THE TRADITION OF ALL TRADITIONS: SUNDAY ROAST
The traditional British Sunday roast is the staple of autumn weekends. It’s memories of childhood, waking up after a lie-in to the smell of roasting meat. It’s wandering down to the kitchen to find Mum (and sometimes Dad) peeling vegetables and par-boiling potatoes. It’s going out for lunch and making sure that all the trimmings are included on an overflowing plate. A proper roast dinner is basically one of the nation’s very favourite foods, and that’s even more the case when the nights start drawing in, the weather starts chilling down and the autumn arrives in all its red and gold glory.
The tradition of eating roast meat and vegetables on a Sunday – and in particular roast beef, which the British have always been famous for enjoying (the Yeoman of the Guard are nicknamed ‘Beefeaters’ because of it) actually doesn’t date back as far as you might expect. A man named William Kitchener wrote a book called The Cook’s Oracle (Apicius Redivius) in 1871 that described the practice of cooking meat (beef sirloin, to be exact) for at least four hours over a spit. Now, there was only one day of the week during which anyone had four hours to spare to roast beef, and that was a Sunday. The good news was, that massive lump of meat (probably around three kilograms or so) would feed the family on Sunday, and then it could be used in stews, pies and as cold cuts for the rest of the week.
Those who couldn’t afford a large fire, or those who didn’t have a fireplace big enough to roast their meat, had to find alternatives. It was soon discovered that, en route to church, empty baker’s shops were passed. Since bread was not baked on a Sunday, those ovens were put to use by the poor – they dropped off their meat on the way to church and collected it, perfectly cooked, on the way back.
Now that you’re salivating over the thought of melt-in-the-mouth beef, juicy pork (with crackling), chicken and gravy, or any of the other options available to us today, here are some of the best places to go in Kent for a proper roast dinner.
The Kings Head // Wye // www.kingsheadwye.com
Located right in the heart of the gorgeous village of Wye is the Kings Head. The food and drink here is wonderful throughout the week, but on a Sunday it is something truly special. The roasts put on here attract visitors from many miles around, so it’s always worth booking a table if you want to be sure of enjoying some of the tempting treats on offer. Choose from beef, pork, or chicken or, if you really can’t make up your mind have the mixed roast (a bit of each) instead! All roasts are served with roast potatoes, a carrot and swede mash, buttered seasonal greens, Willow Farm seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire pud and red wine gravy.
The Duke William // Ickham // www.thedukewilliamickham.com
The Duke William in the village of Ickham is a stylish place to eat with a traditional air. Often described as the ultimate traditional British pub, it’s no surprise that The Duke Williams offers the ultimate traditional Sunday roast. Choose either beef or pork (or a combo of the two) which will be served with ‘all the trimmings’, plus, since The Duke William prides itself as being a great place for families, so there is a tasty kids menu available too.
The Bottle House Inn // Penshurst // www.thebottlehouseinnpenshurst.co.uk
The Bottle House Inn has a lot of history behind it – the building dates back to 1492, and there has been a pub on the site since 1808 – and the historic, traditional elements are still there for all to see. However, it is also a modern place to eat, and the food produced here looks as good as it tastes. There is a special Sunday menu that includes a variety of dishes in case you don’t fancy a roast (half-grilled lobster tail, anyone?), although the Sunday roast is a thing of beauty. Try the slow braised lamb shoulder with minted gravy, or the roast topside of Sussex beef. There is a vegetarian option too, the butternut and chickpea wellington.
The Windmill // Hollingbourne // www.thewindmillhollingbourne.co.uk
Located just around the corner from Leeds Castle, and situated neatly in the gorgeous Kentish countryside, The Windmill is all about quality food, passionate creations and making everyone’s meal – and entire visit, in fact – something to remember. The Sunday menu contain the usual favourite roasted fayre including chicken, beef and pork, but there is also duck if you prefer. And the vegetables are all locally produced, adding to the Kentish-ness of the whole affair.
