Have you ever had an English roast? A proper one, with Yorkshire pudding, gravy, sliced meat and spuds all done with the finesse of a British granny? Unless you made it yourself, it’s unlikely because they haven’t been common in Sydney for a long time. “All my English friends complain that they miss their mum's dinner,” says Ross Godfrey. The former Oscillate Wildly owner has left the Carlisle Castle Hotel along with chef Steve Rich to explore a new concept, Scoff and Banter.
Every Friday and Saturday night Rich (an Englishman himself) and Godfrey will bring their childhood memories and best English recipes to Summer Hill cafe and serial pop-up host, Plunge 46. “We're doing grandma's kitchen, basically. If you go to your grandma's house, you don't just have a roast. You have starts, soups and pudding,” says Godfrey. The roast – either beef, pork or lamb, depending on what month you go – is served between broccoli-and-Stilton soup and a treacle pudding and custard for dessert. The starter, a pork-and-bacon terrine and baked goat’s cheese, comes with a prawn cocktail. Just like in a family home, there will be free seconds for roast meat, steamed veg and spuds.
Once winter is over and the roast falls out of season, Godfrey says Scoff and Banter will find a new, permanent home inside the CBD’s Hotel Downing. “We'll be doing ploughman lunches. It will be a traditional English pub in the middle of the city,” he says. He’s also hoping to convince the owners to bring over Scoff and Banter’s English-style hand-pumped beer tap. “The texture is so different. It's softer and less gassy obviously,” says Godfrey.
Godfrey and Rich have also been working with ex-Perama owner David Tsirekas on the new Civic Hotel offering. “We'll be putting some of our pub classics in with the meze style.” Once Tsirekas moves onto his own restaurant, 1821, Rich will take creative control of the menu, which mixes Greek and classic pub grub.
The Scoff and Banter pop-up is on Friday and Saturday nights at Plunge 46. Sittings are at 6pm or 8.15pm. The banquet is priced at $45 or $55 respectively.