THE BULL & LAST
She says: This is the second time I’ve made the trek to The Bull and Last on a Sunday, previously for a girls brunch and on this occasion, for a friends birthday celebration.With all sorts of accolades under its belt, such as winner of the Observer food awards “best Sunday lunch in 2011″ and runner up in 2012, there’s a reason why people continue to flock together to this highly acclaimed Highgate gastropub. Word of warning, if you don’t see eye to eye with stuffed furry animals, have an overwhelming fear of taxidermy or slight case of mortophobia or doraphobia, this pub ain’t for you matey!
On to more important things – the roast. There’s pretty much something for everyone on the menu. I remember good things about the roast beef from the last visit so decide to be unadventurous and order the same. We waited a while for our mains to arrive and when they finally come out, the yorkshire pudding is golden and grandiose, perched on the medium rare beef and bed of roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots and curly kale. It’s one of the first times I’ve actually seen a Yorkie puffed up so high and perfectly risen, as I usually get served ones that have sunk or collapsed in form. What I enjoy about this particular roast is that there’s a generous serving of juicy gravy on the plate and a nice side of pungent horseradish, providing a lovely union of flavours.
Roast beef Roast Rib of Dedham Vale Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Roast Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots, Curly Kale & Horseradish £20
Suckling pig for two
He says: A couple of friends order the suckling pig special for two which has a nice glaze of marinade that coats the skin, with tender meat falling right off the bone underneath. There’s only 4 of these available all day so must be snapped up quickly! Our table managed to get the last one and it’s a good sharing plate between two. While suckling pig was on my mind, I did the gentlemanly thing to do and let the girls have this. I decided on the next best thing – the roast pork belly and crisp crackling. Food envy was definitely in the air – the pork crackling on my dish was separated from the meat and not as crispy as I would have liked. The meat was cut into thin slices like a pork loin. I’m used to the kind of pork belly that’s oozing with fatty goodness, plated up as a thick, multi layered piece with the crispy skin attached. That being said, the addition of the black pudding was a nice surprise.
She says: I love the home-made icecream at The Bull & Last. There’s an assortment of unique, tasty and contrasting flavours from strawberry balsamic, to chocolate bar flavours like malteser and bounty, baking inspired banana bread and carrot cake and even a savoury bacon flavour! We also can’t resist an inexpensive artisan cheese board that comes with oatcakes, grapes and celery sticks for the detoxing from dessert kind. From memory I think we ordered the Shropshire Blue (rich & tangy blue cheese from Nottinghamshire) and Dorstone (young & light goats cheese from Herefordshire). The clementine baklava is almost a deconstructed version of the traditional Greek / Middle Eastern delicacy, it’s a refreshing modern take on what is usually quite sickly sweet, with a hint of tangy flavours from the clementine and accompanying yoghurt sorbet.
Home-made icecream – Gingernut & Ferrero Rocher (£2.50 per schoop)
Artisan cheeses (£3.50 – £4 per slice) - All Served With Homemade Oatcakes, Grapes & Membrillo
Clementine ‘Baklava’, Toasted Almond & Honey (n) £8
The verdict: The Sunday roast at The Bull & Last is consistently good from the two visits I’ve made to date. I’ve recommended the roast here to both friends in London plus those visiting from overseas as a place to try if time permits and they want to venture out beyond the madness of central London. Great for groups as well, we ate at a long communal style wooden table seated on benches which looked rather like church pews. The service could have been a tad quicker, as we had a two hour lunch session and due to our main meals arriving later than anticipated, it meant that there was little time for dessert though our stomachs had plenty of room! Fortunately on speaking with our waiter, she was able to serve us the full menu of desserts after confirming with her manager (we were initially advised after mains that we could only order the ‘cold’ desserts, i.e. ice cream and cheese). Perhaps they were short staffed this particular Sunday and the whole place was super busy? Not sure, but we were met with professionalism and apologies. Service aside, the food at The Bull & Last will leave your stomach feeling pleased. Make sure you don’t have any plans after lunch as you’ll need a bit of snooze time on the couch after the epic food coma! Zzzzzz!!!!