Sunday lunch is the one meal the Brits have mastered. The Italians may have conquered pasta, India has the monopoly on curry, and Mexico does a mean enchilada.
But when it comes to crispy potatoes, succulent meat, Yorkshire puds, all swamped in thick, juicy gravy, Britannia still rules the waves.
However, a decent Sunday roast doesn’t have to mean sweating it out in a bustling carvery, queuing for all-you-can-eat portions of soggy meat.
There are more intriguing restaurants springing up in London, each bringing a new twist to the UK’s traditional meal.
One such place is Pip’s Dish, a charming converted barn off Upper Street in Islington, which doubles as a small farmers’ market and pop-up restaurant, where food blogger and chef Philip Dundas whips up a treat.
On Sundays, up to 30 guests tuck into a three-course medley, listening to acoustic music while sitting on hay bales in what was a run-down, disused Citroen garage (pictured above).
When we arrive to taste the goods on offer, my friends and I are treated to a delicious starter of crab and salmon broth, followed by roast Hereford topside, with a Yorskhire pudding, horseradish chard, golden nugget squash, sesame kale, and some of the best roast potatoes I’ve ever tasted (sorry mum!).
There’s also a chunky serving of nut roast which goes down a treat with the vegetarians.
As Dundas (pictured below) says, part of what makes Sunday lunch so enjoyable is the experience of friends and family together. “It’s an occasion that on a weekly basis nearly takes us back to the ‘family eating round the table together’ nostalgia,” he explains.
“You can have the young adults eating off their Saturday night hangovers sitting with grandparents. There’s no separation. It’s the closest thing to a religious gathering.
“For what we do at Pip’s, there’s no hard and fast rule – we focus on what produce is available right now, and high-quality, sustainable ingredients.
“What was also important with the barn was narrowing the gap between people and food – they can see it from its raw state, to being cooked, and then buy the ingredients after.” And it’s a concept that works extremely well.
However, if you’re a bit of a culinary whizz and fancy your chances whipping up the perfect roast, according to executive chef, Andy Owens, it’s all about the meat.
Owens, who works at The Individual Restaurant Company, which has three venues serving Sunday lunch in London, says: “Preparing a roast should be enjoyed just as much as eating it.
“The meat is the star of the plate. Get to know your local butcher, he will offer you the best advice on choosing a cut. Let your meat come to room temperature before roasting, and remember seasoning – use good quality sea salt and cracked black pepper.
“And for extra moreish roast potatoes, try roasting with duck fat.”
Sunday lunch at Pip’s Dish £25pp for three courses. Address: The Barn, 133B Upper Street, N1 1QP. Nearest Tube: Essex Road