Where to find the best Sunday roast in Bristol
Little compares to the joy of a Sunday roast, especially when the days get shorter, the weather wetter and you find yourself increasingly reluctant to use those potatoes for anything. You want to treat yourself, you deserve to treat yourself and you can, just visit one of these five, fabulous establishments to get your share of the best Sunday roasts in Bristol.
The Old Market Assembly
25 West Street, Bristol, BS2 0DF
There’s so much to love about The Old Market Assembly & The Wardrobe Theatre, starting with their ethos of sustainability. With a focus on the planet as much as the people and profit, the team, who are also behind No.1 Harbourside and The Canteen, are proud members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and have a solid waste no food policy.
And speaking of food, theirs is delicious. On a weekday, you might enjoy one of their stone-baked pizzas with a seasonal side like an autumnal slaw of celeriac, red cabbage, pickled red onions, toasted seeds and spiced apple syrup, and if that doesn’t work with you, the bakery’s sure to churn out a sweet or savory snack you can enjoy with a great cup of coffee. The lunch options change regularly according to what’s available and could be anything from mouth-watering Welsh rarebit with mushrooms, Winchester cheese, rhubarb and hazelnuts to warming vegetable Korma of butternut squash, carrot, chickpea & kale and everything in between.
Come Sundays, though, and they get straight down to business with a great, seasonal roast menu that could contain succulent cuts of rump and pork belly from locally sourced farms or vegetarian options like goat’s cheese strudel or nut roast. All served with crispy roast potatoes, savoy cabbage, leeks, red and white cabbage, rainbow chard, kale, yorkshire pudding and jus, they’re not skimping on the trimmings either, especially when you consider that the roasts come in under £15.
In addition to great food, they also have entertainment in the form of live music and cabaret that can be enjoyed from the mezzanine or when you’re lounging at the bar. A bar, by the way, stocked with local beers, sustainable wines and a great mix of spirits.
That spirit of entertainment is perhaps carried over from the building’s time as a club, but it’s its history as a bank that’s more on show now as The Old Market Assembly team has kept the decor very restrained, allowing the architecture to speak for itself. The ornate dome ceiling creates drama, especially at night, whilst the large front windows invite in natural light to play across big bold pillars and warm wooden accents during the day.
There’s also a veranda upstairs that’s perfect for watching the sun set over Bristol during the warmer months. It’s hard to imagine anything better than good food, cocktails and a great atmosphere when you’re admiring the city from the rooftop, so the friendly service is an absolute bonus. Wanting to create safe spaces for everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community, The Old Market Assembly was one of the first venues in Bristol to sign up for the ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign.
Being completely independent has allowed the team at The Old Market Assembly to really do great food with a kind mentality and ethos, which makes this one of the best places in Bristol to kick back in and given the relaxed atmosphere, it really isn’t hard to do just that.
The Bank Tavern
8 John Street, Bristol, BS1 2HR
You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t looking for the best Sunday roasts in Bristol and The Bank Tavern was crowned the home of Bristol’s best Sunday Lunch at the Observer Food Monthly Awards in 2019, the Bristol Good Food Awards in 2018 and the Bristol Life Best Foodie Pub award 2020. A quick glance at the menu lets you in on why that is; succulent topside of beef or delectably slow cooked pork belly with crackling for the meat eaters and a moreish red lentil and veg loaf for vegetarians are all served with yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, parsnip puree, creamy leeks, seasonal veg and gravy all cooked to perfection.
In addition to their popular roasts, The Bank Tavern also does stunning lunch menus. Like many other eateries around Bristol, they cook seasonally, allowing the ingredients to really sing. Sourcing locally where they can, they’ve created refined plates of food like tartare, leek ash emulsion, spring onion and wild garlic, as well as cauliflower, burnt apple, raisin and oak smoked wedmore in the past and currently have a range of delicious sandwiches, burgers, curries, hotpots and specials available.
The food isn’t the only beautiful thing here though. With a sort of art-deco feel to the window trim outside, the building, that has stood since the 1800’s and survived two world wars, is tucked just far enough away to feel separate from the business of the city centre. The picnic benches and hanging flower baskets outside sets the tone for what to expect inside, which is a completely relaxed atmosphere with a humble bar in the same dark wood paneling seen throughout.
A very prominent part of the decor that creates even more of a homely feel, is owner Sam Gregory’s Irish Staffie, Charlie who is often seen snoozing away on plush benches around the pub. The fact that they’re dog friendly is another big tick, but it’s Sam’s community-focused approach that’s the real winner. Having taken charge in 2008, he’s consistently tried to keep prices down in an effort to get people good food without having to spend a lot of money.
Serving classics and more contemporary recipes in a way that looks great and tastes even better with a warm sense of pub hospitality earns The Bank Tavern a spot on places you have to try.
The Old Bookshop
65 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1ES
Another dog friendly option with great Sunday roasts, is The Old Bookshop on North Street and it makes a real statement with its decor. With everything from film reels and vintage camera equipment to typewriters, teapots and an impressive light fixture repurposed from old brass instruments, this eclectic cafe is cool and so is it’s owner.
Starting in 2011, Ben Gatt wanted to create a space that wasn’t just known for its food, drink or events, but all three and so he went about turning his parents’ old vintage shop into an establishment that would do just that. Nine years and one Bristol Life Awards for Best Bar in 2017 later, The Old Bookshop still operates with that same ethos of individuality.
