The best Sunday lunches in London
Peckham is blessed these days when it comes to decent food, and we have a particularly soft spot for this lovely-looking eatery attached to the Assembly Point Gallery – a cool hangout that regularly plays to packed houses. Aside’s cooking may be all about savvy European small plates, but on Sundays you can also pig out on some seriously meaty British cooking in the shape of roast Belted Galloway beef with baby carrots and Yorkshire pudding. They also do an Italian-style chicken dish and a couple of veggie options, while puds keep it strictly fruity – think peaches and raspberries with homemade clotted cream. The kitchen keeps rolling until 6pm, although the beef can run out long before the close of play.
It’s not exactly the Busy Bee or the Ace Café, and there are likely to be more bearded hipsters than hard rockers mingling around, but this vast hangout underneath the arches in Shoreditch still pays homage to grease and leather. On Sundays, you can park up for a traditional roast lunch and take your pick from thick-cut rib-eye of British beef or half a chicken cooked with garlic, rosemary and thyme, all served with the necessary additions – roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, ‘Shed-made’ Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Prices are decent for Shoreditch, portions should satisfy the biggest, beefiest petrolheads, and the vibe is rockabilly but safe. Is that Chuck Berry playing on the stereo?
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You’d expect a trendy British chophouse to be clued up when it comes to Sunday roasts, and Blacklock really nails it – serving up the kind of nostalgic grub that your nan might produce for the family while the Billy Cotton Band Show was on the radio. Of course, they’ve brought the whole shebang up to date, adding a touch of theatre by slow-roasting whole joints over open coals (not the way nan would do it!) and providing a choice of three meats – usually beef, pork or lamb. All the trimmings are present and correct (their gravy is off the scale for flavour) and portions are strictly ‘family’ too, right down to the cheesecake for afters.
Tucked away in a quiet residential street north of Clapham Common, this charming, understated gastropub does a cracking roast dinner (around £17) within the cosy confines of its cute duck-egg blue bar and dining room. Choose from a slab of slow-roasted pork belly with homemade apple sauce and crackling, half a roast corn-fed chicken with bread sauce (also homemade) or the pièce de résistance: roast sirloin of beef with creamy horseradish and Yorkshire pud – plus all the usual veg trimmings, of course. Starters and desserts take inspiration from Italy and France, with occasional Brit intruders such as apple crumble. Proper real ales and gluggable wines are there to whet whistles and quench thirsts.
Sunday lunch at this bonza boozer is a relaxed affair – at first. As the afternoon progresses, die-hard locals yield to crowds of swag-carrying Brick Lane marketeers and the mood cranks up from low-key to boisterous. In keeping with the pub’s unpretentious ethos, the food is more about satisfaction than aspiration. Sunday-specific options are two roasts (tasty loin of pork or sirloin of beef correctly served medium), served with roasties, a Yorkshire pud, sweet-baked seasonal veg and lashing of red-wine onion gravy. The meats come in two sizes: the smaller should be plenty, but remember there’s only one pudding on offer. The fun begins at 1pm and continues until the food has run out.
The well-proportioned Camberwell Arms famously takes the classic Sunday roast and moves it up a gear, with starters of crab soup and rouille or crispy smoked ox tongue with ‘bread-and-butter’ pickles giving way to spit-roast chicken, Hereford beef or saltmarsh lamb (perhaps served with roasties and creamed chard). There’s sometimes roast duck too, while puds such as flourless chocolate cake or boozy prune and almond tart are on hand for those who still have room to spare. The pub’s pared-back, 1940s brasserie aesthetic – pastel walls, bare tables, dangly lights and salvaged furniture – goes well with the no-nonsense service, daily changing guest ales and fairly priced wine list.
Big-hearted, meaty British dishes are given full rein at this sibling of the Camberwell Arms – especially on Sundays. You can drop by and get stuck into a plate of rare roast Dexter beef with roasties and garlicky beans, but why not go big, bring some mates and share the spoils from their showpiece salt-marsh lamb shoulder, cooked for seven hours and served with potato and olive oil gratin. It should feed up to five famished souls, but beware – it’s fall-off-the-bone stuff and it sells out quickly. After that, you might just have room for a helping of sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce. The pub’s hugely popular and they don’t take bookings, so be sure to get there early.
Sitting proud at the helm of Hackney’s Broadway Market, this sizable boozer has been welcoming all sorts since 1729 – and it’s still a prime local asset. Take a Sunday stroll around the stalls before decamping to the Cat’s bar for one of their mighty roast lunches, served with ample veg, roasties and gravy (or ‘summer style’ with new potatoes, vegetable salad and salsa verde). There are normally three meaty choices (aged beef sirloin, roast chicken, pork belly with apple sauce), plus two veggie options – in addition to their regular offerings. When they’ve got vegan ice creams and Hackney gelato pots on the menu, you should make yourself popular by ordering plenty to share around. It is the weekend, after all.
If you want to do Sunday lunch in style, head upstairs to the Coach’s first-floor dining room where you can sample some fine victuals in elegant, laid-back surrounds. The kitchen is now home to Henry Harris – a celebrated chef who made his name with carefully rendered, bourgeois Gallic food, but also knows how to pull out all the stops when it comes to delivering a proper British Sunday roast. The big hits are the beef sirloin, spatchcock coquelet, lamb rump and seven-hour slow-cooked shoulder, although you’ll also find mighty slabs of grilled beef to share; on the side, expect Yorkshire pud, duck-fat roasties, carrots, greens and leek gratin. Plunder the rest of the menu for Anglo-French starters and puds.
Sizzling steaks and fish cooked over coals are the headliners at this handsome London offshoot of Brighton’s Coal Shed, but on Sunday the whole family can pile in for a ‘sharing roast’ in traditional style. The price tag might say £40, but that’s for two grown-ups – and you get plenty for your money. Not only 500g of 35-day dry-aged sirloin of Black Aberdeen Angus beef, but also beef-fat roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, honey-roast root veg, seasonal greens, Yorkshire pud and smoked gravy. Meanwhile, the kids can eat for free from the children’s menu, while the Coal Shed’s reputation for pokey drinks shows in ‘bloody cures’ such as a BBQ mary. Brilliant staff ensure that everything goes swimmingly.
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Make the most of your Sunday
Brunch in London is bigger than ever. You can bearly set foot out your front door at the weekend without stumbling across a steaming pan of shakshuka or finding the waft of waffles in the air. So let us guide you to the best spots in town for a kick-ass weekend brunch in London, from boozy bottomless brunches to traditional Full English fry-ups and even New York-style feasts, you can start off your weekend in style.
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