15 top roasts in Bristol

When you’re in the mood for a Sunday afternoon joint, nothing else will do. Here are some of the best roasts in Bristol to satisfy those cravings – and tips from the chefs on how to nail yours at home, too…

1. The Bank Tavern

These roast dinners are the talk of Bristol carnivores – many of whom book months in advance to secure them. What makes ’em so special? We think it’s the generous portions, carefully sourced Bristolian ingredients and great British pub vibes that come on the side as standard. Get an ale in and grab a fork – you’re in for a treat.

Picture by The Bank Tavern

2. Bar 44

As you’d expect from this tapas joint, its roasts have a distinctly Spanish edge, with the likes of truffled manchego cauliflower cheese, Ibérico jamón fat roast potatoes (oh, hello) and giant chorizo Yorkshire puds accompanying the 35-day dry-aged sirloin of Hereford beef and overnight Sidra roast pork. In keeping with the Med feels, they’re served sharing-style on platters. Go all out and get a bottle of Spanish red in, an’ all. 

3. Birch

Beef dripping roasties are reason enough to choose this great little bistro for lunch on Sunday – and that’s never mind the crimson-coloured, 28-day aged local Ashdale beef or free top-ups of veggies. Head chef Lee Bloomfield likes to add a large pinch of mustard powder to his Yorkshire pudding mix: “it helps balance the sweet flavours of the vegetables,” he says. We’ll certainly be giving that a go.

4. Broken Dock

Broken Dock’s Sunday lunches come sharing size, but please keep roastie-focused squabbles to a minimum. Lamb, pork, beef and stuffed cauli are the centrepieces to choose from, and they come with seasonal sides like roast parsnips, which we got head chef Phil Doel to share his recipe for. “Leave the skins and wood in and roast them in the oven, then pan fry with honey and mustard. The skin holds the flavour and pan-frying makes sure they are evenly coated in the gooey honey glaze.”

Now that’s what we call a great board meeting.

5. The Canteen

Sure, there are meaty offerings on Sundays here, but the vegan roasts at this StoCro mainstay deserve a special shout out; chef Will Roth (shortlisted for Best Chef at the 2019 Crumbs Awards) is all about inventive vegan dishes. Fancy mixing things up with your own roast at home? “Take a look beyond the normal parts of veg,” says Will. “You’ll find new flavours in bits you’d usually throw away, like broccoli stems. So delicious!”

6. The Cauldron Restaurant

Famous among Bristolians for its solid-fuelled kitchen, this place’s Sunday meats are all smoke-roasted over locally felled beech logs and the gravy is brewed over four days in a 60-litre cast-iron cauldron. Want a roasting tip from chef-owner Henry Eldon? You got it. “Instead of steaming or boiling your vegetables, roast them with some whole spices like cumin, fennel or caraway seeds. Use a high heat and the Maillard effect will brown them, giving a sweetness you simply won’t achieve using water.”

7. Eat Your Greens

This vegan restaurant in Totterdown is on a mission to make sure that anyone eating animal- and gluten-free doesn’t have to miss out on the ritual of Sunday lunch. The seed and cranberry roast comes with braised red cabbage, squash wedges, roast potatoes, maple-glazed carrots and red onion and beetroot gravy. And there’s an optional plant-based cauli ‘cheese’ on the go. “Every aspect, every vegetable, is treated as the star of the show,” says owner Babs Greaves. “Every part of the meal is the main event.” 

8. The Kensington Arms

After a bit of an extra special feed on the Sabbath? This Redland gastropub – owned by Josh Eggleton and with a kitchen headed up by former Pony and Trap chef Luke Hawkins – dishes up buckets of class with its Sunday lunches, with delicious homemade condiments and gravy that takes three days to make. The private dining room is super popular on Sundays – what better reason than a slap-up roast to get everyone together? 

9. The Old Bookshop

This cool bar in Bemmie is knocking out some great roast dinners – and not just on Sundays. The new Monday night roast has just been launched (what a way to start the week) and is followed by the pub quiz. Don’t expect the usual suspects when it comes to veg here – you’re likely to see imaginative alternatives like Jerusalem artichokes and beetroot this winter. A vegan option is available, too.

10. The Old Market Assembly

These guys have some fierce sourcing policies when it comes to their ingredients, and roasts are no exception. All meat comes from farms within 50-miles and the sides make the most out of what is in plentiful supply locally – right about now, that’s lots of lovely autumnal squash. Head chef Adam Barlow is here to remind us to salt that water when we par-boil our spuds, “and don’t be scared to roast them for an extra 10 minutes for a completely crispy finish!” Yes, sir.

11. Pasture

Known for its banging pasture reared, high-welfare meat, this place really brings it on Sundays. The beef is cooked over charcoal and cherry wood which imparts a lovely smokiness, and there’s also six-hour-cooked lamb shoulder and pork loin. All the trimmings are in attendance, including a top-notch gravy. “It’s gravy that brings the whole dish together,” says head chef Rhys Grayson. “You want to get it on early; we start ours on Friday morning and use all our aged beef bones and trimmings. Roast them until golden along with vegetables and tomato purée. Next is a good helping of reduced red wine and port, and finally the roasting juices. If you don’t have bones for your gravy, just ask your local butcher.”

12. Pieminister 

Sundays are done a bit differently at Pieminister. Let us elaborate: choose any pie (there are 13 to decide between) and it’ll arrive on a pile of delicious mash and wearing a Yorkshire pudding hat, itself filled with roast garlic and rosemary potatoes and carrot and swede mash. The final flourish comes in the form of a shard of free-range pork crackling and a pig in-blanket. Oh, and there’s a jug of gravy on the side for dousing it all in too, of course. Vegan and gluten-free options are available an’ all. What’s not to love?

13. The River Grille

Fancy a side of river views with your Sunday lunch? Hit up this waterside eatery, which is serving big portions and top-drawer meat (think slow-cooked aged sirloin, leg of lamb and pork belly). Want to know how chef Pawel Mikolajczewski gets those roasties bang-on? “Steam or boil them until they start to go soft but still hold their shape. Then give them a shake and chill in the fridge. All the starch will crystallise, so when you cook them in hot oil, the outside will be super crispy.”

14. The Vittoria

This long-standing Whiteladies Road gaff is into a bit of one-upmanship, with its beef coming with bone marrow and oxtail and the pork pimped up with caramelised apple and a cracking croquette. Sides are spesh, too: think confit carrot, broccoli cheese, roasties and grilled cabbage. And yes, you get a Yorkie whatever meat you order. Heavy one the night before? You’d better take the team up on their offer of bottomless Bloody Marys for a fiver, then.

15. Yurt Lush

In this cool restaurant housed in adjoining Mongolian yurts, all guests on Sundays get a surprise amuse-bouche (a surprise which we’ve just spoilt for you – mega soz). Head chef Oscar Davis, who is all about the top South West ingredients, is keen to remind us home cooks to get next week’s stock on with the leftover meat and bones after we’ve filled our belles each Sunday. Making stock for gravy makes all the difference for us,” he says. “We start making beef and chicken stock on Monday and reduce them down slowly until Friday, when we combine them into one super stock.”