Traditional pub roast? Dim sum? Here's our guide to the capital's best Sunday lunch spreads
Let the Time Out experts guide you through the best Sunday lunches in London – from traditional pub roasts to Chinese dim sum and modern French cooking. Time Out reviews anonymously and pays for all meals.
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Sunday lunch reviews by: Guy Dimond, Anne Faber, Euan Ferguson, Ruth Jarvis, Charmaine Mok, Jenni Muir, Sally Peck
Gastropub clichés of painted wood panelling, floral wallpaper and deep leather lounge chairs look as fresh as pea shoots within the graceful proportions of this Edwardian inn. For good weather the huge outdoor garden has many large tables. On Sundays, couples serenely enjoying newspapers and coffee in the airy ground floor bar soon give way to jolly family groups. The set lunch menu is wallet-friendly at £16 for two courses and £20 for three, yet esteemed suppliers such as Elwy Valley lamb feature, and the tatties are roasted in duck fat. We liked the seasonal veg side bowl (included in the price) with its curly kale and root vegetable mash, though desserts of bread-and-butter pudding and chocolate brownie were only so-so. There’s a choice of six real ales.
Sunday lunch served noon-5pm. Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £45.Read Adam & Eve review
The good news is the Horseshoe – home of the small Camden Town Brewery – keeps its front bar tables reservation-free on Sundays. The bad news is you really have to be here at noon to nab a table if you haven’t had the foresight to book the rear dining area. In view of customers, a bustling brigade turns out roasts including twice-cooked pork belly with apple sauce and leg of lamb with mint sauce, while from the designer bar comes bloody marys, sophisticated wines, and draught stout Camden Ink. The farm-to-fork claims aren’t just blah-blah, with many ingredients such as the rare breed Red Poll beef deriving from small farms in Suffolk. Start with a large bowl of tomatoey River Exe mussels, finish with British cheeses or Braeburn apple crumble.
Sunday lunch served noon-4.30pm. Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £55.Read Horseshoe review
Bringing a half-pint of Cotswold chic to Hampstead, the Old White Bear attracts a dapper clientele, few of whom look like they’ve been gambolling over the nearby heath. With only two real ales (London Pride and Abbot Ale) and a tiny bar area, this is on the restaurant end of the gastropub spectrum but the vibe is relaxed and service friendly. On Sundays the confident kitchen offers a couple of roasts alongside dishes such as sautéed calf’s liver with lentils, cotechino (a type of Italian cooked salami) and salsa verde. Light, fragrant lemon and thyme stuffing and rich bread sauce accompanied juicy roast chicken which, like the sirloin, came with beautifully caramelised root veg. Everyone orders the sticky toffee pud, we were told, and you’re right to do so: it’s a stunner.
Sunday lunch served noon-3.30pm. Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £60.Read Old White Bear review
Originally a hotel, which partly explains its generous proportions, this ornate Victorian pub is an appealing mix of old-world charm and Crouch End cool. Service is bright and friendly. On Sundays the dining room’s open-plan kitchen offers a choice of four roasts plus traditional pub fare such as burgers, bangers and beer-battered haddock. Vegetarians could opt for the ‘roast’ loaf of chickpeas, carrots and dill served with potatoes, vegetarian gravy and Yorkshires, or, perhaps, a tart of broccoli, cauliflower and Montgomery cheddar served with salad. The wine list, real ales, bottled beers, cocktails and hot toddies are also points of pride. Worth noting: there’s a bijou heated garden at back.
Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £50.Read Queens Pub & Dining Room review
The lists of names and time slots on the red tags hanging from empty spirit bottles at each table underline the popularity of this place. You can chance a walk-in if it’s bad weather, on the dot of noon, or on a dry day if you’re happy to eat in the front garden – but mostly you’ll need to book at least six days in advance for Sunday lunch here. It’s worth it, however, for the charming village vibe, fine choice of real ales and wines, and roasts based on well-sourced ingredients. Mealy, over-crusted potatoes and lukewarm sticky toffee pud were surprising slips from the usually reliable kitchen on our latest visit. Vegetarians are looked upon kindly and there’s plenty of choice for anyone else who doesn’t fancy a roast – including first-rate fish and chips to take away if you’re unable to snag a seat.
Lunch served noon-5pm. Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £50.Read Red Lion & Sun review
Staff are very welcoming at this recently revamped Edwardian pub, which has plenty of room whether you want to sit in the capacious restaurant, cheerful bar or outside on the stylish alfresco terrace. The Vine even has a couple of private dining rooms for large family groups or, on our visit, a well-herded party of six-year-old pirates. The menu’s similarly friendly, offering an all-day specials list of cicchetti as well as more generous pasta plates and the likes of pollack with white beans, cockles, bacon and spinach. Among the traditional Sunday lunch options, superb roasts of Dexter beef and Kilravock pork leg were deliciously succulent, but the Vine still needs to sharpen the execution of its overpriced puds. We can’t fault the bar – the interesting range of frequently changing ales is well-kept and the wines are good value.
Sunday lunch served noon-9.30pm. Sunday lunch for two with drinks and service: around £50.Read The Vine review