The City’s Best Sunday Roasts

Allie Abgarian

January Sundays: to be spent in the pub, with ample supplies of roast goodies. As soon as all festivities have ended, we Brits seem to appreciate the tradition of hearty cooking at the local pub even more than usual.

But, instead of cramming into your local pub in the outskirts of London, be adventurous and try one of our favourite City spots for your weekly Sunday roast fix. There’ll be plenty of Yorkshire puddings and the gravy is heavenly.

These are the City’s best Sunday roasts!

Possibly the best roast in the City...

1. The crowd favourite, Barbican
One of the City’s finest pubs with an ever finer menu, The Jugged Hare embodies everything a Sunday should be. Fantastic roasts, a warm, homely ambience and a bloody excellent wine menu. If meat is your game – or game is your meat – you’ll love it here; the venue is particularly known for its seasonal offering. You’re spoilt for choice: Suffolk free-range chicken stuffed with sage and served with bread sauce, roast leg of Herdwick Mutton and mint jelly, or 45-day-aged Longhorn rump with horseradish cream. All the trimmings are included, too. Be sure to ask for an extra serving of the duck fat roast potatoes!

Brunch options, for that one friend we all have who doesn't fancy a roast...

2. The posh alternative, St Paul’s
Madison London
may not seem like the obvious choice for a roast. If you can overcome your hesitation at spending your Sunday in a modern, luxurious rooftop restaurant, as opposed to a classic English pub, you’ll be plentily rewarded. For the atmosphere is relaxed, with an excellent live jazz band as the perfect accompaniment to the vast menu. Choose between the USDA steak – in other words, a particularly tasty cut of meat – or the corn-fed chicken. Is there someone in your company who doesn’t fancy a roast? No bother, Madison’s best feature is its inclusive menu; there’s a plethora of brunch, salad and hot options. May we suggest a potted crab and crayfish starter for your crabby roast comrade?Toasty Roasties at the Chop House

3. The veggie-friendly venue, Clerkenwell
No, we’ve not gone mad but we understand why you might think that; surely a place named The Quality Chop House couldn’t possibly offer a nice vegetarian option? Well, au contraire mon ami, for this Victorian gem has something much better than your average, re-heated nut roast. How does pine roasted celeriac with a side of roast potatoes, sprouts, chestnut honey roasted parsnips, cauliflower, brown butter and dried onion with home-made Yorkshire puddings sound? Yeah, we thought so. And yes, the meat – Yarty pork shoulder and Galloway, sirloin and brisket – is fabulous, too.

4. The hipster one, Shoreditch
Much as we try, we can’t resist. The Princess of Shoreditch will be filled with bearded gentlemen and vintage-clad ladies, but the hearty food will calm any qualms you might have about visiting hipsterville. Out of our list, this is also the venue with the most extensive roast menu: from its Roast Duke of Berkshire pork and corn fed chicken to Aberdeen Angus beef and slow-roasted leg of Daphne’s lamb. Meat-lovers should try the mixed roast meal, featuring venison, beef and pork – all on one plate! 

City of London Walking Tour with a Cuppa

Cecilia Rydberg

In our article on Quirky Facts about London’s Square Mile, we already stepped briefly on a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it narrow pathway near Monument and Bank station called Exchange Alley. It was in this alley where, over 330 years ago, two coffee-houses – Garraway’s and Jonathan’s – sat, which are believed to be the progenitor of what we now know as London Stock Exchange. This and various other interesting facts about the courtyards, alleys, cracks and crevices of this beautiful London area is tapped into with Matthew Green’s City of London walking tour, and we love it.

The London Coffee-House Tour: what to expect?
This tour takes place all within the Square Mile, beginning in, as it should, yet another alley called St Michael’s Alley. Dr Green whisks his troupe around Bank and Monument which, unlike on weekdays where you’d be hard-pressed to ever find yourself alone in any of the courtyards or backstreets, can be utterly peaceful on weekends.

