Dinner at The Bull & Last was the first meal I’d had in five days. So, you can imagine the pressure I put on it to not only taste amazing, but also refrain from giving me food poisoning – unlike one pesky oyster fed to me the previous Saturday (you know who you are).
The Bull & Last is a gastropub with an interesting seasonal menu, cosy, yet spacious interior and friendly staff. That, and a lovely, yet slightly inconvenient location, right by Hampstead Heath.
I was part of a group of 13, so ordering was done in advance from the set menu. For me, that meant Squid Ink Risotto to start (something I might not have chosen after that oyster debacle), hearty Slow Cooked Ox Cheek for main and indulgent Blueberry Cheesecake Ice-Cream Sundae for dessert.
My risotto had a lovely flavour and the rice was perfectly al dente. On top sat small pieces of crispy squid and what looked like ricotta, but turned out to be thick soured cream. I could have done with more deep fried cephalopods, but that’s probably down to greed.
Across the table sat The Boyfriend’s Chicken Liver Pappardelle with Sage & Madeira. I had a bite and instantly wished it was mine – a feeling that lasted until a giant pig’s cheek appeared in front of me.
Covered in a rich, dark sauce, the large piece of meat fell apart with the greatest of ease, pairing excellently with the sweet parsnips, prunes and salty bacon. Delicious.
My annual ‘giving chocolate up for lent habit’ dug its heals in again at pudding. There was silence round the table as everyone tucked into mouth watering Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Brownie and Prune Ice Cream…except me. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my sundae, but it a. wasn’t chocolate and b. could have done with a little more creamy cheesecake and a little less ice-cream.
The Bull & Last isn’t cheap (£35 a head just for food), but you are paying for quality food with more imagination than your average pub grub. That, and the fact it’s dog-friendly, gives The bull & Last a gastro-tastic LLE Rating of 8/10.
The Bull & Last, 168 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1QS
*Thank you to The Bull & Last for letting me use their lovely photos…far better than mine turned out…