During my days living lovely London for over six years, going to the pub on Sunday to enjoy a roast & a pint (or a pimms in summer) was a regular ritual.. There’s nothing like having a juicy roast, yorkshire pudding, with some potatoes & veggies and gravy on top, and washing it down with a few drinks with friends on (usually) a grey rainy Sunday afternoon.. (also a great way to recover from a hangover from the crazy Sat nights out in London! ;)
Since moving to the sunnier shores of Sydney over 18 months ago I have been on a search for a good Sunday roast. After trying the roasts in many popular Sydney gastro pubs I unfortunately failed to find a good one… it seems most Sydney pub/ gastro pub owners don’t realise a roast is not complete without a yorkshire pudding (otherwise it’s not really a proper Sunday roast!). When my friend suggested we check out the roast at the East Village Hotel in Darlinghurst, I decided to give it a go, without many high-hopes or expectations.
I was planning a big catch up with friends, so called ahead a few days before to book a table for 9. The events manager, Sara, was very accomodating, and seemed almost surprised I was booking a party of so many people.
After having a whole summer of grey rainy weekends, this was a glorious Sunday morning. The East Village hotel is conveniently located just two blocks away from my house, just a few streets away from bustling Oxford St. As you approach the East Village Hotel, the entrance is not very inviting (hardly any signage at the front), it definitely looks like an old mans pub from the outside. As you walk in, you enter a very welcoming, charming little pub that has been lovingly restored to its original 1920s look. The pub reminds me very much of the lovely local pubs we frequented in Hampstead in London. Rustic wooden floors and wooden chairs and stools line the bar.
The pub is surprisingly empty when we first arrive, apart from my group of friends, and slowly the place starts filling up by around 2pm. We dined in the downstairs bar (I believe the upstairs dining room is closed on Sundays). Although the regular menu had a few tempting dishes, a good selection of hearty grills and some tasty looking mains (such as the Roasted Bungalow Pork Belly and the Suffolk Lamb Rump), when it came to ordering our meals, everyone at the table had decided to try the Sunday special, Roast Beef with yorkshire pudding & roasted vegetables. “Nine Sunday roasts, please!” It seems everyone dining at the pub that afternoon was having the roast, as I did not see any other plates come out of the kitchen.
When the roasts arrived at our table, they were beautifully presented on a wooden board, hearty slices of roast beef, served with a decent sized yorkshire pudding on the side, roasted carrots, green beans and perfectly golden roasted potatoes. Our very friendly Irish waiter also provided us with sides of home made mustard and horseradish. It looked like a feast fit for a king!
Slicing into the roast beef, it was roasted to perfection, lovely succulent beef slices – done just right (more on the medium rare side, just how I like it). I did notice as I tucked in that there was one thing missing.. I needed more gravy! I asked our waiter for some gravy and he kindly brought a little jar (he did say he had to sneak it behind the chef’s back – but how can you have a roast without your own serving of gravy?) Yup, that did it! Perfection – the yorkshire pudding had just the right balance of fluffy pastry, the roast was juicy and thick tender slices of meat, and the vegetables were perfectly roasted. The home made mustard and horseradish also gave the right ‘bite’ to accompany the beef. I was so full, 2/3 of the way through the meal, but I just couldn’t stop chomping.. it had taken so long and finally I was enjoying a perfect roast – so I managed to clean up the plate. That was a thoroughly enjoyable roast – and all my 8 companions agreed!
Well, verdict is out – will definitely be going back! Sunday roasts on the menu every third Sunday of the month.
A little bit of history…
The East Village has been trading on the site since 1918, and was originally called the Tradesman’s Arms Hotel. For those of you who are familiar with Sydney’s shady underground history (or watched the recent, ‘underbelly razor TV series’), this pub was Tilly Devine and Nellie Cameron’s local, apparently Tilly Devine’s main brothel being located across the road.