On the tour we learn that back in the day, public coffee-houses were where you heard the news of the day,  business was conducted, ideas were born and love matches made. The tour is informative, funny and engaging and made even more so by the well-timed appearance of actors around several turns and bends of the City. Dr Green offers you sludge reminiscent to coffee in the days of yore, but the tour is rounded off in a very modern hipster café because, let us be honest, they know how to make a damn fine cuppa.

Matthew Green tours

Dr Matthew Green is a historian, author and tour guide and pieces together wonderful tours that he rolls out every so often. Others that have happened within the Square Mile are the Ghosts of Fleet Street tour which gives an immersive history of what was the “nerve-centre of the world’s biggest and most influential mass media” and the London Chocolate-House Tour, but this time in fancy Mayfair. In a city where you can hop on to the Necrobus for a tour of London’s most haunted sites and ghosts, there is no end to the imaginative ways of exploring the Big Smoke.

Not a fan of walking in a group? No problem: Green has created some epic audio tours as well. Check out the below video for the Coffeehouse Audio Tour which, by the way, can also be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.

The Fascinating History of Postman’s Park

Max Horberry

Tucked away near St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Postman’s Park is one of the most interesting parks in the City of London, not least because of its strange and fascinating history …

The park began its life with death. It was a churchyard and burial site, for St. Botolph’s Aldersgate church. Cholera outbreaks in the 1830s and 1840s meant that the burial site became overcrowded, so much so that bodies were left on the ground and covered in soil instead of buried in the ground. Indeed, this explains the park’s elevation – but try not to think of that next time you climb the small steps into the park.

Thankfully the Burials Act was passed in 1851, preventing the emergence of new burials in built-up areas of London. In 1858 (a disconcertingly short period of time afterwards) Postman’s Park was opened to the public.

In 1818, the surrounding site was cleared for the General Post Office’s new Headquarters and Sorting Office. The park turned out to be an ideal lunchtime spot for the workers, giving it the name we’re still familiar with today.

In 1887, the painter and philanthropist George Frederic Watts wanted to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee by commemorating the “heroic men and women” who died trying to save the lives of others. This idea would become the Doulton tablets, the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice.

”The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that should not be lost sight of,” Watts wrote in Another Jubilee Suggestion. “It must surely be a matter of regret when names worthy to be remembered and stories stimulating and instructive are allowed to be forgotten.”

He specifically drew attention to the case of Alice Ayres, a servant who instead of jumping to safety from a burning house, threw a mattress out the window and went back three times to save her employer’s children by throwing them out of the window onto the mattress. Overwhelmed by the fumes she fell out the window and died.

It is in wandering through this quiet park and reading the memorials that the park finds its unique and poetic quality. The park’s large flower beds and wide grass areas with thin curving paths make it an intimate yet open place. The addition of the memorials makes the experience humbling and contemplative. The memorials are mostly about death in fire, drowning and train accidents. The victims are young and are often killed saving children. It is strange to think of Elizabeth Boxall who died at the age of 17 while saving a child from a runaway horse in 1888. Or John Cambridge, a clerk in the London City Council, who died at 23 years old “saving the life of a stranger and a foreigner” from drowning in 1901.

There is now an app, The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park, which has more information on each of the people commemorated in the memorial. Next time you need a pause from the rush of the City or you’re taking your lunch break outside, walk through the park and consider its uniqueness and bizarre history.

5 Quirky Facts about the Square Mile

Cecilia Rydberg

Everyone loves the kind of person who always contributes a piece of trivia fact about this, that or the other every so often, and you know what? The historic City of London is a goldmine for anyone looking to impress their friends with these scrumptious nuggets of knowledge. Let’s have a look at some of the Square Mile’s fun and quirky facts that we have picked up along the way.Firstly, just for the sake of clarification the Square Mile is what most Londoners refer to as The City and comprises an area of 1.05-1.12 sq mi, stretching west from just around the Royal Courts of Justice to east and the middle of Aldgate High Street, south to the Thames and north to just below Old Street.

