Typical – you wait years for a proper English restaurant to come along, and then two arrive almost at once. Whereas Canteen (reviewed yesterday) arrived pretty much unannounced, however, this Borough Market newcomer- the latest creation of Iqbal Wahab (founder of Westminster’s celebrated Cinnamon Club) – has long been eagerly awaited.
Sadly, this particular Roast looks as if it may have been cooking too long. Admittedly, the kitchen seems to care about its ingredients, and the appealing menu makes all the right fashionable noises about provenance. But this just makes it all the more peculiar that the food often ends up tasting of very little. A big and fluffy crabcake, for example, would have been better half the size and twice as crabby. Liver was served grey all the way through, unpleasant in texture, and accompanied by mash, which was not properly heated. A treacle tart was fine, but too fine – this should be a knock-about sort of dish, not a prissy piece of pÃ¢tisserie. Coffee lacked bite.
It is perhaps supposed to be some sort of emblem of multi-cultural Britain that the wine list seems to have raided all corners of the wine-growing world. Bizarrely, however, Bordeaux – an area of some fame in English culinary history, and which still does a few decent wines – is almost totally ignored.
The restaurant’s setting is remarkable. On the first floor, overlooking Borough Market, it occupies a large and light, two-level room with views not only of St Paul’s, but also of trains frequently passing close by on either side. The staff are young and efficient, and quite good-looking too. So if you’re looking to show off the cuisine of these islands to foreign visitors, this may not yet be the destination it ought to be. For Bridget Joneses in search of London-as-seen-by-Richard Curtis, however, this is probably the place.