Sunday roasts with the most
Quite frankly the only thing likely to entice me outside at this time of year is a cosy Kent pub, roaring fire and good old Sunday roast. Sometimes we squeeze in a quick walk first (if we’re feeling particularly game and I’m wearing the prerequisite double-sock-layer-system). Afterwards we seek out the ultimate reward – mouth-watering meats, glorious gravy, yummy Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Here’s my pick of some of the best pubs (which happen to have great walks near by) to try:
Kings Head, Wye
There’s a lot to love about the King’s Head. The pub sits in the pretty historical village of Wye, there’s lots of lovely walking nearby in the North Downs and the owners, Mark and Scott, go to great lengths to make sure you are well looked after. What’s more Sunday Lunch is a bit of a speciality at this pub – with Beef, Lamb, Pork, Turkey (all quality and locally sourced where possible) or a Vegetarian option (it’s currently Roast Vegetable & Lentil Wellington) all on the menu. For those of you as indecisive (and greedy) as me there’s the ‘mixed roast’ option with cuts of Beef, Lamb, Pork all on one plate. If you’re making a weekend of it, the there’s some newly refurbed and tastefully decorated rooms to stumble towards upstairs.
The Poet, Matfield
Situated in the middle of picturesque Matfield and fairly off the beaten track this pub strikes the perfect marriage between traditional relaxed feel and serious food credentials. The Sunday Lunch Menu offers everything from roast rump of beef or shoulder of pork to pancetta wrapped chicken supréme or wild mushroom and nutmeg tart (3 courses cost a reasonable £25.95). Each dish has a suggested wine pairing – definitely one for the foodies.
The Curious Eatery, (at The Albion Inn), Boughton Monchelsea
This super cute, quirky converted pub serves up a cracking Sunday lunch and is situated near Leeds Castle, so you could start your trip there. On offer is chicken or rib of beef or shoulder of lamb, cooked over-night so super tender, and sold on one platter by weight, with Yorkshire puds, steamed veggies and crispy roast potatoes. Turn up early as it’s first come first served with the size options. Chef Nicole (also known as Pixie) has cooked for Richard Branson, amongst others and he recently posted on Facebook that he’s looking forward to coming and trying the place out. Even better – there’s a little shop upstairs in here too.
The Kentish Hare, Bidborough
Another gastropub with a great reputation, this one is run by brothers Chris and James Tanner and is only a stone’s throw from Tunbridge Wells. The Sunday menu always includes at least one roast offering, topped off with crispy crackling, apple sauce, vegetables, roast potatoes. A foodie friend ate here recently and raved about it.
The Granville, Canterbury
This popular pub was crowned the regional winner for south England in the Best British Roast Dinner competition. The interior is divided into a comfy sofa area, a bar area and an eating area, with a central fireplace. Outside, there is an enclosed garden with a patio area, not that you’ll be dining al fresco, but still worth a mention. Sunday roast menu changes weekly but there’s usually Beef, Pork, Lamb and Vegetarian options. And you get the works with it Sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, Roast potatoes and Cauliflower cheese (made with Kentish Blue Cheese). Mouth watering, much?
The Duke William, Ickham
Sunday Lunch is a bit of an institution at this Mark Sargeant pub (he’s Gordon Ramsay’s protégé) where they pride themsselves on serving up a smashing classic roast. On the menu is Roast Sirloin of Beef, Shoulder of Pork, Leg of Lamb or Rump of Beef. There’s even a Sunday Roast Platter which consists of a bit of everything so you can enjoy all three. Great Kid’s Menu too, including a child-sized roast on Sundays. If you can move after all that then there’s Howlett’s Wild Animal Park and Wingham Wildlife Park near by. Or, if you’re too stuffed to move, relax in front of the fire, perch at the bar or tuck yourself away in a cosy corner.
The Bottle House Inn, Penshurst
The historic Bottle House is a handsome sight from outside, and located in picturesque Penshurst, so it is surrounded by a number of standout attractions including Hever Castle, Chiddingstone Castle and Penshurst Place and Gardens. As well as the à la carte menu, on Sundays they usually cook three different kinds of roast with traditional trimmings as well as a decent Kids’ Menu and children’s roast option.
The Windmill Pub, Hollingbourne
Run by TV chef, Richard Phillips this pub has a superb roast menu – with a variety of meals on offer if you visit on a Sunday (the usual meats, pork beef, chicken and they can do a veggie option if you so wish). This pretty pub, which is just two minutes from the entrance of lovely Leeds Castle, is very good at sourcing local and seasonal fare. Better still, children under 7 years old eat free. Sorted.
The Duck Inn at Pett Bottom, Canterbury
The Duck Inn at Pett Bottom just outside Canterbury, is a traditional pub with a winning combination of cosy atmosphere, friendly staff and fabulous chef. I hear from a reliable source that the Roast pork belly, crackling, apple sauce & roasting juices is to die for. Mind you the Slow roast beef rib-eye (served pink), Yorkshire pudding & gravy doesn’t sound too shabby either. This pub has built up a great rep in the foodie world, added to that, James Bond novelist, Ian Flemming, wrote You Only Live Twice here in 1964 and it was the first pub in Kent to earn a Michelin star.
This trendy eatery and bar combo sits smack-bang in the middle of Tonbridge High Street in the white-walled riverside building that was once the Castle pub. Word has reached my shell-like that they cook up a quality Sunday roast (there’s always a choice of two meats on offer be it lamb, pork, beef or chicken) and you can enjoy this with a pudding (so 2 courses) for £18.95.
The George & Dragon, Speldhurst
The George & Dragon, in Speldhurst, is a handsome old 13th Century Inn – with flagstone floors, dramatic oak beams, and huge roaring log fireplaces (oh, and have I mentioned it won the Best Destination Pub in Kent category in the last Muddy Awards?). On Sundays it serves Prime Aged Rump of Beef or Slow Roasted Belly of Pork with all the trimmings or other winter-warming dishes like Speldhurst Sausage and Mash or Venison Beef Pie. One for those that like history and character.
The Three Chimneys, Biddenden
This charming, rural pub has lots of great walks nearby. As well as the usual menu there’s always at least one roast on offer on a Sunday, either beef, lamb or roast pork. Read the black board menu to see where the food is from – it’s almost always local and the quality is always impeccable.
The Chaser, Shipbourne
Sitting overlooking the village church this ex-country-house has high ceilings, walls covered in a pleasingly random selection of books and pictures and fat candles on tables – all in all the definitive English country pub. And it’s one that has won, or made the finals of ‘Sunday Lunch Pub of the Year’ more than once over the years. Makes for a great day out – start with a slap up Sunday meal then walk to nearby Ightham Mote (NT) – the Greensand Way walking route passes the front door.
Ye Olde Yew Tree Inn, Canterbury
The Inn was built in 1348 (yes, Mudlets, that makes it older than Mummy) and boasts bags of history – Queen Anne and the Archbishop of Canterbury are reputed to have stayed here, as well as Dick Turpin. Highly recommended by a friend who is a local, this pub oozes olde worlde charm and offers every kind of roast imaginable – chicken, lamb, sirloin of beef, pork belly, nut (veggie) and even seasonal game specials from time-to-time. There’s a smaller kids version too. The food is reasonably priced and there’s lovely walks around the nearby lakes to be had too (and a decent beer garden for when the weather warms up).
All the pubs listed are very popular, particularly on a Sunday, so it’s highly recommended you book in advance to avoid disappointment.