The Ship Tavern, Holborn

The Ship Tavern, Holborn

Quality traditional English roast dinners aren’t reserved for country pubs, The Ship Tavern in Holborn serves up top notch roasts every Sunday. Read on to find out more.

The Ship Tavern Holborn

Then quintessential English roast

Whether you’re a tourist or a hardened local, come Sunday in England there is one thing we are all after – a good quality English roast dinner. The perfect roast dinner means different things to different people. Some people like roast lamb, others roast beef, chicken is an absolute classic but for me it’s got to be pork. Jon on the other hand looks for a rich nut roast or vegetable packed wellington.

Regardless of which meat (or vegetarian dish) you opt for, an English roast isn’t a roast without roast potatoes and traditional accompaniments such as Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, gravy. Oh and don’t forget lots of fresh, seasonal vegetables! Last but not least you need a good helping of cauliflower cheese!

Vegetable Wellington at the Ship Tavern

Roast dinner at The Ship Tavern

I’ve had so many “heated debates” with friends about what makes the BEST roast, with most people arguing their Mum’s or Nan’s is the ultimate roast dinner. The reason we all fight over our Mum’s roast being the best is, of course, because of all the wonderful memories we have from Sunday lunch with the family.

I know when I go home for a roast that my plate is going to be piled high with veggies. I also know that the Yorkshires will get forgotten about and “overly crisp” as they wait in the oven patiently until someone realises they’re not on our plates. It’s not perfect, but it’s my family’s roast so for me it’s hard to beat!

Unfortunately most of us Londoners aren’t lucky enough to have Mum or Nan cooking our roast dinners for us. But, I’m pleased to say that I’ve found the next best thing (if not better – sorry Mum!) If you want a quality roast dinner in Central then get down to The Ship Tavern just minutes away from Holborn Tube Station.

Pork belly at The Ship Tavern

Top quality cooking

On arrival, we wandered up the creaky old stairs to the pub’s dining room. It’s a traditional, dark, wood panelled pub with plenty of ship memorabilia and stained glass lining the walls. Despite the low level lighting, I could see large plates of Sunday roasts making their way from the kitchen. Now, size isn’t everything (Toby Carvery proves that). If the restaurant/pub is able to pile the food super high without any affect on price you know you’re getting a sub-par roast. What The Ship Tavern does so well is top quality food that doesn’t leave you hungry.

I went for the pork belly and Jon the vegetarian wellington. Both of us were more than happy with the size of our portions. My pork belly was enough for two of me. Some burly blokes might have been more than comfortable devouring the huge slab of meat but it was plenty for me. Beyond the size of it, each layer of the pork belly was perfect which is a real mean feat! There was crispy crackling, soft oozing fat, tender meat and a satisfying caramelisation on the base. Every mouthful was soft, succulent and tender. It was a joy to savour each bite.

A pint of cider and beer at The Ship Tavern

As well as the meat and the wellington, both of the roasts came with carrots, green beans and sugar snap peas. These had been steamed until they were tender and just soft enough to melt in the mouth without having gone to mush. Jon was a little disappointed as he had “wedges” rather than roast potatoes but really he was just being fussy about the shape. The roast potatoes had an incredibly thing and crispy exterior – their skins were in no way tough. The crisp outside gave way to a super soft, fluffy centre. Sorry Nan, The Ship Tavern wins this one!

Succulent Pork Belly at the Ship Tavern

Onion gravy and vegetable wellington at The Ship Tavern

There’s always room for pudding

After all that you might be thinking we went home and had a nap. We did. But, not before we tucked in to pudding. Everyone knows you have a separate stomach for pudding, right? The Ship Tavern’s menu is very traditional so we went for a cheeseboard and sticky toffee pudding. Can you get any more English?

We started on the cheeseboard having picked two English cheese from their selection. One was soft and buttery with a mild creamy, almost vanilla-y taste. The second was a sharp blue which really packed a punch. The blue cheese worked really well with the sweet, walnut bread served alongside the cheeses as well as crackers and a grape chutney. We were pleased with the good ranges of cheese on offer and two pieces was plenty. A good indication that 2 is plenty for one portion is that the cheese are all priced at roughly £3.50. This means that a 2 cheese cheeseboard is priced the same as the other puddings.

The sticky toffee pudding was also delicious. Now I’ll be honest, my Nan really DOES make the best sticky toffee pudding so I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d had better. But it was rich, soft, sticky and warm – everything you want in a sticky toffee pudding! It also helped to balance the strong blue cheese we’d greedily snaffled moments before.

Sticky Toffee Pudding at The Ship Tavern

Come for the roast dinner, stay for the jazz

Having eaten our body weight in traditional English roast dinner, we took our drinks to the bar below where a Jazz quartet was just setting up. Every Sunday from 4.30pm you can enjoy a drink and a dance as the house jazz band plays a variety of songs from jazz classics to modern day numbers.

The bar has such a fun, bubbly atmosphere with everyone laughing, and tapping their feet in time to the music. If you come for the roast dinner do make sure you stay for the jazz! The Ship Tavern is a real find and I am super pleased to have found somewhere offering a top notch English roast and Sunday afternoon experience at a fantastic price.

To find out more, do make sure you visit their website, or pop in the next time you’re in the Holborn area.

The cheeseboard at The Ship Tavern


I was asked to review The Ship Tavern. There was no obligation on me to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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