A visit to Roast's been on my agenda for a long time. I'm often at Borough Market either for weekend food shopping or in one of its pubs for an after work drink. The menu pushes many of the right buttons - it's British good with a modern style, it sources its produce from the Market and the provenance of menu items is proudly displayed. At this time of year there's good game representation on the menu and this week, to the delight of a boy from Somerset the menu has a West Country theme. What could possibly go wrong?
I went with Harry, an inveterate steak and chips man, and Melissa. The restaurant is on the first floor and after lifting off to it we were swiftly shown to a table. The room is large with a bar near the entrance and then the kitchen on the right. The main elevated dining area has a good view out, through enormous windows, over the market and pubs below.
We just wanted a quick supper as we were going on to a party later. Harry and Melissa both ordered, steak and chips. I'd love to give you full details of the provenance of this, but unfortunately Roast's website is spewing all sorts of errors. I ordered Devonian venison with a gin and damson sauce. To go with this we had a bottle of Cote de Nuit.
My venison was very well cooked, succulent and tasty. The sauce was not robust enough to compete with the rich taste of the meat though. The mash I'd ordered to go with it was good, creamy and of a good consistency. So, sort of six and a half out of ten if you're in a scoring frame of mind.
Both Harry and Melissa declared their rare steak . . . um, ok. The chips looked promising, chunky Brit chips rather than anorexic frites. Alas, they were luke warm with that kept around taste that you used to get from school chips. In fact, that's what they were like . . . school chips. The mayonnaise didn't seem particularly tasty nor fresh and a request for dijon mustard was declined with the declaration that wasn't sufficiently British. Hmmm . . . what about the bottle of Burgundy we were tucking into then?
So . . . overall, not overwhelming. Not really, if you think about the chips, competent or careful.
Maybe one has to be hesitant with a judgement here. A few other reviews I've posted recently have been of tasting menus at haute cuisine type places. How can you compare that to a single dish supper? Well, in a sense you don't have to. It's not a comparative view. Roast should be succeeding on its own grounds with simple, well prepared food from high quality produce. That the place has had mixed reviews and also that, for example, Ben has had good meals there, suggests that the restaurant has a problem with consistency.
I am tempted to try the place again, with a more extensive meal - the menu still looks tempting. On Friday though it seemed to express a sort of corporate impersonality that leads to a lack of care.
Hopefully Ben will be posting his own thoughts on Roast . . .
Roast, The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, SE1 1TL 0207 940 1300