The classic roast might seem like a holdover from the past, but it’s a damn delicious one. A dish of roast meat – traditionally beef, but these days you’ll usually get a few different options – and an assortment of vegetables can of course be eaten on any day of the week, but there’s something particularly excellent about eating it on a Sunday. Add in Yorkshire pudding and a good drenching of gravy, and you’re in heaven. So, where to find a piece of heaven in Sydney? Head to an inner-west stalwart for smoked brisket, an inner-city joint for a creative spin on tradition, and a Glebe classic where the Yorkshire pudding is as big as your face.
Each weekend at the Oxford Tavern, more than 200 kilograms of meat is smoked in its Black Betty smoker. A whole bunch of it is then set aside for the Sunday roast, where you can choose from beef brisket, pork belly or pulled jackfruit. Roasts also come with potatoes, steamed broccoli, carrots with honey, gravy and a house-made Yorkshire pudding to sop it all up. The pub also does $12 hangover-curing Bloody Marys on Sundays.
If you’re a big group (minimum 10), there’s the “Host a Roast” option, where the food is placed in the middle of the table and shared communally. It’s $45 per person for two courses and $55 per person for three courses. Regular roasts are $25 per person.
The Oxford Tavern’s sister venue, The Taphouse in Darlinghurst, also does a $25 roast. It’s pretty much the same as the Tavern’s (down to the sides), but not smoked – take your pick from Wagyu beef or pork belly. There are also vegan and vegetarian options on request. Pair your meal with one of the pub’s natural Australian wines or funky beers for a solid Sunday session.
The Old Fitzroy
The Old Fitz may have put laksa on the Sydney map 20 years ago, but its new owners have given the menu a decidedly English slant. It’s thanks to new chef Nicholas Hill, who spent eight years in the kitchen at The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill. His nose-to-tail menu is full of English classics including Scotch eggs, fish’n’chips and pies – and of course, a Sunday roast. It hews traditional, with beef, gravy, a Yorkie, peas, carrots, potato and horseradish for a decent $28. Jack up the European vibes while Britain is still in the EU with a goblet of spicy mulled wine.
Glebe’s Australian Youth Hotel reopened earlier this year as the Glebe Hotel, with a new look and menu to match. A British chef, Ben Allcock, has been installed in the kitchen and is turning out an appropriately British menu. Steak-and-Guinness pie with mash, Cumberland sausages, and fish’n’chips with mushy peas are available all week. And on Sundays, there’s a classic roast. Twenty-four bucks will get you a choice of two meats (they change every week) plus all the trimmings. For an extra $6 you can get a dessert. And the Yorkie? It’s face-sized.
The menu at British-born Nelly Robinson’s restaurant nel is anything but traditional – a recent “pub classics” degustation reinvented soup and bread as a marshmallow infused with tomato soup and rolled in tomato powder (true story). His Sunday roast leans a bit more familiar, though. It starts with crumpets and cultured butter, then you get a choice of chicken with stuffing or slow-cooked lamb shoulder served with Yorkshire pudding and duck-fat potatoes.
Vegetables are a little less traditional: there’s cauliflower cheese, honey-glazed carrots and broccolini with burnt-butter parmesan. It’s all topped off with a sticky-toffee-date pudding with clotted cream and ice-cream.
If you squint really hard on a dark rainy night, The Rocks almost looks like England. Head there for Endeavour Tap Rooms’s Sunday roast, which might include sirloin, paprika roast chicken, pork belly or lamb (the meat option changes), as well as seasonal vegetables, gravy and Yorkies.
The Unicorn Hotel in Paddington does one of the best chicken schnitties in Sydney, and its roasts are just as excellent. Wagyu beef comes with fresh peas, carrots and crunchy potatoes on the side, and it’s all coated with gravy.
Down an alley in the city is the Duke of Clarence, another London-inspired pub. From 12pm to 7pm on Sundays it puts on a roast – and, just like at a classic English pub, each meat comes with the appropriate sauce and sides. With beef sirloin, pork belly and lamb there’s gravy, Dutch carrots, broccolini, peas, beef-fat-roasted potatoes and Yorkies, while the roasted cod fillet is served with clams, pickled samphire and kipfler potatoes.