On a chilly Sunday in November, there’s nothing quite like sitting down in a cosy pub with friends and family and treating yourself to a delicious roast dinner. I love to cook, but I’m happy to take a back seat and let someone else do all the work for a change, especially when it’s in the delightful setting of London’s St Pancras Station. Mr E and I travelled up to London last weekend to have a look at all the Christmas lights (still not sure about the Tiffany tree in the station – the conversation on Instagram confirmed that I’m not alone) and try out the lunch offering at The Betjeman Arms – the pub actually located inside the station – surely the most perfect location for long overdue meet-ups and romantic reunions. I’m pretty sure we might have found the best Sunday roast in London.
Walking inside, the bar area was lively and packed with people chatting and laughing over their drinks (there’s no nicer sound, is there?). We were escorted through to a lovely dining area and offered a Bloody Mary from the trolley, hand made at the table to your exact specifications. I mean, it would have been rude not to. I opted for a classic, and Mr E opted for an extra hit of horseradish (which I think looked pretty grim swirling around in his glass, but he declared it delicious).
The menu isn’t huge (which I like – it means they concentrate on doing fewer things properly) but there are some proper pub classics on there if you’re not opting for the roast dinner: fish and chips, a decent sounding burger, and a Ploughmans lunch, which the people next to us were tucking into and which looked incredible. Still, we were set on having a roast dinner, and, seeing as we both chose the Aberdeen Angus beef striploin, the lovely Dan suggested we go for the côte de boeuf sharing roast, which as it turned out was a pretty solid recommendation (The Betjeman also offers a whole lemon and thyme roast chicken as a sharing option, which also looked amazing on another table). Mr E started with sprats – I’m not a fan but he said they were outstanding – while I had a look at the wine list. You know I can’t resist a Pinot Noir, and my choice of the La La Land Aussie Pinot turned out to be a cracker – silky smooth, with a ton of strawberry and even a little festive cranberry. Delicious.
When our sharing roast arrived, we were a little taken aback (well you would be too if someone plonked 26oz of prime rib in front of you). The roasts are all served with goose fat potatoes, roasted butternut squash, savoy cabbage, Yorkshire puddings, roasted shallots and lashings of gravy. We even had pigs in blankets. The côte de boeuf was beautifully cooked, perfectly tender and full of flavour. The roasties were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside and the Yorkshires were home made and heavenly, and the sweet, roasted butternut and shallots the perfect foil to the rich, savoury beef.
Honestly, we couldn’t fault it, and with Mr Creosote-type groaning stomachs, when Dan appeared pushing the crumble trolley (#letsgetreadytocrumble!), we really weren’t sure we could manage it. Still, we forged ahead and weren’t disappointed with the most delicious sweet/sharp apple topped with buttery, crumbly goodness, drowned in a ton of custard. Oh my goodness me.
After we got home, we tried desperately (for balance) to think of something – anything – that we would have changed, but honestly there was nothing (and I would tell you). The service is wonderful: sweet, friendly, unobtrusive – that nice mix of knowledgeable but not know-it-all – the setting is wonderful, and the food divine. We’ll definitely be back, as I’ve got my eye on the fish and chips, and the boys now want in with the Sunday roast too. But don’t tell anyone or we’ll never be able to get a table.
Thanks so much to The Betjeman for inviting us.