Sunday Roast Review: The Bull & Last

February 7, 2010

The Bull and Last
Highgate
Roast Beef, Roast Haunch of Roe Deer
From £14
Roasting: 8.4/10

Yes yes yes. This is one that had been causing some excitement amongst the circle of regular roasters. Since hearing about it 2 weeks ago and reading some stirling reviews on the likes of Timeout and various other foodie blogs, I had been itching to give the Bull and Last a crack. They’re obviously doing something right, as we had to book a week ahead to make sure we could get in. To say the pub is in a nice area of town would be an understatement. Highgate and Hampstead is where the old money lives, and its evident in the lush tree lined streets and never ending rows of gorgeous terraced houses with views of the heath. The pub itself fits into this world nicely, a chocolate brown facade and understated gold lettering sits quietly on a corner surrounded by benches and old barrels full of plants.

Inside is pretty standard gastropub stylings. No music, high ceilings, mismatched wooden furniture and a fantastic selection of real ales. Upon arrival we were ushered upstairs to the dining room by an unusually friendly waitress. Upstairs was nice, but it was a bit more formal with the seating arrangements, kind of like being in a large dining room. The owner/s clearly have a thing for taxidermy as there were stuffed heads and fish everywhere, which I thought was quite cool. The fishbowl mirror in the loo is a great touch as well.

We had 7 hungry roasters this particular sunday, so we decided to get some starters in the form of the charcuterie, pigs trotters and triple fried chips. Service was a little slow, and it was a while between the first round of drinks and entrees, however it was well worth the wait. Piping hot and super crunchy, the chips truly do live up to the hype. I would have to say they are the best I’ve had in the UK. It was as if someone crossed a perfect roast potato with the best frites from the streets of Belgium. They were large enough to be used some kind of weapon, and came with some quite pungent aoli. The 2 bowls were demolished in minutes.

We were all intrigued by the pig trotters, but when they arrived there was not a trotter in sight. Similar to a wonton, the trotters were piping hot and quite greasy. The meat inside was quite rich but perfectly seasoned. Delicious. The charcuterie was a winner – duck prosciutto, chicken liver parfait, ham terrine, pigs head and remoulade. Great selection, I couldn’t pick a favourite but the prosciutto and pigs head were right up there.

The quality of the ingredients used was amazing, and for me this is what really made the dishes stand out from your standard pub roast. Everything was so fresh and the flavours were fantastic. Definitely the best gastropub grub I’ve had in a long time. And this quality carried right through to the roast. For £14 it certainly didn’t disappoint. Serving size was huge, definitely enough of everything. Veg was honeyed carrots, parsnips, beans and potatoes. All done without too much fuss, and all very well cooked. Spuds were superb, as Industry Boy put it, ‘you know its a great spud when its swimming in gravy and is still this crispy’. We all agreed that they were the best yet. The gravy was nice and rich, almost like a jus. Great flavour. Yorkshire was home made this time, and it was massive.

Even more massive was the serving of beef. Very well cooked, it was nice and pink in the middle and the slices were of acceptable thickness. I would say it was a perfect medium, although it was a little chewy at times. I felt it could of done with a bit more seasoning, just to lift the flavours a little bit. I had my hopes, but unfortunately it didn’t top the Woodbine. It was a different cut of beef, most probably topside, whereas the Woodbine was ribeye from memory. However the whole plate came together beautifully, and I was competley stuffed by the time I was finished.

As I mentioned before, the Bull and Last has a bloody great selection of real ales, I had 2 pints of the mighty Doombar (a cornish ale) but I could of had 30. Such a good pint, and not often that you see it around. There was also the Timothy Taylor landlord, although I can’t remember the others.

The whole meal definitely lived up to expectations. Atmosphere was nice for a sunday, more of a conversation and read the paper pub, which I like. The service was a little slow, but they were fully booked and only had 2 people serving upstairs. Despite that, when the food did arrive it was good enough to make you totally forget about the wait. Outstanding chips, charcuterie and trotters. I enjoyed them as much as the roast itself.  They could of gone for a better cut of beef, but even so the rest of the plate held it together perfectly. Great food and well worth the gastropub price. Overall, a definite winner so far for 2010. Just make sure you book in advance.

Meat ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Potatoes ★★★★★★★★★★ (10)
Veg ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Yorkshire ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Gravy ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Serving Size ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)
Menu Variety ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9)
Service ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Atmosphere ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7)
Value for money ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8)

Total Roasting: (8.4/10)

Bull & Last on Urbanspoon

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7 Responses to “Sunday Roast Review: The Bull & Last”

  1. younas Says:

    well well well. certainly appears to be a roast of the very highest order. its a shame such a revered roaster like myself couldn’t be there to enjoy it with you.

    i would have liked to seen a rating on presentation of the roast as that looks like it could be hitting 10’s.

  2. Dan Says:

    Looks amazing, going to give this one crack for sure. Thanks.

  3. Nathan Says:

    Great to see an in-depth review of the Bull and Last! I have heard only good things about this pub, we will be going this sunday (if we can get in)
    Thanks!

  4. LT Says:

    Nice review. If you go again you should try the scotch eggs. They are divine.

  5. Thomas Says:

    The Bull and Last is great. One of the best sunday roasts i have had and as you point out in the review, the charcutterie board was fantastic. I can see why it is so difficult to get a booking there on sundays.

    I look forward to reading about future venues!


  6. […] Garden Gate, The Flask, Ye Olde White Bear, The Bull and Last, The Lock Tavern, The Oxford, The Stag, The […]


  7. […] Roasted Sunday went to the Bull and Last in February of last year. The review can be seen here. […]


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