I am a very lazy reviewer, not writing outstanding reviews where they are due, and not highlighting the negatives in certain restaurants to warn potential future customers from the horrors I have experienced, but the Bull & Last horror was so bad, I simply cannot let this one slide!
Just to draw-up some context, myself and my partner are real foodies, we love discovering and trying new places, these span from Michelin-starred restaurants right down to the takeaway food trucks, the only requirement we have is great food (and preferably good service, but we can let this slide in the name of a delectable meal). The point here, is we are not concerned with the fluff, and can appreciate quality food, which unfortunately we did not find at the Bull & Last.
The Bull & Last, was on our forever expanding list of places to visit, and so the miserable Sunday weather of the 10th of August (2014) prompted us to seek out the comforts of a cosy local pub, with what we believed was going to be a party for our bellies, so much so that on arrival, I declared how much I love that we reside in North London because we are fortunate to have such wonderful places as our ‘local eats’ (this was before we had even walked through the door).
We settled somewhere half way by a window, perfect for people watching and taking in the decor (don't let this fool you). Our menus arrived with one decorated with a questionable stain, it could have been baby-food, it could have been adult food-splatter, who knows, but undeterred I pushed the stained menu (a double-sided A4 sheet of paper) away and suggested we share, who needs individual menus anyway?
We settled on an Organic Sea Trout Salad with Marsh Samphire, Cucumber & Crispy Hen's Egg (£9) to share. Credit where it is due, this was absolutely delicious. Fresh, full of flavour and did a great job of wetting our appetite for the mains. North Essex Shorthorn Roast Rib of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding, Roast Potatoes, Carrots & Horseradish (£20 each) was our choice of mains. We had seen this travelling past us to the neighbouring tables, and it felt just right for a Sunday!
On arrival, the mains looked incredible, we had certainly waited for them log enough and without hesitation we began to devour what we hoped would be the answer to the the Sunday-blues. Can I just point out, at this point we were still not asked if we would like anything to drink, though a bottle of water was placed on our table during the routine table set-up/napkin and cutlery placement. This is the exact point where the worms began to climb out of the woodwork, not literally, however that would not surprise me much either. Not long into the main course, and my partner questioned the meat “ Darling, how is you meat? Mine appears to be undercooked, look…” pointing to a bloody piece of limp meat which was hidden under the enormous Yorkshire pudding, less amusing now that we were questioning whether the meat was sufficiently cooked. I inspected mine, yes it did appear rather ‘rare’, but as I am not averse to a little bit of redness in my meat, this did not put me off, completely. My partner did not eat the meat. I was weary that we were neither presented with a choice of how we would like our meat cooked, neither were we advised that this is served rare (raw). At this point it is probably not necessary to talk about the potatoes, but these were, ironically, over-cooked, hard and not very fresh.
Our plates were collected and the routine half-question half-statement was muttered “How was your food…?”. I did not hesitate to point out that the meal was disappointing, and the untouched meat on my partner's plate was clearly raw. The waitress apologised, and said she will pass this on to the kitchen. She offered us up the dessert menus, which at this point appeared to be nothing more than flowery words with an unjustifiable price-tag, we opted for coffees. These were the final disappointment of the afternoon, or so we thought, but I will come back to this part of the story last. Our bill was honoured with a measly deduction of my Bloody Mary, and our total was still £61 with both £20 mains inclusive, I found this to be a very poor excuse for an apology!
We had gone in to the Bull & Last with such optimism, only to leave feeling cheated. Cheated is what I wish we felt this morning, clutching on to our stomach in agonising pain. I will spare you the details, but we all know the symptoms of food-poisoning, if not, you can refer to the NHS page on this. Today is a Monday morning, we are unable to attend work and this is undoubtably worth far more than a cost of a Bloody Mary!
Do not bother, unless you are looking for a reason to be out of action!