On the eve of Selaks' NZ Roast Day, Danielle Wright takes a look at the traditional and modern roast options. Vegetarians: look away now.
Traditionally, in Britain, a large joint of meat was roasted on a Sunday and then leftovers used for stews, pies and cold cuts during the week. Not everyone had a fireplace large enough so meat was dropped off at the baker to be cooked in the cooling bread ovens - Sunday being the day bread was not baked.
These days, you can eat a roast dinner any day of the week but weekend roasts with the family that last for hours are about more than just a nice piece of meat. If you don't mind missing out on Yorkshire puddings, you can put together a Sunday roast from modern menus and concentrate on finding the right atmosphere. Here are some options:
A roast dinner is the perfect end to a drive in the country. For an authentic roast, seek out British or Irish country pubs, or try something a little different:
The Riverhead Tavern
Cnr Queen and York St, Riverhead. Ph (09) 412 8902.
Although the tavern doesn't do traditional roast dinners with all the trimmings, it does have a popular Sunday Roast Pizza, which includes Kiwi lamb, pumpkin, kumara, potato, parsnip and mint sauce. Sit under an historic oak tree or outside table with views of the tidal upper Waitemata river. Catch the Riverhead ferry or stay for the Blues in the Boat House event each Sunday at 2pm throughout August.
49 Main Rd, Bombay. Ph (09) 236 1030.
After a drive through uninspiring Bombay homes and past the oddly named Sudden Impact Palm Trees, you'll come across a quaint olive estate and restaurant with roast options including a whole beef rib joint smoke-roasted and served to the table (request at time of booking) or hay-roasted poussin. Try your luck with some clay-shooting afterwards to complete the Lady of the Manor experience.
Coal Range Day at Cornwall Park
Huia Lodge, Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill, Auckland. Ph (09) 630 8485.
Re-visit yesteryear for the "countryside in the city" feel of Cornwall Park's Coal Range Day on Sunday 5 August from 11am-3pm. There will be demonstrations of coal range cooking using traditional recipes, such as colonial goose and ginger gems made in a vintage coal range oven.
YOUR LOCAL RSA
To me, the local RSA for a roast dinner meant I didn't feel guilty about my grandfather pulling out his old leather coin purse and treating us all to dinner - it's a good inter-generational meeting place where everyone is made to feel welcome.
502 South Titirangi Rd, Titirangi. Ph (09) 817 6415.
Who said fish 'n' chips can't be added to a Sunday roast dinner plate? Not me. Friday night roast buffets at the Titirangi RSA include home-made soup and bread, full salad bar, two roasted meats on the carvery, roasted vegetable buffet and, why not, fish 'n' chips. All for $15.
THE WHOLE HOG
Unless you're heading out of town for a pig hunting competition, it's not easy to find a spit roast. There are some spit roast catering companies, such as the Southern Spit Roast & BBQ Catering Company with a spit roast option from $29.95 per person, including staff to carve, cook, serve, and best of all, clean up afterwards. Other options for pork roasts include:
Soul Bar & Bistro
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland City. Ph (09) 356 7249.
On Saturday August 18, 3pm, Soul Bar & Bistro is putting on a Patio, Pig and Pinot event with chef Gareth Stewart and a master butcher from Neat Meat as they "take down" an entire pig, then cook all the cuts and serve them with matching wine. It's a masterclass for cooks of all levels.
Costs $75 per person and you'll learn an impressive skill as well.
3302 Ohaupo Rd, Hamilton. Ph (07) 843 5431.
Drive further afield for a smokehouse roast barbecue buffet in a Spanish-style building hand-built in 1972 with old-world charm. The pork belly is smoked for six hours and served with homestyle vegetables, salads and apple strudel for dessert. Sunday lunch $18 for a child, $35 for an adult.
Viaduct, Auckland City.Ph (09) 304 0454.
Forget the seafood, Kermadec Fine also has an 84-hour pork belly roast with prawn, apple, cinnamon, kasha and bison grass extract for an upmarket variation on a roast dinner.
The Grill by Sean Connolly
SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 90 Federal St, Auckland. Ph (09) 363 7067.
The Grill has a slow roast rib of beef with bearnaise, red wine jus and "to die for" Yorkshire puddings, every Sunday. There's also a suckling pig platter or slow roasted lamb shoulder. Put on your Sunday best: a high standard of dress is "politely requested".
Knights on Albert
Stamford Plaza, Lower Albert St, Auckland. Ph (09) 357 9220.
A hotel meal in your home town might just trick your mind into believing it's on holiday, at least for a few hours. On August 4 and 5 a special roast leg of lamb with root vegetables, salad, Israeli couscous and rosemary gravy will be served as part of National Roast Month.
SURF AND TURF
Finish a weekend drive to the beach with a roast dinner overlooking wild west beaches or after a walk along the sand nearby.
The Beach House Restaurant
891 Cove Rd, Waipu Cove, Northland. Ph (09) 432 0877.
Walk the Waipu Coastal Trail and finish with a well-deserved Sunday roast at The Beach House Restaurant in Waipu Cove, for just $15.
Castaways, 685 Karioitahi Rd, Karioitahi Beach, Waiuku. Ph (09) 236 5041.
Watch the crashing waves while you're cosy inside next to your own stonegrill heated volcanic stone for an interactive Sunday roast. Choose prime Angus rump served with a smoky whiskey horseradish dipping sauce and add honey roasted root vegetables and garlic mash.
BREW BAR ROASTS
In Auckland, you're more likely to find a traditional roast close to your suburban home, rather than in an upmarket CBD restaurant, and local brew bars are valiantly keeping the Sunday roast dream alive.
Neighbourhood, Mac's Brew Bar
498 New North Rd, Kingsland. Ph (09) 846 3773.
Every Sunday afternoon, Neighbourhood Bar has a roast dinner option available from 1pm with live music to entertain.
Galbraith's Ale House
2 Mt Eden Rd, Grafton. Ph (09) 379 3557.
Located in the former Grafton public library, Galbraith's offers affordable Sunday roasts with a feeling of history, and a home-made beer on the side. Yorkshire puddings, apple sauce and horseradish help make this roast dinner an authentic experience.
Be in to win
Share your supreme roast recipe and you can be into win a year's supply of Selaks Wine. Submit your ultimate roast recipe at selaksnzroastday.co.nz.
Also, in celebration of the third annual Selaks NZ Roast Day, Selaks wines, Scanpan, New Zealand Pork and Weekend Life have a beautiful roast hamper to give away. Valued at $515, it includes a premium non-stick Scanpan roaster (worth $309), six bottles of Selaks wines and New Zealand pork scotch and crackle from Harmony, a limited edition roast day apron and recipes from the master of the roast, chef Jonny Schwass.
Entrants must be over 18 years of age.
To enter go to nzherald.co.nz/weekend, enter your details and the keywords Selaks Roast Dinner by midnight, Wednesday, August 8.
* Find more restaurants participating in the Selaks National Roast Day at selaksnzroastday.co.nz/dining-out/