London: Stylish Space for British Cuisine, Reborn
NPR.org, August 23, 2007 · Since curry is now the British national dish, it seems only right that the resurrection of British cooking should be led by the son of Bangladeshi immigrants.
Iqbal Wahhib has dug deep into British culinary traditions and come up with Roast, a restaurant that celebrates the fact that British cuisine is no longer a contradiction in terms.
Roast is located in a cavernous, modern upstairs space above Borough Market, the ultimate farmers market for inner-city foodies just 100 yards south of the River Thames at London Bridge.
The indoor market, which dates back to 1756, is pleasantly off the pace of central London, but still within easy reach. Ask for a table in the upper section, with views across the river to St. Paul's Cathedral. You can watch the trains come into London Bridge station, too.
The food is served in a straightforward, shut-up-and-eat kind of way. For starters, choose from black pudding hash with spiced applesauce, lobster broth or cauliflower tart with Stilton and watercress.
Entrees include Gressingham duck, steak and ox kidney pudding cooked in Guinness, Cornish squid, roast pheasant with pearl barley and Craggenmore whisky, or parsnip cake with Wensleydale cheese for the veggie brigade.
Like the rest of London, the food at Roast doesn't come cheap, but the restaurant has a variety of eye-popping cocktails available and a good wine list to ease the pain. You can also enjoy a great weekend brunch at Roast, after wandering around the market stalls down below.
So no more jokes about British food, please. They may not do fusion in Yorkshire, but Roast is showing the way for a whole new generation of good, honest, unreconstructed British food, without the smoky pub setting and the warm English beer.
Roast — The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London, SE1 1TL, England. Telephone: 44-20-7940-1300. Web site: http://www.roast-restaurant.com/.