The Floral Hall
Phone:- 0207 940 1300
Eva and I decided to try out the newly opened Roast restaurant in Borough Market last Friday.
Roast is the brainchild creation of Iqbal Wahhab, who founded The Cinnamon Club in Westminster. Roast has 120 seats, and is constructed on the site of Britain's oldest surviving food market, by London Bridge.
Edward Barry designed the Floral Hall in 1858, to house flowers for resale by the market traders; the upper floor now houses Roast, whilst the ground floor will house market traders.
Roast serves traditional British food in a modern lively setting, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I would advise you to book, as the restaurant was packed when we went there.
Roast is situated on the first floor of the Floral Hall of Borough Market. It consists of a large split level dining room and open fronted spit roast kitchen, together with a bar placed mid centre of the main part of the dining room.
The building has been given a stunning frontage in the form of the portico of the old Covent Garden flower market, which offers diners views onto the market on one side and over into St Paul's Cathedral on the other.
If you like the colour scheme white, then you are in for a treat; white is the order of the day for the walls and high ceilings, together with the linen napkins and tablecloths.
This, coupled with the large glass windows, gives Roast an airy and spacious atmosphere.
The layout of the restaurant means that those diners who are placed on the upper split level by the windows are afforded an excellent view of the market and St Paul's, whilst many of those on the lower level are afforded an excellent view of the bar and kitchen.
I would therefore advise you to specify your preference when booking your table.
As noted the restaurant was very lively, bright and spacious; as such it may not be first choice for a romantic cosy meal for two.
We were given a very good table on the "upper deck" by the window. I was more than pleased to note that, despite the fact the restaurant has a high ceiling and large glass frontage, it was not cold.
The menu was unashamedly British, and contained a variety of traditional dishes such as; roast pork with black pudding, potted shrimps, roast pheasant, steak and fish.
However, rather bizarrely for a restaurant that calls itself Roast, the one dish that was missing was Roast Beef!
I find this omission to be more than a little daft, and indeed said as much to the staff.
I really would suggest that this dish, that is widely regarded as the national dish of Britain, should be included on Roast's menu as soon as possible.
One other point that I would suggest that Roast address, is the fact that their website does not at the time of writing have a sample menu uploaded. The key feature of any well designed restaurant website is the menu page.
We were warmly greeted, and promptly shown to our table.
The staff were very friendly and efficient. The service and attention to detail was smooth and well co-ordinated as it needed to be, given the number of covers.
Eva's dropped butter knife, was replaced immediately without prompting.
I started with the green split pea soup with salt beef and vegetables. This was a little too thin and watery for my taste; I have been brought up eating yellow split pea soup, which had a much thicker consistency.
I would also suggest that the split peas and vegetables could have benefited from being cooked for a little longer; as they were, to my view/taste, a touch underdone.
I chose the roast suckling pig with black pudding for my main course.
This consisted of several slices of good quality pork, a good cut with just the right amount of fat and crackling, served with a thin slice of black pudding which had been placed atop half an apple.
The pork was very good, the taste and texture was first class.
I would, however, make two observations:
- The majority of the crackling did not crackle
- The pork was luke warm rather than hot, I suspect that it had been left a little too long on the plate before being taken from the kitchen to our table
Unlike the pork, they were hot.
The slices of roast pumpkin were splendid, and had been roasted to perfection.
Eva started with the potted shrimps, which came with a lemon wedge and a little toast. They were delightfully indulgent, rich, tasty and filling.
Eva then chose the roast pheasant for her main course, she chose mashed potatoes to accompany it.
The pheasant consisted of a generous portion of both breast and leg, served on top of sherry glazed parsnips. The bird had been well, but not over, cooked. It was succulent, tender and had a delicate game flavour. The size of the portion defeated Eva; so we made off with the remainder in a doggy bag, and had it the next day in a sandwich.
The mashed potatoes were smooth and creamy, and had a better taste and consistency than many that we have had elsewhere.
The meal, which included a bottle of Pinot Grigio (unaccountably they had no Chablis on the wine list) and a liqueur, came to £100 including service.
We enjoyed our evening; once the few “teething” issues that I have raised above are addressed, Roast will enjoy commercial and culinary success.