The best Sunday lunches in London
Tom Conran’s Cow has been putting the ‘gastro’ in gastropub for more than 20 years, and his bovine-themed hybrid venue still delivers in spades. Despite the meaty moniker, seafood is the main attraction here (oysters and Guinness in the saloon bar is something of a local tradition), but the kitchen also comes up trumps with a proper sit-down roast served in the colourful upstairs dining room on Sundays. There’s no choice, but when the chefs can produce a beautifully cooked forerib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roasties, carrots and horseradish cream, no one’s complaining. Rest assured, you’ll also be properly looked after in the drinks department too.
Famed for its rooftop garden/greenhouse/growing patch, this ice-cool East gastropub with knobs on is also a diamond for Sunday roasts – although you’ll need to be an early bird to catch the pick of the meats. Expect lamb, chicken or pork, served in mind-boggling, stomach-challenging portions alongside made-to-order Yorkies, fluffy roast potatoes, carrots glazed in the meat juices, and greens grown just a few floors up on the aforementioned rooftop space. Note that Culpeper’s upstairs dining room is no longer open on Sundays, so you need to take pot luck in the airy ground-floor pub, whose bare bricks, eclectic vintage chairs and industrial lighting reference a hip New York loft.
Pitched right on the riverbank (with a huge garden to boot), this pleasingly posh Victorian boozer doesn’t simply rely on its location for custom. On Sundays, the kitchen goes out of its way to keep up with demand for its roasts, cooking fresh joints from scratch several times throughout service to ensure that your cut is juicy regardless of when you order. It’s a rolling feast that might see Gloucester Old Spot pork belly and Yorkshire barn-reared chicken, as well as 28-day aged rump cap of Angus beef with appropriate condiments, piles of roasties, Yorkshire pudding and seasonal veg, all doused in red-wine gravy. Kids have a mini half-price roast, plus ice cream for pud.
A sedate distance from the jumble of loud music and fried chicken around Brixton station, this smart neighbourhood boozer is known for two things: its prodigious line-up of craft beers and its heavyweight Sunday lunches. Ordering at the bar is easy: simply take your pick from half a roast chicken, roast rib-eye of beef or the veggie/vegan option, then grab a table and wait for the juicy slabs of meat, roast potatoes, veg, vast Yorkshires and red-wine gravy to arrive. Need an alternative? The menu also deals in hot dogs with sauerkraut, beer-battered haddock and salads, with sweet temptation beckoning in the shape of waffles or apple and rhubarb crumble with custard.
All things to all people at all hours, whatever the occasion, this buzzy Soho all-dayer has the smooth and swanky feel of a private members’ club, but the food of your favourite British auntie. On Sundays, there’s a set roast menu of two or three courses offering (usually) Hereford beef or Banham chicken with stuffing, plus roasties, cauliflower cheese, seasonal veg and Yorkshire pudding. You can bookend your meat with soup or a posh starter (potted salmon with pickled cucumber), plus a comforting pud (hazelnut cheesecake) or a plate of Berkswell Cheddar and quince. Enjoy it all within the suave confines of a Georgian-era townhouse overlooking Dean Street’s comings and goings.
As popular with well-heeled locals as a flash sale on Range Rovers, the Sunday roast at this Young’s-owned Wimbledon stalwart is everything you’d want from a home-cooked lunch, but without the faff. Juicy, pink-middled 21-day aged striploin, Dingley Dell pork belly with apple sauce and crackling, or succulent lemon-and-thyme marinated half-chicken come with all the trimmings: potatoes roasted in goose fat, herb-specked root veg, lashings of gravy, and a giant Yorkshire pud. For the undecided, there’s even the roast version of a mixed grill – a platter of all three meats, plus trimmings. Eat in the main bar (no table service here), the ‘Scullery’ next to the open kitchen or in one of the quieter overspill areas.
You’ll probably know this shiny all-day diner for its snazzy interiors, brunch deals, flatbreads and Herculean burgers, but come Sunday it also wheels out a gargantuan roast lunch in true Brit style. Sound the trumpet for big plates of 32-day dry-aged rib of beef or corn-fed chicken, all served with roast potatoes, greens, honey-roast parsnips, Yorkshire pud and gravy. You’ll be wanting a bottle of English fizz and a pud too (perhaps some Venetian doughnuts engorged with Marsala cream), but that’s no problem for the staff at this soulful and upscale adjunct to the rather anonymous Park Plaza Waterloo hotel next door.
If the Sunday scrum of people around Spitalfields gets a bit much, you can always retreat to the cosseting surrounds of this Michelin-starred high flyer from the Galvin brothers. Billed as a ‘family Sunday lunch’, their offer is exactly that, with a mini menu for the under-12s (such as roast chicken with mash) and toys to keep them amused while you lap up the food, the glorious wines and the jazz soundtrack. The menu is largely French, with the odd English dish thrown in and a centrepiece roast – usually sirloin of Cumbrian beef with a Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, glazed carrots and green beans. For afters, some Fourme d’Ambert cheese should do the trick.
From the folks behind The Culpeper in Aldgate, this clattering and attractively airy Clerkenwell gastropub is such a treat – especially on Sundays. A chirpy atmosphere and savvy staff play their part, but the food’s the irrefutable star. Lamb, chicken and (sublimely tender) pork belly are rotated most weeks, but there’s always Beef Wellington – imagine two succulent inch-thick slices of medium-rare meat in pastry, accompanied by creamy leek gratin and red cabbage, crunchy goose-fat roasties and a fluffy Yorkshire pud. Stonking starters are picked from the main menu and it’s worth leaving room for dessert – the old-school crumble will make you drool.
Venue says First-floor dining room available for private hire!
Officially Fulham’s worst-kept secret, this terrific gastropub gets booked up weeks in advance – you could be looking at a month-long wait for a Sunday lunch table. However, patience brings its own rewards in the form of 45-day aged Hereford beef with roasties, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese croquettes, horseradish cream, roots, greens and bone-marrow gravy. Alternatively, you might stumble on roast rump of Tamworth pork or one of their famed game specials (Yorkshire grouse with wild mushrooms, cabbage and bacon, say). Go with an empty stomach and savour every Michelin-starred mouthful, from venison faggots with chestnut and prune to blackcurrant jam doughnuts with citrus cream. And if you want your Sunday lunch for supper, they can do that too.
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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