2nd Feb 2013 9:13am | By MIchael Gadd
A certain level of expectation comes with being the flagship restaurant lording over an iconic market such as Borough.
The scene Diners are right to demand fresh, seasonal and simple fare, with enough flair to justify the trip out in the cold and the decent but not cheap price tag. Roast lives up to that and then some.
This classy greenhouse-like structure above the foodie-stall complex should be the first stop for anyone keen to see what British food can be.
And it needs no bells and whistles to do it, just a concise in-season menu and wait staff who are passionate about what’s on it.
Added atmosphere comes from the inoffensive and high quality singer/piano combo in the cocktail bar which permeates through to the dining area.
The grub The care this kitchen takes to respect its produce – based on their dainty yet deceptively generous starters – made this Aussie want to sing God Save The Queen, but luckily my date was spared that abomination by a full mouth.
My rich Yorkshire Dales pigeon with chanterelles and hedgerow garlic was bold and balanced, while the thin layer of liberally smoked Loch Etive sea trout with capers and rye bread packed a delicate punch.
The mains had some living up to do, and delivered.
My companion’s blushing Kingairloch red deer was expertly matched with salsify and sour cherries, while my hunk of impeccably handled pork belly was sticky, sweet and the right kind of fatty, offset with tart Bramley apple sauce and a mountain of creamy mash I failed to conquer.
Well, I could have, but had my eye on a warm mulled wine poached pear with stem ginger ice-cream, which were more impressive individually than they were together.
My companion’s sticky date pudding was a light re-telling of the classic on a toffee sauce with cooling créme fraîche. Superb.
Behind the bar Beers: three Meantimes and Roast’s own for £5.50; wine: list matches the menu from £4.80/ £20 per glass/ bottle; seasonal and classic cocktails from £11.
Bill please Starters from £7.75; mains from £15.75; puddings from £6.75.
Verdict Seasonal, classy and could be pricier. Indeed, the best of British.
The Floral Hall
Stoney Street, SE1 1TL
Tube | London Bridge