Peruvian steak and Yorkshire pudding with mint? How the British Sunday roast went global

<span>Peruvian restaurant Peru Perdu in Manchester serves 36-hour marinated picanha steak for Sunday roast. </span><span>Photograph: PR</span>
Peruvian restaurant Peru Perdu in Manchester serves 36-hour marinated picanha steak for Sunday roast. Photograph: PR

The ingredients of a traditional Sunday roast are often passionately debated: does a yorkshire pudding belong if the meat is not beef? Is cauliflower cheese an acceptable side?

Now a growing number of pubs and restaurants are adding even more unusual contenders into the mix, adapting the beloved meal with global additions.

At Peru Perdu in Manchester, the Sunday roast features a choice of two Peruvian-style meats: a 36-hour marinated picanha steak, or chicken with tiger’s milk (a citrus-based marinade commonly used to cure ceviche), alongside roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, honey-glazed carrots and parsnips.

A mile north, Pull Up, a Caribbean spot that has been open for more than 25 years, offers the “reggae roast” on Sundays, the restaurant’s “Anglo-Caribbean take”, which flies out of the kitchen. It features roast jerk chicken with carrots, plantains, rice and peas, mac and cheese and a spicy gravy. A vegan “Rasta roast” is also available.

The Tamil Crown, a pub in Angel, north London, which opened late last year, normally offers dishes such as beef masala uttapam or Chettinad lamb curry, but Sundays are “roast only”. Alongside masala lamb shank or masala roast chicken come potato and pea masala, coconut stir-fried cabbage, roti and gravy.

The Gladstone Arms in Borough, south London, has been serving anglo-Indian roasts since 2018. When Megha Khanna took over the pub, she immediately switched the menu from traditional pies to Indian fusion, “as that’s what the locals wanted”, she said. It started with small plates, but a year later, Sunday roasts were introduced. They were “an instant success with everyone”, she said.

Khanna, who was born in India and grew up in Zambia, was partly inspired by the tradition of Desi pubs run by Indian landlords. “We want to continue the Desi pub tradition. In addition to the food, we offer Indian drinks and have special cultural parties for occasions like Diwali. I’m also thrilled to possibly be the only Indian landlady to run a pub.”

Related: The 20 best Sunday lunch and dinner recipes

At the Gladstone, roasts including butter chicken supreme or vegan soya keema pie are served with bombay potatoes, yorkshire puddings and masala vegetables. There was little fear of a backlash, said Khanna: “We usually get very packed on Sunday afternoons. British people love a curry, so we knew this idea would be successful.”

In Southbourne, a seaside suburb of Bournemouth, an Anglo-Moroccan couple run Makla, which they opened after successfully operating street food stalls. The menu features meze such as hummus and dolma, as well as chicken and lamb tagines, but on Sundays, most people opt for the roast.

The meats are slow cooked, whether lamb shank or chicken marinated overnight in preserved lemon, and sides are inspired by tradition but given a “touch of Moroccan flair”, said general manager Nuno Santos. That means mint and parsley in the yorkshire batter, carrots roasted in olive oil and Moroccan spices, cabbage marinated in harissa, a hot chilli paste, and a dash of cinnamon in the gravy.

The roasts were instantly “super successful”, Santos said, and now there are regularly more than 100 diners on Sundays. “There wasn’t anything like us [in the area], doing Sunday roast with a twist, for an affordable price,” he said. “The roast is this British tradition when you bring the family together. That’s what we aimed for when we launched. To bring families together, but with an exotic flair.”

Back in London, Brazil-born Aline Quina opened Filó last year. The former MasterChef contestant, who once worked at the former Gordon Ramsay restaurant Aubergine in Chelsea, introduced a traditional British Sunday roast, “but everyone said: ‘I want Brazilian’”, she said. “I was trying to remember a Sunday in Brazil, and realised we do roast chicken, roast picanha, slow-cooked beef ribs.”

Now those meats, as well as pork belly or a vegan wellington, are served. The sides are firmly Brazilian: rice, beans, coleslaw and farofa, a cassava flour dish.

Chefs born outside the UK have long shaped British cuisine, from running fish and chip shops to greasy spoons, where they have often introduced their own dishes, too. Their experiments with the traditional Sunday roasts are now proving another hit.

“They get everything a British roast has,” said Santos, “but with a little bit more flavour.”