1 – The Square Mile is home to just around 7,400 residents but during the weekday the number booms to over 400,000 workers giving ample opportunity for the curious to sleuth out the hidden histories of the City.
Gherkin city of london
2 – Now, everyone knows the Gherkin (which you may or may not be familiar with by some less proper name) and its dominant role in London’s skyline. What you perhaps may not know, however, is that during preparations of its construction in 1995, an archaeological investigation and subsequent excavation of the building’s location lead to the finding of the bones of a Roman girl from way back when. And that is truly all the way back when, to around 1,600 years ago, somewhere in the range of 350 – 400 AD when London was the Roman city of Londinium. The remains of the girl were held at the Museum of London during the construction of the Gherkin, only to be returned to its original location 12 years later. In honour of this special event, a service was held at Aldgate’s Botolph Church and accompanying music reminiscent of the times. You can visit her memorial site alongside the Gherkin on Bury Street.

Roman girl memorial gherkin

3 – In Exchange Alley, another nook of the City, you can find a plaque commemorating Jonathan’s Coffeehouse, one of two coffeehouses (Garraway’s is the other) in the same alley which saw the birth of many institutions as they both became hubs of the trading of shares and commodities, rather an early-day London Stock Exchange. You can learn more about this and other historical nuggets on Matthew Green’s lively and interesting Coffeehouse Audio Tour.

4 – Everyone loves a secret passageway, it has to be said. Fleet Street – which extends along a good stretch of the Square Mile – provides, as many nooks and crannies of London admittedly do, narrow courtyards and pathways into the never-ending histories of London. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a pub, known to many but also pleasantly tucked away on Wine Office Court just off Fleet Street. What you might not know is that the now subterranean River Fleet still runs, in fact, all the way from Hampstead Heath, under the cellars of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and out into the Thames at Blackfriars.

Welcome 2018 in City Style: New Year’s Eve in London

Nicole R.Nolan

The year is inching to its close, replete with seasonal celebrations steeped in overindulgence – but that doesn’t mean one last hurrah can’t be undertaken before 2018 rolls round to force us to start again with a more serious air of self-bettering resolutions. Bourne & Hollingworth’s fantastic-sounding NYE party might be sold out, but New Year’s Eve in London has many, many other options on offer. Here are the best choices in the City. Be quick though, or tickets for these events, also, will be gone. Given the essential nature of NYE parties, all events are over 18s only.

great gatsby nye at sky garden

Sky Garden – A Great Gatsby Night with a View

Little can be more luxurious than a party based on Fitzgerald’s famous novel. Channel your inner Daisy Buchanan (or Jay Gatsby) and head to the Sky Garden Walk for some end of year fun, 1920’s style, with suitably retro music (in addition to more current tunes). Few views can compete on the night when the city’s skyline is illuminated by London’s world-famous fireworks. Tickets start at £95, with dining packages from Fenchurch restaurant (for those who like a touch of decadence to their meals) and Darwin brasserie (for those who want something heartier) available in addition to drinking and dancing options in the Sky Pod. Be sure to keep warm in your cocktail dress or suit with a glamorous touch of velvet or faux fur.

alpino ski lodge gherkin

The Gherkin – An Alpine Ski Lodge Experience

If you really want to go all out when celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of the next, then The Gherkin’s NYE party is not to be missed. Your night will begin with Perrier-Jouët champagne and canapes, followed by a deliciously decadent five-course meal including wine and water, coffee and gold leaf chocolate cake and champagne macaroons, and finished with live Jazz music playing into 2018. This is top end partying in one of London’s most iconic buildings. Tickets start at £320, with five sittings to choose from.

nye at voltaire bar

Voltaire – A V Chic End of Year Party

For those whose budgets won’t stretch to the heady heights of the above, despair not, as Voltaire Cocktail Bar is offering a super stylish evening from £15 for individual tickets (and even free entry if you arrive between 5 pm and 9 pm). Promising to be the “perfect party spot in the City”, tunes will range from commercial Hip Hop and RnB to House music. There’s also the opportunity to take the fun outside and watch the fireworks at midnight from Blackfriars Bridge. Please be aware that the gourmet sharing platters need to be ordered in advance; so too any historic vault booking (which starts at £200 for two guests).