The Old Bull & Bush pub: Hampstead landmark’s new look and new menu reviewed
The Old Bull & Bush near Hampstead Heath, in North End Road, has reopened with a new look and a new menu.
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“Come, come, come and make eyes at me down at The Old Bull & Bush.”
So sang Florrie Forde on an English musical hall adaptation of the German beer-drinking song Under the Anheuser Bush.
The Old Bull & Bush in question sits among the woods near Hampstead Heath, in North End Road, and boasts a history including both William Hogarth, who drank there, and Cockney Rebel, who covered the song. It first gained a licence to sell alcohol more than 300 years ago.
The pub this month enjoyed a relaunch with a refurb and a new menu.
General manager Antonio Matarazzo said: “There are no words to describe the excitement and joy the entire team feels for the makeover of The Old Bull and Bush.
“The entire team cannot wait to welcome back our guests, serving them our brilliant dishes, delicious cocktails as well as hosting all your special celebrations. We’re certain visitors will enjoy the new design as much as we do.”
Old Bull & Bush menu review
The pub’s new menu features pub classics and European dishes, with a kitchen led by head chef Raymond Bolones who has been with the pub for three years.
Sitting down for a preview dinner, I tried the pan-fried wild scallops with fennel, saffron velouté, risotto and green pesto (£12.75). The shellfish were suitably decadent, with a rich sauce creating a satisfying starter.
Other small plates on the menu include a chipotle sticky chicken (£8.25) - karaage fried chicken with smoky chilli jam - and creamy baked mushrooms (£7.75) with vintage Cheddar and white port sauce, garlic and rosemary pangrattato crumb, and ciabatta.
The mains range from burgers or pizza to a maple-glazed slow-cooked pork belly and scallops (£22.95) - pulled pork and cider bonbon, charred pineapple and chilli salsa, dauphinoise potato, tenderstem broccoli and gravy. The steak menu is topped off with a chateaubriand for two at £58.50.
I enjoyed a substantial plant-based burger (£15.75) - a Meatless Farm brand patty with Violife melting mature slice, red pepper and tomato sauce, baby gem lettuce, house salad, pickles - and a side of rustic thick-cut chips (£3.95). Simple and satisfying.
For dessert I had an excellent vanilla panna cotta with passion fruit coulis, lime (£7.95) but I could happily have followed my companions in trying the apple and damson crumble (£7.75).
The pub serves Sunday roasts including a ‘trio’ option at £21.25 and a fig and dolcelatte vegetarian option at £16.25
A weekend ‘Wine & Dine Experience’ comprises three courses featuring scallops, steak and a chocolate dessert along with a bottle of wine priced at £100 for two.
Book a table
To reserve a table visit The Old Bull & Bush website.
How to get to the Old Bull & Bush
The Old Bull & Bush is 15 minutes walk from Golders Green Tube station, or 20 from Hampstead. It’s right next to what would have been North End station - had that project not been abandoned at the start of the 20th century.
It is, however, on the 210 and 268 bus routes.