3 Post/s by Tag: Gastropub

At last, The Bull and Last

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.

The Bull and Last

The Bull and Last

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. (more…)

The Crown at Bray

23 Mar 2011

Less than a fortnight after my visit to Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, I found myself at his recently acquired pub, The Crown at Bray for a friend’s 30th birthday dinner.

Despite accusations from locals of turning Bray into “Hestonworld”, alongside neighbouring Blumenthal-owned establishments, The Hinds Head and of course The Fat Duck, all I can say is The Crown at Bray looked and felt very much like it had been preserved as a traditional 16th century pub to me. Then again, through my New Zealander eyes anything older than 100 years seems positively ancient!

Baked Suet, steak and ale pie, creamed potato

Baked Suet, steak and ale pie, creamed potato

Low ceilings, rickety, uneven, carpeted flooring, open fireplaces and dark, cosy corners dominated this seemingly long established, village pub. The menu devised by head chef at The Fat Duck, Ashley Palmer-Watts, attempts to remain true to traditional British pub food. Being a group of 10, we were seated in their private dining area and offered their 3 course set menu (£28.50), which we had ordered from a week in advance. All options were very tempting! (more…)


1 Mar 2011

Due to bad memories of terrible service and the sin which I find most unforgivable (forgetting our food), it had been years since I’d revisited Maida Vale based gastropub Idlewild. So when a friend invited me to her birthday dinner here, I hesitated. If they couldn’t get it together to handle a table of 5, then how would they cope with a large party? What horrors might be in stall for me?

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Squid with Tartare Sauce

Deep Fried Salt and Pepper Squid with Tartare Sauce

On this occasion I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and took the risk. At least I never had particularly bad memories about their quality of food. As it turned out our large party ended up consisting of 30 or so guests, so they had a big challenge ahead of them. If they could pull it off, then perhaps I could find it in myself to forgive them for their indiscretions those years ago.