With a tapas style menu and sharing boards inclusive of mussels, scotch eggs, bresaola, olives and more, The Old Bookshop also utilizes seasonal, locally sourced produce to create everything from Eggs Benedict for breakfast to truffle mac n cheese with parmesan crust for dinner and their pizzas are gorgeous for lunch.
As if they weren’t serving a cracking menu already, the Sunday roasts are inclusive of things like rare roasted sirloin with beef shin ragu, cider braised pork belly with apple & ginger compote and crackling and for veggies and vegans, a wild mushroom and lentil wellington with beetroot jus and they all come served with cauliflower cheese, seasonal veg, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and gravy.
Called “one of the coolest, buzziest bars in Bristol” by reviewer, Mark Taylor, it doesn’t take long to see why. Everything from the typeface of the logo and mural on the outside of the building, to the atmosphere screams hip and that’s before discovering the fantastic boatyard garden. Like everything else in The Old Bookshop, the team have breathed life into the old by repurposing the hulls of forgotten rowing boats for seating. Going a step beyond, they’ve also used ropes, ladders and clever woodworking to create something that really looked like a ship – great for atmosphere and Instagram.
With an array of real ales and locally sourced ciders, roasts that are to die for and a quirky setting that’s a bit different from the run of the mill boozers, Mark Taylor has really created something special with The Old Bookshop. Make sure to come by when they have a band in to really experience it in all its glory.
18-21 Regent Street, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4HG
Bar 44 is home to another bank conversion and the team here have quite cleverly turned two of the old vaults into private dining rooms, optimising the space to create a very exclusive feel. However, given the interior of the main dining hall, you don’t have to head down to the vaults for luxury. Everything from the wood paneling to the plush upholstery and marbled tables is chic, but without creating a stuffy atmosphere. The jamón hanging on the walls creates the illusion of a spanish butchers shop, which really sets the tone for this establishment.
Started by Tom and Owen Morgan in 2002, Bar 44 has grown exponentially over the last sixteen years. With four locations, their focus has always been on using impeccably sourced ingredients like Galician beef, San Lucar prawns and Carmona Olives to create dishes inspired by their travels around Spain. Stoked by their passion for Spanish food, the pair have even infused their Sunday roasts with the flavour of The Bull Skin.
Presented as a sharing menu for two, the roast is a beautiful selection of 35-day dry aged picanha of Hereford beef or pedro ximénez ruroc pork cheeks, white beans and chard with trimmings of chorizo yorkshire pudding, jamón fat roast bravas potatoes with rosemary, garlic, and thyme, manchego cauliflower cheese, hispi cabbage and jamón butter, roast carrots with honey and thyme and a red wine sauce.
Speaking of wine, there’s a number of beautiful options, and sherries, to pair with the menu, as well as a selection of cocktails, gin and beer if that’s more your thing. The pear and ginger spritz looks particularly indulgent with half a Williams pear sitting pretty in a glass surrounded by Monkey shoulder, Aperol, ginger, cava and citrus.
On a regular day, you’ll find a menu filled with both Spanish tapas classics like jamón ibérico croquetas or triple cooked patatas bravas and seasonal plates currently including tuna tartare, salmorejo, avocado and salt aged flat iron steak, mojo verde all plated with a touch of refinement.
With an insatiable passion for creating spanish food with their own twist, Bar 44 has successfully created a little slice of the country they’re so madly in love with in their own backyard. Come down to Clifton Village and step through those inviting arches and into Spain for great food and drinks and a warm atmosphere.
98 Mina Road, Bristol, BS2 9xW
The Cauldron can quite easily become that local you spend all your time at. With food cooked over the coals and served with care, their brunch looks just as appetising as their lunch, their dinners just as spectacular as their almost award-winning roasts. Having just missed out to The Bank Tavern, The Cauldron came second at the Observer Food Monthly Awards for the Best Sunday Lunch in 2019, a worthy opponent.
Their Sunday menu has an option for every taste and includes aged beef, crackling pork, lamb, or a combination of the three. They also take care of their herbivorous friends with a vegetarian dish of fruit and nut loaf and a vegan plate of red lentil, cumin and paprika bake, all served with smoked beef dripping or coal oil roast potatoes, cumin roast carrots, jerusalem artichoke, braised red cabbage, smoked butter greens, turnip, beetroot, root vegetable mash, yorkshire pudding, four-day cauldron-brewed mixed meat gravy or vegan mushroom gravy.
Other than cooking everything in cast iron cauldrons over a fire, what makes this restaurant interesting is the interior. With bold murals covering the walls, the bohemian vibe of St Werburgh comes alive here. The chairs are mismatched and the tables rustic, which puts the contemporary cooking produced in this kitchen in stark contrast to the vintage feel of your surroundings. It’s also on the smaller side, which really creates quite an intimate setting with a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
The food here is ethically and locally sourced, with some ingredients grown in their very own allotment, and the menu often includes wacky items such as blueberry and bacon eggy bread with lavender and thyme honey that ends up feeling magical.
Community focused, the team also stock local beers such as Wiper & True and speciality coffee from the Extract Coffee Roasters just around the corner.
Critically praised by The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin, The Cauldron not only do one of the best Sunday roasts in Bristol, but they’re also dog friendly, committed to producing great food with a quirky twist and respecting every ingredient they use in the pursuit of excellence.
Enjoy your Sunday lunch!
There you have it, five of the best spots for a Sunday lunch in and surrounding Bristol, but please check ahead to see what guidelines each of these establishments have in place. A lot of them are still running deliveries or takeaways even if they’re not allowing patrons to dine in, so you can still enjoy quality food from the comfort and safety of your own home.