The Truscott Arms: Wooed by The Best Sunday Roast in London

Sunday roast

Sunday roast just like afternoon tea I wrote about in one of my previous blog posts is a quintessential gastronomic experience In the United Kingdom. While most of Britons agree that the best roast is made at home, some pubs serve pretty decent Sunday fair. I’d love to try some home made roast one day, but this time I head to The Truscott Arms for it – a pub in West London, that was awarded with the title of Best British Roast Dinner 2014.

Our party of four arrives a few minutes early. The hostess tells us that our table will be ready soon. There is not much room to wait around the bar, so we decide to have a look around this multi-storey Victorian pub.

Bar area

Bar area

The ground floor is packed with people, with usual pub buzz. A narrow staircase at the back leads us to the first floor dining room. We see quite different picture here: sterile interior, a fireplace (would have been nice to have it burning) and ornate ceiling plaster work in combination with modern artworks of emerging artists. It feels like something has been misplaced and something is missing. In fact, the cosiness of the interior was debated among us when choosing the place for Sunday roast, but promise of food quality won over another pub that seemed much cosier.

One more floor up we find another, much smaller room lit up in dim lights and a small bar at the back. Everybody agrees that it would be a perfect room for dinner, but our table appears to be on the first floor, so we go back down.

First floor dining room

First floor dining room

We flick through the drink menu. Some cocktails sound very interesting and I am impressed with the wine card containing wines from all over the world. Besides well-known countries and wineries there are some wines from lesser known regions, such as Croatia, Japan, Greece. I wouldn’t bet on them, but it is an option for adventurous palates.

We decide to go for beer this time and order Camden Brewery Hells Lager on tap. It becomes a pleasant surprise to us: very crisp and easy to drink. with a refreshing taste and hints of honey. It combines two different styles into one: German-style Pilsner and mild Helles.

Since we have already looked up the dinner menu online, we just skim through it, trying to decide how much food we should order. The starters list does not impress us that much: potato and leek soup, terrine with pickled mushrooms, beetroot cured salmon and charcuterie board (who would want meat before having some more meat? Certainly not us). The roast menu is what we are here for and all the options sound equally appealing: 35 day aged beef rump cap with red wine gravy, free range English rare breed pork (pulled pork & loin) with mustard sauce and smoked leg of English lamb & braised shoulder with garlic & rosemary infused lamb sauce. We go along with waitress’s suggestion and order all three different kinds of roast to share.

It takes around half an hour for the food to arrive while we enjoy the conversation over our drinks. We feel seriously hungry when a big plate with meat, honey roast root vegetable cubes, crispy roast potatoes and sautéed asparagus beans is brought to the table. Three small jugs of gravy are placed to complement each type of meat. A bowl of Yorkshire puddings and a few different kinds of sauces are served in addition to that.

Sunday roast

Sunday roast with all the trimmings

We start with the lamb that is made two ways – slices of lamb shoulder and shredded braised lamb leg. The first bite is met with oohs and aahs. The shoulder is succulent and simply melts in our mouth and garlic & rosemary infused gravy perfectly complements the flavour. It even passes the test of one of my friends, who is not a big fan of lamb meat in general. What makes things even better is freshly made mint sauce. It tastes so good that I try some on its own just to be able to appreciate the flavour.

The next thing we move on to is pork loin. It is extremely tender and the meat is almost white and sweet, reminding me of the taste of suckling pig. The only complaint we all have about it is the amount of fat. Gravy with mustard seeds does not help to cut the fat down, but freshly made apple sauce makes us forgive the flaws: light amber colour and still a bit crunchy in texture, with tanginess of green apples it becomes a perfect accompaniment to the loin. Some pork is also served pulled and spiced up with star anise and we all agree that pulled version is the winner.

Roast meat

Meat was falling apart and simply melting in our mouth

Beef is cooked the way it should be, with a decent amount of pink colour in the middle. The only thing we regret is that we are too full to appreciate it properly. What really makes the beef is extremely rich in flavour red wine gravy. We pour it into our Yorkshire puddings almost fighting over the last drops of it. Yorkshire pudding is quite small and seems to be a bit overdone. It instantly wins the love of one of my friends who tries it for the first time, but I have to admit that I had some better ones before, so there is some space for improvement.

Yorkshire puddings

Yorkshire puddings

The overall experience leaves us full and content and we only wish we had some space for desserts that were highly recommended by the waitress. We all agree that it is the place we would not hesitate on bringing somebody over for Sunday dinner, especially some friends visiting from abroad to introduce them to the best of British food culture.

The Truscott Arms

The Truscott Arms

 

The Truscott Arms, 55 Shirland Road, Maida Vale W9 2JD, London

 

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