COCK and BULL fortnight part one.
We had planned COCK MONTH, when we would only go to pubs with COCK in the name. It is bawdy, very Carry On Questing (Oooo, Matron and all that) but occasionally we are allowed a laugh. And this theme seemed to tickle quite a few people’s fancy. (Oooo, I say! Stop messing about)
The problem, as I scoured the four corners of the city, is the poor quality of COCK in London. A vast majority of pubs with COCK in the name are those grotty, vomit on the floor, malformed locals with a dog on a string, afterbirth on the disused bar billiards table type of venue. Others have been bought out by the Eastern European mob, and turned into fronts for their criminality. A lot have been renamed. So we decided to water it down and just have some COCK and BULL.
The Bull and Last has always been on the list of venues. Francoise knew about it’s reputation because it is the sister pub of our old Putney local The Prince of Wales. Asami knew about the Bull and Last after reading about it in fruffy Japanese fashion magazine Madam Figaro Japon in their August 2011 edition.
We have always done well in this particular postcode when it comes to bars and food. If it wasn’t so hoity up there, and damnably so, with its boutiques and little cake shops, I would say, let’s all move to Highgate!! But as it is we have to make do with rare visits, and when we are there truly appreciate the twee.
Here is the pub.
The menu is here and, to be honest, I like the look of it. Francoise and I always play the game on the way to our eating destinations of “what would you have” akin to the children’s game where you get a catalogue, or the Argos, and are allowed to choose one thing from each page. If we played the game today we would both be able to choose something and be happy with it.
I would say, however, that charging for bread is NOT CRICKET!
Negative one point already. There are thrice cooked chips though, and given how good these are at the Prince of Wales, if we didn’t already have roast spuds, I would go for them. Am thinking now that Francoise may have the Haddock, so there could be chips on the table.
Joining us on the jaunt north are Andy and Asami (who has to come given her reading about it), Francoise (who has always wanted to go) and Darren, David and Jonathan (who has been there before), and questing virgins Maria and Dimitris.
What Others are Saying.
Disclaimer. The views hereafter are not representative of the Quest for a Sunday Roast or any member of the Quest team.
“At first I was a little nervous about spending £16 for a plate of pub food, but I was absolutely not disappointed. The lamb and chickpea dish was fantasticaly scrummy, and the service was polite and swift.” http://www.google.co.uk, “The service was impeccable! That would have been a 3.5 star rating if that option was available.The food was tasty and the staff were amazing and just the right level of attentive. I am really glad that I don’t always follow what people say on the interweb or I might have missed out on a nice evening in a lovely pub. The salted caramel truffles at the end were divine but very rich.” http://www.google.co.uk, “Not really a pub. Food is good but jesus, you pay for it. Agree about the clientele – straight out of a Boden catalogue or just back from a gap yah. Staff mixed – some nice, some think they’re too cool to serve. Drinks pricey to match the grub but ale was in good condition. Come for dinner (if someone else is paying).” http://www.beerintheevening.com, “I didn’t think the food was particularly over-priced, and it was certainly good stuff! We had three starters: trotter wontons; crispy pigs’ ears; duck hearts on toast. All three were very tasty and between £5 and £6.50, which I thought was OK given the quality. For main courses we had wood pigeon and beef bourguignon (£15), both very good. Service was good at bar and table.” http://www.beerintheevening.com, “Ridiculously overpriced food (don’t they know we’re coming out of a recession?) and highly expensive drinks. New beer on tap at £4.20 a pint. Food looks great but seriously nothing to write home about. Staff not very friendly and always looking stressed. Male Management Ok, the lady not friendly at all (wouldn’t hurt to smile). Waiting time for drinks takes forever as the staff seem to want to get food out (without any smiles or flavour to the food).” http://www.beerintheevening.com, “5 out of 5 – great food, service and staff….can not be faulted. note to local boozers masquerading as restaurants – take a look here and see how it’s done…that means you The Spaniards and The Flask – 2 of the worst holes in London.” www.qype.co.uk
Mostly positive. That’s a first since I have been searching for the thoughts of others, so all in all, I am quite hopeful that we are on to a winner.
What Our Brother and Sister Sites Say
I am excited to include this new section. It is the first time that I can do so as well. Given we now have access to over 100 reviews by Sunday Roast, Roasted Sundays and Best Sunday Roast there is more and more of a chance of crossover. So here it is in practice.
Roasted Sunday went to the Bull and Last in February of last year. The review can be seen here.
To give a bit of a summary: IT’S ALL GOOD!!! 4.2/5 mains from £14. That would be enough to take it into the top 3.
The pub is in a nice enough spot, airy and light. It was crammed when we arrived and a family of four, with two little kids were told there is no room and that they do not serve outside. Taxidermied bulls were on the wall, although I distinctly spotted a buffalo. They also offered pigs ears and marrow bones for dogs, and there were plenty of pooches around to take them. Maybe it’s worth serving dogs as they don’t complain when the service is shoddy.
Andy was angry as the bar man he spoke to was clearly an idiot. Here is a brief transcription of the conversation.
Andy – Hi. We have a reservation for 8. It is either in the name or Darren S or Francoise S.
Bar man – We don’t have any reservation for a Francoise.
Andy – Can you check?
Bar man – Oh, we do for a Darren.
Andy – that will be it then.
Bar man – would you like a drink?
Andy – Yes, a virgin Bloody Mary and a pint of Camden lager, please.
Bar man – Two Bloody Marys then.
Andy – No, a virgin Bloody Mary and a pint.
And so on. You get the picture.
The tables were set out fine, and we have a nice amount of space for what only turned out to be 7 as Dimitris (on our shit list) didn’t turn up. Maria was very late due to transport problems and we drank until she arrived.