Chapter One // Locksbottom // www.chapteronerestaurant.co.uk
Chapter One offers exceptional food in a stylish setting with impeccable service. And its Sunday roasts are something really very special indeed. You can start with a velouté of leek and potato, or perhaps a baked scotch egg with a pea cress salad. Then onto the mains which are indulgent to say the least: roast air hung sirloin of beef, crispy belly of pork and roast Scottish salmon are just some of the examples. All are served with plenty of sides and there is an extensive wine list to sample too.
The White Hart // Brasted // www.thewhitehartbrasted.co.uk
Brasted is a small village between Sevenoaks and Westerham, and the White Hart Pub is right there in the centre of it. A perfect destination for locals and visitors alike, the White Hart offers premium dining in a beautiful space, serving exceptional food. It’s the full package, and its selection of gins is something to be admired. Back to the food, and on a Sunday there is a lot to choose from. The roasts include fresh seasonal vegetables, fluffy goose fat roasted potatoes and plump Yorkshire puddings to go with the beef, lamb, pork, chicken, trio of beef, pork and chicken, or a vegetarian fig and dolcelatte nut roast.
The Hythe Imperial // Hythe // www.hytheimperial.co.uk
If you want to enjoy a traditional Sunday roast with a view of the sea, this hotel on the Kentish coast is the place for you. The set price menu for a Sunday means you can really treat yourself and your loved ones to something that little bit special. The ingredients used in all of the dishes on the fabulous menu are locally produced, and include roast sirloin beef, roast chicken breast, slow roast pork belly, or even a breaded plaice fillet with seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes (or sautéed thyme new potatoes).
The Three Chimneys // Biddenden // www.threechimneys.co.uk
If you want tradition, history and a beautiful place to eat your delicious Sunday roast, The Three Chimneys at Biddenden – itself a quintessential Kentish village – is a great choice. Dark oak beams, hanging hops, a roaring fire in the winter… this is what you have been looking for. The food is fantastic too, and locally sourced; examples include asparagus from Frogshole Farm (Biddenden), potatoes from Morghen Park (Tenterden) and meats from Park Farm (Hawkhurst) and Wilkes & Sons (Cranbrook). Herbs are from local suppliers and the pub’s own gardens.
The Chaser Inn // Shipbourne // www.thechaser.co.uk
The Chaser Inn is an award-winning gem in the heart of the Kent countryside. There are walks a-plenty to be had starting at its front door, and you might need to take a stroll to work off the huge roast dinners you can enjoy there. All the roast meats are cooked on the day, so you can enjoy piping hot, fresh food ready for you when you want it. Our tip is to book a table, as The Chaser’s popularity means it can get extremely busy.
The Mount Edgcumbe // Tunbridge Wells // www.themountedgcumbe.co.uk
The restaurant at The Mount Edgcumbe is set over two floors, but despite its size it hasn’t lost any of that cosy comfort that is so important for a good Sunday roast. Roasts are served every Sunday from 12pm until 4pm, so make sure you get to The Mount Edgcumbe on time to enjoy yourself. Choose between chicken, beef, lamb, pork, or a tasty nut roast, all of which is served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy, Yorkshire pudding and you can even have cauliflower cheese on the side if that’s your thing.
Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa // Fawkham // www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/brandshatchplace
Brandshatch Place Hotel & Spa is a gorgeous country house close to the famous Brands Hatch racing circuit in West Kingsdown. Hidden away in the countryside, this hotel and restaurant even has its own spa. Sunday lunch here is a joy, and there is a lot to choose from. If you want to add a starter to your meal, that’s no problem – how about John Ross smoked salmon, or perhaps the soup of the day? And then it’s onto the main course: roast chicken, roast pork, seabass with crushed new potatoes, or mushroom and pearl barley risotto. Of course, a roast dinner needs to be finished off in the right way, and that’s where dessert comes in. Choose from a Kent apple and blackberry crumble, a lemon meringue dome, or a selection of cheese and biscuits for example.
