23 Apr 2012
I’ve lived in a number of places in London in my 8 years here. I’ve been East and I’ve been West. And now I find myself in North London having moved to Kentish Town.
Having a whole new area of London to explore and familiarise myself with has been quite exciting. I’ve slowly gathered a little bank of knowledge about my new home, such as it’s long standing pub rock scene with many legendary bands performing some of their first gigs here. Notable residents include Giles Coren, Karl Marx and Jon Snow. And I was quite amused to finally discover (not first hand mind you), the true function of the enigma that is Rio’s Health Spa and Sauna.
Now I’ve also had the opportunity to discover the restaurants in the area. I’d been wanting to visit gastropub The Bull and Last (upon many a recommendation), for a long time. Past Summer days spent lazing around Hampstead Heath would lead to the inevitable wander past The Bull and Last, and temptation would lead us in only to discover every time, that it was full. For some reason, no one ever had the foresight to book in advance. If it happened, it happened. And then it finally did.
On a Monday evening we wandered over and surprise, surprise, a table awaited us after a mere 15 minute wait at the bar! During our wait though we indulged in a bowl of triple cooked chips and a glass of the barman’s recommended tipple Eau de vie. Of the chips, I took a bite and declared them the best I’ve ever had! They were pretty much perfect through and through. Fluffy, crisp, tasty, well seasoned.
When seated we opted for a fish board to share which consisted of gravlax, smoked makerel pate, salt cod croquette, chipirones, potted shrimp, fennel and soda bread. Disappointingly we found this uninspiring, most of the morsels coming across a little dry or lacklustre. The gravlax on the other hand was quite enjoyable.
And then two pasta dishes followed. The handmade pumpkin ravioli was an absolute joy bathed in butter, pillowy and encasing a delicious filling of fluffy, creamy, whipped pumpkin.
The slow cooked ox cheek, parsley and snail risotto packed a punch of strong meaty, earthy flavours. Perhaps a tad salty for my liking, I found it pleasing in small bites.
The atmosphere was very pleasant and comfortable with quirky decor and friendly and attentive service. Overall we had a very enjoyable evening. With Summer approaching, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more trips to Hampstead Heath in stall for us and along with this, the hope of getting a last minute table at The Bull and Last.
The Bull and Last
168 Highgate Road
London NW5 1QS