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The Bull at North Hill, Highgate N6

Louise Elgin was clearly impressed!

The Bull has that imposing air of 18th Century elegance which epitomises Highgate. As one approaches there is a definite feeling that you are about to enter an establishment with an element of comfort and luxury. The décor is modern and tasteful and the room is spacious; there is an atmosphere of relaxation. The kitchen, on full view of the restaurant is a hive of professional activity without adding an intrusive element to the proceedings. The Bull is a serious dining room - make no mistake, this is not pub grub. The management have stressed only the best will do when it comes to quality of the produce that is being served and the prices reflect this.

To begin, apart from the eight a la carte starters, there was a list of specials which we both chose from. I began with Dorset crab croquettes served with a tomato and pink grapefruit salsa. They were full of flavour, with a crispy exterior, light in texture and well flavoured, the salsa adding a touch of zing to the taste buds. A very generous helping, they came beautifully presented and scored high marks for originality. We were well looked after by Marcello, from Brazil, who has a substantial interest in wine, attending many small tastings and so producing a very interesting wine list. He recommended a glass of muscat to accompany my guest’s parfait of foie gras and chicken livers, served with toasted brioche; this blended perfectly with the light and flavoursome parfait.

For our main courses, we both decided on fish; this time Marcello recommended a wine neither of us had tried before, a punchy Australian label called The Hermit Crab. This is a blend of Viognier and Marsanne grapes and held its own against the strong flavours on the palate. My guest had chosen another of the specials; pan fried mackerel served with spring greens and rosemary butter, he said it was really fresh and flavoursome, his taste buds going into ecstasy on every mouthful - reminding him of childhood holidays down in Dorset where the mackerel was purchased straight off the fisherman’s boats and cooked freshly for supper. My roast monkfish was really good, stunningly presented and was a large helping, the monkfish being really tender with a perfumed bouillabaisse jus, waxy potatoes and plenty of fresh spinach. This has to be one of the best quality main courses I have eaten in Britain so I forgave the high price of this particular dish.

We tried two of the puddings between us from the ten or so offer. An apple tart with vanilla ice cream was good without being on a par with the previous courses whilst our other choice, a buttermilk pudding with roast rhubarb was a firm favourite with my guest who does love all milk based puds.

We had a terrific evening and came away with a feeling of having been well fed and very well looked after. The evening we visited The Bull it was packed with what I would imagine were locals although this is definitely somewhere worth travelling too, and a place to leave the car behind so you can enjoy Marcello’s excellent choice of wines to the full.

Louise Elgin. April 2007

A meal for two with wine, water and service costs around £110.00

The Bull Pub & Dining Room 
13 North Hill Highgate London N6
Tel: 0845 456 5033

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