I hate New Year’s Eve. I decided to get it out of the way early so on the 30th I went and ticked the following NYE boxes:
- Got drunk
- Ordered unnecessary Jagermeisters (although aren’t all Jagermeisters unnecessary?)
- Ordered friend to buy double coffee Patron tequilas all round (a joke, sort of, but he took me at my word)
- Smoked verboten smokes
- Had a little fight in the street
- Had another little barney with a hot bouncer in a terrible Mayfair members’ club, over which toilets were allowed for povs like me vs. which toilets were reserved for trust-fund-babies
- Ended up in random home of trust-fund-baby, fending off advances and playing the name game (no, Putin is not a female pop star, yes, Pacman is alive, sort of, well, till the ghosts get him.)
Job done. Which meant I could go to a lovely gastropub on New Year’s Eve and not worry about having to find some teenage kicks. So to the Bull and Last, near Highgate, which has some of the best food in London.
It’s at least as good as The Harwood in Fulham, but for my money is a far more relaxed and enjoyable experience, and the service is great. We started with amazing canapes:
Goan chicken pasty with cucumber raita, pig’s head dim sum (more like slow cooked shredded pork cheek in a beautiful light pastry with sesame seeds on top), braised shoulder of venison kromeski (basically a croquette), and this lush beetroot and vodka cured gravadlax on home made soda bread:
For starters I had chicken and cep orecchiette (anyone who reads this blog will know that I never say no to pasta.)
Very delicate oricchiette, more baby’s ears than normal oriccchiette, with a very earthy almost-broth like sauce, and perfectly tender chicken thighs. Friend had scallops, Jerusalem artichoke & Alsace bacon:
For mains I had char grilled beef sirloin, creamed ratte potato, cavolo nero and trompette mushrooms. My photo does no justice to it, but suffice to say it was immense – perfect execution with quality ingredients.
I’ve had such a year of soils and foams and deconstructed sea-vegetables and all I ever really want to eat is beautiful simple delicious food like this.
For dessert, chocolate mousse, roast William pear and hazlenuts:
and then a course called ‘Sweeties’ which was actually four amazing petit fours:
Amaretti nougat, salted caramel truffle, lemon parfait sandwich, and blueberry marshmallow!
And a glass or two of champagne, just because…
HAPPY NEW YEAR indeed,