern - Clissold Park
This is a fantastic gunner’s pub located across Clissold Park. Their outdoor space is ample and it’s a popular pub to watch Premier League, therefore, finding a space on a match day won’t be an easy task. I'd highly recommend skipping this pub on a match day unless you're there to watch a game.
The Alwyne Castle - Highbury & Islington
This pub boasts one of the largest outdoor spaces in North London and is conveniently located just a few steps away from Highbury & Islington tube station. While the food may not be their main strength, visiting this pub on a sunny day with your friends guarantees a fun-filled experience. They offer a variety of seating choices, including an outdoor beer stand. One of the advantages of this pub is that even on busy days, you'll still be able to find seating available outside.
The Scolt Head - De Beauvoir
A unique pub with an usual shaped and leafy front garden. This pub has lots of character inside, quality food and a good choice of drinks. However, do anticipate busy periods, especially on summer days when it attracts a larger crowd.
The Flask - Highgate
Located at the top of a steep road that connects Hampstead Heath and Highgate, this picturesque pub offers a great reward for those who cycle up the route. As a traditional English pub, it boasts a fantastic front garden and is situated in a scenic location. It's the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy summer days, followed by a potential descent to Hampstead Heath.
Tufnell Park Tavern - Tufnell Park
Sharing the same owners as the Lord Stanley, this local pub features two fantastic outdoor spaces that provide a great setting for pub goers like myself. With a wide selection of beers, wines, and cocktails, there is something to suit every taste. While food may not be their strongest aspect, their pizzas are pretty decent.
Any other recommendations or suggestions? Let me know!