Judith has spent the best part of her life travelling the globe, getting paid huge sums of license payers money telling us where we should be spending our summer holidays whilst secretly nipping off to eat offal in some of the worlds best restaurants.You can safely say that when it comes to food Judith knows her shit.
The fact that Judith has also been munching at the Bull and last on our last two visits there has definitely enhanced our experience. As professionals we have tried to keep this fact at the back of our minds while making judgement.
[For anyone who doesn't know who Judith Chalmers is or why she is adored by offal club look no further than here]
The Bull and Last is claimed by many to be London’s finest Gastro pub. Situated falling distance from Hampstead heath it attracts an upmarket hedonistic following; ruddy-faced forty somethings, valium addled grandmothers, gap kids swearing like the Gallaghers, black labradors trained to hunt scotch eggs,……… add a few ‘A’ list celebs, Hendrix on the sound system, some fine ales, a well priced wine list and down to earth staff and you have something really special.
The food is undeniably brilliant, The core of the menu is a masterclass in pub staples battered cod is amongst the best in London, Pies are braised in proper gravy, Sunday roasts are legendary and perfect triple cooked chips not served in the West ends namby pamby seven chip portions [take note Hawksmoor!]. It’s the other dishes though that the chefs really let rip.
As this will be compared to the bar Boulud version its only fair that we break it down in the same way so from bottom left clockwise here is what you get;
Chicken liver parfait – like Heston’s meat fruit without the gimmicks and every bit as delicious
Game terrine – a very generous slice, expertly constructed and seasoned, nice touch with the walnuts,
Cured Duck breast – Home cured duck breast sliced wafer thin, garnished with pickled grapes, good but a little too thin to really get to grips with…
Rillette – Standard issue? Yes, but something we never tire of and this version is seriously good.
Pigs head croquette, last but by no means least a de-boned, braised, breaded then deep-fried piece of pigs head – brilliant!
The supporting cast – mango chutney, pickled shallots, celeriac remoulade, cornichons, capers, caperberries, watercress and a token buttered radish.
There is no shortage of work involved here but that aside what particularly appeals to us about this board is the quality of ingredients and the variation of tastes and textures. This really is a board to take your time over.
Homemade charcuterie board at the bull and last is ten pounds.
As value for money goes this really is unbeatable. The big question is it as good as the Bar Boulud version?
The debate went late into the night, tempers flared, scuffles broke out…
Both are immense and both work perfectly in their own setting but for the value, the carefully sourced ingredients and the evident passion the Bull and last edges it.