Living in Bristol, the foodie capital of the south west of England, there’s one question that is bound to cause plentiful heated debates and fist-pounding around the pub table. The legendary Sunday Roast lunch is a classic English meal that many Brits love and miss when they go travelling because it’s wholesome, heart-warming and bloody delicious.
There are a huge range of variations of the lunch and with today’s glorious inventive chefs, the roast has undergone a few makeovers. But finding the perfect classic roast lunch is quite the mission in Bristol; a mission that I gladly take on.
I’ve been to quite a few places in Bristol, especially for family affairs as our dad is a big fan of pub-grub, so I’ve got to sample quite a few roast lunches (sorry waist line).
I’d seen a few snaps of some delicious looking dishes from The Old Bookshop in Bedminster, Bristol, so I rallied the troops and booked a table for a Sunday feast.
Lily(Lily Doughball), Lyzi (Being Little) and Hayley (Ceriselle) met me on the sunny street of North Street, south of the centre, and I finally got a look into The Old Bookshop’s revamped interior. They had expanded into the neighboring shop and set up a small outside smoking area late 2014, and I couldn’t even get a look-in when they had their launch night! It’s a hot dang popular place.
It wasn’t too busy in there as there was something going on with the football (yawn), but usually they are rammed so you need to book a table if you want to taste their roast!
The interior is incredible. We’re talking stuffed birds, stag heads, typewriters attached to the ceiling, an installation of various trumpets and a deconstructed piano around the bar. The incredible attention to detail will have you craning your neck to look around, before remembering that you have a menu that you should really be looking at instead.
As it was Sunday, they had their Sunday lunch menu which had four different meats that you could choose from and two veggie options. I drank the most delicious Bloody Mary (oh the essence of cucumbers!) as I umm-ed and ahhh-ed over what to go with… But we ended up choosing one of the meat selections each. You know, to get a well rounded taste of what they had to offer!
The pork that Hayley ordered looked incredible, with a delightful scattering of crackling placed on top, but I went for corn-fed chicken with stuffing. A decision that spurred me to pen this post. The meat was succulent and moist with a generous douse of gravy. The small ball of stuffing was a brilliant compliment, and the veggies were perfectly cooked. When a roast includes parsnips, I’m all over it.
The flavours and the seasoning was so on point, but I still appreciated that they served us up every sauce they had available. I am a condiment slut. Give me more horseradish.
After the silenced gorging, we came to and were immediately on the cusp of a food coma, but when you can get two courses for £14.95 then you can hardly say no to dessert!
I went for the chocolate mousse with chantilly cream, hoping that it wouldn’t be too heavy so I wouldn’t pass out. But sweet Jesus, it was pretty bloody generous and I have no regrets for scraping the dish clean!!! Less of a mousse, more of a thick ganache, it was thick and chocolaty. Exactly what I love in a dessert.
Hayley went for an apple crumble; nice and traditional! The arrangement and presentation was flawless – I was in love with the vintage wares!
Lily and I retired to the outdoor area after the meal to try and breathe with a gin in hand, and enjoyed the dappled sun besides the outdoor log fire. It was heavily boat themed out there, with boat thrones to sit on and propellers hanging from the wall. So unique and incredibly out together by the owner, Ben, and his dad.
When a place serves up flawless food with great cocktails and friendly staff, it’s pretty much got me for life. Although it’s all the way south of the river, far from my northern nook, it is definitely a place that deserves the journey.
Find out more about The Old Bookshop here and their gigs and events that are going on. You won’t regret a visit!
In conclusion: best roast lunch in Bristol (according to Sophie).
all photographs by Sophie Saint