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Bull & Last, Highgate

July 7, 2013

Bull & Last is one of those restaurants where I’ve been yearning to go for years. I finally had the chance when my dad visited me a couple of months ago, and we had a lovely meal at Bull & Last to round off a lovely day walking around Hampstead Heath with the rest of my family here.

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It’s a beautiful space in a Grade 2 listed building, the interior of which is dotted with various bits of evidence that this is primarily a meat, and when in season, game-focused restaurant. (To me, this is a restaurant with a pub, rather than a gastropub.) The menu celebrates British produce cooked with bold flavours and rustic cooking. We started with their homemade charcuterie board and their fish board, and some excellent bread to get our appetites going (or so we believed).

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Charcuterie board with duck prosciutto, sliced so thinly the fat was a shimmering layer that melted away on your tongue, a chunky ham hock terrine, chicken liver parfait that I could not get enough of, duck rillettes, pig’s head, all served with some pickles, preserves, some leafy greens, and toast.

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Our fish board came with some gorgeously pink gravalax, potted shrimp, mackerel pate, wonderfully light and crispy fried squid, an incredibly moreish smoked haddock croquette, and some dressed fennel with soda bread.

By the time our mains rolled around, some of us were flagging. There’s actually quite a lot of food and I’m a sucker for bread & butter which isn’t great if you want to eat as much of the menu as possible! It was a difficult decision to choose what I wanted, but my uncle and I shared a Dedham Vale aged cote de boeuf and it was a stonkingly huge platter of beef.

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It was absolutely delicious, and gorgeous to boot. Served sliced to reveal its deep pink interior (but bone still present for you to gnaw on, if in close company), it came with fluffy triple-cooked chips and a bit of salad on the side. It also came with a bearnaise sauce, but the steak didn’t need it – the two together was almost too rich a mouthful for me. The sauce was also slightly gloopy, but everything else was fantastic. The beef had a great depth of flavour thanks to both the crust and the quality of the meat, and left you with a complex,  iron-y, beefy aftertaste that lingered long after swallowing the last of the steak.

We just about managed to finish the steak, but only with help from everyone else. I think in retrospect this could have fed 3 of us if we’d ordered another starter to share. In short, I absolutely recommend this place if you have several people you can go with to experience as much of the menu as possible, especially the charcuterie platter.

Bull & Last

168 Highgate Road
London NW5 1QS

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