A place with a good reputation for its food, but refreshingly pubby - go upstairs to dine in quieter and cooler surroundings than the bustling ground-floor bar.
For a place with such a good reputation for its food, the Bull & Last is refreshingly pubby: heavy wooden furniture, velvet drapes, stuffed animals and old prints decorate both the bar and the upstairs dining room. The latter is a calmer and cooler place to eat than the ground-floor bar, and allows diners to focus on dishes such as king scallop carpaccio with pink grapefruit, crème fraîche, coriander and vinaigrette or pig’s cheek with watermelon pickle, basil and sesame – both fabulous ways to start a meal. Pea salad with pea fritters, ratte potatoes, shallots, pea shoots and cow’s curd (available in starter and main course sizes) was light, fresh and packed with flavour. By contrast, truffoli pasta with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella wasn’t bad, but was more workaday (and overpriced at £14.50). Order was restored by peanut butter parfait with peanut brittle and caramelised rum banana (the perfect pudding for the sweet-toothed), and the ice-creams are good too – we particularly liked the Kernal stout one. There are (big) roasts at weekends.
There’s a changing selection of beers and ciders from small breweries (Redemption, Hackney Brewery, Cornish Crown) and a decent wine list, and service is lovely – unfussy but adept. As well as a cross-section of locals, the dog-friendly pub also attracts walkers (it’s on the edge of the Heath).