The Granville // Canterbury // www.thegranvillecanterbury.co.uk
Being the regional winner (south England) in the Best British Roast Dinner competition has to be a good start, and The Granville in Canterbury certainly lives up to its prestigious reputation. The Sunday roast here is different each week, but most of the time you’ll be able to choose from the traditional beef, pork and chicken options, as well as a lovely vegetarian dish or two. The plates of food from The Granville will be heaving, full of all the trimmings such as sage and onion stuffing, cauliflower cheese made with local cheeses, Yorkshire puddings, seasonal vegetables and, of course, some tasty, crispy, roast potatoes.
The Sands Hotel // Margate // www.sandshotelmargate.co.uk
Margate Main Sands is a stunning stretch of beach, so why not enjoy your mouth watering Sunday roast with a gorgeous view of it? After you’ve enjoyed your huge Sunday lunch (served in a restaurant that takes its design inspiration from the coast itself), go and take a wander on the beach and enjoy that bracing sea air and see the views that Margate is so renowned for.
The Poet // Matfield // www.thepoetatmatfield.co.uk
Matfield is a pretty little village near to Tunbridge Wells, and although it is somewhere that is a little out of the way, that doesn’t mean that its wonderful restaurant, The Poet, is not known – people travel from all over the area (and beyond) to eat there. The food on offer is traditional with a twist, and that’s what makes it such an interesting place to visit (plus the fact that everything tastes so good). Examples include chicken supreme with all the trimmings, confit duck leg and grilled halloumi with cauliflower, salsify and gran Moravia. Each dish has a suggested wine pairing associated with it, so whether you’re a serious foodie or someone who just appreciates a really good roast, The Poet is definitely somewhere to aim for.
The Queens Inn // Hawkhurst // www.thequeensinnhawkhurst.co.uk
Stylish and welcoming, The Queens Inn in Hawkhurst is a gorgeous place to stop off for a great Sunday roast. No matter what you choose – offerings from the menu include roast leg of lamb, roast ribeye of beef, vegetable wellington or a mixed roast (lamb, beef and pork) as well as non-traditional Sunday lunch food such as the Queens chicken burger or the super food salad – it will be created for you with pride and love. You’ll taste the passion in every bite.
Mr White’s English Chophouse // Dover // www.dovermarinahotel.co.uk/mpw-chophouse
Mr White’s English Chophouse is the brainchild of chef Marco Pierre White, and it is found within the exceptional Dover Marina Hotel. With views out across the English Channel, any food you order here is sure to be wonderful. However, the roasts that can be ordered are incredible – and they are incredible value too (£17.50 for two courses, £22.50 for three courses). For a tradition roast, the choice will be between prime roasted beef with Yorkshire puddings and roasted free range chicken with stuffing. Homemade gravy is all part of the trimmings, as are roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
The Leicester Arms // Penshurst // www.theleicesterarmshotel.com
The Leicester Arms is a stunning restaurant, pub and hotel. It’s dog friendly, offering bowls of water and bar treats for your four-legged friends. It’s located in the beautiful village of Penshurst. It has not one but two massive fires for chilly days. What more could you need? Well, the fact that it also has delicious Sunday roasts on the menu certainly doesn’t hurt.
Rocksalt // Folkestone // www.rocksaltfolkestone.com
Rocksalt may have the views and the gorgeous interiors, but it always says that its heart and soul is its food. That’s evident when you take a peek at the varied menu on offer – the fact that you can eat this intriguing food in such stunning surroundings is a definite bonus, however. The traditional Sunday menu is superb, and the menu includes delights such as free range roast chicken with liver stuffing, 21 day aged roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, or even friend fillets of plaice with braised lettuce and peas.
The King Henry VIII // Hever // www.kinghenryviiihever.co.uk
You can’t get much more traditional than The Henry VIII in Hever – just outside the gates of historic Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, in fact. Although Anne herself (and Henry VIII for that matter) died before the pub first opened, there wasn’t a lot of time between the two events: there has been a pub on the site since 1597 (Anne was executed in 1536, Henry VIII passed in 1547). It is as you would expect, with its authentic oak beams, huge fires, and plenty of panelling. It’s wonderful. And the food is just as good; it wouldn’t have won the Pub Food of the Year prize in Shepherd Neame’s Pub Awards 2016 if it wasn’t.