(From left to right – shared charcuterie plate and a shared fish platter)
(From left to right – pollock and chips- Darren and Jonathan, Roast beef – Francoise, Andy, Asami, David, Chicken – Maria)
(From left to right – Sundae – Francoise, Chocolate mousse – Andy and Asami, doughnut fingers – David and Jonathan, bread and butter pudding – Darren)
Comments (Collective and Individual)
- Our Asian waitress, who looks very similar to a dominatrix we know plying her trade in the south of France, walked over seeing there were 6 of us, asked if we wanted drinks – then walked off without taking our order.
- We waited for Maria for half hour because of travel issues, but still the service was non existant.
- Darren with a mouthful of pate when we finally ordered, then finally received our food – “hmmm”
- I like the fish plate – Jonathan
- Had to ask twice for more bread and thrice for a side plate – Jonathan
- Very good meat plate – Darren
- Hmm that’s really nice – Jonathan eating something deep fried
- That’s a sea snail – David
- Ew I don’t like it now – jonathan
- Hai! Really tasty – Asami
- Charcuterie board really nice, Oscar would have loved it – Andy
- Fish plate was really lovely – Jonathan
- Picallili was horrible. Fennel or aniseed in it – all
- Like the decor – shutters, cow heads – kinda of like The Office Meets Deliverance.
- Back to service or lack thereof – appetisers eaten and left for ages. 15 mins and counting.
- Loos cold but clean. The hairdyers (hand dryers) felt like hands being breathed on by a paedophile.
- Jonathan asked for serviette repeatedly. Finally got it mid way through mains.
- The beef doesn’t taste of anything. Not even beef – David
- Not as good as the prince of Wales – Francoise after trying a thrice cooked chip
- This is probably the first time I am not liking the beef. Vegetables underdone to a point of not enjoying them. Potatoes are cracking though- Andy
- The acoustics are such there is bad sound resonance – Francoise
- Why is the fan on?
- You know when you said other reviewers got service that was “patchy at best”. I am thinking they were lucky to get that. – Andy
- Dessert took forever… But by then this was excepted. Half hour to place the order then half hour wait. An hour for a dessert!
- Guy apologised but everything was so late. But only after Jonathan complained about the whole meal being tardy.
- I want to hate it but this is exceptional. Darren finally happy, with the most amazing bread and butter pudding.
- This is great – Andy and Asami and Franc on the meat plates, the only bit they liked, other than Francoise who is still lusting after Darren’s bread and butter pudding.
- Actually this is a little too salty – Jonathan on his doughnuts and dip.
- The service was appalling but the starters and dessert were great – David
- The beef was bland and the veg was too undercooked. Will NOT return – Andy
- Entree was good, the beef was too rare, no choice of how it is done, dessert was fantastic, creamy and smooth a good choice for a chocolate lover. Service was very slow. – Asami
- Fish starter was nice, pricey for what it was though. Main. Not bad , not great either. Fish a bit yellow and greasy. Chips ok. Dessert. Donuts too salty. Service appalling and for that reason alone , wouldn’t return – Jonathan
- Charcuterie board was small for the price but the ham hock was nice flavour. The roast beef main was disappointing. Tasteless. The potatoes were pretty good but one was overpowered with garlic. Dessert doughnuts were too salty and the sorbet did not go with the dish. The Service was very slow and unattentive. Overall rather disappointing. – David
- Gave free round of drinks and coffees to make up for waiting time.
- Total bill 240 even after round off. Average prices.
- Held us to gratuity!!! Had to pay full amount, a further £6. Ridiculous. The waitress, although I am not 100% sure this job title equates, charged over to see why we hadn’t paid the 15% gratuity. Shocking. Absolutely shocking.
- Two slices of bread on the charcuterie and fish sharing board. Only 2. So you had to order more bread, which as £2 a basket. Absurd – Darren
- There was nothing that was special about the meal – Francoise
- I am full but we are £35 a head lighter and no one is happy – Darren
- Maybe the famed and much reviewed dense chocolate truffles after the meal would numb the pain, unfortunately they were not offered, so the consensus is we would never go back there unless it was free – Darren
- Sundae was alright but not worth the calories. It wasn’t even sweet. I expected ice cream, cheese cake pieces, fresh cream. – Francoise
- Bathrooms ok but no hand lotion. For that price point I would expect hand lotion – Francoise
- Staff not present – Francoise
- Had lots of potential to deliver but they didn’t seem to give a fuck about keeping us happy. No one cared until Jonathan complained and then everyone and his mom was falling over themselves to give us free coffee – Franc. (Jonathan did complain and we got the first round of drinks free but then they quibbled about the service charge – I think they paid a lot more attention when the only awake member of staff noticed us writing the review)
- I am disappointed given how much I like the Prince of Wales and I really wanted to come here and give them a gold star. After looking forward to it for so long I just feel cheated. Even the thrice cooked chips were not as good as the Prince of Wales. – Franc
- Didn’t feel cosy and I have been wanting to come here – Francoise
- Pewter mugs on walls good, taxidermy good, staff non existent – Francoise
- After a month of no carbs I wanted to eat something great. I am really disappointed – Francoise
- Food 2.5 ambiance 2.5. They weren’t even friendly – Francoise
- I feel genuinely angry about the whole experience. I should have drank more – Francoise
So let’s do the register and checks things off
- TAXIDERMY BULL HEADS – PRESENT
- THRICE COOKED CHIPS – PRESENT
- LONG WAITS – PRESENT
- STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING – NOT PRESENT
- HAND LOTION IN LOOS – NOT PRESENT
- STAFF – NOT PRESENT
- A VERY DISAPPOINTED GROUP – PRESENT