Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Old Bull and Bush Pub, North Hampstead - Review

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than strolling around a sunny Hampstead Heath followed by a sumptuous late pub lunch? Or, in our case, a morning frantically finishing homework, followed by an overheated car stalling on Hampstead Way and a sumptuous late pub lunch?
I was invited to try out the new spring/summer menu at the Old Bull and Bush, between Golders Hill Park and the Hampstead Heath extension - not far from the famed Spaniards Inn where it is notoriously difficult to get a table on the weekend.

The Old Bull and Bush is a modernized traditional British pub, with cosy corners, comfy armchairs, and when it's not so sunny, an open fire. The décor both in the bar and in the dining room has been recently refurbished to give a modern airy feel with calming greys and high ceilings, and beautiful tall windows, particularly prominent in the dining room with enormous bay window seating areas. Outside seating at the front offers canopies and comfort to tempt those wishing to prolong the sunny outdoor feeling.


Dining Room

On a Sunday, the menu offers a variety of Roasts, including a nut roast, with the most enormous Yorkshire puddings! Ample portions, with mini versions available for the kids (though the Yorkies are just as big). However we were here to try out the new menu so...

We arrived soon after 3pm, and it was still busy post-lunch. By the time we left it was nice and calm again, so the later the lunch, the better. A crisp and refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio was essential to start proceedings. To start, I chose Deep-Fried Somerset Brie in panko breadcrumbs with apricot and cumin chutney. Creamy cheese with a crispy edge and the sweetness of the chutney worked well. Himself had the pan-fried Tiger Prawns with sweet chilli and ginger sauce. Messy, but full of zing and flavour. The kids' meals were served, on request, at the same time as our starters. The brioche burger was a good size, served with skinny fries (lettuce and tomato removed immediately!). Some of these were swapped in the interest of fairness with the carrot sticks served with the chicken breast strips with warm tortilla. The chicken itself was a little dry and crusty, and the lemon yogurt unfortunately was immediately refused - kids, eh?
Pan-fried Tiger Prawns; Deep-fried Somerset Brie
9oz 28-day-aged Rib-eye Steak with Peppercorn Sauce; Duck Leg confit and Waffle
Duck and Waffle; Glazed Lemon Tart; Chocolate Brownie with vanilla ice cream

Duck and Waffle is so famous now (in the food world anyway) I couldn't resist ordering OB&B's version. A sweet, yes, sweet, crispy waffle topped with greens, honey-roasted pineapple rings, and a confit leg of duck. The meat was tender and meltingly delicious, though most of it was scoffed by a small person across the table. Delicious sweet potato fries garnished with Parmesan finished the dish and although it was unusually sweet for a main, I really enjoyed it. Did I mention the sweetness? Himself went into summer holiday mode and ordered steak with peppercorn sauce. He polished it off after begrudgingly offering me a small piece to taste, so I take it it was fairly tasty!

It suddenly went quiet when dessert arrived. Chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream, and two scoops of caramel ice cream. Mmmm. We grown-ups shared a glazed lemon tart, served with a raspberry coulis, whipped cream and edible flowers. Beautiful. And also, delicious.

Glazed Lemon Tart
OB&B also serve a range of fruity cocktails, from only £6.50, an extensive wine list (including magnums of specially selected wine and fizz), craft beers, refreshing ciders and premium gins with limited edition twists.

Gin&Tonic Twists

Classic G&T

I would recommend booking a table if visiting on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It would be pure luck to grab a table after just strolling in off the Heath. Service was efficient though, so if you didn't mind a few drinks at the bar first...

North End Way
Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
Sun 12pm-10pm

Food Served Mon-Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12pm-9pm

Dinner for four (2 adults, 2 children) incl. drinks: ~£100

Thanks to Mitchells&Butler PR for images.

The Old Bull & Bush Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal

Friday, 17 June 2016

Taste of London 2016

Taste of London runs in Regent's Park from June 15-19th. I popped along on Thursday 16th with Karen from StemAndGinger for a pop at some of the best food and drink our fabulous city has to offer. Whilst waiting at the tube station I spotted a few well-known faces like Valentine Warner and Michael Portillo (that renowned foodie!?) heading to the Purple Garden, and inside a wealth of talented chefs, restaurateurs and food loving fans.

The park is laid out with purple carpet and all the stalls and staff are colour co-ordinated! It's certainly not just-another-food-festival. Daily changing menus from a stellar list of London's top restaurants, our finest bars serving artisan beverages, and masterclasses from world class chefs are all here to tickle your taste buds and tempt all tastes. Here are my best bits:


I love this place. I've visited their King's Cross restaurant as well as their Bankside launch and even took at sherry flight at Bar Pepito. Fantastic authentic tapas with each drink, superb wines, and on site Iberico ham charcuterie carving.


The Cinnamon Club

A mango shrikhand (that's Sanskrit for 'curd') with summer berries and cardamom meringue from this renowned Indian restaurant. Beautifully presented dishes with fantastic flavours.

The Cinnamon Club

Duck and Waffle

We all long to frequent the D&W on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower. I've yet to have the pleasure, but bumping into Dan Doherty himself it's only a matter of time - he's a thoroughly down to earth guy and made us feel super special.

Dan Doherty - thankfully not dressed as a mackerel today
AEG Taste Theatre and School of Wok

We certainly couldn't pass by these guys without saying hello. Chef Nev gave an inspiring and informative masterclass where we got to cook up (and then eat!) spiced roasted quail, steamed scallops and lettuce cups with prawns. Chef Jeremy walked amongst the wokkers, luckily for me (too much oil!) giving tips and guidance. Awesome goody bag too!

Sipsmith Gin

Charming boys tempted us in to sample a crystal clear and crisp gin with tonic - a classic, as well as a gorgeous sloe gin with lemon tonic. Quirky and cool, proper artisan gin, copper-distilled from right here in London.

Sipsmith Gin


With restaurants in Aldwych and Canary Wharf, Roka is an award winning Japanese restaurant. Melt in your mouth barbecued pork make you want to sushi-fy all your barbecues from now on...


Chase Distillery

Based in Hereford, this family-run distillery offer field to bottle award winning vodka. We can totally recommend the rhubarb with ginger concoction...

Chase Distillery

Avant-Garde Theatre

Whilst sipping our rhubarb vodka cocktail we watched Monica Galetti sporting her new peroxide crop, whip up some sort of apricot parfait, making it look super easy, whilst explaining her tattoos (Samoan traditions) and her busy busy schedule.

Monica Galetti

Mr Fogg's Safari Camp

A lavish colonial pop-up serving Gin&Tonic and wonderfully refreshing cocktails with hilarious names. The light and airy tent houses eclectic décor, vintage paraphernalia and staff dressed in proper colonial khaki with obligatory safari hats. We sure had a Frikan Good Time here!

Mr Fogg's Safari Camp


No better time to bring out the Pimms teapot!

Anyone for Pimms?

Meringue Girls

These girls are everywhere! Always beautifully presented, always delicious. Our coconut and raspberry brownie was the perfect sweet finish to the day.

Meringue Girls
Overall a great day - rain or shine, wellies or sandals, Taste is a great day out. If nothing else, check out the loos - the cleanest, nicest-smelling portaloos I've ever seen, with vintage wallpaper and scented hand cream. As with any restaurant, if the loos are good, then the restaurant must be too.

Taste Of London continues this weekend - June 15-19.

Can't wait for next year!