The Duck Inn // Pett Bottom // www.theduckpettbottom.com
The food at The Duck Inn is a combination of modern and traditional, and this mixture works well, allowing the kitchen to offer some truly exciting dishes. The Sunday roast served here will also fall into this category, and includes Curious Brew and black treacle roast rump of beef with horseradish cream, roasted free range chicken breast with cauliflower cheese puree and Shetland mussels with shallots, leeks, samphire, thyme, cider, cream and fries.
Frasers // Egerton // www.frasersegerton.co.uk
Frasers is a beautiful two AA rosette winning restaurant serving superb food in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Locally sourced ingredients and a modern touch make each dish a mini masterpiece. When it comes to roasts, the quality is extremely high. Each of the meats (chicken, beef, pork and lamb) is served with crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and a great selection of seasonal vegetables.
The Dog At Wingham // Wingham // www.thedog.co.uk
Sunday roast at The Dog is something to be savoured. It’s a treat, and a brilliant one at that. The chefs at The Dog know their stuff and they put as much effort and passion into a traditional roast dinner as they do any of the other exciting dishes on the menu. The usual suspects are on the menu in the form of pork, beef and chicken (all served with roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower cheese and Yorkshire pudding – there’s skimping on the trimmings here), but you’ll also find a caramelised onion and blue cheese suet pudding and a pan seared chalk stream trout with smoked mussels.
Eastwell Manor // Ashford // www.eastwellmanor.co.uk
Eastwell Manor is a gorgeous hotel, spa and restaurant, all located within a stunning country house. As might be expected in such lush surroundings, the food here is second to none, and the roast on a Sunday is something that must be experienced.
The Compasses // Crundale // www.thecompassescrundale.co.uk
As a traditional Kentish country pub, The Compasses does a good job. A great job, in fact. But add to that its extraordinary food offerings, and suddenly this country pub becomes an exciting destination restaurant. Sunday roast is spectacular here. There are starters a-plenty (including pastrami cured trout and venison brioche buns), and then it’s on to the main event: beef, pork, duck breast, salmon, cod… the traditional and the modern combine to create a menu that will make the mouth water.
The Bull Inn // Wrotham // www.thebullhotel.com
The Bull Inn in lovely Wrotham is a winner – literally; it won its round of Channel 4’s Four In A Bed when it took part in 2018. And now you can sample that winning formula in the shape of its extraordinarily good Sunday roasts. Everything is local, such as the shoulder of lamb that comes from nearby Hartley Bottom, and the Chart Farm sirloin of beef. Served will everything you’d expect, including homemade gravy, you’ll love the food here.
The Wife of Bath // Wye // www.thewifeofbath.com
Aptly named – this former coaching inn was a favourite resting place for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury – The Wife of Bath still looks after weary (and not so weary) travellers (and locals) with their lovely Sunday lunch menu. Nice and traditional with one of two modern elements thrown in (mushroom puree with the roast beef, for example, or a pan fried sea trout with lovage and clams), this attractive pub is an ideal place to stop.
FRESH, LOCAL SUNDAY ROAST BOXES
We believe that Sunday Roasts are the best meal of the week and therefore only the best, Kentish, free-range meats from local, high-welfare farmers will do! Combined with pesticide-free, seasonal vegetables and potatoes, it can be a truly special occasion.
Order a one-off treat, send the box as a gift, or subscribe to receive a monthly or bi-monthly delivery and great discount on every order. Your Sunday Roast Box will be delivered to your door on Friday, ready for the weekend, in 100% plastic-free packaging.
A one-off box or gift box costs £35 for chicken or pork and £40 for lamb or beef. This includes free nationwide delivery. The subscription scheme is £34 per box and the meats alternate each delivery.