The Bull & Last
Gastropubs don’t get much more gastro than the inviting Bull & Last. Just a few minutes’ walk from Hampstead Heath, this sprawling, historic way station was once the northernmost stop for those travelling by coach out of London. These days, it attracts a more settled North London crowd (restaurant critic Giles Coren, who resides in the area, is an avowed fan).
While you certainly can pop in for a pint of real ale, you’ll be fighting for table space – most are set aside for booked parties, which reserve their spots well in advance. No wonder, given the pub’s accomplished wine list and even better cooking: seasonal plates shift, but past dishes like braised pig cheek with watermelon salad, homemade pappardelle with unctuous ragu and a strikingly good beef tartare go far beyond the realm of pies and pork scratching.
If you’re coming for the evening, settle in at a cosy and candlelit table upstairs (don’t mind the taxidermy). And no matter when you’re visiting, don’t walk out the door without having sampled the rightly famous Ferrero Rocher ice cream.