It’s that time of year when autumnal colours, log fires, woolly jumpers and a really good Sunday roast make a massive difference. So here’s our Top Five, in no particular order, with a couple more thrown in for good measure, because we just couldn’t choose.
- The Chester Arms – The roasts in this gorgeous local pub, off Iffley Road in East Oxford, are legendary and people come from far and wide on Sundays.
It means there is often a queue, (see pic) as the pub doesn’t take bookings on a Sunday. And even though the kitchen is open from 12-4 they occasionally sell out due to demand.
Choose from the overnight roast pork belly with crackling (£14), roast beef (£14), a whole roast chicken for 2/3 £35) (the nut roast pictured below can be served vegan on request (£13). All come with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, Savoy cabbage, carrots and of course gravy and Yorkshire pudding,
When roast lamb is served from time to time, it costs £15.
There is also beer battered fish and chips with salad or mushy peas (£13) and a kids roast or fish and chips is half price.
See you in the queue.
The Chester Arms, 19 Chester St, Oxford OX4 1SN
2) The Eagle in Little Coxwell
The lovely Marcel took over the Eagle eight years ago. Not only is his cooking excellent, but his prices are top notch as well with Sunday lunch coming in at £24 for three courses, including the roast. Some places charge that for the mains alone.
Think leek and potato soup with home-made bread and butter for starters, Oxford blue brulee with piquant green apple sorbet, walnuts and sliced apples or the Wiltshire burrata served on sourdough Langos -like a giant savoury doughnut.
The roast is magnificent (rump, roasted potatoes, a vast Yorkshire pudding, seasonal veg and gravy).
The veggie option (poached free range eggs, herb gnocchi, wild mushrooms, vegetables and white truffle oil) can be alternated with a traditional nut roast with all the trimmings. Delicious.
Saving the best for last, his puddings defy belief. Black rice pudding with tropical fruit compote and coconut ice cream? Apple strudel with vanilla ice cream or almond cake with poached pear and dark cocoa ice cream.
AND – roast is served 12-5pm
EAGLE TAVERN, Little Coxwell, Faringdon SN7 7LW. 01367 241 879
3) THE BOXING HARE
A fairly new contender, but where Sunday lunch is concerned already a county favourite. Head chefs Kate and Nick, formerly of The Bell at Hampton Poyle, and the Nut Tree, love a Sunday service and pride themselves on their roasts.
It’s not cheap though with the cote de boeuf for two coming in at £68, roast rump off Longhorn beef £21, roast leg of lamb £19, roast leg of Tamworth pork crackling and apple sauce £18.50 or a plate of all three roasts £19.50.
But I can vouch for the quality, quantity and presentation of the Boxing Hare’s Sunday best. One of our absolute favourites, and available from noon until 5pm.
The Boxing Hare, Banbury Rd, Swerford, Oxon OX7 4AP
Tel: 01608 683 212 www.theboxinghare.co.uk
4) Magdalen Arms – It’s no surprise that this East Oxford stalwart gastropub has had its Bib Gourmand continued by Michelin this week presumably because the inspectors tried the Sunday lunch.
It’s famous penchant for communal food and atmosphere means that enormous platters of food should be shared on Sunday between 12 noon and 3.30pm.
Pot roast guinea fowl, smoked bacon, crème fraiche, mashed potatoes for two to three £39, whole roast sea bass, cherry tomatoes and puy lentil vinaigrette for two £44, Hereford rib of beef and Sunday trimmings for two to three £70, slow cooked lamb, gratin dauphinoise, pickled red cabbage (Neck for two £40 Neck for three £60, Shoulder for four to five £85), so not a cheap option, but the Magdalen Arms’ reputation proceeds it.
Horse & Groom
5) French chef Jerome Prigrent has certainly got his head around the English roast at his thatched rural pub, his Sunday offerings garnering a large local following.
He alternates the meats on offer, so it’s never the same, alongside the usual menus. For example this Sunday is roasted leg of lamb with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and homemade mint sauce sauce for £16.00, as specified on the website.
Otherwise look out for roasted loin of pork with crackling, homemade apple sauce, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and homemade gravy. £16
Roasted sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and homemade gravy. £18
Or try the infamous sausage menu served with chips, mash & baked beans or garden peas, and a jug of homemade gravy for £12
Horse and Groom, Lower Heyford Road, Caulcott, Oxfordshire. OX25 4ND
Sunday: 12 noon-3pm
6) The Killingworth Castle not only serves a Sunday lunch at er lunchtime, but then reopens early evening for anyone who missed it, which is great for those of us taken up with hobbies, matches, children’s activities etc on Sundays, but still fancy a massive roast. (12noon-3.30pm AND 6pm-8.30pm)
Choose from: Beef, (roast rump, honey roast root vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding) £18, Pork, (loin & shoulder, honeyroast root vegetables, roast potatoes, crackling) £18, Duck, honey roast root vegetables, roast potatoes (GF) £18, nut roast wellington, new potatoes, honey roasted vegetables herb cream sauce £15, with all the trimmings.
The Killy is also quintessentially gorgeous both inside and out, if you fancy somewhere more remote and rural.
The Killingworth Castle, Glympton Road, Wootton, Woodstock, OX20 1EJ. 01993 811 401
7) The Hollybush – Witney
No roast list would be complete with out The Hollybush in Witney where locals stretch out the day starting with the pub’s famous Bloody Mary’s and finishing with a roast.
You can order Sunday lunch from noon until 8.30pn and there’s a great veggie and vegan option to boot. Choose from roast strip loin of Oxfordshire Beef £16, roast loin of Oxfordshire pork £15, roast leg of Oxfordshire lamb £15, all served with all the trimmings, the market vegetable roast with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese & mushroom Parcel £12, to the vegan vegetable Roast £12.
If none of the above appeal you don’t want the Full Monty, there are other options from the burger to fish and chips.
And now with The Horseshoes over the road under owner Luke Champion’s belt, one for the little black book.
The Hollybush, 35 Corn St, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 6BT