The Hunt is on at Roast!

Peter Morrell doesn’t sing for his supper – but he does hunt for his lunch in Borough Market

To celebrate his recent appointment as Head Cook at Borough Market based favourite Roast, Marcus Verberne has devised a unique monthly treasure hunt that culminates in a rather delicious fashion.

In order to prepare such a feast, Marcus will first need the finest seasonal British produce the local area can offer. Thus he will divide guests up into teams, giving each an ingredients’ and suppliers’ list and a budget. They will then be instructed to head off to Borough Market and the hunt will begin!

This looked like a great idea so I decided to go along to Roast recently and join in the hunt. Over a welcome glass of champagne we met the very affable Marcus who briefed us. Then armed with some money and a list it was downstairs to the market to start our culinary mission.

First stop was Neal’s Yard for some Ragstone goat’s cheese and savouring the smells in the shop was already giving us an appetite, it was then onto the Sillfield Farm stand for some delicious looking wild boar pancetta. Next was the aptly named ‘Turnips’ veggie store for fresh beetroot and early season rhubarb. A quick stop off at Furness Fish and Game for hake and clams and a final visit to New Forest Cider for a bottle of their Kingston Black saw the mission accomplished.

We arrived back at Roast with our treasure, Marcus made sure that we had made the right purchases then headed off to the kitchen to get cooking while we settled down in anticipation.

The dining space at Roast is stunning, it is situated in the ornate Floral Hall building that was once the flower market in Covent Garden. The room is flooded with light and has commanding views over the market with St Pauls Cathedral in the background

Marcus had soon waved his culinary magic wand over our raw ingredients to create one of his incomparable lunches. Our starter of mixed beets with Ragstone goat’s cheese and wild herbs dressed with olive oil was fresh and vibrant. The main course of pan-fried hake with surf clams in the Kingston Black cider and wild boar pancetta had both punchy and aromatic flavours and the dessert of buttermilk pudding with poached rhubarb and stem ginger was a delicate and fitting finish to the meal.

Anne Lomas, the excellent sommelier at Roast has chosen two outstanding white whites to accompany the meal. The first was the Carmel Road Riesling 2009 Monterey County California. This was a subtle wine with notes of both citrus and tropical fruit on the nose with a pleasant astringency on the palate and in the finish. The second was the Cuatro Rays 2010 Verdejo from Rueda in Spain, this wine was fresh and fruity on the nose developing into more herbal flavours on the palate with some pings of fennel and a strong and lingering finish

Overall the Treasure Hunt is a very rewarding experience as it gives you both a real insight into Borough Market and you get the pleasure of eating at Roast

Roast’s Treasure Hunt will launch to the public on 5th April and will then be held on the first Thursday of each month. It is perfect as a gift, a corporate exercise or for anyone who loves food, the price will be £85 per head. This will include a glass of champagne on arrival, bar snacks, the market treasure hunt, a three course menu and coffee or tea.

Roast opened in 2005 and since then has earned widespread acclaim for an offering that focuses on beautiful roast meats, fresh fish and game, all made using the finest seasonal British ingredients, many sourced from Borough traders.

Marcus Verberne – Head Cook
Before joining Roast Marcus worked alongside Mark Hix at Le Caprice, J Sheekey, The Ivy and Hix at The Albemarle with his role at the latter rewarded with 3 AA rosettes.

Originally from New Zealand Marcus began his career in Wellington before moving to Melbourne to work with Bill Marchetti at Marchetti’s Latin and Cecconi’s.

Marcus is both an avid supporter of British suppliers and a keen forager. His menus at Roast reflect his dual passions, whilst still retaining the core of what the restaurant is known and loved for.

Happy hunting!

The Floral Hall
Stoney Street
London, SE1 1TL