The culinary equivalent of a hug from your grandma, pub roasts are back in a big way. Our guide to 13 of Melbourne’s best roasts will see you through until the end of winter.
Melbourne's best pub roasts
The Estelle has received a refurb and a shake-up, but we're glad to report its Sunday roast roster hasn’t. Over winter, $50 gets you three courses that could be gnocchi with smoked ham hock, pork belly with a quince puree and a rhubarb tart; or tartare, roast lamb and a house made lamington. The menu is updated weekly and also includes a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail. This is one that you definitely have to book for.
Epocha has been known for its generous Sunday roasts since it opened. Angie Giannakodakis uses what other venues consider the day of rest to change the pace of this fancy diner, and she delivers the kind of Greek hospitality she would provide in her own home. For $50 you get a roast lunch with snacks (think crispy pig ears or chicken liver pâté) and all the trimmings, served family-style. Keep an eye out on their website as the protein changes every week. Book ahead or be prepared for disappointment.
The Sunday roast was brought to us by English tradition, so it makes sense that British chef and owner Michael Slade does a mean one. It also doesn’t hurt that he used to be a butcher, so he gives that meat some much-deserved respect. Meats and sides change weekly, but expect the typical beef, pork or lamb with sides like roast spuds, brussels sprouts or cauliflower gratin with the obligatory Yorkshire pudding and gravy. At a mere $29.50 per person, it is guaranteed to be better than your mum’s.
The Lincoln might not be your standard pub, but it does offer a Sunday roast like a standard pub. Each week, the menu rotates between chicken, pork and beef, and the meat is accompanied by roast potatoes and heritage vegetables from Day’s Walk Farm. It is $30 a serve, but if you’re a big eater, the regular menu is also available, so you can start yourself off with some cheddar and leek croquettes, throw in some triple-cooked chips and end on some Harper and Blohm cheeses. Book your plate of roast in advance if you don’t want to miss out – the word’s out!
At an incredibly reasonable $40, Neighbourhood Wine’s Sunday roast offers a different three-course set menu every week. The menu may include a warming potato and leek soup to start (which is exactly what we need in winter), followed by a roast pork shoulder with mustard leaves and a Yorkshire pudding, finished off with a stewed apple crumble. The menu might sound humble, but the kitchen doesn’t mess around. Wine is not included, but the list is as well-priced as, well, the Sunday roast.
When you call up this Fitzroy neighbourhood fave to ask what the day’s roast is, don’t be surprised if the answer is a tad vague. We were greeted with, “I’m not sure yet, but it’s always changing, and it’s always delicious.” Correct on two points, Mr Marquis. That particular weekend, this cosy backstreet pub was dishing out slow-cooked lamb shoulder with golden kipflers, a savoury lick of gravy and a bitter note from the charred radicchio. But the Marquis’ real stunner is available full-time: half a roast chicken served with lentil-studded jus and the kind of artery-hardening mash that has a butter to spud ratio of 1:1. Better than most city brasseries, at half the price.
You could practically hear the collective squeal across Collingwood when the Grace Darling announced the return of its Sunday roast. Grace’s weekly feast is served in an Insta-perfect cast-iron pot brimming with wintry veg and quality meats, such as saltbush lamb rump or medium-rare beef. With its fireplace and live bands, winter hangs don’t get much better than this.
With its beaten leather couches downstairs and communal tables on the rooftop (don’t worry, they pull the awning over when the weather’s not playing ball), the Local in St Kilda has that hard-to-fake lived-in vibe that cries out for a long lunch. You’ll need a couple of hours, too, if you plan on ordering the roast lamb shoulder to share – a football-sized heft of fork-tender meat. It comes with some token broccolini stems and a few chunks of pumpkin, but you’ll want to order more sides to balance all that flesh. Better yet, book the ‘Host a Roast’ lunch for ten pals in a private dining space, for a blow-out banquet with all the trimmings.
There’s more to the Napier Hotel than the gargantuan bogan burger (you know, that head-sized assembly of steak, chicken schnitzel, bacon, egg and potato cake). This historic boozer in the backstreets of Fitzroy also does one helluva weekend roast. Grab a seat by the fire in the art-filled dining room for the weekly special, perhaps rolled pork belly with high-decibel crackling, caramelised figs, charred broccolini, pumpkin, potatoes, braised cabbage and a little jug of herby cider gravy. Pure comfort.
When it comes to bang for your buck, the Wolf and I in Windsor howls down the competition. On Sundays, $20 buys you a plate stacked high with meat and veg, perhaps tender roast pork with apple crisps, cheesy cauliflower bake, roast broccoli, a hunk of pumpkin, sweet potato puree, carrots, potatoes and a standalone sheet of glass-like crackling. That’s your seven-a-day in one delicious package. Oh, and it comes with a side order of live music. Available from 5pm until sold out, so don’t dawdle.